Microsoft continues to step up its virtualisation push, with the acquisition of desktop virtualisation management software developer Kidaro.

Microsoft plans to integrate Kidaro technology into the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack for Software Assurance, although it would not say how much the deal cost or when it would be completed.

Kidaro's management technology is designed to make it easier for enterprises to deploy, use and manage virtual PCs. The platform comprises several components including a client that handles encryption and firewall security and integrates the virtual machine applications into the end-user computer.

The management server assigns configurations and security policies for users and compiles information about clients for monitoring and auditing.

Microsoft expects that the software will help accelerate migration to Windows Vista because it can minimise compatibility issues between applications and the OS. In addition, the software makes the use of virtualisation less noticeable to end users, which should also speed adoption, Microsoft said.

Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack for Software Assurance is a package of technologies that enterprises can use to help manage desktops. It includes Application Virtualisation, Asset Inventory Service, Advanced Group Policy Management, Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset and System Centre Desktop Error Monitoring.

Microsoft Software Assurance customers will need to subscribe to an add-on service to access the Kidaro capabilities.

The Kidaro acquisition follows hot on the heels of another virtualisation purchase by Microsoft earlier this year, when it bought Calista Technologies, the developer of graphics technology for people accessing a Windows desktop remotely from a server.

Microsoft also recently changed course and began allowing users to run Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium in a virtualised environment. That change allowed Mac users to run Vista along with the Mac OS without having to buy a more expensive version of Windows.

The software giant is also working on virtualisation technology for Windows Server 2008. Its Hyper-V technology was released in beta late last year. Windows Server 2008 was launched two weeks ago.