Barney's Rubble

V for Hyper-V

Got some questions about Microsoft's hypervisor? That's what Barney's here for.

I'm starting to learn a little bit about virtualization, thanks to Virtualization Review and, our newest magazine and Web site.

But most of what I know about virtualization I learned from talking to Redmond readers, many of whom read my newsletter, Redmond Report (you can subscribe at, FindIT code: Newsletter). With that sentiment in mind, I'm going to answer a few nagging Hyper-V questions -- relying heavily on your thoughts, of course.

Is it fair that Microsoft is releasing Hyper-V?
Yes. A hypervisor is really an extension of an operating system. In fact, two of them are based on OSes. Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is based on Linux and Sun's xVM is a combo of Xen and Solaris. I haven't always been a fan of Microsoft bundling, but in this case a hypervisor right alongside the OS makes perfect sense.

What will third parties do?
This is the best part of the whole Hyper-V deal. Windows third parties will come out of the woodwork to craft revolutionary new virtualization tools. The result? A hot new market, a rich array of offerings and virtualization that works.

Is it any good?
Yes. In our last issue, virtualization expert Chris Wolf reported that Hyper-V is indeed a fine product. It's not as enterprise-worthy as VMware ESX, but for smaller shops, departments and new installations, it does the trick. Microsoft will be fixing some of its shortcomings, but I expect third parties to get there much quicker.

Will it kill VMware?
No. In the Windows market, Hyper-V may very well take control, but there's much more than Windows that needs virtualizing. But VMware's real future lies in tools that work with a hypervisor, and I predict that, over the next one to two years, it will adapt its infrastructure tools to Hyper-V and Xen.

How does this change the role of the hypervisor?
The hypervisor is now an assumed part of the OS. It will be the rule rather than the exception that servers run more than one OS.

What about interoperability?
Interoperability was not an issue when VMware was the only game in town. Now, with Hyper-V, users demand the ability to run multiple hypervisors and move VMs between them. Fortunately, the vendors and standards bodies are doing a fine job, particularly with Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF). I'm pretty confident in the ability to mix and match.

Is Hyper-V good or bad for the market? Snappy answers are welcome at [email protected].

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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