Microsoft used its TechEd IT Forum 2007 conference in Barcelona, Spain this week to detail its forthcoming Windows Server 2008 platform lineup, which will integrate a complete set of virtualization capabilities when it launches next February.
"With more than one million downloads and evaluation copies, we've built Windows Server 2008 based on a solid foundation of customer feedback, which is reflected in the product's ease of management, security enhancements, and overall reliability," said Microsoft vice president Bob Kelly.
Kelly also said Microsoft's key virtualization hypervisor, known as Hyper-V, will be made available as a stand-alone product. "The unprecedented range of customer choices and the virtualization enhancements will help customers tailor solutions built to fit virtually any business need," he said.
Microsoft might be a late arrival to the virtualization game, but the software giant's commanding presence in the data center means that the effort should have considerable traction right from the get-go. According to IDC, Windows server products generated $5.0 billion or 38.2 percent of all server OS revenue in the second quarter of this year -- up by 4 percent from one year earlier.
"It's still very, very early," said Microsoft's System Center & Virtualization general manager Larry Orecklin. "With less than 5 percent of the servers out there actually virtual today, the industry is still in its infancy."
Windows Server 2008 will be launched in eight different flavors, four of which will include the software giant's Hyper-V virtualization technology. The Standard and Enterprise editions with Hyper-V will ship with a limited number of virtual instances per license, while the Datacenter edition with Hyper-V will include unlimited virtual instances per license.
Microsoft will launch a stand-alone Hyper-V Server product for customers consolidating existing servers running Windows Server 2003 that have not yet validated Windows Server 2008 in the infrastructure, noted Microsoft Windows Server senior director Zane Adams. The retail price of Microsoft Hyper-V Server is pegged at just $28.
"They can buy Microsoft Hyper-V Server and consolidate using that," he said. By contrast, new customers "can buy Windows Server 2008 Edition, which comes with the Hyper-V technology, and use that for consolidation," Adams said.
Pricing the Menu
"We believe that virtualization should be a feature of the operating system," Orecklin said. With Hyper-V, customers will be able "to use the skills they have developed on managing their windows environments and apply that to virtualization," he explained.
Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition, including Hyper-V and five client licenses, will be priced at $999, while the Enterprise version with 25 client licenses will cost $3,999. The Datacenter edition with Hyper-V is expected to be priced at $2,999 per processor, whereas the iteration for Itanium-based systems will cost $2,999 per processor.
Microsoft expects to release five additional server flavors that do not incorporate Hyper-V technology, including new platforms targeting Web development as well as the deployment of servers based on Intel's Itanium microprocessor.
The iterations of the Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter products without Hyper-V will cost $28 less than their virtualized counterparts. In addition, the retail price of Windows Web Server 2008, which likewise does not support Hyper-V, is being pegged at $469.