The Virtual PC team today announced that Virtual PC will now be free!
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For those who don't know, Virtual PC is a software product that allows you to run another operating system (Windows XP, Linux, or even Windows 3.1) "virtually" from inside a single computer. You'll see that PC load in a window and act as if it was a virtual PC (more info here). I'm a big VPC fan and I think this is great to hear. In fact, our developer division fully embraces Virtual PCs, so much so that the Community Tech Previews for Visual Studio "Orcas" will come as VPCs and, as an MSDN subscriber, you can download a VPC with Windows, SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 Team System fully installed.
PC's Five Year's from nowI'm always surprised that virtualization doesn't make IT news anymore as one of the big things that will change the landscape in the future. In less then five years, Intel is aiming for a 32 core processor chip runing at 20GHz. I also don't think it's a stretch to think you'll have multiple terabyte hard drives in five years. If you combine the PC power in five years with advances in Virtual PC, you can start imagining running your day-to-day work environment, from Office to Visual Studio, in a Virtual PC.
Simplifying A Server FarmFor Virtual Server, you could imagine having a hefty 8proc PC (with 32 cores each) hosting an entire server farm and assuming they can include fault tolerance, If a server goes down, one could be automatically brought back up to replace it.
Simplifying Product EvaluationSecond, if I'm a company selling a complex client or server product, let's say Cognos for BI or BizTalk for process integration and I want my customers to try/evaluate my product, the current way to do this would be:
Alternatively, you could imagine a world where vendors could package a Virtual PC as trialware that would include:
The arguments against this would be
If nothing else, I think the combination of powerful PCs in five years, and the availability of free, easy-to-use virtualization has the opportunity to radically change business as usual. If nothing else, I'm hoping it minimizes the time end users and IT Administrators would have to setup and configure PCs. With lots of processing power in the future to remove any performance issues, having a virtual machine one click away is certainly a better experience than having a dual-boot solution.
The plot thickens...