Last month Microsoft announced the upcoming release of a third version of Hyper-V, specifically developed to address customers need for a lightweight hypervisor (and to compete with VMware ESXi).
The product, called Hyper-V Server 2008, has the smallest footprint because its parent partition it’s powered by a small subset of Windows Server 2008, even smaller than the Server Core edition.
Unfortunately the hypervisor didn’t lose just the weight.
Hyper-V Server 2008 doesn’t come with any OS license so customers must pay each guest OS they want to use (making the product interesting only for those companies that want to consolidate existing Windows Server 2003 boxes).
More than that, the new product has the same technical limitations that the Hyper-V edition included with Windows Server 2008 Standard has: it only supports 4 physical CPUs, 32GB of RAM and 128 virtual machines, plus there’s no support for clustering or quick migration.
This version doesn’t even have a local web management console, so each host must be initialized locally at the command prompt and then remotely managed with Hyper-V Manager (for Windows Server 2008 and Vista) or the upcoming System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008.
The product is available free of charge here.
Microsoft also published a Configuration Guide to describe basic management tasks that must be executed at the command prompt for host initialization.
The virtualization.info Virtualization Industry Roadmap has been updated accordingly.