Microsoft on Wednesday took the wraps off a desktop virtualization licensing plan for Windows Vista Enterprise and other licensing changes to accelerate the uptake of its Software Assurance update and maintenance program. Customers that acquire Vista Enterprise through Software Assurance can run four copies of Windows on one device for a single user at no additional charge, Microsoft said at its Velocity 2006 partner conference in Boston. To get Vista Enterprise, customers must sign up for a multiyear Software Assurance deal, which would enable them to run multiple Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000 or other Windows workloads on one desktop.
On the server side, Microsoft is making its Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition available through volume licensing. Previously, the high-end version of Windows Server was available only through large OEMs. The move stands to spur customer adoption of server virtualization technology. Microsoft had previously announced that customers could run an unlimited number of virtualized Windows Server operating systems on the Datacenter Edition beginning Oct. 1.