Not surprisingly I get a lot of questions about future versions of products. Typically I get things like

  • When Vista shipped Microsoft led us to expect to have a 3 year life, that would mean a replacement at the end of 2009. What's the news on that ?
  • Server 2008 is out and the roadmap slides you showed in 2007 had an R2 version. Microsoft haven't paid off the development team, so what are they working on ?
  • Will product X have feature Y in the foreseeable future. More than 50% of these questions are "Will Hyper-V have an equivalent of VMware's VM motion ?"

There are several reasons why I can't answer these questions. The most common one is that I simply don't know; past experience lets me make better guesses than most people but I'm always aware that my guess "Project Basingstoke* just went to beta x , so knowing a beta takes this time and a release candidate takes that time , that mean a release round about such-and-such a date" turns into "Microsoft said it would be out...". If someone asks me if they're looking at next week, or 5 years I'll tell them I don't have the information and share how I'd get to a guess, but I won't broadcast it.

The other reason I can't answer is that for one reason or another the people who own the product aren't ready to say. I was at an event in Seattle a couple of weeks ago and various teams gave peeks at what they had in the pipeline. If I go out and say "I've seen Widget fettling in the Basingstoke release", then that feature might get cut. It might be the heavyweight punch that we to deliver at a big event. It might be a trade secret. But it's someone else's baby - and I think it's rude to break their news for them. I won't say unless the news is out.

With some of these things - particularly live migration of VMs, we've at least announced the pregnancy if not the birth. Bob Muglia, is our Senior Vice President, Server and Tools Business and here's an edited extract from the transcript his keynote at Microsoft Tech•Ed 2008 – It Professionals in Orlando on June 10, 2008, he had Rakesh on stage with him.

BOB MUGLIA: Many customers have VMware inside their environment, and they're interested in Hyper-V, but they wanted to have a single management solution that really was able to combine these two, and provide a great runtime experience for both. So there's only one console for the administrator to work with.  {Rakesh Shows Hyper-V quick Migration}

BOB MUGLIA: With quick migration what we do is we actually save the VM to disk, and then re-instantiate on the other physical machine. And the speed of it is really based on the size of the VM together with the speed of the underlying SAN.

RAKESH MALHOTRA: [VMotion]  allows me to migrate running virtual machines between physical hardware without any downtime at all, as perceived by the end user. You can drive that with Virtual Machine Manager 2008, as well. So just like the Hyper-V experience, I'm going to click on a VMware VM, and I'm going to choose the migrate option [in SCVMM] {Rajkesh shows SCVMM intelligent placement of a VMware VM and managing the VMotion }

BOB MUGLIA: Now, live migration is a great feature, and it's something we'll add in the next version of Hyper-V, it's certainly something we have up and running right now, and it will be present in the future. But, one of the things we wanted to do, again, with this idea of having a single console that manages both, is it's a clearly an important feature for VMware, and we anted to make sure that all of the capabilities of VMware that users want were present in Virtual Machine Manager, so that, again, you would have one environment that really took advantage of the best features of both, and you could use it across both environments.

So "we've got it running right now" and "We'll add [it] in the next version"  ... but that leads to more questions, mainly do the cycles for Hyper-V and Windows line up to make the ship vehicle for the next hyper-v the next version of Windows ? or is it something else ? I can't answer that either way without giving away details of both Hyper-V and Windows which I don't want to. But I've been sticking to the line "it's too soon to talk about the next version" - but that inevitably that leads to people saying "But shouldn't it be out at the end of next year. Is it delayed ? ".  

Fortunately help is at hand. Steven Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan are writing for a new blog Engineering Windows 7.  And in the first post it says

The Professional Developers Conference (PDC) on October 27 and the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) the following week both represent the first venues where we will provide in-depth technical information about Windows 7.

So that gives you some idea when these questions will start to get answered. And that blog looks like it will be required reading.