Windows Server 2012, the upcoming release of Microsoft's core server technology, will be released to manufacturing next month and is slated for general availability in September.
It's clear Microsoft has VMware in its sights: At its Worldwide Partner Conference Tuesday, the company unveiled a program aimed at helping channel partners get customers to switch from VMware's virtual infrastructure to Microsoft's cloud software.
"We've got great momentum building," said Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business, urging partners in a keynote to take an aggressive stance to win over VMware users.
Under the new "Switch to Hyper-V" program, Microsoft is offering training, tools and guidance that partners can use to convince customers to shift from VMware to Windows Server and its Hyper-V technology. One tool, for example, converts a VMware image to a Hyper-V format.
The program, which Nadella said helps "take the risk out of these migrations," will help partners grow their virtualisation, private and hybrid cloud computing practices.
While Windows Server is a stand-alone product, Microsoft is putting more emphasis on the product as part of a "holistic" lineup that includes the new releases of the SQL Server database and System Centre management software that launched earlier this year, said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of server and tools marketing, in an interview.
Along with Windows Server 2012's expanded virtualisation capabilities, the new software offers features to take advantage of today's more powerful hardware, faster networks and lower storage costs, Numoto said. And it provides more ways for users with mobile devices to access server resources.
"We know there's an explosion of smart, connected devices out there," Numoto said. "And they all have to be fed."
Microsoft also is offering a community technology preview (CTP) release of new technologies for hosting service providers that lets them use their Windows Server data centers to deliver capabilities consistent with some of the new services offered in Windows Azure.