Microsoft Releases Hyper-V

Microsoft Releases Hyper-V

Summary: I just received a message from Microsoft about the release of Hyper-V. It has some interesting details about platform support and availability.

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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 Analysis

Well, 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?

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

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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4 comments
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  • licensing rules?

    What do you mean by "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."?
    gtvr
  • RE: Microsoft Releases Hyper-V

    Microsoft licenses each of the following differently: the operating system, database software, collaborative software and other products. It is necessary to carefully examine the license for each and every product and supported product to discover the rules one must follow when running in a physical or virtual environment.
    dkusnetzky
    • RE: Microsoft Releases Hyper-V

      I thought I read somewhere that a licence for Windows Server 2008 includes a licence to virtualize it. That is, if you install Windows Server 2008, you can use Hyper-V to run a virtualized version using the same licence. Can you confirm this? Thanks.
      RocketEater
      • Datacenter is the answer for your licensing woes

        This is true. Microsoft came out with a decision a while back that if you purchase the Enterprise version of the OS, you can install up to 4 virtual machines on that OS.

        I was at a joint Microsoft-Novell virtualization session about 2 months ago when i first started testing 2008 x64 Enterprise and the Microsoft rep stated that if you purchase a Windows 2008 DataCenter SKU (product), you can install an unlimited amount of servers ON THAT BOX.

        Understand that this doesn't mean you can just have one license and be done with it, you can in reality only put 6-10 servers on a very beefy machine -- and if you had 6-10 enterprise servers running, wouldn't you at least want a cluster so if that HOST server went down you would have another in place...
        riveroad