Test Center review: Microsoft's Hyper-V does the trick
Microsoft's next-generation server virtualization solution falls short versus VMware's VI3, but has the right stuff for less demanding, Windows-centric environments
Note: I tested Hyper-V RC1 and a beta version of MSCVMM 2008 on a Dell PowerEdge 2950 server running the x64 version of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Hyper-V requires a 64-bit environment). As with most Server 2008 "roles," enabling Hyper-V was a simple matter of ticking a check box in Server Manager and picking a NIC for use by the virtual network manager. Installation of MSCVMM was a bit more involved, requiring an instance of SQL Server 2005, the .Net Framework 3.0, and Active Directory. Fortunately, MSCMM gives the option of installing SQL Server 2005 Express Edition automatically to resolve the SQL dependency, and the .Net version requirement is a nonissue for Server 2008 installations. Windows Server 2008 ships with .Net 3.0, though it's not enabled by default.
The end game
Overall, Microsoft's server virtualization platform is shaping up to be a viable datacenter contender, especially for shops with a significant investment in Windows Server technology. Though not as robust or as sophisticated as VI3, the Hyper-V and MSCVMM combination is a quantum leap from the aging, host-based Virtual Server architecture.
The question now is, should VMware be worried? I'd have to say yes, if for no other reason than history is on Microsoft's side. No company has shown the degree of patience and willingness to try, try again that Microsoft has demonstrated over the years. Hyper-V, in its current incarnation, may not be sufficient to wrest the datacenter heavyweight title from VI3. But for many shops, it will prove to be plenty good enough, allowing Microsoft to begin eating away at VMware's market share while preparing the next-generation product for the final assault that topples the leader. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Read more about virtualization in InfoWorld's Virtualization Channel.