Microsoft is set to release an upgraded version of its Hyper-V technology for free within the next 30 days, upping the game in the virtualisation sector as it chases VMware.

Hyper-V, released in June, is included in most versions of Windows Server 2008. But the company has been charging $28 for a standalone version that could be downloaded from Microsoft's website.

The new version of Hyper-V will also have a Live Migration feature that lets administrators move applications as they're running to other servers. The latest Hyper-V will be offered as a download on Microsoft's website.

Microsoft also plans to release within the next month System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, which has been available as a beta since April. The software is used for provisioning and managing virtual machines, among other tasks. It's compatible with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 or VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3, the company said.

Microsoft has been scrambling to create a full package of virtualisation tools and technology to compete with companies such as VMware. IT administrators see virtualisation as a way to get more performance from their hardware, as it allows multiple operating systems to run on one physical server.