Microsoft working on virtual machines offline patching

On Microsoft site dedicated to betas, Connect, a new program just appeared: codename Himalaya.

The brief description and enrollment survey reveal it’s a solution to automate patching of powered off virtual machines, a critical feature in large scale virtual datacenters.

Codename Himalaya may become a feature included in further versions of upcoming System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007.

Enrollment period ends September 9. After that date Microsoft may release more informations about this new project.

Is this Microsoft answer to new VMware patch management solution, Upload Manager 1.0, to be released with upcoming ESX Server 3.1?

Update: Microsoft immediately removed the beta program from Connect.