Microsoft Allows All Vista SKUs to Be Virtualized

Microsoft has done an about-face on its previous about-face and has now decided that it will allow all versions of Windows Vista to be licensed for use in a virtual machine environment. The software maker will announce this change of heart at its Virtualization Deployment Summit in Bellevue, Wash., on Jan.22. Virtualization lets a single machine run multiple operating systems, creating greater flexibility and efficiency for customers. The revised Vista end-user licensing agreement now states that "instead of using the software directly on the licensed device, you may install and use the software within only one virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device." "When used in a virtualized environment, content protected by digital rights management technology, BitLocker or any full volume disk drive encryption technology may not be as secure as protected content not in a virtualized environment. You should comply with all domestic and international laws that apply to such protected content," it says.

This is a reversal from June 2007, when the company announced it was standing firm on its more restrictive virtualization policy. Shanen Boettcher, Microsoft's general manager for Windows product management, told eWEEK that the about-turn is a response to ongoing feedback from customers. Larry Orecklin, Microsoft's general manager for server infrastructure, added that customers have shown increased interest and usage of virtualization over the past six months, and that Microsoft can provide guidance to ensure customers have a secure infrastructure. "We think the market is now ready for this," he said.

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