Windows IT Pro has (subscribers only) a good feature list of Microsoft's upcoming Windows Server Virtualization (WSV). I summarized and commented them in this post.

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MMC-based management console
It seems Michael Otey, the author, already saw the new console. You won't believe it, but WSV got a real graphical user interface, that is one which is based on Microsoft Management Console (MMC 3). I've been waiting for this a long time already. In my view, the web-based user interface of Virtual Server 2005 is the worst Microsoft ever made.

VHD format
WSW will use Microsoft's Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format. This means that you still can use virtual machines that were created with Virtual Server 2005 and Virtual PC. That was expected.

Support for live backups using VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service)
Live backups of virtual machines is certainly a cool feature. However, that is already possible with Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 I can't wait to try this feature with DPM 2007.

Guest clustering
WSV supports clustering of virtual machines within the same node (shared SCSI adapter) or across different nodes (iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN).

Host clustering
Host clustering is probably more interesting than guest clustering. If your host crashes, all your VMs will be down, too. Otey writes that you can move all your VMs within 10 seconds to a backup node using this feature.

The possibility of creating snapshots is certainly one of the advantages of virtualization since it allows you to go back to a stable state anytime you messed up your system. In a way Virtual Server 2005 supports this too, but I always found the Undo disk feature a bit complicated to use. Let's hope that snapshot support of WSV is as easy-to-use as in VMware's products.

32GB RAM per VM
Virtual Server 2005 R2 only supports 3.6 GB memories per VM, which is not much indeed.

8-way virtual SMP per VM
Virtual Server supports only a single processor per VM, with WSV you can have up to 8-way virtual SMP (symmetric multi-processing). This only works if the host has enough physical CPUs.

X64 and virtualization-enabled hardware
I am not sure if this is considered a feature. WSV will only run on x64 hardware and the CPU has to support IntelVT or AMD Virtualization. Whereas it certainly makes sense to run VMs only on 64-bit hardware, it also means that WSV is restricted to new hardware.

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Hypervisor-based architecture
There is no doubt that this is the most interesting feature of WSV. Hypervisor-based architecture means that the virtualization software is not running on top of Windows like it is with Virtual Server or VMware Server. Instead WSV is directly running on the hardware which is comparable to VMware ESX Server. The main advantage of this architecture is better performance.

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