Microsoft on the future of Windows Server 2025 Hyper-V

Windows[German]Hyper-V is a virtualization product from Microsoft. The company now sees a "bright future" for Hyper-V on Windows Server, including on Windows Server 2025. At least that is the message that Jack Woolsey from Microsoft and his team announced at the beginning of March 2024. Microsoft is probably also responding to the upheavals that Broadcom has triggered at VMware, which have made many VMware customers think about switching.


Somehow "Hyper-V is dead" stuck with me years ago after the free standalone Hyper-V server was no longer being developed by Microsoft. My guess was, that Microsoft is marching toward cloud virtualization with Azure Stack HCI. On the other hand, Hyper-V is available as a role in Windows Server and as a feature in Windows 10/11 Pro and higher. And we now know that there will be a Windows Server 2025.

Since Broadcom turned everything upside down at VMware and tried to force customers onto expensive VMware cloud solutions with subscriptions (see Broadcom ends perpetual licenses for VMware products – End of the free ESXi server?), the cards are being reshuffled at the competition. At the end of January 2024, I already reported on a survey in the blog post Microsoft survey on virtualization: Migration from VMware, in which Microsoft tried to capture the "mood among VMware customers".

Microsoft on the future of Hyper-V

A few days ago, I came across the tech community post The Future of Windows Server Hyper-V is Bright! by Jeff Woolsey via the following tweet. Jeff Woolsey is a Principal PM Manager at Microsoft for Azure Stack HCI, Windows Server and a leading expert on virtualization.

Hyper-V on Windows Server

In the article, Woolsey writes that there have been some changes in the virtualization market lately, and users have probably been asking Microsoft a lot of questions. That's why Woolsey took the time to respond to questions about the future of Hyper-V on Windows Server 2025 and more.


Hyper-V is strategic technology

Hyper-V is a strategic technology from Microsoft, writes Woolsey, as it is available in Azure, Windows Server, Azure Stack HCI, Windows clients and Xbox.

  • Windows Server Standard is already licensed to run two instances of Windows Server guest operating system environments.
  • With Windows Server Datacenter, users are entitled to run unlimited copies of Windows Server guest operating system environments.
  • For Linux as a guest operating system, Microsoft only requires that these are licensed by the distributor, and these can be virtualized without limit.

The unlimited usage rights of Windows Server Datacenter in conjunction with the complete package of Hyper-V, software-defined storage (Storage Spaces Direct) and software-defined networking (SDN) offers the best price-performance ratio on the market from Microsoft's point of view. In view of the performance and scalability of modern computing and storage systems (local, SAN, file, hyperconverged), Microsoft sees Windows Server Datacenter as ideal for virtualization hosts.

Hyper-V technology is also used by Microsoft for virtualization-based security (VBS). Windows uses this isolated environment to host various security solutions that provide increased protection against vulnerabilities and prevent the use of malicious exploits.

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2025

Woolsey mentioned two new features planned for Windows Server 2025 in his Techcommunity post. GPU partitioning (GPU-P) will be introduced in Windows Server 2025. The graphics units (GPUs) will be able to be partitioned and then assigned to VMs. Microsoft promises to maintain high availability and live migration. GPU-P should make it possible to migrate VMs with partitioned GPUs live between two independent servers.


Until Windows Server 2022, Active Directory was required to provide a cluster. In Windows Server 2025, Microsoft is introducing workgroup clusters. Workgroup clusters do not require AD and are a certificate-based solution. GPU-P and workgroup clusters are only the beginning. Microsoft will reveal more details at the Ignite session "What's New In Windows Server vNext (2025)" in November 2024. In the meantime, it is possible to test a Windows Server 2025 Insider Preview.

Final thoughts

I started out with the thesis "Hyper-V is dead" – this was fueled by the discontinuation of the further development of the free Hyper-V server and the "cloud-first, on-premises is dying at Microsoft" trend that emerged years ago and was also reflected from time to time in reader comments.

However, Microsoft has been showing signs of a paradigm shift for around six months now. Windows Server 2025 has now been announced, there is to be a Microsoft Office 2024 LTSC and there will also be successors for other on-premises products (e.g. Exchange).

From this perspective, it was clear that Hyper-V as a technology could not be dead for Microsoft, but would remain an integral part of Windows and other products. The Hyper-V role in Windows is already included in all clients and servers and has not been discontinued. It was therefore clear that "there will be something in Hyper-V".

It was unclear whether Microsoft would push customers towards Azure Stack HCI and what the licensing structure would look like. The latter is the big lever that Redmond can turn with the right customer base. From this perspective, I don't think it's a good idea for large hyperscalers to switch from VMware solutions to Microsoft Windows Datacenter with Hyper-V. You go from one dependency to the next.

What I personally also find difficult to assess is how well Hyper-V instances can be managed and operated out in the field. Personally, I'm a bit at war with Hyper-V for desktop virtualization – whenever I've set up guest systems with Hyper-V in Windows clients, I've quickly run into technical issues. Be it the hassle of passing USB ports to the guests in a simple way, or setting up a Linux version not supported by Microsoft as a guest. What was a setting on the GUI in VMware Workstation/Player or Virtualbox went into fiddling with the guest operating system in Hyper-V. It may have been due to a lack of knowledge, but it made me "not want to do any more". I also roughly remember failing completely when setting up Proxmox in Hyper-V – it always failed somewhere – while at least the installation in VMware Player was completed within minutes during the short test.

My experiences above are certainly not representative. But IT decision-makers and administrators who are about to switch from the VMware world would do well to weigh up the "alternatives" very carefully. Not that it later means "out of the frying pan into the fire". But at least Jack Woolsey's post has shown that Microsoft still has plans for Hyper-V. It remains to be seen what will come of it.

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