A week after shipping a feature-complete release candidate version of Windows Server 2008, Microsoft this week announced a public beta version of Hyper-V, its upcoming server virtualization technology. The company had previously shipped a pre-beta version of Hyper-V in an earlier Windows 2008 pre-release build; this newer version adds new functionality and fit and finish, Microsoft says.

The Hyper-V beta includes support for quick migration and high availability, as well as the ability to run the feature under Windows 2008's Server Core install type. Hyper-V is also integrated into Server Manager in this release, Microsoft tells me.

Microsoft originally planned to ship Hyper-V as part of Windows 2008, but had to delay the technology. The company had previously pledged to ship a beta version of Hyper-V at the completion of Windows 2008; this week's announcement suggests that Hyper-V is now ahead of the revised schedule. Microsoft will ship the final version of Hyper-V sometime in mid-2008, or about three months after Windows 2008. At that time, the technology will be integrated into Windows 2008, and early adopters of the OS will be able to download and install Hyper-V when it becomes available.