Companies are being offered an opportunity to try out Hyper-V thanks to the launch of a hosted service from managed hosting company NetBenefit.

It's a perfect way for companies to experiment with virtualisation technology said Jonathan Robinson, NetBenefit's COO.

"We've started to see a coming of age for virtualisation and there's a growing interest from companies. Microsoft has allowed us to come in at an entry level and we've offered the service to companies who have been interested in trying out virtualisation and it's a good chance for them to experiment with less financial risk," he said.

He said that the financial terms from Microsoft made the process financial viable. He said that the company had looked at VMware but the licensing terms didn't make it easy to offer an entry-level service, currently standing at under £100 a month. "At the moment, Microsoft's pricing policy makes it possible for us to offer attractive terms - I'm not sure whether that will last," he added.

NetBenefit, which has signed up for Microsoft's early adopter programme for Hyper-V, has seen interest from a number of companies, from a wide range of areas, said Robinson.

Since the launch of Hyper-V last summer, there have only been a handful of UK hosting companies dipping their toes into the virtualisation waters. "We're definitely at the top end of the market," said Robinson.

From NetNBenefit's point of view, the use of virtualisation technology has also allowed NetBenefit to use its data centre space more efficiently and reduce its administration overhead. The administration and management of the virtualisation service is not to be underestimated according to Robinson. "We will have the expertise in configuring the server, making it easier for the customer - who might not have the relevant skills," he added.