Virtualization is a technology topic that continues to gain mind-share. Last year it was a finalist for the Technology of the year award from Developer.com. (see http://www.developer.com/lang/article.php/3576746).
Virtualization is not new, but rather is simply gaining notice because of what it offers and because computer hardware is now more than capable of supporting it effectively. Virtualization software is not something that is new either. Microsoft has had a product for a while, plus VMWare continues to produce a leading product as well. In fact VMWare has been making regular announcements about their products. On February 6th, they even announced a free version of the beta of their Virtualization Server. You can find more information on the Vmware Server Beta at http://www.vmware.com/products/server/.
If you've never worked with Virtual Machines or a Virtual Server, you should take some time to look at them. Granted, you'll need to have a machine loaded with memory and computing power. If you do, then this software can be a great asset. Using virtual machines, you can do thing such as set up testing environments or install beta software. You can set up multiple operating systems all on a single system. Better yet, you can do this in an area that won't impact your production software.
Imagine installing a Visual Studio beta on a virtual machine instead of within your normal system. If you tried to uninstall one of the past Visual Studio betas, you know that it wasn't always possible. Often you needed to wipe your system and start over. By using a virtual machine from a virtual server, you gain the ability to simply dump the virtual machine without any impact to your system.
This just scratches the surface of what you can do with virtualization software. With the Microsoft Server now being a free download, it is worth taking a look!
# # #