As Microsoft officials confirmed last week, Microsoft is planning to make a first test version of its hypervisor technology available simultaneously with Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate (RC) 0.
This week, David Greschler, Microsoft's Director of Integrated Virtualization Strategy, also confirmed that a beta version of Viridian -- a k a Windows Server Virtualization -- will be built into Windows Server 2008 when that product is released to manufacturing.
Previously, Microsoft officials had been cagey about how they planned to get the Windows Server 2008 hypervisor to customers, given that the final version of that hypervisor isn't due to ship until six months after Windows Server 2008. Some had speculated Microsoft would make the hypervisor a download and deliver it to customers in that form.
Instead, it sounds like the gameplan is to simply push out to customers the update to the Viridian beta bits that will be part of the final Windows Server 2008 release. The first iteration of Viridian, due out with Windows Server RC0, is a Community Technology Preview (CTP) build, not a full-fledged beta build.
Microsoft officials are still declining to provide an exact date as to when they plan to make Windows Server 2008 RC0 and the Viridian CTP 1 available to more than the select group of Technology Adoption Program (TAP) partners who got them last week. But sources say Microsoft is now targeting the week of September 17 to get the Windows Server RC0 build out to a broader group of testers. "The most interesting stuff around virtualization right now centers on the looming price war to come in the next 60 to 90 days," said Yankee Group Analyst Laura DiDio. "Microsoft (believe it or not) though far from being the best of breed offering, has a much less expensive product than VMWare. VMWare, which is the market leader with approximately 60 percent marketshare is by far the most expensive product on the market.
"However, they (VMWare) plan to implement an unspecified price cut by year's end which will coincidentally (or not) coincide with Microsoft's release of the Viridian beta," DiDio continued. "Right now, a list price apples to apples comparison of Microsoft vs. VMWare shows that Microsoft's Virtual Server costs 50 percent less in a Single Server entry level configuration.
"The big irony here is that the reason VMWare is so much more expensive is because anytime a corporate customer purchases VMWare's virtualization offering they also have to buy a Windows Server license (or a Red Hat or Novell server license if using Linux) on top of paying for the VMWare offering," she said. "Microsoft -- and the Linux vendors like Red Hat include virtualization for free as part of the baseline server OS. VMWare's management offering is also priced higher."