Microsoft Launches Virtualization Milestone

Microsoft has announced the RTM (release to manufacturing) and an available download for its new hypervisor-based server virtualization platform. Hyper-V allows a single physical server to be divided into as many as 64 virtual machines, each running its own server operating system, according to the company.

Virtualization is becoming a key way companies are driving costs out of the data center by running OSes in virtual containers rather than physically on servers. Microsoft aims to catch up to virtualization leader VMware in providing this technology for hardware systems not only running on Windows, but also Linux and other OSes.

Outlining the benefits of virtualization, Microsoft’s general manager of Windows Server marketing, Bill Hilf, said: “Customers who buy Windows Server 2008 are not only getting the scalability benefits, the high performance, reliability and all the great things that Windows Server is known for, but, as of today, they’re also able to get the benefits of integrated virtualization.”

Hyper-V runs on 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008, and requires either AMD64 or Intel IA-32e/EM64T (x64) processors with hardware-assisted virtualization support; it does not support Itanium (IA-64) processors, says Microsoft. Possible guest server OSes can be either 64-bit or 32-bit.

VMWare may retain an edge on features and virtual machine performance, but Microsoft will use the fact that Hyper-V will be available free and integrated into its Windows Server 2008 operating system as its primary sales hook. This is backed by links to its System Centre management suite which the company says will make virtual machines easier to monitor and control.


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