One of the questions that people ask before they adopt a new operating system is “what does this do that the previous version does not”. That’s a big point when it comes to Windows 8 which is following on the footsteps of Windows 7 which is generally regarded as Microsoft’s best ever client operating system release.
So what feature of Windows 8 is going to be the one that pushes me to upgrade from trusty reliable Windows 7? In a nutshell it’s Client Hyper-V. In talking to a fair number of Microsoft Certified Trainers, it’s also what has them eagerly awaiting the availability of Windows 8 on TechNet come August 15.
Each person of course has their own killer feature – but after talking to a lot of MCTs, many seem genuinely enthusiastic about Windows 8 specifically because of the inclusion of Client Hyper-V.
At present I’m running Windows Server 2008 R2 as my desktop OS on a number of computers as it’s the only way I can use Hyper-V VMs with the laptop computers that I drag around to events such as TechED and MMS. Sure there have been other virtualization programs that I could run on Windows 7 – but I deal primarily with Hyper-V based virtual machines and converting them to run under another virtualization solution is a lot more effort than reconfiguring Windows Server 2008 R2 to work as a desktop OS. I need to be able to transfer my VMs quickly and easily from host to host and translating formats is never quick and easy.
As a group, Microsoft Certified Trainers work with Hyper-V based virtual machines on a daily basis. They use the pre-built labs that ship with each course to muck about with the products they are teaching. While it’s possible to create a separate lab environment that mirrors that used in the classroom, it’s better to have a copy of that lab environment with you so that you can be sure that when you tell a student that they can perform a particular task in a particular way that the lab environment will support that.
MCTs also tend to use laptops as a part of their work. They rarely teach in the same classroom and while they have the option of presenting off a computer provided by the place that they are teaching, many prefer to present off their own laptops as it minimizes the chances of something unexpected happening.
Up until now MCTs have either used a solution similar to mine to run virtual machine labs, or avoided running course related virtual machines on their own computers. Up until Hyper-V was used for virtual machines, MCTs could still run most Official Curriculum VMs on their laptop computers by running Virtual Server or Virtual PC. For the last few years this hasn’t been possible unless the MCT had configured their laptop computer to run Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
Client Hyper-V allows MCTs to get back to running Official Curriculum virtual machines on their daily systems. While it’s been fun using Windows Server 2008 R2 as a desktop OS, it isn’t really optimized to be run on laptops in the way that Windows 8 has been.