Windows 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 includes several new enhancements, it also introduces two important new features for customers using the Windows Server virtualization stack, the very good feature in SP1 is Dynamic Memory which is the subject for this post.
Dynamic Memory is a new feature within Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. It allows customers to achieve increased density when they’re either consolidating physical servers into a virtual realm or deploying a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), providing them with predictable performance and linear scalability. With Dynamic Memory, IT administrators are able to pool available memory on a physical host and then dynamically make that memory available to virtual machines running on the host, based on current workload needs in the virtual machines.
Windows 2008 R2 SP1 is RC (Release Candidate) is available for download now http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/trial-software.aspx, in the same Microsoft Page you can find Dynamic Memory Technical Overview whitepaper which I used as a reference for Dynamic Memory Configuration steps.
The good point in Windows 2008 R2 SP1 is that you can start using it in your LAB test environment to enhance your LAB environment using this powerful feature, and later when SP1 RTM version be available then you can replace RC version with RTM version,
Simply to start evaluating Windows 2008 R2 SP1 Dynamic Memory feature in your LAB testing virtual environment you need to download and install Windows 2008 R2 SP1 “the available version RC or later RTM” on Windows 2008 R2 Host and one of Windows 7 Virtual Machines and in Hyper-V enable Dynamic memory Support on your Virtual Machine as the following:
1. Start Hyper-V Manager.
2. In Hyper-V Manager, select one of the Virtual Machines (for example one of Windows 7 virtual machines) and in the Actions pane click Settings.
3. In the navigation pane, under the Hardware section, click Memory.
4. In the properties pane, click Dynamic.
5. In Startup RAM, type 512.
6. In Maximum RAM, type 3192.
The Dynamic Memory settings are configured as show in the following figure
7. In the virtual machine settings dialog box, click OK.
Then start evaluating Dynamic Memory User Experience as the following:
1. Connect to the Virtual machine running Windows 7 SP1 using Hyper-V Manager.
2. Start the Virtual Machine running Windows 7 SP1.
3. Log on using an account that is a member of local Administrator group on Windows 7 SP1.
4. Start Task Manager.
5. On the Performance tab, view the amount of memory currently available to Windows 7 SP1.
Tip: The total amount of available memory is displayed in Total under the Physical Memory (MB) section.
The amount of memory is close to the 512 MB value specified for Startup RAM in the virtual machine settings, as illustrated in the following figure.
6. Start Calculator.
7. Start Paint.
8. Start WordPad.
9. Start Windows Explorer.
10. Start XPS Viewer.
11. Start Command Prompt.
12. Start Windows Media Player.
13. Start Windows Update.
14. Start Computer Management.
15. Minimize all programs except Task Manager.
16. In Task Manager, on the performance tab, view the amount of memory currently available to Windows 7 SP1.
The amount of memory available is now larger than the 512 MB value specified for Startup RAM in the virtual machine settings, as illustrated in the following figure.
In summary, the Dynamic Memory feature in Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 allows Windows 7 SP1 and applications running in virtual machines to dynamically allocate memory on demand. The starting amount of memory and the maximum amount of memory allocated to a virtual machine can be configured on a per virtual machine basis, allowing granular control over memory allocation for all virtual machines, and for sure you can start using this excellent feature from now on your test LAB virtual environment.