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Microsoft's hypervisor beta arrives early

Company issues a broad test version of its Hyper-V technology, which is due to ship in final form within 180 days of the release of Windows Server 2008.

For the second time in a week, Microsoft said a version of its software is ready sooner than expected. On Thursday, the software maker made available a beta version of its Hyper-V hypervisor technology, a release that had been scheduled for early next year.


Microsoft didn't change its timing for the final release of the technology, which is due to ship within 180 days of the release of Windows Server 2008. (That product is slated to be wrapped up ahead of its formal launch on February 27.)

"We're hoping that getting it out and providing a nice little holiday present for our customers will give us more evaluation time," virtualization general manager Mike Neil said of the Hyper-V beta release. The beta version has several features not found in the Community Technology Preview version released in September, including a "quick migration" feature, as well as the ability to use Hyper-V as part of the slimmed-down Server Core role.

Earlier this year, Microsoft cut several server virtualization features in an effort to get Windows Server 2008 out the door this year. Despite the changes, Microsoft was still forced to delay the release to next year.

The software maker also made some virtualization-friendly changes to its licensing policy for Windows Server 2008. Microsoft has already expanded virtualization rights for the Datacenter and Enterprise versions of the operating system.

"We've seen big adoption of both of those products specifically because of those licensing rights," said Windows Server general manager Bill Hilf. "It is indicative of the direction that we are going."

Microsoft said Thursday that the Standard edition of Windows Server 2008 will allow users to run one physical and one virtual instance of the server. With Windows Server 2003, the Standard edition could be used for either a physical or virtual instance, but not both.

On Tuesday, Microsoft issued the first service pack for Office 2007, an update that hadn't been scheduled until the first quarter of next year.