Microsoft Moves Closer To Hyper-V Rollout

release candidate

Hyper-V Release Candidate 1 is now available from the Microsoft Download Center, but only new Windows Server 2008 customers can avail themselves of this option immediately. Customers who've been testing Hyper-V RC0 and beta versions will be able to obtain RC1 from Windows Update starting on May 27, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email to ChanneWeb.

Hyper-V, which only works on 64-bit platforms, isn't yet compatible with the current beta of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, the next generation virtualization management tool Microsoft rolled out last month. Microsoft is advising this set of beta testers to stay with RC0 until its adds RC1 support "at a later date," according to a Tuesday post on the Windows Virtualization Team blog.

Microsoft has been telling partners and customers to expect the RTM of Hyper-V sometime in the August time frame, or 180 days after the February release of Windows Server 2008. But the fact that Microsoft last December launched the beta for Hyper-V several months early has led to speculation that the Hyper-V RTM could arrive much sooner than August.

When Microsoft introduced Hyper-V RC0 in March, it touted the release as "feature complete", and RC1 adds relatively minor features like guest OS support for Windows 2000 Server SP4 (1-way, emulated only) and Windows 2000 Advanced Server with Service Pack 4 (1-way, emulated only); simplified guest OS installation, and mouse integration support for Novell SUSE 10 Linux.

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Hyper-V's entry to the data center virtualization market is sparking competition between Microsoft, VMware and Citrix, all three of which have been publicly debating the return-on-investment metrics each vendor's virtualization technology offers.