Microsoft expected to release Hyper-V Thursday

Microsoft is expected to launch its Hyper-V virtualization technology Thursday.

Microsoft is expected to launch its Hyper-V virtualization technology Thursday, two months ahead of the company's time line for releasing it by the end of August.

Though Microsoft would not confirm the release directly, a representative from the company's public relations firm sent an e-mail requesting a briefing about a "product milestone" Thursday. Another representative then hinted in an e-mail that the briefing had to do with Hyper-V.

Although neither said exactly what the announcement was, several blogs reported Wednesday that Hyper-V would be released on Thursday. Another source close to the company also said the technology was in its final stages, but asked not to be named.

Microsoft said it would release its hypervisor technology Hyper-V six months after releasing Windows Server 2008, the latest version of its Windows OS for server hardware. The company released that software in late February.

Microsoft had originally intended to release Hyper-V as part of the original release Windows Server 2008, but the technology was delayed and rescheduled for availability 180 days, or about six months, after shipping Windows Server 2008.

Microsoft delayed the release of Hyper-V, originally code-named "Viridian," because the company opted to pull out some originally planned features.

Virtualization is becoming a key way companies are driving costs out of the data center by running OSes in virtual containers rather than physically on servers. Microsoft aims to catch up to virtualization leader VMware in providing this technology for hardware systems not only running on Windows, but also Linux and other OSes.

The company has said it aims to make virtualization a key part of its system-management strategy going forward, and is also expanding beyond hardware into desktop and application virtualization.

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