Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor has shipped, but the software to manage it will not be available until near the end of the year, according to the company.
In addition, Microsoft said the software, Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008, would be offered as a stand-alone product unbundled from the System Centre Server Management Suite Enterprise (SMSE), which was introduced late last year.
The company disclosed on its System Centre management blog last week that VMM 2008 would ship in the fourth quarter (between 1 October and 31 December). When Microsoft sets that timeframe, it typically means the end of December, but Hyper-V shipped almost two months earlier than promised.
That ship date had been revised many times as Windows Server 2008 (formerly dubbed Longhorn Server) was repeatedly delayed. Hyper-V was eventually pulled from the server and then released as a separate module three weeks ago. In April, a Microsoft official said VMM 2008 would ship 30 to 60 days after Hyper-V, which would have been no later then 1 September.
Microsoft for the first time will offer VMM by itself. The 2007 version is only available with SMSE, which includes enterprise server management licenses for System Centre Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager and Virtual Machine Manager.
Microsoft says the stand-alone license for VMM would be priced 10% to 15% less than SMSE, which is designed for managing physical and virtual servers.
Given recent updates to Operations Manager, Configuration Manager and those coming with VMM, Microsoft says it will increase the $1,290 price of SMSE when VMM 2008 ships.
At the current SMSE price, the cost for the stand-alone VMM license would be between $1,100 and $1,150 (£550 to £575). VMM 2008 will be sold as a per-device enterprise server management license and will include rights to the management server.
The VMM software is the first management tool from Microsoft that supports Hyper-V. It also will support hypervisor technology from VMware and Xen.
VMM 2008 adds support for Hyper-V and is in beta. The beta does support the released version of Hyper-V, but cannot be used in production.