Microsoft shipped the free version of its second-generation hypervisor virtualization platform, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, and if you look over the docs, you’ll see that this thing is vastly improved compared to the first version. In fact, it appears to pick up the most important capabilities and functionality of its Hyper-V cousin (the version in Windows Server 2008 R2). So it features Live Migration (where the original didn’t even support quick migration), as well as some pretty heady hardware support (up to 8 physical processors, up from 4; up to 64 processor cores in virtual machines, up from 24; up to 1 TB of RAM; up from 32 GB; and so on). Pretty amazing. Did I mention it was free?

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is a stand-alone product that provides a reliable and optimized virtualization solution enabling organizations to improve server utilization and reduce costs. With the addition of new features such as live migration and expanded processor and memory support for host systems, it allows organizations to consolidate workloads onto a single physical server and is a good solution for organizations who are consolidating servers as well as for development and test environments.

By having the ability to plug into existing IT infrastructures Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 enables companies to reduce costs, improve utilization and provision new servers. It allows IT professionals to leverage existing patching, provisioning, management and support tools and processes. IT Professionals can continue to leverage their individual skills and the collective knowledge of Microsoft tools, minimizing the learning curve to manage Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. In addition, with Microsoft providing comprehensive support for Microsoft applications and heterogeneous guest operating systems support, customers can virtualize with confidence and peace of mind.

I'm sure the release of this on the eve of VMWare's VMWorld show is coincidental. :)