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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.

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

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

Toward that end, Adam said to expect the next versionof Hyper-V concurrent with the release of the R2 version of Windows Server2008 in 2010. Adam said he is "100 percent" confident that Live Migrationwill 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 presentationfrom Server and Tools Chief Bob Muglia, who has ultimate responsibility forMicrosoft's virtualization vision. In what Muglia called "the first publicdemo of Live Migration for R2," a movie playing in a VM was moved from oneserver to another without any interruption in the video. With Microsoft'spresent Hyper-V technology, Quick Migration, the movie would have had topause when the VM was shut down and moved from one physical server to theother.

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

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

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

About the Author

Keith Ward is online news editor for the Redmond Media Group. You can contact him at kward@1105media.com.

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