Microsoft Monday pulled the US$28 price tag from its stand-alone version of Hyper-V Server 2008 and said the software would be made available for free in the next 30 days.
The stand-alone version can be used in a production environment and will be supported.
"It will be fully supported by Microsoft and our management products as well," says Mike Neil, general manager of Microsoft's virtualization strategy. "The only caveat is you still need to license the operating systems that run in the guest environments."
The stand-alone version will support the same platforms as Hyper-V and is designed to help users consolidate workloads.
On the server side, the supported platforms are Windows Server 2008 x86 and x64, Windows Server 2003 x86 and x64, Windows Server 2000 and Linux Enterprise Server 10. On the client side, Hyper-V supports Windows Vista x86 and x64 and Windows XP Professional x86 and x64.
Hyper-V is Microsoft's entry into the crowded field of virtualization vendors where the hypervisor is looking more and more like a commodity. VMware is the dominant player, but Citrix, Oracle, Red Hat, Sun and Novell are among those offering virtualization technology.
Microsoft made the announcement at a marketing event in Redmond, Wash., called "Get Virtual Now," designed to show off its virtualization wares to IT. The event is one in a series that Microsoft plans to put on around the globe.