Recently, news about a build of Windows 8 was leaked – number 7989. This version of the soon-to-be-released product showed Hyper-V 3.0 in the Features section of the product, and stirs up even more excitement about type-1 client hypervisors and how they might change the future of the cloud.
Perhaps the most significant change that will come with Windows 8 will be a new technology called “MinWin”. While this was introduced with Windows Vista, it is now intended to fully replace the parent partition approach that is used by the server side of Hyper-V. The idea is that MinWin will operate as an extremely thin layer of software, smaller than Windows Core and that will be installed on bare metal. When installed this way, MinWin will be able to free itself of the Windows Shell and its need to hog resources, leaving MinWin with just enough juice to run a hypervisor.
Using MinWin will provide a number of benefits aside from the smaller footprint, among them a smaller attack surface for the hypervisor, making it almost BIOS-like. In addition, having a client-side hypervisor should, in theory, reduce deployment times, repair times, and the amount of troubleshooting needed.
But perhaps the greatest advantage that Windows 8, Hyper-V 3.0 and MinWin will offer consumers is the ability to host multiple VMs all on the same client device. This means that a single device could have a Windows 7, 8, Vista, XP, or even Mobile VM on them, and all concurrently.
The hope here for Microsoft is to increase the overall value of Hyper-V and tie it to the release of Windows 8. If the company can convince consumers to use their client-side hypervisor, they can make serious inroads towards competitors like VMware.