Server 2008 Hyper-V: Support and Test Scenarios?

One potentially great application of virtualization is in the support world, where technicians from the Help Desk on up can now easily emulate various user environments without having six separate PC's on their desks. Microsoft's decision to make Hyper-V available only on the 64-bit server platform would seem to mitigate against its use in such applications.

Software testing is another great application for virtual machines. It's more likely that software developers will have access to 64-bit Server 2008 to run on their development boxes, but for small businesses the licensing costs for the server product are substantially greater than for XP or Vista. (TechNet Plus becomes an attractive possibility here, because a smaller company can pay one low fee and get rights to install ten copies of any Microsoft OS.)

Maybe Windows 7 will be able to run Hyper-V natively, but in the meanwhile, products like Sun Microsystems' Virtual Box and VMware's VMWare Workstation look pretty appealing for Vista and XP users who want the benefits of virtualization. Is Microsoft conceding that market? Right now, it looks like it.

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