Mental Ward

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Live Migration Comes - At Last - to Hyper-V

If there was any doubt before now, there should be none after today: Microsoft wants to do more than compete in the virtualization arena -- it wants to win.

If you hadn't noticed (and apparently many folks didn't -- it's been almost like a news blackout on this announcement), Windows Server 2008 R2 is available in a public beta. The feature that matters most to readers of this blog is that it includes, for the first time, Live Migration as part of the upgraded Hyper-V.

Of course, how good a product Live Migration is at this stage is another matter entirely. Hyper-V has been well regarded by almost everyone who's used it. That's not to say that it's up to the level of ESX or XenServer in terms of performance or functionality; but for what it's intended to do, which is -- in Microsoft's own words -- primarily server consolidation, it works quite well. If Live Migration lives up to the standard of the initial Hyper-V release, we should expect that it will be a very solid v1 product.

But even the fact that it's out this early shows how badly Microsoft wants to horn in on VMware's turf. Live Migration wasn't supposed to be live for another year or so; with the beta out so early, we're likely to see a final product by mid-year. What that tells me is that Microsoft knew it was losing out to VMware every day that it didn't have a live migration-enabled hypervisor.

I'll also watch with amusement as Microsoft, which has spent a couple of years telling everyone that Vmotion (VMware's implementation of live migration) wasn't all that big a deal, will suddenly realize the huge importance of live migration in a datacenter setting.

Another nice improvement in Hyper-V R2 is that it now supports up to double the number of logical processors, from 16 to 32. Scalability has just taken a big jump. Also, note that Hyper-V Server, the non-Windows 2008 version, has the same upgrades.

It all adds up to a nice set of improvements. Will it be enough to erode VMware's market share? We'll see.

Posted by Keith Ward on 01/09/2009 at 12:48 PM


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