I am kinda surprised that Microsoft already released the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Release Candidate. It seems they are still ahead of their original schedule. Virtualization.info speculates that the release date of Hyper-V might be much earlier than August. Since Microsoft's new hypervisor is now feature complete a quick look at it could be worthwhile. The new features are interesting. If you already played with the Hyper-V beta and want to upgrade to Hyper-V RC, I recommend reading ahead.
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The new features of Hyper-V RC ^
- Guest OS support for Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1
- VMs support pass-through disks, i.e. the VMs can bypass the host's file system and access its disks directly. This improves performance.
- Installing Hyper-V VMs via network (RIS/PXE/WDS)
- Install the Hyper-V-Manager snap-in to MMC (Microsoft Management Console) on Vista SP1 to remotely manage Hyper-V
- Expanded language support: Ability to enable the English version of Hyper-V on other locales, partial Japanese and German language options
- Improved performance and stability
Download Hyper-V RC ^
- Before you download the update you might want to have a look at the description of the Release Candidate and at the release notes. The latter document has information about the requirements and known issues.
- Hyper-V update for the parent partition (host OS): Update for Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition (KB949219)
- Hyper-V update for the child partition (guest OS): Update for Windows Server 2008 (KB949219)
Update Hyper-V beta to Hyper-V RC ^
Before you start updating Hyper-V, you should decide first, if you really need your old VMs. Updating them can be quite cumbersome and in the end you might not even be able to start your old VMs. I guess, in most cases, it is easier to start from scratch. But if you invested a lot of time configuring your guest operating systems you must read the documentation first.
Basically, you have to make notes of all VM settings, bring them in a clean state (shutdown, delete snapshots, etc.), delete all settings, update your parent partition, re-create your VMs by pointing to the existing VHDs, and then update the child partitions. KB949222 explains the upgrade process in detail. I also recommend reading John Howard's version before you start.