Microsoft Offers Windows Server Pricing, Virtualization Details

Monday at the TechEd IT Forum in Barcelona, Microsoft announced that its widely awaited server virtualization technology, previously code-named Viridian, will hereafter be known as Hyper-V.

Microsoft also unveiled plans to offer 8 different SKUs for Windows 2008, three of which will ship with Hyper V:

-- Windows Server 2008 includes one virtual instance per license and sells for $999 (with 5 Client Access Licenses).

-- Windows Server 2008 Enterprise includes four virtual instances per license and sells for $3,999 with 25 CALs.

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-- Windows Server 2008 Datacenter includes unlimited virtual instances per license and sells for $2,999 per processor.

Microsoft, which is also selling Hyper V as a $28 standalone offering for Linux and Unix machines, will ship a beta version of Hyper V along with Windows Server 2008.

Then, in the second half of next year Microsoft will push out the final version of Hyper V through Windows Update, said Andy Lees, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Server and Tools Marketing and Solutions group.

"Like any beta technology, we don't recommend using Hyper V in production until the final bits are released," said Lees.

Lees noted that Microsoft used the same approach with the release of clustering technology in SQL Server 2005. "Releasing a non-production copy in the SQL 2005 release worked out well because we were able to gather feedback, and then the final bits were of an even higher quality," Lees said.

While previous Microsoft announcements of new product versions and licensing have been somewhat confusing, the vendor has been pretty clear about its server virtualization intentions, says Rand Morimoto, president of Convergent Computing, an Oakland, Calif.-based Microsoft Gold partner.

Microsoft also announced the general availability of System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007, all of which provide important management functions for server virtualization.

"From a management standpoint, it's important to have a top-to-bottom view of the entire virtualization infrastructure," said Lees.