Microsoft has taken its lumps for the fact that its built-in Windows Server 2008 hypervisor won't be available in final (non-beta) form until the third quarter of this year.
But it's not just Microsoft's own Hyper-V that isn't quite ready for prime-time. Several other virtualization products from Microsoft's competitors and partners aren't 100-percent enterprise-ready, either, at this point.
Microsoft launched Windows Server 2008, along with SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, on February 27. Windows Server 2008's virtualization capabilities was one of the key themes of the launch.
The version of Windows Server 2008 that is slated to be available to customers starting March 1 includes a built-in beta release of Microsoft's Hyper-V, code-named "Viridian." Microsoft has said that it will make available to Windows Server 2008 users, but not until some time within six months after Windows Server 2008 ships.
What about other virtualization vendors, like Microsoft rival VMware? On its Web site, VMware says that its ESX 3.5 virtualization product currently supports Windows Server 2008 as a guest operating system. But when pressed, VMware officials admitted that it is providing only "experimental" support for Windows Server 2008 at this point, with "official" support slated for some time in the third calendar quarter of 2008.
(VMware is saying support is still "experimental" at this point because Windows Server 2008 is still in beta. Windows Server 2008 was released to manufacturing on February 4, 2008; general availability is slated for early March. But as various Microsoft product divisions and third-party software vendors have pointed out, it takes some time for software developers to test their products against the final, non-beta bits of a new operating-system release.)
One Windows Server 2008 user, who requested anonymity, said he did not consider ESX to currently support Windows Server 2008, given that caveat.
"When it comes to support it's still considered 'experimental' and only given support by level 1 and never by the back team," the user said. "When they (VMware) support 'Guest Customization' and provide support under contract for Windows Server 2008, then I will believe their statement" that they support the latest version of Windows Server.
Citrix Systems also isn't slated to support Windows Server 2008 with its XenApp product (the renamed Citrix Presentation Server) until some time this summer. Xen App on Windows Server 2008 is in beta now, said David Roussain, Vice President of Prouct Marketing with Citrix. Roussain said final versions of Citrix's XenDesktop and XenServer also will work on Windows Server 2008 by this summer.