Microsoft has unveiled the beta release of its hypervisor virtualization-based product called Hyper-V.

An excerpt from CIO Today:

“Delivering the high-quality Hyper-V beta earlier than expected allows our customers and partners to begin evaluating this feature of Windows Server 2008 and provide us with valuable feedback as we march toward final release,” said Bill Laing, general manager of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft, in a statement.

Microsoft’s entry into the virtualization space is seen as an emerging challenge for the current market leader VMware. Server virtualization allows the separation of hardware from its software resources. Essentially, this enables a single server to perform multiple functions.

Microsoft’s release of Hyper-V, earlier code-named Viridian, is ahead of schedule, which implies that competition for VMware is well on the way.

More information:

Microsoft set to challenge VMware with Hyper-V (MarketWatch)

Microsoft Fights VMware As it Flirts With Linux (Channel Web)

Does Microsoft’s Early Release of Hyper-V Help Combat VMware? (InfoWorld)