Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 RC0 hit the Web earlier this week on the road to its scheduled February 2008 release, toting a new Internet Information Services role for the product's lean and mean Server Core incarnation and a laundry list of small fit-and-finish tweaks. However, the most significant component of the RC0 code drop is one that won't go gold until three or so months after Server 2008 hits general availability: Microsoft's brand-new virtualization services feature, also known as "Viridian."
Based on my first few days of Viridian testing, I can report that Microsoft's new hypervisor technology is off to a solid start—the code is certainly much more polished than, for example, the first few iterations of the open-source Xen hypervisor project. Microsoft has done a good job of integrating its virtualization services into the same framework of easy-to-manage server roles that govern Windows Server's other key functions, and I found that Viridian's facilities for creating and monitoring virtual instances compared well to rival products from VMware and XenSource.
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