Windows Hyper-V was previously called "Windows Server Virtualization" and shipped in the Windows Beta as a prerelease.  Now Hyper-V Beta (different name same cool product) is shipping with the latest Windows RC bits. Get it here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=8F22F69E-D1AF-49F0-8236-2B742B354919&displaylang=en).  Also see the press release here http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver/archive/2007/12/12/Yes_2C00_-Virginia_2C00_-there-is-a-Hyper_2D00_V-beta.aspx.

So what is Hyper-V?  Simply put Hyper-V is Microsoft's next generation virtual machines product.  It replaces Microsoft Virtual Server and has a whole new architecture along with lots of interesting enhancements.  In the redesign from Virtual Server Hyper-V became a hypervisor based product rather than use ring compression (rings are isolation levels used by operating systems to prevent apps and the kernel from interacting without tight controls).  The goal of moving to a hypervisor based solution is improved security and performance.

Some of the interesting enhancements to name just a few are;

  • X64 Support (both root and guests)
  • 10 level deep snapshots
  • Pass-through drives
  • Supports Multiprocessors guests

As the person responsible for performance inside the Hyper-V product team I'm confident is saying you'll see the hypervisor investment is really paying off.  As you use the product I'd love to get your feedback on Hyper-V performance.  Please post a comment.