Microsoft virtualization roadmap disclosed details

I just attended the live webcast Microsoft Virtualization Roadmap arranged to detail what to expect for the near future about virtualization.

One third of the presentation was focused on what Virtual Server 2005 is and which management tools are available todya.
Another third was focused on what Virtual Server 2005 R2 will offer.
The last third was focused on what technology will arrive next years.

The webcast recording is available here:

I’ll try to summarize what Mike Neil, Microsoft Virtualization Product Manager, said:

  • This year (as you already know) we can expect just the Virtual Server 2005 R2 RTM with serveral features:
    • great performance improvement in memory handling and CPU usage
    • clustering for hosts (DAS, SAN with Fiber Channel and iSCSI supported), hosts failover, VMs migration between hosts (the downtime will depend on the network speed).
      Hosts clustering will be available for free as separate download.
    • 64bit architecture support for hosts (while guests will stay on 32bit virtual architecture until Longhorn timeframe)
    • PXE boot support for virtual network interfaces
    • Linux support
    • Win2003 SP1 and WinXP SP2 support
  • On the 1H 2006 a new Virtual Server version will hit the beta, scheduled for RTM on 2H 2006, providing:
    • Much better Linux VMs performances
    • AMD and Intel virtualization technologies support (mainly providing better performances for 3rd parties VMs)
  • At the Longhorn Server timeframe (nothing more specific) a new virtualization technology will appear with the planned features:
    • hypervisor technology with microkernel approach (virtualization device drivers will not stay in the hypervisor)
    • integrated in every Longhorn Server version (will not require a dedicated OS edition)
    • AMD and Intel virtualization technologies support (mainly providing better performances for 3rd parties VMs)
    • one Parent (containing the virtualization stack) and multiple dependants Child virtual partitions
    • 64 and 32bit guests
    • multiprocessing support (up to 4 CPUs) for guests
    • mixed virtualized and emulated devices
    • Child partitions live snapshots (by Volume Shadow Service integration)
  • At the same time a new wave of virtualization management tools will be released:
    • enterprise leveraged support for thousands of physical and virtual machines (I think he’s referring to the upcoming System Center management product)

Since slides often referred to 3rd parties VMs during the webcast I had the impression Microsoft could start supporting other guest OSes, like Solaris.

On the last Q&A time Mike Neil officially answered the classic HyperThreading question: he said Virtual Server 2005 environments should turn it off until R2.