Microsoft announced earlier this week on the Building Windows 8 Blog that Windows 8 will also include the Hyper-V hypervisor.
This means that it will no longer be exclusive to Windows Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2. This feature was already discovered in June this year when a blogger found Hyper-V deep inside the leaked Windows 8 builds.
Microsoft To Include Client-Side Virtualization With Windows 8
Keep in mind that Microsoft already has experience in deploying client-side virtualization. For example, Microsoft made Windows Virtual PC’s available in Windows 7. It has a XP emulation feature to enable backwards compatibility also.
Hence, this announcement has been overdue since Hyper-V was found within the Windows 8 client OS previousy. The original blogger who discovered it (Robert McLaws) had also mentioned some improvements to the original Hyper-V in the areas of storage, memory and networking. It will apparently also include a new hard drive format (.vhdx) and will allow for 16TB storage instead of just 2TB — a limit imposed by the existing .vhd format. Microsoft is going to add four-core support, hardware acceleration and more on top of all this.
New Hyper-V Will Still Have Additional Hardware Requirements
Even on Windows 8, Hyper-V will still require a 64-bit system with Intel’s VT-X or AMD’s AMD-V virtualization technology. And there will be additional hardware requirements. You will not only need a 64-bit Windows 8, you will also need minimum of 4GB RAM to run this.
Matthew John, Microsoft’s Hyper-V Program Manager explained on the blog that it will requires a 64-bit system that has Second Level Address Translation or SLAT. SLAT is a new hardware virtualization standard that is present on most new processors like Intel’s Core i3, i5 & i7 and AMD’s Barcelona lot.
Compared to current hardware specifications for servers with Hyper V, these specifications are actually stricter. Although, when everything is in place, guest operating systems can be either 32-bit or 64-bit regardless of the configuration of the host system.