Microsoft Previews Windows Azure Application Virtualization Tools
Microsoft has quietly released a community technology preview (CTP) version of Server Application Virtualization (Server App-V), a tool designed for taking any on-premises Windows application and deploying it on the Windows Azure cloud platform. It’s currently only available by invitation — but when it comes out, it could give developers and service providers an easier path to SaaS.
The official Microsoft blog entry announcing the release goes in-depth into the technical details, so if you’re interested, I strongly suggest taking a look. Suffice it to say that Microsoft Server App-V, combined with the new Server Application Virtualization Packaging Tool, apparently can do exactly what you’d expect from the name — package an existing application in such a way that they can be virtualized once and deployed to the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud. It’s all based on the existing Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) tool.
For cloud service providers and cloud migration specialists, the potential benefits are tremendous: legacy on-premise applications that were never meant to be deployed as a service can be, potentially easing customers’ minds about moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud. And it’s easy to imagine that Windows developers could offer pre-made packages of their own products, saving themselves the cost of porting it themselves.
Microsoft Windows Azure made significant strides to channel acceptance in 2010. But it sounds like the Windows Azure strategy involves a marathon rather than a sprint. A case in point: Server App-V won’t likely be released until the second half of 2011.