I've been on the lookout for cool, killer features in the upcoming client version of Windows 8, and Microsoft just made my day.
The feature ... Hyper-V. Those of you who play with server versions of Windows will know that Hyper-V has been part of Windows Server for the last two releases, but now Microsoft is bringing it to client versions.
Mathew John, program manager on our Hyper-V team, breaks the news over on the Building Windows 8 blog:
In building Windows 8 we worked to enable Hyper-V, the machine virtualization technology that has been part of the last 2 releases of Windows Server, to function on the client OS as well. In brief, Hyper-V lets you run more than one 32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating system at the same time on the same computer. Instead of working directly with the computer's hardware, the operating systems run inside of a virtual machine (VM).
Hyper-V also sounds like it plays nicely with system resources. A system with 4GB of RAM can run three or four VMs simultaneously, with memory being allocated and deallocated dynamically. If you have the resources you can create a VM with 32 processors and 512GB RAM, which should be enough for anyone.
But there's more - in the form of a cool feature. Normally you connect to the VM using the VM Console application but this places all sorts of limits of you. For example, you're limited to one screen with resolution up to 1600x1200 in 32-bit color. But if you connect to the VM through Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) you can leverage the capabilities of the physical PC. So, if you have three screens in your PC, you'll be able to use them all. If you have touch capability, you'll be able to use it. If you have great multimedia capability, that will be available.
I like it! I like it a lot!
Note: You can already connect to Hyper-V VMs using RDC, but it's hardly 'one-click.'
Adding Hyper-V to the client versions of Windows 8 will please power users. This is something that I'll certainly find useful.
Windows 8 is already feeling far more interesting than Windows 7 did at this stage.