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3 min read

Hyper-V: It’s all coming together

I’m really pleased to say that the release candidate of Hyper-V is available for download today. You can read the announcement and Jeff’s more detailed post. This milestone is important to the hundreds of customers and partners in the early adopter programs, and those of you trialing Hyper-V on your own, because it’s feature complete, better performing than the beta, and you’ll have a better experience using it. Reports from the Hyper-V early adopter programs have matched some of the third-party reviews and first looks, with comments such as:

·         External deployments have exceeded Beta coverage goals”

·         “External TAP deployments have increased significantly”

Amongst the early adopter customers, the three most common Windows Server 2008 roles run within Hyper-V are IIS, application server and Terminal Services.  The four most deployed Microsoft applications are SQL Server 2005 and 2008, Exchange Server and Forefront, while more than half of the customers are running an AV/security application, nearly 50% are running a backup appliance at this point, and around 75% of the customers are running Hyper-V with some attached storage. At the same time we’re starting to see more and more and more ISV partners announce plans to support Hyper-V. So overall we’re seeing good enterprise uptake of Hyper-V.
I was in France and the Nordics two weeks ago attending launch events for Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio. Lots of the attendees had already started testing the beta of Hyper-V. Several people remarked that they were impressed with early testing of the multi-site clustering capabilities for remote disaster recovery. Beyond the technical capabilities, total cost of ownership was another hot topic. Given that Hyper-V is a role within Windows Server 2008 – the beta of Hyper-V was included with Windows Server 2008 – customers attending the launch were looking forward to having these server consolidation and DR capabilities built into Windows Server 2008. I did have to remind several folks that Hyper-V will be available with three, x64 editions of Windows Server 2008 (the versions of Windows Server 2008 without Hyper-V are $28 less). And I often noted our work on cross-platform interoperability with Citrix/Xen, Novell and Sun, and that we’re opening up APIs to the community.
While we’re excited to deliver Windows-based server virtualization to customers and partners, Hyper-V is just one piece that we’ll deliver. Windows Server 2008 also delivered new presentation virtualization capabilities via Terminal Services. TS Gateway, RemoteApp publishing and TS Web Access are just a few of the new features that have been well documented by the Terminal Services team blog.
Systems management is really the essential tool for customers to effectively virtualize their desktops and IT systems. So we’re focused on delivering a single pane of glass for customers to backup, configure, monitor and distribute software and applications – both traditional and virtual – across desktops, devices and servers using one license. Customers repeatedly tell us that their lives of managing virtual and physical systems are becoming more complex because they don’t have a single tool to manage and track everything. Right now, customers are forced to deal with silo’d views of systems management. With the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager, we’ll really start to reduce that complexity because SCVMM will manage Virtual Server 2005 R2, Hyper-V and VMware ESX Server (including VMotion). With a subsequent version of SCVMM, customers will be able to manage Xen/XenServer. In the end, customers will have a systems management experience for virtualization that they’ve grown accustomed to with traditional systems.
Changing gears a bit to the desktop, we’ve made a couple key acquisitions over the past few months; notably Calista Technologies and Kidaro. The former should really improve employees’ computing experiences via RDP, while the latter offers an innovative mobile desktop solution to businesses.  I’m real happy that we’ll be able to work with the people and software from Kidaro. Not only does it add great value to Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack customers, it really breathes new life into Virtual PC as a tool for business professionals.  Of course this puts a broad smile on my face because I have good memories of my days at Connectix developing VPC. Combined with our other alternative desktop deployment methods like Terminal Services, SoftGrid application virtualization, and Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop, the Kidaro software will provide customers with ultimate flexibility for desktop provisioning.
So for now download and evaluate Hyper-V. And I hope you’re able to attend either Microsoft Management Summit 2008 or Interop 2008 conference (both in Vegas at the end of April) where you’ll be able to hear more about Microsoft’s virtualization products and plans. Personally, I’m speaking at Interop 2008 on the morning of April 30 with analyst Barb Goldworm. Hope to see you there.
Mike Neil, general manager, virtualization strategy