Learning Guide

Microsoft Hyper-V R2 Management Tutorial

Back in the mid-2000s, Microsoft’s primary entry in the server virtualization space was Virtual Server 2005, the company’s initial product for creating virtual machines on the Windows platform.

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Then in February 2008, Microsoft entered the hypervisor market with the release of Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V, an enhanced technology designed to add an additional virtualization layer for running and managing multiple VMs.

Not only was the release a major shift in the company’s virtualization strategy, it was also the beginning of Microsoft’s push toward becoming an “affordable” hypervisor alternative to industry leader VMware. Despite the buildup, however, Hyper-V originally received resistance from some admins and critics who were turned off by what was thought to be a lacking feature set.

In late 2009, Microsoft revamped the product and came back with an updated version of Hyper-V for Windows Server 2008 R2. The release was generally considered a significant upgrade due to features like Live Migration and enhanced cluster awareness, with some noting that Microsoft was finally ready to go “head to head” with VMware. Other critics continue to cast doubt, however, arguing that Hyper-V R2 still lacks the overall feature set of its competitors.

The real question, however, is whether or not Hyper-V is right for your organization. This guide will let you decide for yourself. Here, you’ll find a breakdown of all things Hyper-V, including feature comparisons, the latest news and tips for deploying and managing your Hyper-V virtual environment.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Essentials | News and analysis | Deployment and management

 

HYPER-V ESSENTIALS

Hyper-V evolves in Windows Server 2008 R2
While the version one release of Hyper-V received plenty of attention, many were waiting in the wings for Windows Server 2008 R2 and its enhanced virtualization features, including Live Migration and Cluster Shared Volumes.

Understanding Hyper-V pricing and licensing
Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization platform may be technically free, but a closer look reveals a pricing scheme that can be confusing to even the most practiced IT professionals. Find out what management costs factor into your Hyper-V investment in this tip.

Getting started with Live Migration in Hyper-V R2
Live Migration in Hyper-V R2 allows admins to relocate virtual machine across hosts with zero downtime -- a far cry from the Quick Migration technology that originally shipped with Hyper-V.

The perks of Cluster Shared Volumes in Hyper-V R2
Reduced complexity, storage space and cost are just a few of the benefits that come with Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV), another new feature for Hyper-V R2.

Virtual memory allocation with Hyper-V Dynamic Memory
Microsoft designed Hyper-V Dynamic Memory -- a new feature for Hyper-V R2 SP1 -- to give admins more control over how memory is allocated across virtual machines.

What is Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2?
While Hyper-V is best known as a component of Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft also offers a free standalone version that’s similar to the company’s Server Core installation for Windows.

 

HYPER-V NEWS AND ANALYSIS

Hyper-V R2 release fuels virtualization war
The virtualization battle heated up when Microsoft released Hyper-V R2 in October 2010. So how does the latest version really stack up against VMware vSphere?

VMware, Microsoft pricing ruffles some feathers
The cost debate between Hyper-V and VMware has left some IT pros baffled over which platform truly offers organizations the best bang for their buck.

Hyper-V, vSphere and XenServer: Which reigns supreme?
While VMware remains the market leader, Hyper-V R2, vSphere and Citrix XenServer 5.5 all bring something different to the virtualization table. Expert Rick Vanover breaks down the pros and cons of each platform.

Microsoft Dynamic Memory rivals Citrix, not VMware
Virtualization expert Mike Laverick writes that comparing Hyper-V Dynamic Memory and VMware memory overcommit is like comparing apples to oranges -- especially when you add XenServer to the mix.

Weighing Hyper-V R2 Dynamic Memory for VDI
Dynamic Memory may be the baron of Hyper-V R2 memory management, but moving your VDI environment to Hyper-V has a few extra caveats to be aware of.

Hyper-V R2 boosts VM support for Windows 7
Not long before the release of service pack 1, Microsoft announced that Hyper-V R2 would soon increase support for Windows 7 virtual machines per logical processor -- not to be confused with VMs per core.

Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 extends Hyper-V capabilities
The first service pack for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 includes updates that move in lockstep with new Hyper-V features like Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX.

Inside the Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud
Using Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V technology, Microsoft has developed the Hyper-V Cloud for Windows Azure in an effort to link business and technology in the private cloud.

 

HYPER-V DEPLOYMENT AND MANAGEMENT

Key considerations for Hyper-V virtual machine deployments
Admins can make for a smooth Hyper-V deployment by keeping an eye on virtualization needs, such as processor, memory and storage requirements.

Common missteps when deploying Hyper-V virtual machines
When deploying Hyper-V, knowing the dos is only half the battle. Becoming familiar with some of the don’ts is just as important when looking to avoid mistakes before they occur.

Microsoft Hyper-V installation security measures
Hyper-V virtualization calls for its own set of security measures in order to reduce the attack surface that comes with a virtual machine deployment. IT consultant Eric Beehler explains how to lock down your installation from the beginning.

Provisioning for success with Hyper-V deployments
Virtual machine sprawl is one of the biggest threats to Hyper-V deployments, but proper visibility can keep you in tune with your virtual environment.

Working with Hyper-V high-availability clusters
High availability clusters in Hyper-V are key to reducing server downtime in production environments, making it critical for admins to know how to manage cluster servers effectively.

Building a support team in a Hyper-V environment
Understanding the technical aspects of a virtual environment is all well and good, but have you thought about how the addition of Hyper-V R2 affects your support staff?

Disaster recovery planning with Microsoft Hyper-V
When it comes to disaster recovery, there are several options and scenarios to keep in mind with Hyper-V (depending on your recovery requirements).

How to shape your virtual network through VLAN configuration
VLANs can be a key piece of the performance puzzle in a Hyper-V environment that if configured incorrectly, can put your virtual machine hosts at risk. Eric Beehler discusses how to manage your virtual network in this tip.

Should you run Microsoft Hyper-V on Server Core?
Server Core is a no-frills installation option for Windows Server 2008 that can be a great fit for Hyper-V virtualization, though the two are not a match in every situation.

Implementing Cluster Shared Volumes in Hyper-V R2
Cluster awareness brings new meaning to virtual machine storage in Microsoft Hyper-V R2, but an obscure setup can hinder the process. IT consultant and author Greg Shields discusses the steps you need to know for a successful CSV deployment.

Best practices for Dynamic Memory allocation with Hyper-V R2 SP1
The addition of Dynamic Memory to Hyper-V R2 is important on its own, but admins should also be aware of a few tips and tricks to get the most out of Microsoft’s new virtual memory allocation feature.

Must-have third-party tools for Microsoft Hyper-V R2
Hyper-V R2 management isn’t limited to Microsoft-based utilities. In fact, there are several third-party tools designed to enhance the management process for Hyper-V virtual environments.

For more on Microsoft Hyper-V visit SearchWindowsServer.com and SearchServerVirtualization.com.

You can follow SearchWindowsServer.com on Twitter @WindowsTT.


This was first published in February 2011

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