Microsoft improves Windows 7 virtualisation

Software supremo Microsoft has made a number of announcements about virtualisation announcements.

Firstly the outfit has killed off the virtualisation layer’s hardware requirements for the XP Mode available in Windows 7. It will not make much difference to those already running XP Mode, but users who were unsure of their PC hardware can try out XP Mode on Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, or Windows 7 Ultimate.

The update is available for Windows 7 32-bit and Windows 7 64-bit.

Redmond has been slammed for making life difficult for those trying to use the XP Mode by insisting that it only work on processors that supported either Intel’s VT or AMD’s AMD-V.

Many were unsure if their CPU supported hardware virtualization, and if it did, whether it was turned on in the BIOS.

Microsoft’s changes mean that a barrier to the adoption of Windows 7 among small and mid-size businesses has been removed.

Also changed is Microsoft Dynamic Memory which is an enhancement to Hyper-V that will allow users to adjust the memory of a guest virtual machine on demand.

IT administrators can pool all the memory available on a physical host and dynamically distribute it to virtual machines running on the host.

It means that VMs will be able to receive new memory allocations without a service interruption.

Microsoft also announced licensing changes which are supposed to make it easier for businesses to let workers remotely access their systems via virtualised desktops.

The changes, which will come into effect on July 1, 2010, will mean that Windows Client Software Assurance customers will no longer have to buy a separate licence to access their Windows operating system in a VDI environment.

Virtual desktop access rights will become a “Software Assurance” benefit. Also Windows Client Software Assurance and new Virtual Desktop Access licence customers will be allowed to access their virtual Windows desktop and their Microsoft Office applications hosted on VDI technology at home.