Microsoft has wrapped up the next iteration of its standalone hypervisor and is now offering it for download to customers. As the Redmond company promised in the first half of the year, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 continues to be free even after the evolution to R2. The software giant promised that customers would not have to pay for the virtualization solution in April 2009, when it revealed that Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 would bring to the table features that were also available through the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 hypervisor role.
In May 2009, Jeff Woolsey, principal group program manager, Windows Server, Hyper-V, noted that with Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Microsoft continued to be committed to its efforts to democratize virtualization. In this regard, the Redmond company is offering Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 features such as Live Migration and High Availability with Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.
In addition to new features, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 sports performance and reliability enhancements, and improved processor and memory support for host systems. When it comes down to guest operating systems Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 comes with support for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 and even Windows Server 2000.
The standalone hypervisor has also been designed to play nice with a few Linux distributions including: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 2 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 1 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 2 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition), Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2 and 5.3 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition). Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 can of course also run client platforms, namely Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
Microsoft’s Ben Armstrong, a program manager on the core virtualization team, has a list of new features for Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2:
“- Support for physical computers with up to 8 physical processors
- Support for using up to 1TB of physical memory (virtual machines can use up to 64GB each)
- Support for clustering
- Support for live migration
- Support for CPU Core Parking
- Core Parking allows Windows and Hyper-V to consolidate processing onto the fewest number of possible processor cores, and suspends inactive processor cores.
- Support for Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) in CPUs
- On Intel processors this is called “EPT” while AMD calls it “NPT”. SLAT adds a second level of paging below the architectural x86/x64 paging tables in x86/x64 processors, providing an indirection layer from virtual machine memory access to the physical memory access. In many virtualization scenarios, hardware based SLAT support can offer performance improvements.
- Support for VMQ, Jumbo Frames and other optimizations on networking
- The ability to hot add / remove SCSI virtual hard disks.”
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is available for download here.