If you've been following the news (and by news I mean the important stuff like technology and virtualization, not that political stuff) then you know that Microsoft just realeased and new virtualization product called Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008. I know what you might be thinking - "Didn't that already come out months ago?" Well, not exactly. Hyper-V is a virtualization technology. Previously, it was released as an installable role on Windows Server 2008. Now, however, there's a BIG difference. This Hyper-V Server now installs as a stand alone product - no Windows operating system at all. Wow.
Back a couple of years ago when I first heard of some of the planned features of Windows Server 2008 such as Server Core, I thought that it would be just the thing to compete with other vendors' dedicated virtual hosting platforms, but it didn't turn out to be as thin as I though. What Server Core really does is make the interface lean and take away some of the unnecessary extras such as a GUI, but the core of the OS is still there. Hyper-V Server 2008 is the final step to a dedicated application platform - without any graphical user interface or any other installable services. It's dedicated for hosting virtual machines only.
What that really means in practical terms is better performance, manageability, and security. Better performance because as our competitors have boasted about their products there is now no "user" application space and the overhead associated with that so that more resources can be dedicated to the guest machines. Manageability and security since you now do not have to worry near as much about patching and attack footprints on the host box.
All this and the fact that it will do BItLocker encryption means that this may be the perfect host server for a branch office configuration (like I mentinoed in a previous post).
It also means that I'm now going to have to rebuild my lab...