Virtual machine live migration is the top new feature of Windows Server 2008 Release 2, said Bill Laing, Microsoft corporate VP for the Windows Server and Solutions Division, in an interview. Laing highlighted what he considered the prime features of the software, now in the hands of major distributors, while he was in San Francisco early this week for Microsoft's New Efficiency briefings with analysts and the press.

Live migration, said Laing, can be used to load-balance virtual machines across servers, save power by shutting down a server after moving its virtual machines to an underutilized neighbor, and fail-over the workload of one server to another in the event of a server glitch.

Live migration is also a key aspect of implementing better power management for Windows servers. If a server's virtual machines can be shifted from one physical server to another at the click of button, then underutilized servers can offload their VMs and get shut down, he added.

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