Microsoft has released a beta version of Windows Server 8, which brings new features such as an updated Hyper-V hypervisor, as well as multi-machine management and automation capabilities.
The company released the beta build on Thursday, following a preview in September aimed at developers and hardware partners. It includes a new version of its Hyper-V hypervisor which lets administrators migrate virtual machines across their datacentre without having to modify the network structure, Microsoft said.
"With the new Hyper-V we are taking virtualization above and beyond to provide a multi-tenant platform for cloud computing," Bill Laing, corporate vice president of server and cloud at Microsoft, said in a blog post.
"Additionally, Windows Server 8 provides a powerful server application platform that enables you to develop and host the most demanding of application workloads. For example, with .NET Framework 4.5 you can take advantage of new asynch language and library support to build [scalable] server and web applications," it added.
The company also said it had made improvements to disaster recovery and high-availability, for example, providing transparent failover to make it easier to perform hardware and software maintenance.
Windows Server 8 beta also includes improvements to Windows PowerShell as the company encourages system admins to rely less on the GUI. The updated PowerShell now provides 2300 commands out of the box, which the company said can perform the same tasks as manual UI use, but in an automated manner.
Microsoft has not said exactly when the full version of Windows Server 8 will arrive, but it is expected to arrive in 2012 alongside Windows 8.