At TechEd in Barcelona today, we made several major announcements. It's important to look at the details but to really see the scope and impact you need to step back a bit and look at the big picture these announcements describe. In my view there are four key points:

  1. Microsoft is listening to customer feedback and will be providing greater support for both Windows and Non-Windows virtualization technology through the Server Virtualization Validation Program. 
  2. Microsoft's advanced virtualization technology (Hyper-V) will be available from a $28 individual dedicated server all the way up to Datacenter edition in Windows 2008
  3. The combination of the System Center suite with Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V is going to be the most comprehensive physical and virtual infrastructure and management platform
  4. Most importantly, the points above illustrate a major evolution of Microsoft products and strategy toward heterogeneous computing environments.

Think of the scenarios the above points imply: Use System Center to manage non-Microsoft virtualization technologies (there's one or two of those out there :) Use Microsoft virtualization technologies without a full Windows SKU (Hyper-V server) to run an all Linux workload. Or, and clearly what we hope to earn, a full Microsoft virtual infrastructure managed by the complete System Center suite. When you consider the power of those products and the PowerShell foundation under them, a lot of the pieces for a real, dynamic datacenter are falling into place.

Here is a summary of the announcements and some links:

Hyper-V. This is the official name of the server virtualization technology within Windows Server 2008 that was previously code-named “Viridian.” Microsoft also announced Hyper-V Server, a standalone hypervisor-based server virtualization product that complements the Hyper-V technology in Windows Server 2008 and allows customers to virtualize workloads onto a single physical server. 

Windows Server 2008 editions, pricing and licensing. Microsoft will offer customers the choice of eight versions of Windows Server 2008, each tailored to suit a variety of customer requirements. Pricing and licensing details were also disclosed. Complete details can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/nov07/11-12HyperVPR.mspx.

The Server Virtualization Validation Program. This new program will enable vendors to test and validate virtualization software running Windows Server 2008 and previous versions. The program will also enable Microsoft to offer cooperative technical support to customers running Windows Server on validated, non-Windows server virtualization software.

Microsoft Virtualization Solution Accelerators. This set of free guidance resources and tools can help IT professionals effectively plan and deploy virtualization technologies. The initial release includes the Infrastructure Planning and Design series and the Assessment and Planning tool beta program. Details can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/solutionaccelerators.

We also announced wave two of System Center, including Configuration Manager (formerly SMS), Data Protection Manager, and Virtual Machine Manager. Some early media respone here and here.