Microsoft Releases Beta of Key Virtualization Product
Santa's not due for awhile yet, but for those waiting on Microsoft's next
version of its highly anticipated virtualization product, it's Christmas
Microsoft today made a surprise announcement that Hyper-V,
code-named "Viridian," is available as a public beta with Windows Server 2008
RC1 Enterprise edition. Originally, Hyper-V was scheduled to ship with the RTM version of Windows 2008 in Q1 of next year.
The initial version is restricted to the 64-bit version of Windows
2008, and is currently only available in an English-U.S. version. The final
version of Hyper-V is expected to ship about 180 days after RTM, Microsoft
has consistently stated.
A Microsoft press release indicated that a
number of new features have been added to the beta since the last community
technology preview (CTP) of Hyper-V in September. They include "Quick
Migration, high availability, Server Core role and Server Manager
integration," according to the release.
It's worth noting that Quick
Migration isn't the same as Live migration. Live migration -- the ability to
move virtual machines from one physical machine to another without shutting
down a server, eliminating downtime -- was one of a number of key features
out of an earlier version of Viridian to meet the deadline of
incorporation into Windows 2008.
Still, Hyper-V is expected to make
waves in the marketplace. Hyper-V is a hypervisor, a thin layer of software
that sits on top of hardware and manages interactions between virtual
machines above, and the hardware below. It's Microsoft's key product in a
suite of virtualization-related offerings, which also include a management
program, System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
wants a bigger piece of the virtualization pie, given the explosive growth
of the market. The largest vendor in the market, VMware, had a hugely
successful IPO last
August, demonstrating the strength of the market. In addition, new vendors
are popping up every day, and established large vendors such as Sun and Oracle
are developing virtualization offerings around their core products.
Virtualization involves the abstracting, or decoupling, of software
from hardware. Depending on the virtualization product used, it has a number
of benefits for an IT department, including:
- The ability to move many
virtual servers onto a single, underutilized physical server, improving
- The ability to run multiple OSes such as Windows NT, Windows Server 2003 and Linux
on a single machine; and
- The ability to test new products on myriad OSes while isolating
them from a production network.