In recent months, we have seen the Microsoft Virtualization team release some pretty amazing statistics about Hyper-V downloads. First, at MMS 2009 David Greshler claimed one million Hyper-V RTM downloads. More recently– and it’s really unclear why these stats differ so greatly — Jeff Woolsey has been throwing around 750,000+ as the number of downloads whenever he has a chance.
If you need a quick refresher on what they mean by downloads, please review The Milion Hypervisor March article. In a nutshell, Microsoft Virtualization decided to get creative with the metric they use to track Hyper-V adoption. Windows Server 2008 RTM shipped with a beta version of Hyper-V (interesting decision) that is automatically updated via the Windows Update patch management mechanism. Any up-to-date Windows 2008 system is essentially counted as a Hyper-V host, which is totally unrealistic and, frankly, dishonest.
That decision now leads to an unfortunate dilemma. Windows Server 2008 SP2 is now available and it includes the RTM version of Hyper-V — no longer any need to download and update Hyper-V. That means:
As new Windows Server 2008 deployments move from RTM to SP2, the Hyper-V downloads cease.
The moral of this story is clear. When selecting a metric to brag publicly about progress, make sure it’s legitimate — or the truth may bring unintended consequences.
This is really one of the big challenges of being part of Windows / Microsoft – tracking actual usage information.
I remember when Microsoft first acquired Connectix and released Microsoft Virtual PC 2004. The decision was made that, because one of the primary markets for desktop virtualization is development and test, that Virtual PC should be included in MSDN. At first we thought this was a great idea – but the downside was that we immediately lost any way to have insight into how many people were actually using Virtual PC for development and test.
I appreciate your comment and I also get the impression that it wasn’t your idea to use the Hyper-v hotfix download count as an adoption metric.
Having open discussion and debate is one of the great elements of blogging. Opposing views are quite welcome here — too bad the same cannot be said about the Microsoft Virtualization blog.
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