Virtualization: Hyper-V Background

Amazing isn’t it !!

Throughout my career I’ve seen so many changes in the way deploy our systems, but when I first started working with virtualization technologies in 1999, specifically desktop virtualization and then server virtualization in 2004, it was one of the most exciting technology advancements I had ever seen up to that point in my career. I remember showing a colleague of mine a laptop running Windows XP and windows server 2003 as my development platform for infrastructure projects, and he agreed, it was in his terms “Blimey, thats the best thing that I’ve seen in IT for a long while”.

Moving ahead, current day, I will writing articles specifically on the platform that I am certified for, Microsoft Hyper-V and SCVMM.

Microsoft first added the Hyper-V hypervisor to Windows Server 2008 as an add-on via a Microsoft update. it was included in later release builds as standard. Wow! A hypervisor part of an operating system with High Availability when utilized with clusters. For Microsoft, this was a big step which was long awaited for in the industry. Windows 2008 R2 enhanced the functionality of the hypervisor to allow for additional, most welcomed improvements. Some of the core improvements introduced in R2 were:

1) Processor Architecture migration across the same family of processors.

2) Improvements in the performance of dynamic vhd’s (a 95% increase in performance)

3) The ability to specify a management network which would not be utilized for Virtual Machine Network Adaptors (the option is to share a network adapter if required)

4) Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV): the ability for multiple cluster nodes to access the same logical unit number in a SAN or Shared disk subsytsem – excellent for live migration

5) Live Migration: the capability to migrate a VM from one cluster node on the same cluster without any VM down time

Licensing

Microsoft allow 4 virtual machines running on Windows Server 2008/R2 Enterprise Edition. Basically you purchase the hardware, Operating System and can install up to 4 VM’s without requiring an additional OS license. How is that for saving money. Also, if you purchase Windows Server 2008/R2 DataCenter, you can run as many VM’s as you like on the platform. What a huge saving !

Maturity

The maturity of the hypervisor use to be something some people were concerned about. Personally I had no concerns simply because I had used Virtual Pc and Virtual Server 2005/R2 for several years before Hyper-V. In fact during my days as a Senior Consultant, I had a laptop running several VM,s for customer demos, personal training, and product development and testing. Prior to deploying solutions on customers sites, I was able to POC the environment on a fresh set of VM’s to ensure the solution was practical and sound from an architectural perspective. Nowadays there is no concern over hypevisor maturity, it’s without a doubt the way to go to build your datacenter.

What about certified hardware and software?

Microsoft have a very extensive Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program where vendors must conform to Microsoft’s certification rules. Ensure you visit the site when your purchasing the hardware for your Hyper-V environment to ensure it is an approved and certified hardware platform.

You can also visit this Microsoft KB to determine which Microsoft products can be installed in a virtualized environment.

I will be writing more articles and adding news flashes on Microsoft Hyper-V in the near future.

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