Hyper-V Arrives, One Million Downloads Later
On Thursday, Microsoft
its Hyper-V virtualization product for Windows Server 2008 as a manual download (
; for other downloads needed to manage Hyper-V, see Craig Swartz's
). Hyper-V is Microsoft's second-generation virtualization for servers (
Virtual Server 2005
is Microsoft's original virtualization product). Hyper-V, like Virtual Server, is a free download, and has been downloaded over a million times since its beta release in February.
Virtualization has been around for several years, both in servers and in
. A virtualized environment enables a single physical server or PC to host multiple guest virtual machines (VMs), enabling each guest to run the same or different operating systems and use host resources in isolation from other VMs running on the same system. Virtualization enables a single physical server or desktop to do the work of several, and many companies, including
among others, have already staked out major sections of virtualization territory. So, what makes Hyper-V such a big deal?
Why Bare-Metal Hypervisors Beat Hosted Virtualization Solutions
Virtual Server and its desktop counterpart, Virtual PC, use host-based virtualization. In host-based virtualization, the computer loads the host operating system first, then loads VMs into memory. Because the host operating system uses a substantial amount of system resources, VMs run much more slowly than they would if they were installed directly on the physical hardware.
Hyper-V, on the other hand, is an example of a so-called "bare-metal" hypervisor virtualization technology, in which a control program runs on the physical hardware and controls virtual machines. A control program like Hyper-V requires far less hardware and memory resources than a host operating system. According to a Microsoft
, Windows Server 2008 + Hyper-V can perform at speeds reaching 90% or more of a physical (non-virtualized) system. For more details, see the chart in
Hyper-V, unlike its predecessor, also supports multiple-processor VMs. And, as ZDNet's Between the Lines blog
, Hyper-V has a huge economic advantage over VMWare - it's free! For more information about Hyper-V, see the official
Can You Run Hyper-V on a Desktop System?
Actually, yes - assuming your desktop is running Windows Server 2008 with a processor that supports hardware-assisted virtualization (Intel VT or AMD-V). To learn how to optimize Windows Server 2008 for desktop use, see this
at MSDN's "The Way I See It" blog, or
Hyper-V Virtualization Tips
To learn how to enable the appropriate BIOS settings needed for Hyper-V support, see John Howard's
. Wondering if your current PC could run Windows Server 2008 (and Hyper-V)? Visit Gibson Research Corporation's
website to check your system.
Graphic courtesy of
Between the Lines