To celebrate Microsoft has a big surprise: a new version of the hypervisor, Hyper-V Server 2008, made to compete with VMware ESXi.
The existing versions of Hyper-V loads into its parent partition a full copy of Windows Server 2008 or the lightweight Windows Server 2008 Server Core edition.
The new product that the company is announcing today loads in the parent partition even less than Server Core: Microsoft developed a minimal version of Windows which only includes the OS Kernel, its driver model and little more (it’s not clear yet how much more).
This implies that the Microsoft virtualization platform is even less oversized by Windows, an aspect of the product heavily criticized by VMware.
The other versions of Hyper-V allows one, four or unlimited virtual machines, depending on the Windows Server 2008 version loaded into the parent partition. But what happens with Hyper-V Server 2008?
The minimal version of Windows included in this release doesn’t allow any virtual machine, so customer will have to buy a license for each guest OS they want to use (up to 128).
While this solutions seems strange, Microsoft went for it to serve all the companies that want to adopt Microsoft virtualization but don’t want to invest in Windows Server 2008.
Those customers will be able to move their existing Windows Server 2003 OSes into the Hyper-V Server 2008 virtual machines, without paying any additional license fee.
According to that, Microsoft will release this new product free of charge, within 30 days.
This new product will be supported by the upcoming System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, to be released within 30 days as well.