Microsoft’s Hypervisor Technology Gains Traction Among Hosting Providers

CHICAGO — July 29, 2008 — Since its general availability one month ago, several hosting providers have begun using Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, an engine that allows virtualization of mulitple operating systems on the same server. This week at HostingCon 2008, Microsoft is showcasing the Hyper-V adoption by four hosting providers and discussing how the new virtualization technology is designed to help maximize datacenter efficiency, scalability and manageability while lowering costs.

John Zanni, general manager of Worldwide Hosting

As part of Microsoft’s broader platform strategy for hosting providers, the Worldwide Hosting group is also featuring the latest tools and programs to further help partners to be successful in the world of software-plus-services. This includes Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 early adoption program, as well as the Windows Hosting Deployment Accelerator (HDA) tool that now includes Hyper-V and SQL Server 2008.

Leading up to the HostingCon event, PressPass discussed Hyper-V’s momentum with John Zanni, general manager for Worldwide Hosting, and what the new technology can bring to customers and partners.

PressPass: First off, what is Hyper-V?

Zanni: Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V is a virtualization engine that provides what we call “hypervisor-based virtualization.” It is a feature built into select versions of Windows Server 2008 that allows virtualization of multiple operating systems, including Windows and Linux, on the same server.

PressPass: What are you conveying to partners this year at HostingCon?

Zanni: We’re highlighting how Hyper-V can help hosting providers reduce costs and boost efficiency by consolidating datacenter resources. In just over a month, a number of hosting providers have already experienced such benefits in deploying Hyper-V, including Layered Technologies, Hostbasket, SoftCom and SoftLayer. These providers participated in the Hyper-V Go Live program, which allowed them to deploy the beta version into live production, and engage in the testing process as early adopters.

In addition, we’re also announcing the upcoming addition of Hyper-V and SQL Server 2008 to the HDA tool in September. These accelerators will contain guidance and best practices for hosting providers implementing the technologies, enabling them to understand the features of Hyper-V and quickly deploy new offerings based on the latest technologies.

PressPass: Why is Hyper-V relevant from an industry perspective?

Zanni: With the growing adoption of virtualization technology, it’s evident that hosting providers across the industry are looking to retire old hardware and consolidate servers with fewer machines that are better utilized.

Addressing the existing concerns of hosting providers that stem from the limited availability of datacenter resources, Hyper-V significantly increases the efficiency and helps reduce many of the costs associated with running and managing datacenters by consolidating resources. As a scalable, reliable and highly available virtualization platform, Hyper-V allows hosting providers to continue to run heterogeneous environments by running both Windows and Linux on the same server using a single management interface.

In addition, Hyper-V allows hosting providers to offer businesses a secure development, testing and staging environment, business continuity services and dedicated virtual private servers (VPS). Hyper-V also makes it easy for hosters to create offers for developers, giving them a secure application development environment at a competitive price point.

As part of the Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition, Hyper-V also helps hosting providers reduce costs by allowing for unlimited virtual environments on a server for a predictable and low monthly licensing fee. Simplifying the migration process, Hyper-V also enables hosting providers to easily migrate existing physical servers to Hyper-V with only a few clicks of a mouse, minimizing time and associated costs.

PressPass: How does Microsoft help hosting providers manage Hyper-V?

Zanni: Microsoft currently offers a beta version of its specialized management platform, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, which can be used for both Hyper-V and VMware environments. The platform is designed to enable centralized infrastructure management, increased server utilization, and dynamic resource optimization, all with the Windows controls familiar to users. As part of its centralized management capabilities, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 helps hosting providers manage multiple servers with important features, such as provisioning, physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration, and reporting and monitoring. System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 is scheduled to be released early in the fourth quarter of this year.

PressPass: Last year at HostingCon, Microsoft announced a comprehensive strategy for hosting providers. How has that since evolved?

Zanni: In the past year, we’ve continued to work hard at enabling service providers to be successful in the new era of software-plus-services with a reliable platform and broad range of services to deliver a compelling, next-generation Web experience. We’ve strengthened the Windows platform with updated tools and guidance for Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V and SQL Server 2008. We’ve made updates to important server technologies like Exchange Server and SharePoint Server, and rolled out the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 4.5, and we’re getting close to launching Microsoft Online Services, important services that Microsoft will host, which can be resold by partners including hosting providers. In addition, the latest S+S Incubation Center program adoption figures indicate that a growing number of independent software vendors (ISVs) — 550 since the program’s inception in October 2006 — are deploying hosted applications, bringing more hosted services to market.

PressPass: Does Microsoft offer any other early adoption programs for hosting providers, in addition to Hyper-V?

Zanni: Through the Go Live program, we have offered partners early access to the latest technologies, including Windows Server 2008, IIS7 and SQL Server 2008. When Windows Server 2008 launched earlier this year, we were working closely with 40 early adoption partners, such as Go Daddy and Rackspace, to further refine the significant improvements in the reliability and flexibility over previous versions. Since the launch, 256 hosting providers have incorporated Windows Server 2008 with IIS7 into their product lines.

A considerable number of hosting providers also enrolled in the SQL Server 2008 Go Live program, which provides participants with free licenses and deployment support to run SQL Server 2008 in live production environments. To date, 16 hosting providers are enrolled in the program, and 10 have already extended live offers.

By participating in these Go Live programs, hosting providers are able to build expertise through high-touch support and tested solutions, as well as play a leading role in shaping the future of Microsoft’s platform technologies.

PressPass: A lot of people are comparing Hyper-V with VMware’s ESX Server. Do you feel that the two products are on par with each other in terms of features and cross-platform compatibility?

Zanni: We believe that we have a highly competitive and more compelling offering with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008. Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V is a reliable, secure and high-performing server virtualization platform for service providers looking to consolidate servers and applications, as well as offer business continuity services at a lower cost than other virtualization technologies. We expect customers to see greater value around Microsoft’s offerings because of the broad range of hardware and software solutions, the existing customer skill sets around Windows, and licensing of Microsoft products through the Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA).

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