Imagine if you would, a world where virtualization is the defining trend in x86 computing. Where new advances in hardware capacity and hypervisor scalability see 20+ VM-to-physical server environments everywhere. Where the days of having to co-mingle your Microsoft application services on a single machine have been washed away by the ability to spin up new low cost systems at whim. Where you can afford to follow best practices and keep things like Domain Controllers and DHCP services on separate machines. Oh wait, we're already at Shangri-La's doorstep!
Now imagine this - what if you could jump onto your MSDN, TechNet Subscription, or Volume Licensing website and download a Microsoft Virtual Appliance that only services a single application need? Instead of the one size fits all bloated Operating System, you can now select a Virtual Appliance that's only used for DHCP or Print Services. Domain Controller with DNS, hold the onions please! What about an Exchange server that only has the roles, features, and services required to run Exchange? And what if you could unpack and import the appliance with all of those prerequisites ready to go? Are you starting to see where I'm going with this?
Microsoft's take on virtualization is that it's good for everyone. Yes, they were a bit slow to the chase, but the incredible fact remains that roughly 90% of the planet's systems infrastructure runs on Microsoft OS and applications. And while they definitely have a stranglehold on the market, in my "what if" scenario they would have the opportunity to develop and release an increased number of applications with higher quality standards. By quality standards, I'm referring the trend where Microsoft application releases are pushed or accompanied by immediate release Service Packs and Hotfixes. This isn't about taking the OS out of the game, moreover it's about augmenting their product line with an option for business to deploy systems in specific service only configurations - without the need to patch, protect, disable, and secure services that don't add to the value of the system itself. If we're already at Shangri-La's doorstep, just imagine where this could take us.