Microsoft's Hypervisor Goes Solo

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced plans to sell its virtualization technology on its own, a reversal of its earlier plans. While most people will still probably get Microsoft's hypervisor bundled with Windows Server 2008, selling it separately will let them use it on servers that may be running Linux or something other than Windows.

Microsoft's hypervisor virtualization layer has been a widely anticipated component of Windows Server 2008. Formerly code-named Viridian, it's now called Hyper-V. Whether bundled with the Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter versions of Windows Server 2008, or by itself, Microsoft's Hyper-V will sell for $28.

While Microsoft may not make a ton of money selling Hyper-V on its own at $28 a pop, doing so is an important strategic move. The ability to run Hyper-V on non-Windows Server 2008 servers could help Microsoft do battle in the increasingly competitive arena of virtualization.

How do you virtualize? Are you standardized on Microsoft's tools? VMware? Citrix? Something else? Let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

Oracle Vies for Virtualization
In other virtualization news, you had to know it wouldn't be long before ersatz Microsoft archrival Oracle launched its own virtualization volley. On Monday, the scrappy database giant unveiled Oracle VM -- its answer to VMware that the company claims is three times more efficient than any competitive offering. I think it's safe to assume it was including Microsoft's tools in there, as well, when it made that statement.

You can download Oracle VM for free starting today (sounds like Microsoft's Virtual PC approach). Oracle will also sell service contracts for its virtualization tool for anywhere from $499 to $999 per year. The service contracts cover mostly updates and bug fixes. This is a server-side play, though, not for desktops. Oracle VM is positioned to do battle with VMware's ESX Server and Microsoft's Virtual Server. If you want to check it out, go here.

What do you think about Oracle's entry? More choice is always good, I suppose. What's your virtual strategy? Send me a real e-mail and spill your virtual secrets at llow@redmondmag.com.

Intel Chips Boost Video
Watching video on the Web is sometimes great, sometimes not so great. A new chip set from Intel promises to improve the Web video experience. Intel is working on a new family of processors that it says will greatly accelerate high-definition video.

That means less waiting for videos to play, and a clearer, smoother video display. There will be 16 different models in the new chip family, code-named Penryn. The new chips will find a home in both server and desktop systems (see the next item). The re-engineered Penryn chips are about half the size of its earlier siblings, at 45 nanometers (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter). To enhance video compression, Intel has also added a new set of 46 instructions to the chips.

Does your Web-based video experience consist mostly of watching knuckleheads on YouTube, or do you do a lot of video conferencing? Video applications have finally made it to the mainstream, but is it mostly fun or for business applications? Post your answer on YouTube, but make sure to tell me as well at llow@redmondmag.com.

Dell Beefs Up Servers
From news of virtual servers to news of real servers -- Dell's giving its PowerEdge servers more horsepower.

The PowerEdge R900 rack server is at the top of the line. This model is designed for enterprise-level data centers and powered by Intel's new Penryn chip (see my previous item). The new and improved line also includes the PowerEdge R200 and PowerEdge T105 servers. The R200 is suited for cluster and network computing, while the T105 is an entry-level system targeted toward small businesses.

You'll also be able tell a lot more about Dell's servers just by their name. The new naming convention will indicate server type (T for tower, M for modular or R for rack). It'll also indicate the number of sockets, and whether it's Intel- or AMD-based.

Overall, Dell's intent in beefing up its servers is to make them operate more efficiently, and to include Dell's OpenManage system management tools.

Are you in the market for some high-power servers? How are you redeploying and reconfiguring your servers to accommodate new technologies? Let me know your server strategy at llow@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.

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