In 2010, I published two posts (the first, the second) speculating that Windows 8 may be entirely virtualized. Although it’s not yet clear whether the entire OS will be virtualized, it does look like Windows 8 will include Hyper-V version 3.0.
While the full extent of Microsoft’s client virtualization plans remains under wraps until at or after the Microsoft Build Conference (Sept 13-19 2011), Mary Jo Foley reports today that Robert McLaws posted to his blog at Windows-Now.com that Hyper-V v3.0 is, in fact, present in recently leaked Windows 8 builds.
Interestingly, Hyper-V v3.0 appears to include an improved virtual hard drive file format called VHDX which is able to support virtual drives of up to 16TB (up from a maximum of 2TB in prior and current VHD files) and offers improved data protection in the event of power loss.
Hyper-V v3.0 also handles greater diversity of hardware architectures through improved NUMA support and hardware accelerated networking support and several other important features. Be sure to read Rob’s post for more info and screenshots.
We’ll have to wait until Build to find out whether Hyper-V will be available in every SKU or whether it’ll be limited to Pro/Ultimate like XP Mode is today. I imagine that pushing Hyper-V down to Home Premium level SKU’s will enable Microsoft to ease the upgrade process to later versions of Windows by creating VM’s for the current installation, clean-installing a new host OS and mounting the old machine’s VM seamlessly into the Windows experience.
Can’t wait to hear more at Build in September