Microsoft reached another milestone today with the release of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, the hypervisor-based virtualization technology that is a feature of select versions of Windows Server 2008. The nearly 1.5 million copies of the Hyper-V beta version that have been distributed demonstrate how customer interest in virtualization is moving from evaluation to production environment deployments.

Virtualization can help companies maximize the value of IT investments, decreasing the server hardware footprint, energy consumption and cost and complexity of managing IT systems while increasing the flexibility of the overall environment. Microsoft’s strategy and investments in virtualization — which span from the desktop to the datacenter — help IT professionals and developers implement Microsoft’s Dynamic IT initiative, whereby they can build systems with the flexibility and intelligence to automatically adjust to changing business conditions by aligning computing resources with strategic objectives.

Hyper-V offers customers a reliable, scalable and high-performance virtualization platform that plugs into customers' existing IT infrastructures and enables them to consolidate some of the most demanding workloads. In addition, the Microsoft System Center product family gives customers a single set of integrated tools to manage physical and virtual resources, helping customers create a more agile and dynamic datacenter.

“Customers who buy Windows Server 2008 are not only getting the scalability benefits, the high performance and reliability, and all the great things that Windows Server is known for; as of today they can benefit from integrated virtualization with Hyper-V,” said Bill Hilf, general manager of Windows Server Marketing and Platform Strategy at Microsoft.

To accompany Microsoft virtualization technologies such as Hyper-V, the System Center family of solutions delivers management tools to configure, operate, deploy and backup physical and virtual servers from the datacenter to the desktop — all from a single pane of glass. With proper management tools and processes, customers can control the power of virtualization and become agile, while still maintaining control. This can help prevent such issues as “virtual server sprawl” — one of the challenges that can be introduced by the increased use of server virtualization.

Microsoft itself has been using Hyper-V in production environments, including heavy-traffic Web properties such as MSDN, TechNet and Microsoft.com. MSDN has more than 3 million average page views per day, TechNet averages more than 1 million per day, and Microsoft.com averages more than 38 million per day. By the end of June, Microsoft.com is targeted to be 50 percent virtualized with Hyper-V.

To help both customers and partners assess whether their existing servers are good candidates for virtualization using Hyper-V, Microsoft has released the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 3.1 Beta to help accelerate virtualization planning and deployment. The final release of MAP 3.1 is expected in July and will be available for free at http://www.microsoft.com/MAP. MAP belongs to a family of Microsoft Virtualization Solution Accelerators including Infrastructure Planning and Design guides and the Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool.

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vendors such as Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., HP, IBM, NEC, Sun Microsystems and Unisys are already qualified to ship and create systems with Hyper-V. In all, 250 systems from server and white-box vendors are already logo-qualified for Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V. More information can be found at http://www.windowsservercatalog.com.

New customers and partners can download Hyper-V at http://www.microsoft.com/Hyper-V. Customers who have deployed Windows Server 2008 can receive Hyper-V from Windows Update beginning July 8.