We’ve already got Virtual PC (including that hyped XP-mode), Native VHD Boot on Windows 7 but that doesn’t seem to be enough from Microsoft’s eyes, as it’s confirmed that Hyper-V, the Virtualization only available on the Server platform, is making its way to the next Windows, Windows 8.
Needless to say, Virtualization is a vital component in Windows Client OS and Microsoft has made sure that Windows 8 brings the best technology to enhance the virtualization capability to the desktop OS.
Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system that has Second Level Address Translation (SLAT), hence you will need a 64-bit version of Windows 8 to be able to take advantage of Hyper-V capability. At least 4G of RAM minimum. As of in the VMs, it does support both 32-bit and 64-bit of Windows Operating System.
To interact with VMs, Windows 8 will provide two mechanisms, the VM Console and Remote Desktop Connection. I don’t like RDC to interact with VM, so a VM Console is welcomed here but the drawback is you only get to access one monitor with resolution up to 1600×1200. So if you want to use more than one monitor’s screen real estate, you will have to use Remote Desktop Connection to talk with the VM.
What about the RAM management?
Because the latest update that makes Dynamic Memory available in Hyper-V, you will get that feature as well in Windows 8. The Dynamic Memory allows memory needed by the VMs to be allocated and de-allocated dynamically and share unused memory between VMs. Because of this, you can run 3 or 4 VMs on a machine that has 4GM of RAM but you would need more if you are planning on running 5 or more of them.
There are quite a few new features in terms of storage. First, you can use VHD format or actual disk that you pass through directly to the virtual machine. Second, you can store VHD images on a remote file server. Third, the “Live Storage Move”. And last, taking the live snapshot finally becomes available. However, there aren’t much details revealed in the post on these new features. So we will see it in real once the beta comes out.
These are the nice improvement to have a better Virtualization technology come naturally with the OS. However, some of the limitation still exists. For example, BitLocker and Measured Boot might not be available in VM. And Games that require direct access to GPUs might not work so well.
The post also mentioned the support of wireless NICs in Hyper-V. But it wasn’t a real challenge at all, was it? It’s just another needed feature added on to the Hyper-V family.