Windows 8’s RAM Limit to Go Up, Way Up, but Microsoft Has No Plans for Virtualization Taxes

The currently supported RAM limit is bound to go up with the advent of Windows 8 client and Windows Server 8, if the evolution of previous Windows operating systems is to be taken into account.

The next generation of Microsoft’s virtualization technology will also be able to play nice with more memory than ever before, according to Jeff Woolsey, the Principal Program Manager Lead for Windows Server Virtualization, who was talking about the hypervisor included in Windows Server 8.

“YES, the amount of memory in a Hyper-V “8” VM is going to go up. Way up,” is the promise from Woolsey.

But despite this, Woolsey assured customers that Microsoft has absolutely no plans to introduce any sort of virtualization taxes.

“NO, we have no intention of imposing: a VM Memory vTax, a VM Core vTax, a VM Replication vTax. Per VM taxes are what virtualization vendors do, not strategic cloud providers,” he stated.

Woolsey is of course referring to the recent VMware vRAM entitlement associated with the launch of vSphere 5.0, and dubbed the VMware Memory vTax. Essentially, as of version 5.0 of vSphere, VMware has taken the unfortunate decision to license its virtualization solution on a per processor basis along with a vRAM entitlement.

Microsoft has done the math, and the costs of running vSphere 5.0 can be astronomical when compared to Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, which includes Hyper-V.

For example, a customers with 10 physical servers (4 sockets) and with 1024 GB RAM need to pay over $1.5 million to run VSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus compared to just $183,360 for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

Even the least expensive VSphere 5.0 Standard can cost a staggering $916,020, just because of the added costs for leveraging that much extra RAM.

Even for companies with a much more modest IT infrastructure, namely 1 physical server (4 sockets) with 1024 GB RAM, VSphere 5.0 Standard will cost $74,874 to license, $134,558 for VSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus, while Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1 standalone hypervisor is free of charge.

“VMware’s Memory tax fundamentally goes against the economics of the private cloud and undermines what you have come to expect from virtualization. Namely, you want to maximize hardware utilization, drive up density and reduce costs,” Woolsey notes.

In the first and only Windows Server “8” Hyper-V sneak peek, Microsoft demoed 16 virtual processors within a Hyper-V VM, but the promise is that the hypervisor will allow for additional virtual CPUs. The company also showcased an upcoming feature dubbed Hyper-V Replica, offering unlimited VM replication in the box.

“With an ability to create VMs with more than 16 virtual processors and built-in replication with Hyper-V Replica, Microsoft is showcasing its deep commitment to its customers, and our relentless pursuit to provide even more value, at no extra cost. These are just 2 of the hundreds of features coming in the Microsoft Private Cloud,” Woolsey added.

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