Just as we reported back in June, the coming version of Windows 8 will include Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, which will no longer be exclusive to Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. On Wednesday, Microsoft finally acknowledged this fact with an official post on its Building Windows 8 blog.
This isn't Microsoft's first foray into client-side virtualization. Among other things, Microsoft's Windows Virtual PC was available with Windows 7, and it enabled XP Mode for backward compatibility.
[ Also on InfoWorld.com: The real story behind VMworld 2011. | Find out if VMware is losing its hold over its third-party software ecosystem. | Keep up on virtualization by signing up for InfoWorld's Virtualization newsletter. ]
We've been anticipating this announcement since blogger Robert McLaws first discovered the Hyper-V capability in a leaked build of the Windows client OS. McLaws also noted enhancements to the hypervisor that would prove equally exciting to see in both the client and server worlds. Evidently there will be a number of new storage, memory, and networking enhancements, including a new virtual hard drive format (.vhdx) that allows for up to 16TB of data, as opposed to the 2TB limit of .vhd. And Microsoft will add support for four core CPUs, hardware acceleration, and a host of other items.
This latest post from Microsoft does not specify which of the Windows 8 client SKUs will actually include Hyper-V. It does, however, note that the licensing rules for the client version of Hyper-V will not differ from its Server sibling; you still need to license any operating systems you use as a guest within the VMs.
Hyper-V on Windows 8 will continue to require 64-bit processors with Intel's VT-x or AMD's AMD-V virtualization technology, but it adds new hardware requirements.