I just received a message from Microsoft about the release of Hyper-V. It has some interesting details about platform support and availability.
Here's what Microsoft had to say
Tomorrow, June 26, Microsoft will reach a significant milestone for customers and partners with the release of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, the hypervisor-based virtualization feature included in select versions of Windows Server 2008. Those who have already deployed the x64 versions of Windows Server 2008 can receive Hyper-V from Windows Update beginning July 8, while new customers and partners can download Hyper-V tomorrow afternoon.
Since the beta release of Hyper-V in February, more than 250 customers have participated in Hyper-V’s early adoption program. We have been actively listening to customer and account team feedback on Guest OS support and we are now able to add additional guest OS support for Hyper-V at RTM. Integration components will also be made available for all of these operating systems:
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008 x86 (VM configured as 1, 2 or 4-way SMP)
- Windows Server 2008 x64 (VM configured as 1, 2 or 4-way SMP)
- Windows Server 2003
- Windows Server 2003 x86 (VMs configured as 1 or 2-way SMP)
- Windows Server 2003 x64 (VMs configured as 1 or 2-way SMP)
- Windows Vista
- Windows Vista x64 with Service Pack 1 (VMs configured as 1 or 2-way SMP)
- Windows Vista x86 with Service Pack 1 (VMs configured as 1 or 2-way SMP)
- Windows XP
- Windows XP x64 with Service Pack 2 (VMs configured as 1 or 2-way SMP)
- Windows XP x86 with Service Pack 3 (VMs configured as 1 or 2-way SMP)
- Windows XP x86 with Service Pack 2 (VMs configured as 1-way only)
- Windows Server 2000
- Windows Server 2000 with Service Pack 4 (VMs configured as 1-way only)
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 1 x86 Edition
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 1 x64 Edition
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 2 x86 Edition
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 2 x64 Edition
Snapshot AnalysisWell, the cat is finally out of the bag. Although one could wonder how the cat got in that bag in the first place, it would be wise to focus on where it is going to find a home in the virtual machine software jungle.
Let's consider what's already in the field, satisfying customer demands:
- VMware, the industry lion, has many versions of its technology and is in the middle of the lifecycle of the version 3.5 release. The company has significantly improved the stability, reliability, manageability and performance of its hypervisor. It also has developed a strong portfolio of products in the areas of access virtualization, application virtualization, management (provisioning, streaming, administration, orchestration, automation, clustering, HA/Failover).
- Citrix/XenSource, the industry jaguar, is fielding its distribution of Xen, the open source hypervisor, combined with a strong portfolio of products that matches that offered by VMware.
- In the Xen camp we also find Linux distributions such as Red Hat, SUSE and a host of others as well as large suppliers such as Oracle, Sun and Virtual Iron. All jungle cats from the very small to a medium size.
- In the KVM camp we find Qumarnet (the originators of KVM) and Red Hat.
It's clear to see that this is a very diverse, competitive market. It is also clear that all of these players have strengths that just may match a specific organizational need better than the others. Although VMware is the dominant player, the market is certainly not a one company show.
Microsoft is launching its Hyper-V into this highly competitive market with the typical fanfare and using its typical lets-throw-one-more-thing-into-the-Windows-pot tactic. As with other types of technology, Microsoft is throwing virtual machine software into the Windows package with little increase in price. This can be seen as another move that will tend to commoditize the market.
Microsoft has learned from past moves that organizations will tend to move towards the technology that is good enough to get by without too much discredit but is offered "free" with Windows. This tactic has served it well over time.
Microsoft has worked very hard to develop a broad ecosystem for its technology if the slew of announcements from partners heard at TechEd are to be a gage. It also has worked to integrate this form of virtualization technology with its other offerings. More work clearly needs to be done to make virtual machine technology just a part of every organization's IT infrastructure. It is also clear that Microsoft needs to extend support to other important operating environments. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Sun Solaris the most notable of those missing in the announcement.
Data on compatibility, reliability and performance of Hyper-V is just emerging. It is very likely that competitors, such as VMware and Virtual Iron will be able to claim better performance for some time.
Microsoft's software licensing rules are still way to complex and too restrictive to meet the needs of organizations seeking to make virtual machine technology a primary tool in their datacenters. One would expect that Microsoft is going to relax the rules for the deployment of its development tools, database systems, collaborative solutions and the like. I would suspect that same will happen with its personal productivity tools as well.
How do you view Microsoft's entry into the virtual machine software market? Is your organization going to abandon its current VM tools and go along with Microsoft's game plan?