Microsoft Reaches Virtualization Milestone With Release Candidate of Hyper-V
March 19, 2008
Feature-complete version of Windows Server 2008 virtualization technology made broadly available to customers and partners.

Editor's note, March 24, 2008 - The list of hardware industry partners working with Microsoft to test and evaluate Hyper-V was updated since the time of publication.

REDMOND, Wash. — March 19, 2008 — Reaching the next major milestone in virtualization development, Microsoft Corp. today made broadly available a feature-complete release candidate of Microsoft Hyper-V, the hypervisor-based virtualization software available with various versions of Windows Server 2008. A beta of Hyper-V was included with Windows Server 2008 when it launched last month, and this release candidate provides updated, near-final code.

Hyper-V provides customers with efficient and cost-effective virtualization infrastructure software. It enables customers to reduce operating costs by increasing hardware utilization, optimizing infrastructure and improving server availability. Customers and partners can download the release candidate at http://www.microsoft.com/Hyper-V by 10 a.m. PDT today.

“As customers begin deploying Windows Server 2008, we want to ensure they have the tools to optimize their IT infrastructure. Hyper-V will help customers consolidate IT systems and allow their businesses to respond more rapidly to ever-changing market conditions,” said Bill Hilf, general manager of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft. “Virtualization has been too complicated and expensive for most organizations, which is why less than 10 percent of servers are virtualized today. Our goal is to make Hyper-V broadly available, easy to adopt and cost-effective while delivering powerful systems management capabilities for customers’ traditional and virtualized IT environments.”

Customers who started evaluating Hyper-V during the beta process in December 2007 and as part of their Windows Server 2008 installation are already experiencing more flexible IT systems, greater control, increased business agility and higher performance.

“Hyper-V is a thinner, more optimized virtualization technology than we’ve seen from other vendors, and we look forward to improving server utilization and better managing our datacenter, especially in a clustered environment,” said Jason Nord, server engineer at Land O’Lakes Inc. “While evaluating Hyper-V, we’ve found it offers better support for running simultaneous operating systems, which helps us consolidate our applications that run on a variety of older software and servers.”

Microsoft is working with partners to help them plan, build and test their own offerings built on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V to address broad customer needs and expand and enhance the platform capabilities.

“Surgient has seen growing customer interest in adding support for Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V to our virtual lab management software so that our mutual customers can streamline application life cycle operations, reducing capital and operating expenses,” said Tim Lucas, president and CEO of Surgient Inc. “Our customers need to be able to replicate production application configurations in virtual labs using any virtual or physical infrastructure. Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V delivers in all these areas, and we’re excited to add support for it to our virtual lab management platform.”

Hardware industry partners including AMD, Dell Inc., Fujitsu, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Hitachi Ltd., HP, Intel Corporation, IBM Corp., NEC Corp., Sun and Unisys Corp. are also working with Microsoft to test and evaluate Hyper-V. Once final code is available, these partners plan to integrate support for Hyper-V into their virtualization offerings in ways that best fit their business, including pre-installation on servers, device support, solutions and services. These partnerships will further lower barriers for customers as they adopt virtualization solutions, making it easier to incorporate virtualization into their server infrastructures.

The release candidate features an expanded list of tested and qualified guest operating systems, which now includes Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2), Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3. Host server and language support has been expanded to include the 64-bit (x64) versions of Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter, with English, German and Japanese language options available as well as enablement of Hyper-V on international locales, and further language options and support available in the final release. In addition, the release candidate comes with support for more hardware configurations and offers improved performance and scalability. It also includes the option for installing Hyper-V Manager Microsoft Management Console on Windows Vista SP1 for remote management.

Deployment and management capabilities are essential when building a scalable virtualization infrastructure. With the Microsoft System Center suite and the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager, available in the second half of 2008, customers can seamlessly manage their physical and virtual servers with a single set of consistent, compatible tools. Customers will be able to rapidly provision and configure new virtual machines and centrally manage their virtual infrastructure, regardless of whether they are running on Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, VMware ESX Server or VMware Infrastructure 3. A future release of System Center Virtual Machine Manager will also add support for the Xen hypervisor.

The final version of Hyper-V remains on target for release by August 2008, which aligns with the previously stated timing for delivery within 180 days of the Windows Server 2008 release to manufacturing. More information about Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/virtualization-consolidation.aspx, and more details about the Hyper-V release candidate can be found on TechNet blogs at http://blogs.technet.com/stbnewsbytes.

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