Microsoft Releases More Virtualization Details

Microsoft, following its earlier announcement about new virtualization products and imminent releases, has filled in some details that give more shape to its vision.

Microsoft, following its earlier announcement about new virtualization products and imminent releases, has filled in some details that give more shape to its vision.

To begin with, Zane Adam, senior director of integrated virtualization, clarified pricing on Hyper-V Server. The standalone hypervisor, which will be out within the next month, was originally scheduled to cost $28. Microsoft has decided to ditch that tiny price tag, Adam said in an interview. He chalked up the new, free price to "market evolution. It's what's happening with [VMware's] ESX, Xen and others. The market [for hypervisors] has become commoditized," Adam said.

Along with the news that Hyper-V Server will be out within 30 days, Adam looked into the future at the next version of Microsoft's flagship hypervisor. That's important because Hyper-V is missing something many competing products have -- the ability to move a virtual machine (VM) from one physical machine to another, with no downtime. Called "Live Migration" by Redmond, many enterprise customers consider it mission-critical in their environments, which often require moving resources from server to server to optimize performance.

Toward that end, Adam said to expect the next version of Hyper-V concurrent with the release of the R2 version of Windows Server 2008 in 2010. Adam said he is "100 percent" confident that Live Migration will be part of Hyper-V in its next iteration. His confidence was justified, he said, because Microsoft has a working version of Live Migration, and "we'll show it today."

That happened during a Webcast presentation from Server and Tools Chief Bob Muglia, who has ultimate responsibility for Microsoft's virtualization vision. In what Muglia called "the first public demo of Live Migration for R2," a movie playing in a VM was moved from one server to another without any interruption in the video. With Microsoft's present Hyper-V technology, Quick Migration, the movie would have had to pause when the VM was shut down and moved from one physical server to the other.

Muglia also used the demo to take a shot at chief virtualization rival VMware's live migration capability, called VMotion. "There's no magic in VMotion; it's just a feature," Muglia commented. Live Migration was originally scheduled to be part of the initial version of Hyper-V, at that time codenamed "Viridian." It was stripped out, along with a number of other features, in May 2007 in order to be released with Windows 2008.

The other major announcement today was the release, also within 30 days, of Sytem Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (VMM 2008), Microsoft's virtualization management console. One thing missing from the announcement was pricing information. This afternoon, a Microsoft spokesperson stated in an e-mail that VMM 2008 will be sold per-device, at a cost of $675.

Microsoft has dubbed its series of virtualization sessions "Get Virtual Now," and includes more than 100 events that Microsoft hopes will push the value of its virtualization offerings to more than 50 countries and 250,000 IT pros.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.


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