Near-final test build of Microsoft's Hyper-V in the wings

Some of my testing sources are buzzing that real soon now -- as in tomorrow, March 19 -- Microsoft will release a feature-complete Release Candidate (RC) test build of its Hyper-V hypervisor for Windows Server 2008.

Some of my testing sources are buzzing that real soon now -- as in tomorrow, March 19 -- Microsoft will release a feature-complete Release Candidate (RC) test build of its Hyper-V hypervisor for Windows Server 2008.

Update on March 19: Those pesky sources were spot-on. Microsoft is making the Hyper-V RC test build available for download today.

The new RC build will support an updated list of guest operating systems, sources say, which will include: Windows Server 2003 Service Pack (SP) 2, Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3 (which, at least for now, is still in beta). Hyper-V RC will support the Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter versions of Windows Server 2008, sources said.

Microsoft released to manufacturing the final Windows Server 2008 product on February 4. That release included a non-feature-complete beta of Hyper-V, the virtualization technology formerly codenamed "Viridian."

Microsoft has said it will ship the final Hyper-V code within six months after it released Windows Server 2008. Some users have said that delay will lead them to delay deploying Windows Server 2008; others claim that they didn't have plans to rush out and deploy so the six-month gap won't matter.

I asked Microsoft for official confirmation on its Hyper-V Release Candidate roll-out schedule. A spokeswoman said Microsoft would neither confirm nor deny whether the company planned to roll out the RC of Hyper-V tomorrow.

By the way, Microsoft has gone on record saying that the next version of Hyper-V -- presumably the one that will be part of Windows Server 2008 R2, due in 2010 -- also will be available in hardware-embeddable form.

But back to Hyper-V Version 1. While we're waiting for the downloadable release candidate, does the fact that Hyper-V is closer to being soup affect your evaluation/deployment plans for Windows Server 2008?