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Virtual Server 2005 virtually done

Microsoft releases a "release candidate," or almost final, version of the software.

Microsoft on Monday released an almost final version, or "release candidate," of its delayed Virtual Server 2005 program, one of its final steps before wrapping up development. Virtual Server allows a single server to run multiple copies of an operating system, handy for server consolidation and letting computers run multiple tasks more efficiently.

The software giant announced that there will be two editions of the software--a standard version supporting up to four processors and an enterprise edition that can work on servers with up to 32 processors. It hopes to finish development work by the end of the summer and have the software broadly available before the end of the year. In its first version, Virtual Server competes with VMware, which storage giant EMC acquired earlier this year.