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11/12/2007
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Microsoft Unveils Windows Server Editions, Pricing

Versions of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 can cost as little as $28 or as much as $2,999 per processor.

Microsoft Windows Server 2008 will come in a whopping nine different versions, from a super-slim $28 Microsoft Hyper-V Server to consolidate workloads on a single server to the $2,999 per processor Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition, the company announced Monday.

Microsoft announced the pricing at the TechEd Conference and IT Forum in Barcelona, Spain, where the main topic of conversation seemed to be the virtualization technology Microsoft is baking into Windows Server, now known as Hyper-V. "People say oh, you're behind VMWare," Andy Lees, Microsoft VP of server marketing, said in an interview. "That is one layer of the story and we're going to fix that with Hyper-V." Six version of the server software include Hyper-V; three do not.

Most of the server editions will be sold with or without Microsoft's server virtualization technology, which has been renamed from its Viridian code-name to Hyper-V, though Lees predicted most copies will be sold with virtualization capabilities. Here's what's on tap when Microsoft releases Windows Server early next year:

-- Windows Server 2008 Standard: This is the basic version. Windows Server 2008 Standard edition will cost $999 and comes with five client access licenses, and will cost $971 without Hyper-V. It will enable one physical version and one virtual version to run concurrently.

-- Windows Server 2008 Enterprise: The next level up from Standard, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise edition will cost $3,999, comes with 25 client access licenses intead of five, and can run four concurrent virtual instances. It will cost $3,971 without Hyper-V.

-- Windows Server 2008 Datacenter: Just read the label; Windows Server 2008 Datacenter is good for wherever there's a high-end data center. Read: install it wherever there are client-server apps. It will cost $2,999 per processor, or $2,971 without Hyper-V. Microsoft says it'll be for deploying "business-critical apps." Customers can run unlimited virtual instances with this license.

-- Microsoft Hyper-V Server: Hyper-V server will be a tiny version of the server, enabled only to support the creation and management of virtual machines running on a server. It's basically the hypervisor, which enables guest systems to run, and little else, akin to VMWare's ESX Server. "You're getting the ability to run several virtual machines in one physical machine," Lees said. "That gets particularly interesting for customers if they want to run virtualization on a machine that doesn't run Windows." There are already a bunch of hardware partners lined up to sell boxes with this included.

-- Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems: This version is designed specifically for systems that have Intel's Itanium line of 64-bit processors in their chipsets. That means no 32-bit systems for this version. It will scale to as many as 64 processors, and is meant for high-availability, high-volume, high-scalability systems. Microsoft says it's optimized for large databases and enterprise apps. Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems will cost $2,999 per processor.

-- Windows Web Server 2008: The successor to Windows Server 2003 Web Edition is Windows Web Server 2008. It's going to be stripped a bit and re-configured from the standard model in order to become a "single-purpose Web server." Microsoft will pack it with Web-oriented technologies like Internet Information Services 7.0, ASP.NET and the .NET Framework. It will cost $469 per instance, although companies running large farms of Web servers will be able to purchase it at a volume discount. No virtualization here, though.

Since there have been a few delays, Microsoft will bundle a beta version of Hyper-V with Windows Server until the final version is released soon after Windows Server 2008 comes out. It will then be available as a downloadable update upon release.

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