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Microsoft Hyper-V Server

Microsoft was kind enough to let me know that the Hyper-V Server, that is a dedicated, minimal Windows 2008 Server platform dedicated to being a bare metal, type-1 hypervisor, is now available. It joins products of this type available from VMware, Citrix and several Linux distributions.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor on
Microsoft was kind enough to let me know that the Hyper-V Server, that is a dedicated, minimal Windows 2008 Server platform dedicated to being a bare metal, type-1 hypervisor, is now available. It joins products of this type available from VMware, Citrix and several Linux distributions.

Here's a snippet of the note from Microsoft's PR engine

I just wanted to let you know that today Microsoft announced the final release and availability of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, the new bare metal hypervisor-based server virtualization product.  Available as a no-cost Web download at http://www.microsoft.com/Hyper-VServer later today, Hyper-V Server 2008 provides a simplified, reliable and optimized virtualization solution for customers to consolidate Windows or Linux workloads onto a single physical server or to run client operating systems and applications in server-based virtual machines in the data center.

In addition, customers such as Del Monte Foods and Saxo Bank are sharing their early success with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008. Virtual Machine Manager, which is still in beta, will RTM by the end of this month. We also announced a new offering of specialized assessment and implementation services available from the Microsoft Services organization that helps customers use server virtualization, and separate new training and certifications from Microsoft Learning for Microsoft Certified IT Professionals.

Snapshot Analysis

Microsoft is clearly following the pack in the virtual machine software world. That being said, the company appears to have a fairly strong position regardless of the capabilities of the software itself. How do I know that? Almost every supplier of related software tells me that they're targeting VMware, Microsoft and Citrix in that order. Why? Let's look at some of the reasons:
  • Microsoft has often added new capabilities or features into Windows and then made it available with little or no price increase. Organizations often will use that software because it is part of the standard product even though it may not have the capabilities of competing products.  After all "free" is a good price.
  • A bare-metal hypervisor needs driver support for the universe of adapters for graphics, storage and networks. Since most suppliers of these devices provide Windows drivers, it would be much easier for Microsoft to provide a product that supports just about any industry standard system than it would for others who have to persuade these same suppliers to provide drivers or develop those drivers themselves.
  • Microsoft has relationships with every supplier of industry standard hardware. They want to work with Microsoft due to its dominant position in client oprating environment, server operating environment, database management and a number of personal productivity software product. This means that Microsoft has a ready-made channel for their product that is doing their best to "please" Momma Microsoft. Others often have to fight to build a similar set of partnerships and alliances.
I could go on and on about how a dominant supplier can bring new products out, slip that product into its current line-up and win when others have been leading the field for quite some time. I think, however, you get the picture. Competitors have to be more innovative and offer more for the money than the dominant supplier. After all, how does one compete with "free." The primary target of Microsoft's move clearly is VMware who has offered something similar for quite some time. A secondary target is Citrix. It's going to be interesting to see how these companies respond to Microsoft's move. Both clearly are offering software that is more mature, may offer superior features and is integrated into a complete software ecosystem now.
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