Microsoft Hyper-V, codenamed Viridian and formerly known as Windows Server Virtualization, is a hypervisor-based virtualization system for x86-64 systems. Hyper-V exists in two variants: as a stand-alone product called Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, and as an installable role in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 (the former containing the later release of Hyper-V).
Hyper-V on a Familiar Operating System
Unlike some other server virtualization systems that are hosted on the Linux operating system (VMware ESX) or proprietary host systems, Hyper-V runs right on a familiar Microsoft Windows Server operating system. Network administrators do not need to learn a new operating system, management system, or specialized tools. Early adopters of Hyper-V, even without documentation or training, have been able to install the Hyper-V server role, finding it just like installing any other server role (such as installing domain name service [DNS], media services, Internet Information Services [IIS] web services, and the like). The administrative tools for Hyper-V are also just like any other administrative tool in Windows. Therefore, the creation of virtual guest sessions, the monitoring of those sessions, and the administration of guest sessions is a familiar process for IT administrators. The ease of learning, using, and supporting Hyper-V has been a huge factor in organizations adopting Hyper-V for their virtual server environments.
Hyper-V Support More Than Just Windows Guest Sessions
With the release of Hyper-V, Microsoft made a concerted effort to ensure that Hyper-V not only supports Windows guest sessions (like Windows 2003 and Windows 2008), but also non-Windows guest sessions running Linux. By providing support for a variety of guest sessions, Microsoft is enabling organizations to consolidate both their Windows and non- Windows server systems onto fewer Hyper-V host servers.
Hyper-V in Windows 2008 is supported only on x64-bit systems that have hardware assisted virtualization support. Therefore, an organization cannot load up the 32-bit version of Windows 2008 and try to set up virtual guest sessions on the 32-bit host version of Windows.