The 'PREEMPT_RT' aka 'linux-rt' patchset provides true real-time scheduling under Linux. This can allow applications to respond to I/O with very low latency and jitter, although the results depend on application design and on the hardware and firmware used.
Real-time scheduling is commonly used in industrial control, live audio/video applications, and high-frequency trading systems; it can also be useful for tightly-coupled cluster computing. However, most applications will run more slowly under these kernels, and may not be any more responsive.
The Linux 3.2-rt stable series maintained by Steven Rostedt is used to build alternate kernels for amd64 and i386. You can install these using the metapackage linux-image-rt-amd64 or linux-image-rt-686-pae.
Like most VM hypervisors, Microsoft Hyper-V supports paravirtualised drivers which can provide much better performance than emulation of old hardware devices. Linux 3.2 had quite early versions of these drivers that were relegated to the 'staging' area, but we've updated them to the much improved versions found in Linux 3.4. I hoped we would also be able to package the userland daemon that supports management of Hyper-V guests, but this also needed many fixes and wasn't ready in time.