The latest on Microsoft Hyper-V

Virtualization continues to generate huge interest among Windows shops, particularly now that there is a new version of Hyper-V coming out. Whether you are already using Hyper-V, or are in the evaluation process, this Windows Digest features the latest tips and advice on Microsoft's hypervisor, as well as some of the latest Windows headlines.

Microsoft Hyper-V

No two Hyper-V environments are going to be set up in exactly the same way, so it's important to know the specific needs of your environment. Sizing the right hardware for high-availability Hyper-V clusters isn't the same as sizing the right hardware for individual Hyper-V hosts that aren't connected. Because of RAM limits, Hyper-V clusters need multiple hosts as well as powerful servers so that virtualized environments don't waste space and can fail over if a host goes down.

Choosing how to backup your Hyper-V workloads is another case-sensitive area, with multiple options. One of the great advantages of running virtual machines on Microsoft Hyper-V is that Hyper-V always includes a parent partition that runs a full copy of Windows Server 2008, giving you access to Windows Server 2008 features — including Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). VSS can be a great tool, but it's important to know when to use VM backups versus snapshots in Hyper-V.

If your organization has invested in a backup system that is not compatible with VSS, you may not have to dole out much more to address the issue of protecting your virtual machines. For virtual machine backups, there are free and low-cost alternatives to VSS like the Windows Server Backup feature in Windows Server 2008, and Diskshadow.

Hyper-V also makes deploying a SQL Server virtual appliance a simple task. Deploying a virtual appliance can come in handy when you need to install updates to Microsoft SQL Server.

Hyper-V R2's Live Migration feature continues to generate buzz among Windows shops. While Hyper-V's Quick Migration feature is quick, it's not instant, leaving many companies chomping at the bit for Hyper-V R2's Live Migration feature. But with features like Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) support for Jumbo Frames, Hyper-V R2 is about more than Live Migration.

Windows Headlines

Microsoft has made available a release candidate of Exchange Server 2010. The next generation of Exchange Server boasts rights-protected email functionality with Active Directory RMS and new transport and routing features, among other things.

The first CTP of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 is now available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers and previews new features such as application and multi-server management.

Microsoft Office 2010 is on the horizon, and even though there are no public betas as of yet, we are still getting a steady flow of information regarding it.

This was first published in August 2009

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