The fierce battle for the virtualization space continues as Microsoft fires back with a free hypervisor of its own called Hyper-V Server 2008. Learn more about the details of Microsoft’s free hypervisor.


Microsoft responds to VMware’s free ESXi hypervisor with a free version of their own called Hyper-V Server 2008. I am currently downloading the standalone Hyper-V package; it is about 1 GB in size.

How does it work?

Basically, the hypervisor installs with bare bones to provide a virtual experience. If you want to manage the system, you would need to download the free tools for Windows Vista or System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.

The system requirements are as follows:

  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2008
  • Note: Hyper-V Server 2008 is a 64-bit only technology and requires 64-bit capable hardware with Intel VT or AMD-V technology enabled.
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4, Xeon, Core 2 DUO processor; AMD Opteron, Athlon 64, Athlon X2. Hardware Data Execution Protection (DEP) must be available and be enabled. Specifically, you must enable Intel XD bit (execute disable bit) or AMD NX bit (no execute bit).
  • Minimum CPU speed : 1 GHz; recommended: 2 GHz or faster
  • RAM : Minimum: 1 GB RAM; recommended: 2+ GB RAM; maximum 32 GB
  • Required available disk space: 2GB of available hard disk space (additional disk space needed for each guest operating system)

Microsoft states:

“Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 is a stand-alone product that provides a simplified, reliable, cost-effective and optimized virtualization solution enabling organizations to improve server utilization and reduce costs. It allows organizations to consolidate workloads onto a single physical server and is a good solution for organizations who want a basic and simplified virtualization solution for consolidating servers as well as for development and test environments. Low utilization infrastructure workloads, departmental applications and simple branch office workloads are also candidates to virtualize using Hyper-V Server 2008. Hyper-V Server 2008 is a cost-effective solution that is convenient because it plugs into existing IT infrastructures enabling companies to reduce costs, improve utilization and provision new servers. It allows IT professionals to leverage existing patching, provisioning, management and support tools and processes. IT Professionals can continue to leverage their individual skills and the collective knowledge of Microsoft tools, minimizing the learning curve to manage Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008. In addition, with Microsoft providing comprehensive support for Microsoft applications and heterogeneous guest operating systems support, customers can virtualize with confidence and peace of mind.

To obtain a license for Microsoft Hyper-V Server, you must:

  1. Review the Microsoft Hyper-V Server license terms .
  2. Print and retain a copy of the Microsoft Hyper-V Server license terms for your records.
  3. Accept the license terms. By downloading, installing, or using Microsoft Hyper-V Server, you agree to accept the license terms. If you do not agree to the license terms, do not use the software.

For more Information, see the following: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 Configuration Guide or the Micrsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 Web site. In the meantime, once this download completes, I will dig in a little deeper.