From Zane Adam, Director of Virtualization Strategy at Microsoft:

I’m writing today to announce the exciting news that we’ve released to manufacturing (RTM’d) System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and to talk a bit about its critical role in the broad set of virtualization offerings from Microsoft.

Our virtualization solutions span the desktop to the data center including the management tools required to ensure that virtualization remains an asset and doesn’t become an unwieldy burden. On the server we have Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and also Hyper-V Server, our standalone hypervisor, we recently released in September. We’re seeing rapid adoption of Microsoft server virtualization solutions and IDC recently released findings showing Microsoft's Hyper-V delivering a strong showing, and when combined with Virtual Server 2005, helped Microsoft to capture 23% of new license shipments in 2Q 2008.

Today’s announcement of the RTM of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 extends the management benefits of System Center even further by enabling not only the management of Microsoft virtualized environments, but also VMware ESX as well.

We’re excited to see the partner and customer adoption of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.  We’ve already seen hundreds of our early deployment customers use either the beta or release candidate version of VMM to manage their Hyper-V deployments.  They are seeing the many cost reduction and management simplification benefits of Hyper-V and the SCVMM 2008 integration with the rest of System Center.   Now that RTM is official, I fully expect the rate of Hyper-V deployments to further accelerate.  Through the SCVMM 2008 console, administrators can see the entirety of their data center infrastructure – physical or virtual. SCVMM 2008 facilitates key functions like P2V (physical to virtual) migration, Intelligent Placement (selecting the best virtual host for a VM), and managing Hyper-V host clusters, to name just a few. SCVMM 2008 works closely with its siblings – particularly SC Ops Mgr – in identifying consolidation candidates and in Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO), a new feature in which SCVMM 2008 can alert and recommend solutions to administrators about failing virtual machines or hardware. As I mentioned above, this comprehensive view extends throughout the data center as SCVMM 2008 is capable of seeing and managing VMware ESX infrastructure through Virtual Center. I hope you download SCVMM 2008 today and give it a try. Additional information, including a link to download an evaluation version is available here and it will be generally available for purchase as of November 1.

I’ve been working with a release candidate version of SCVMM2008 for a few weeks now and will have a bit to say about this impressive tool in the days ahead as well.