Microsoft Corp. previewed upcoming features for Hyper-V 3.0 along with Windows Server 8 at its Build conference this week, including networking, live migration and scalability improvements that bring it into closer competition with VMware.

The software is still pre-beta, meaning it is not intended for enterprise deployment but rather for developers to work on and perfect before the code is released. It will probably be a year or more before it is generally available.

Still, as of now, Hyper-V 3.0 contains new features that are turning heads among virtualization pros. Chief among them is a new extensible virtual switch, which will allow partners to build in advanced networking features, such as capture extensions  that can inspect, monitor and sample traffic. The new switch will also include VN-Tag and OpenFlow support as well as the ability to throttle network quality of service using per-vNIC bandwidth reservation and limits.

“Finally!” said Matt Lavallee, director of technology for MLS Property Information Network, Inc., which runs most of its IT infrastructure on Hyper-V. “VMware’s definitely been leaps and bounds ahead of them on that front for a long time.”

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