At September 4 Microsoft released the free Hyper-V Server 2012.
Hyper-V Server 2012 is a fully functional hypervisor which has exactly the same features as the Hyper-V role in Windows Server 2012. This unlike the free offering of VMware named vSphere Hypervisor which is restricted in multiple way: max 32GB physical memory, no central management. VMware positions vSphere Hypervisor as a solution which enables customers to experience server virtualization. It is not meant to be run as a production server.
The free Hyper-V Server 2012 however is a fully supported solution which can run in production environments.
Hyper-V Server 2012 is different to Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V in:
- it does not have a graphical userinterface. After boot you will see a PowerShell like interface. Third party tools are available to manage using a GUI. See vtUtilities for example.
- it cannot run other roles than Hyper-V. So no AD, DNS, Webserver etc
- it does not come with free virtualization rights for Windows Server VMs. Windows Server 2012 Standard will give entitlement to run 4 Windows Server virtual instances, Enterprise Edition an unlimted number of Windows Server virtual instances.
Hyper-V Server 2012 is usefull in the scenario’s below:
- organization is using VDI workloads only on the host.
- organization is using any other non Windows Server guest on the host like Linux distributions
- organization which are on a contract with Microsoft which already covers licensing
Download Windows Hyper Server 2012 here. (1.6 GB ISO)