Microsoft Sets Windows 2008 Pricing, Brands Virtualization Technologies

At the TechEd IT Forum 2007 trade show in Barcelona, Spain on Monday, Microsoft announced the pricing, packaging, and licensing options for Windows Server 2008, the upcoming major refresh to the company's server operating system. Additionally, Microsoft revealed that the Windows Server Virtualization technologies, previously codenamed Viridian, would be marketed under the Hyper-V moniker. And contrary to previous promises from the company, Hyper-V will only be made available with certain versions of Windows 2008.

"Windows Server 2008 redefines what a server operating system delivers to customers," said Microsoft corporate vice president Kelly said. "With more than 1 million downloads and evaluation copies, we've built Windows Server 2008 based on a solid foundation of customer feedback, which is reflected in the product's ease of management, security enhancements and overall reliability. The unprecedented range of customer choices and the virtualization enhancements will help customers tailor solutions built to fit virtually any business need."

Windows Server 2008 will be made available in a whopping 8 different product versions, similar to the product proliferation strategy used with Windows Vista and Office 2007. These versions include Windows Web Server 2008 (which does not include Hyper-V), Windows Server 2008 Standard, Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V, and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems (which also does not include the Hyper-V technologies and is sold only for specific niche server roles).

Pricing, which is nearly identical to the Windows Server 2003 product line, breaks down as follows:

Windows Web Server 2008: $469
Windows Server 2008 Standard: $999 with five Client Access Licenses (CALs)
Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V: $971 with five CALs
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise: $3,999 with 25 CALs
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V: $3,971 with 25 CALs
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter: $2,999 per processor
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V: $2,971 per processor
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems: $2,999 per processor

Curiously, the versions that ship without support for the Hyper-V virtualization technologies are only superficially less expensive than those that do. It's unclear why Microsoft is even making both versions available. Even more curious, the Windows 2008 versions marketed as "without Hyper-V" won't ship in February with the other Windows 2008. Microsoft says these versions will ship within 6 months of the other products.

Additionally, the software giant plans to ship a standalone virtualization server for running virtualized operating systems, called Hyper-V Server. This product will cost just $28 and will ship later in 2008.

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