Last week I was in Redmond, at a Windows Server 2008 technical conference. Not a word was said about Windows Server 2008 product packaging (except that I think one speaker may have said that the details for the various SKUs were still being worked on). Well, it’s amazing how things can change in a few days, as one of the big announcements at this week’s TechEd IT Forum 2007 in Barcelona is the Windows Server 2008 product pricing, packaging and licensing. I don’t normally cover “news” here – there are others who do a much better job of that than I would – but I am interested in the new Hyper-V announcement.
Hyper-V is the new name for the product codenamed Viridian, also known as Windows Server Virtualization, and expected to ship within 180 days of Windows Server 2008. Interestingly, as well as the SKUs that were expected for web, standard, enterprise, datacenter and Itanium editions of Windows Server 2008, there will be versions of Windows Server 2008 standard, enterprise and datacenter editions without the Hyper-V technology (Hyper-V will only be available for x64 versions of Windows Server 2008) as well as a separate SKU for Hyper-V priced at just $28.
$28 sounds remarkably low – why not just make it free (and greatly simplify the product model)? In any case, this places Hyper-V in a great position to compete on price with Citrix Xen Server or VMware ESX Server 3i (it should be noted that I have yet to see pricing announced for VMware Server 3i) – I’ve already written that I think Hyper-V has the potential to compete on technical merit (something that its predecessor, Virtual Server 2005 R2, couldn’t).
At the same time, Microsoft announced a Windows Server Virtualisation validation programme – designed to validate Windows Server with virtualisation software and enable Microsoft to offer co-operative technical support to customers running Windows Server on validated, non-Windows server virtualisation software platforms (such as Xen) as well as virtualisation solution accelerators and general availability of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007.
Whilst VNU are reporting that VMware are “unfazed” by the Microsoft Hyper-V announcement, I have absolutely no doubt that Microsoft is serious about making a name for itself in the x86/x64 server virtualisation market.