Microsoft to ship Windows Server 2008, over time, in eight flavors

Summary:Microsoft is readying eight SKUs of Windows Server 2008, only some of which will include Hyper-V (the new name for Microsoft's hypervisor that was code-named "Viridian"). And, according to early reports from Microsoft's TechEd IT Forum, the hypervisor-inclusive SKUs might not ship until the latter half of 2008.

Microsoft is readying eight SKUs of Windows Server 2008, only some of which will include Hyper-V (the new name for Microsoft's hypervisor that was code-named "Viridian").

Microsoft to ship Windows Server 2008, over time, in eight flavors
According to ActiveWin.com, which is reporting from the TechEd IT Forum in Barcelona, Microsoft has finalized the WIndows Server 2008 line-up as follows:

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard with Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise with Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 DataCenter with Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 DataCenter without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Web Edition without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Itanium Edition without Hyper-V

When Windows Server 2008 ships in early 2008, the final hypervisor bits won't be baked into the product, as Microsoft officials have said. The plan of record has been that a beta version would be baked into the Windows Server 2008 SKUs that include Hyper-V. Users were to be able to upgrade to the final Hyper-V once it was done -- using Windows Server Update Services or System Center Configuration Manager 2007, ActiveWin says.

But Computerworld UK is reporting that Microsoft won't be shipping the versions of Windows Server 2008 that include the baked-in hypervisor until six months after the February 2008 launch of the product.

Computerworld was wrong. Microsoft is not delaying the versions with Hyper-V by six months. Microsoft will ship all eight versions simultaneously, officials said, but will advise customers against deploying in production the Hyper-V-inclusive releases until the final hypervisor bits are available, which should be in the third calendar quarter of 2008. It's up to interpretation whether Microsoft's guidance, re: deployment in production, constitutes a "delay" or not.

ActiveWin also says Microsoft is planning to release a Windows Server version with only Hyper-V installed on it. This extremely low-footprint version would also be very low-priced. ActiveWin says they hear it could be as low as $28.

Update: The $28 version is a standalone hypervisor, Hyper-V Server, which is for Windows-less servers on which administrators want to run Linux or Unix in virtualized mode, according to Microsoft. It's a SKU for consolidating workloads.

Pricing for the other Windows Server SKUs will range from $971 for the WIndows Server 2008 Standard Without Hyper-V, to Windows Server 2008 Enterprise With Hyper-V (and 25 CALs) for $3,999, according to Computerworld UK.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Windows

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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