Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has launched a feature-complete release candidate of Microsoft Hyper-V, the hypervisor-based virtualization software being offered with various versions of Windows Server 2008.
A beta of Hyper-V was included with Windows Server 2008 when it officially launched last month at Microsoft's largest enterprise product launch, Heroes Happen Here, but according to Microsoft's announcement, "this release candidate provides updated, near-final code."
It remains unconfirmed whether this will be the last update to the software, but Microsoft says it is still on track to release the final version this August.
Microsoft explains in its press release that, "the release candidate features an expanded list of guest operating systems, which now includes Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3.
Host server and language support has been expanded to include the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter, with English, German and Japanese language options available as well as enablement of Hyper-V on international locales."
The release candidate also comes with more support for hardware configurations and offers improved performance and scalability.
Microsoft also announced that it is working on deals with hardware vendors like AMD, Dell and IBM, that will have its Hyper-V software come pre-installed and supported on their servers.
This seems to be Microsoft's way of catching up to VMware's recent announcement of a similar deal with leading hardware vendors, as reported by The Register last month.
Customers and partners can download the Hyper-V release candidate from Microsoft's website here.
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