Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

Summary: Looks like the rumors were right. There seems to be a Hyper-V 3.0 coming in Windows 8 client, based on information from the latest Windows 8 leaked build.

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A year ago, when I blogged about possible plans by Microsoft to include a hypervisor in its Windows 8 client -- and not just the server -- I was told a lot of things. I heard it was impossible, that I was off-base, that it was nothing but a pipe dream.

Cut to June 20, 2011 -- a few days after a new Windows 8 Milestone 3 (M3) build, No. 7989, leaked to the Web. While dissecting the latest bits, WindowsNow.com blogger Robert McLaws discovered that there is, indeed, a Hyper-V 3.0 in the Windows 8 client code base.

"Apparently it’s (Hyper-V 3.0's) been in there for quite a while, but between the focus on Consumer features, and the lack of X64 builds leaking out, it’s the first time we’ve seen it," McLaws blogged.

McLaws said the new Hyper-V includes a number of new storage, memory and networking enhancements. It includes support for a new .VHDX virtual hard-drvie format, he added, as well as support for more than four cores.

Back in 2009, a French Microsoft Security and Technical Director outlined a scenario allegedly being considered for Windows 8, via which almost all applications would run virtually, via a combination of Hyper-V V3, App-V application virtualization technology and MED-V desktop virtualization functionality. Some of these applications would run in virtual machines that would combine applications and operating systems, i.e., an application running on Windows Vista or an application running on a particular flavor of Linux. (It's worth noting that currently the App-V and MED-V technologies are available only to Microsoft Software Assurance licensees as part of a paid bundle known as the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack.)

Building Hyper-V into the Windows 8 client could give Microsoft a way to support legacy Windows applications despite changes in Windows 8's underlying architecture.

Another area where Microsoft’s next-generation virtualization technology could have an impact with Windows 8 is in the Windows update space, as Charon at Ma-Config.com explained a year ago. Managing all the virtual machines enabled on the desktop via Hyper-V 3 will become important. Updating virtual machines while they’re turned off, as well as updating third party applications, will possibly be managed via new Windows Update mechanisms.

Topics: Microsoft, Cloud, Hardware, Operating Systems, Software, Storage, Virtualization, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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22 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

    Realistically the performance of Hyper-V isn't good enough to virtualize everything. On Server editions of Windows, Hyper-V typically results in a 10-20% CPU performance decrease even if you have all the latest hardware acceleration features for virtualization. 10-20% may be acceptable for server applications, but Microsoft would be torn to pieces if Windows 8 turned out to be consistently 10-20% slower than Windows 7. Unless Microsoft has developed a miracle virtualization solution that has no performance loss, I don't think we're going to see widespread use of Hyper-V on client Windows.
    Sc4Freak
    • 10-20% is too high

      @Sc4Freak I do not know how your systems are configured. But 20% is far too high of CPU performance hit. I always optimize my servers, using server core, et all. I typically see an overall (CPU and memory) performance penalty of 1 to 10% depending on the workload.
      Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

        @facebook@... Depends on your workload - for something arithmetic heavy 1-10% seems reasonable. But the performance hit for IO-heavy applications (eg databases) is much higher, and 10-20% in general seems to be a good average compared to bare metal.
        Sc4Freak
      • 20%?!

        @Sc4Freaks

        If high-IO is your game, you should be using iSCSI or some other disk array. Whenever you're using a database, you should use direct-connect drives in order to optimized disk reads too.

        And ALWAYS, ALWAYS use Static-sized VHD's in production, since your high-IO will get dragged to a crawl if the VM needs to resize the VHD. Dynamically-sized VHD's are only good for testing and pre-staging VM's. If you follow these guidelines, you shouldn't notice any slowdowns in VM's.

        Also, the hypervisor in Win8 will probably only make its way to Enterprise SKU's, since nobody so far has ever come up with a way to fully virtualize the multimedia features (video & sound) in a hypervisor. At best, we have emulation that sometimes has *some* hardware acceleration features, but it isn't even close to bare-metal acceleration and features. Enterprise apps don't often utilize multimedia features though, so virtualizing clients apps and desktops locally would work find for large business PC's.
        Joe_Raby
  • Excellent tech

    The ability to deploy updates to hyper-v clients that are turned off is fantastic. I have a few hyper-v client images for niche applications that I seldom run. Patching them when they are off would save me a lot of time. Now, if only the update tool would work with niche operating systems like Ubuntu, it would be perfect.
    Your Non Advocate
    • It's not exactly new

      @facebook@...

      You can update offline hard drive images too, whether they are installed on bare metal, or in a WIM file. What this means is that Microsoft is bridging the gap between WIM images for deployment and VHD's for virtualization. I suggested this feature long ago when I started working with Windows Vista's OEM deployment tools because deployment and virtualization tasks go hand in hand.
      Joe_Raby
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

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  • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

    Oops. I didn't mean to post. I'm taking my click back.
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

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  • the DOJ should start antitrust investigation

    against this new M$ abuse of monopoly.
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

      @Linux Geek Oh God, you're clueless idiot. Stop whining because Linux sucks and can't compete with anyone, much less Windows.
      JoeHTH
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

        @JoeHTH

        This guy posts totally senseless, random, off-topic comments unrelated to the post he's commenting on. These are designed for no other purpose than to generate angry responses from those with a short fuse for idiocy. And it works : -)

        Running an OS with only 7 customers and 2 apps takes a toll on one's mental health, so please be sympathetic.
        1DaveN
      • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

        @JoeHTH Linux Geek is our resident jester !! Just relax and enjoy the show and have a good laugh. Laughter is good for health ! :)
        1773
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

      @Linux Geek

      um could you please explain to me where's the abuse? because I don't see it. all I see is great tech and innovation..
      blazing_smiley_face
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

      <strong>@everyone responding to <u>Linux Geek</u></strong><br><br>Why do you take the bait?<br><br>This jack-@$$ does not reply with anything that approaches a complete and coherent sentence. In fact he/she/it is probably too stoned to be any more than antagonistic - on a good day.<br><br>Maybe He/she/it is sad because the creator of Jack-@$$ died in a fiery car crash leaving so much creative work unfinished.
      Raid6
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

    1. Can I cirtualize an app to Windows 8 without having to virtualize a legacy operating system?
    2. Do I need to purchase some type of enterprise agreement to use this or is it included in the base license like XP Mode is today?
    frankwick
    • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

      @frankwick - we'll know more at and after Build in September, but my take on your questions with the information we have today is:

      1) You can already do this with App-V, although this is primarily an enterprise scenario today.
      2) I would expect that Hyper-V will be baked into ever version of Win8 from Home Premium upwards. This is how Win XP, Vista & 7 apps will be able to run uninterrupted and unchanged in later versions of Windows.
      bitcrazed
      • Hyper-V in every version of the OS?

        @bitcrazed

        I don't see this happening. If they include it only in Enterprise, I wouldn't be surprised. Windows 8 already includes the Explorer shell, so virtualizing apps for the heck of it is unnecessary. Also, unless Microsoft has come up with some truly magical tech in Hyper-V 3.0, I really doubt it's going to have video and audio hardware virtualization (nobody has done this yet). Without it, consumer multimedia and entertainment apps are doomed to fail on Windows 8, IF they require Hyper-V to virtualize them all.
        Joe_Raby
  • RE: Microsoft's Windows 8 client to include a hypervisor for virtualization

    On integrted hypervisor in W8 - this is interesting, and I am curios how far they will take the concept of virtualisation and management of the OS's and apps (cloud?).

    As for zdnet comments - nothing but the garbage from paid - professional trolls - which will ultimately be the downfall of this site. For now I keep on coming back to read the blogs - but the comments reflect a professional campaign to discredit any attempt from Microsoft. I suppose it is their own own fault that they dont sue ZDNET and others for allowing this.
    mrmin
  • Virtualization is only for native and legacy apps

    My take is this is microsoft's way of paving the future to midori kernal switch in windows 9 while appeasing those that still want to write in native code and still have legacy compatability. All code going forward will be Managed code with few exceptions. Those that really need to run native code will run under some new highly optimized native kernal that will run beside the midori managed kernal on top of the hypervisor with little performance hit. Legacy programs will run on the windows 7 nt kernal (maybe xp as well) with a more substantial performance hit. However since future machines are likely more powerful this performance hit will be less than the legacy hardware they would be running on anyhow.
    evilsushi