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Microsoft Makes Big Virtualization Announcements

Are you ready to "Get Virtual Now?" Microsoft certainly hopes so, and has a big day of product announcements ahead (they sent out a press release just after midnight ET in the U.S. Fortunately, I was up late watching football and caught the e-mail via my iPhone. Best game of the day: Chargers-Panthers. Game-winning touchdown pass by Carolina on the last play of the game!)

We'll have full coverage of the announcements coming up, but here's a preview of what's coming:

Microsoft will be releasing Hyper-V Server, the free, standalone version of Hyper-V that doesn't require Windows Server 2008, within 30 days. That's great news for those who don't want to have to buy Windows 2008 to get Hyper-V. The release says it will be available "at no cost" via the Web. I assume (but make no guarantees) that that means that the packaged version of Hyper-V will cost $28, the price Microsoft set for the hypervisor many months ago.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (VMM 2008) will also be available within 30 days. VMM 2008 is Microsoft's version of VMware's VirtualCenter -- your one-stop shop for managing your virtual infrastructure. Some differences, however, include the ability to manage physical as well as virtual machines, and tools to manage VMware's ESX servers.

A very juicy tidbit is this, from the release: "Microsoft demonstrated for the first time a live migration feature of Windows Server 2008 R2". So Microsoft has managed to solve the live migration puzzle, further leveling the playing field with ESX, which has had Live Migration for a long time. Live Migration, for the unitiated, means moving virtual machines (VMs) from one physical server to another without powering it (the VM) down. Microsoft's answer, upon the initial release of Hyper-V, was Quick Migration, which did involve turning a VM off, if only briefly. (One note: Microsoft officials have, for some time, attempted to minimize the benefit of Live Migration over Quick Migration, claiming that it won't make much of a difference to customers. I wonder if they'll sing the same tune now that they've added the feature in a soon-to-be-announced upgrade of Windows 2008? Will it still be a "not-that-big-a-deal" feature, or suddenly become very important, "something customers have been clamoring for"? We'll see.) In the press release, Microsoft didn't give a timeframe for Windows 2008 R2; we'll give you an update on that ASAP.

All in all, it looks to be a busy day for Microsoft. We'll be right here with you to let you know what's going on.

Posted by Keith Ward on 09/07/2008 at 12:48 PM


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