Microsoft on Thursday announced the release to manufacturing of Hyper-V, the virtualization hypervisor in Windows Server 2008, setting the stage for what promises to be a vicious battle for market share with the likes of VMware and Citrix.
New Server 2008 customers can download Hyper-V now, but customers who've already deployed Server 2008 will have to wait until July 8, when Microsoft plans to offer Hyper-V through Windows Update.
Microsoft has repeatedly said it would release Hyper-V within 180 days after the February launch of Server 2008, or sometime in the August timeframe, although company officials earlier this year hinted that work on Hyper-V was proceeding ahead of schedule.
Convergent Computing, an Oakland, Calif.-based solution provider and Microsoft Gold partner, has been testing Hyper-V for over a year and has 25 customers running Hyper-V host servers in production. Rand Morimoto, president of Convergent Computing, says Microsoft is well positioned to start taking market share from its competitors.
"We also do VMware, and we'll still support customers on VMware as they request. But with an out-of-the-box solution from Microsoft that's part of the built-in licensing cost [of Server 2008], it's pretty easy for customers to go with Hyper-V," said Morimoto.
But despite Hyper-V's low price point, Morimoto says there are still plenty of opportunities for partners to add value to Microsoft virtualization deployments.
"As much as it's 'free' and integrated with Windows, consulting business has come in the form of helping customers consolidate servers, properly load balance hosts, and implement disaster recovery of host and guests," Morimoto said.
Last week, Microsoft said about 25 percent of its servers are currently virtualized and that its production environment includes some 350 production Hyper-V virtual machines. Microsoft plans to add another 100 production Hyper-V virtual machines in the next few weeks, and says it'll eventually virtualize 80 percent of all new servers.