May, 2009

  • Microsoft Virtualization: Windows XP Mode for Windows 7

    If you are read my last Blog post, you are all aware that Microsoft has just released Windows 7 RC for TechNet and MSDN subscribers, and it will be available for general public on May 5th 2009.

    Microsoft Virtualization Team today introduced a new feature in Windows 7 where Windows XP Mode is a virtual Windows XP environment that customers of Windows 7 Pro, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise can use to run older Windows XP applications with virtualization technologies such as Windows Virtual PC.

    And now Windows XPM and Virtual PC will be new features of Windows 7.

    Windows 7 Pro provides Windows XP Mode to run many older Windows XP productivity applications.  With Windows Virtual PC, you can run Windows XP applications with a single click, directly from Windows 7 desktop.

    Hmm… Isn’t it same as MED-V?? 

    Well.. XPM is targeted for small businesses where there is no IT department.

    Businesses with IT Professionals can reduce the cost of deploying and managing Windows Virtual PCs by using Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) which is part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack.

    New Features of Virtual PC for XPM:

    Easy setup of Windows XP Mode – Once both the Windows Virtual PC and the virtual Windows XP environment are installed, Windows Virtual PC provides a simple wizard to setup the Windows XP Mode with just a few clicks. 

    USB Support - Users can access USB devices attached to Windows 7 directly from Windows XP Mode.  These devices include Printers and Scanners, Flash Memory/Sticks and External Hard Disks, Digital Cameras and more.

    Seamless Applications – Publish and Launch applications installed on Windows XP Mode directly from the Windows 7 desktop, as if they were installed on the Windows 7 itself.

    Folder Integration between Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode– Access your Windows 7 Known Folders:  My documents, Pictures, Desktop, Music, Video, from inside the virtual windows environment, such as Windows XP Mode

    Clipboard Sharing – Cut and paste between your Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode.

    Printer Redirection – Print directly to your attached printer from your Windows XP Mode applications either in application mode or desktop mode.

    So what is the system requirement to run Windows XP Mode?

    1. You will need to install Windows 7 release candidate 
    2. You need to have a PC with virtualization feature turned on in the CPU (e.g.  Intel-VT or AMD-V feature should be enabled on CPU through BIOS)

    You can download the Evaluation Guide of Virtual PC to setup XPM from here

    So for all those who have already downloaded Windows 7 RC from TechNet and MSDN sites, go ahead and evaluate this great feature while others will be able to do that after May 5th 2009 when Windows 7 RC releases for general public.

    And please do share your feedback and experience while evaluating XPM for Windows 7…

    And stay tuned for the lots of exciting news and revelation related to Microsoft Virtualization coming up.. ;-)

  • Hyper V RC: BIG BANG ANNOUNCEMENTs : 64LPS and Processor Compatibility Mode.

    clip_image001

    There is no end of road for Virtualization Team here in Microsoft for coming up with great features in Hyper V.

    So what's the BIG NEWS ??

    Microsoft Announces following two features now supported on Hyper V R2 which is included in the Windows Server 2008 R2 RC and Hyper V Server 2008 R2 RC released recently.

    1. 64 Logical Processor Support for Hyper-V R2!

    Very Soon we all be working with 8 Core processors in our servers increasing the Logical processor no. to 64 ( 8 Processors X 8 Cores ).  So now Microsoft Hyper V Supports 64 Logical processors, now you can consolidate more Virtual Machines on a single Host.

    Hyper V Evolution from 16 Logical Processor Support to 64 Logical Processor Support:

    • Server 2008 Hyper-V                                         16 LP Support
    • Server 2008 Hyper-V +update (KB95670)             24 LP Support
    • Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V Original POR                 32 LP Support
    • Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V RC/RTM                       64 LP Support!

    2. Processor Compatibility Mode for Live Migration!

    Why do we need Processor Compatibility mode??

    The OS and applications within a VM are exposed to the processor features on that server.  However, when the VM is quick/live migrated to another server, the destination server may have a processor with a different set of features.  An OS or application may try to execute CPU features that it discovered when it was started on source host but may not be present on the destination host - resulting in a failure. 

    Now You can do the live migration of Virtual Machines from one host to another in a cluster even if the processors features sets are different (But same Family Intel-Intel, AMD-AMD)

    So far we need to have identical processors on all the nodes in our cluster for Live Migration to work, but what if other node has different feature processor. Processor Compatibility Mode comes to rescue.

    When a VM is started with processor compatibility mode enabled, Hyper-V only exposes guest visible processor features that are available on all Hyper-V enabled processors of the same processor architecture, i.e. AMD or Intel.  This allows the VM to be migrated to any hardware platform of the same processor architecture.

    Note: You cannot do a Live Migration from Intel to AMD or vice versa. Processor family should be the same. :-)

    Note: Processor compatibility mode does not leverage Intel’s FlexMigration or AMD’s AMD-V Extended Migration technologies.  Processor compatibility mode has no dependencies on these technologies.

    VM’s processor compatibility mode is OFF by default.  It can be turned on by one of the two ways:

    Using Hyper-V Manager: from Hyper-V Manager, select CPU setting wizard of the VM.  Check a check-box labeled “Migrate to physical computer with a different processor version”.

    clip_image001[6]

    You can change this setting only when VM is not running.

    Using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 RC :  Releasing SOON

    This is just amazing, Hyper V Team is outperforming themselves over and over again. WAY TO GO TEAM!!!!

    Let me know your comments and feedback

  • Hyper V R2 : Enhancements Continues

     

    hyper-v-drink

    Hello Everybody,

    I just cant stop talking about never ending list of enhancements in recently released Server 2008 R2 RC, I'll continue the bandwagon with some of new functionalities in this release.

    If you have just joined the party, please look at the other enhancements i talked about earlier here, here and here

    Today I’ll communicate the message from our Windows Clustering Team here in Microsoft about Clustering enhancements in Server 2008 R2 from the Hyper V perspective.

    1. No Automatic Failover and Restart When VM is Shutdown: We have seen in BETA that if you shutdown a Virtual Machine in a Clustered environment through Hyper V Manager, Failover Cluster automatically restarts it on a different node, its a great feature and intended behavior of Failover clustering. But sometimes you may really want to shutdown your VM without having it restarted. Now its POSSIBLE with RC.

    Now, when you shut down a VM for Hyper-V Manager, the VM resource is marked as offline and Failover Clustering does not restart it.  This default behavior can be changed to mark the virtual machine resource as failed from the ‘Settings’ dialog of the virtual machine resource property in Failover cluster manager.  This change provides better control to enterprise administrator and provides more consistent behavior.

    2. VM Settings from Cluster Manager:

    Directly from the Failover Cluster Manager console, you can now make changes to VM settings.  When using the Failover Cluster Manager to change the VM settings, it will automatically refresh the VM’s configuration.  However, if you change the settings using Hyper-V manager, you still must select the VM in Cluster Manager and choose ‘more actions’  -> ‘Refresh virtual machine configuration’ to ensure that the configuration for the VM in the cluster is correct.

    For a clustered VM, changing the VM settings from Cluster Manager is the recommended way to manage configuration changes.  This will ensure the VM configuration is refreshed in the cluster.

    3. Live Migration default Network Order

    Now in RC, the default order of networks for live migration (LM) has been changed.  By default, Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and Clustering use a private network with the lowest value for Metric property.  To prevent CSV and Clustering from sharing the same network with live migration, the default network order used for live migration is changed so that a network with the lowest value for Metric property is at the bottom of the list of networks for live migration.  This will reduce the possibility of CSV, clustering, and live migration using the same network.  This helps ensure live migration speeds by placing live migration traffic in a separate network path.

    4. Auto Start

    With RC, we added a new capability called “Auto Start” to manage your cluster environment more efficiently.  “Auto Start” allows you to change the default VM failover behaviorIf the VM Auto Start option is set to ‘No’ when a cluster node fails, the VM will not automatically restart.

    The ‘Auto Start’ setting can be set as ‘No’ on a group of less important VMs (default value is yes).   This ensures that during a node failure, the more important VMs will start if there are limited resources on the remaining nodes.

    5. Connect to VM from Cluster Manager

    Now, from Failover Cluster Manager, you can ‘Connect…’ to the Virtual Machine like you can from Hyper-V Manager.  It doesn’t matter what node you are running Failover Cluster Manager on.  It can connect to any VM that is in the cluster.

    Note: If you modified the VM configuration from Hyper-V Manager or connected to the VM using “Connect…” started from Failover Clustering, you will need to refresh the VM configuration from Failover Clustering Manager.

    6. Multi-select in Cluster Manager

    When you select ‘Services and Applications’ or ‘Nodes’ view in the navigation pane of Failover Cluster Manager, the center pane will allow you to select more than one group and take actions.   For example, you can select a several VM’s and Turn them all off or Move them to another node.  This is very helpful when you are trying to move VMs off of a node in order to perform maintenance on that node. 

    Of course, don’t forget that if you are using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, you can use the new maintenance mode feature which will automatically coordinate the Live Migration of all VMs off of a single host.

    7. Actions for moving VMs in Cluster Manager

    Previously, there were 2 actions exposed for moving a VM in Failover Cluster Manager.  Now there are 3:

    1. Live Migrate virtual machine to another node: Will initiate live migration of the selected VM.                                                                                                                             2. Quick Migrate virtual machine(s) to another node: Will initiate a quick migration of all VMs in the same group.   Quick Migration puts the VMs into Saved state before moving them, then resumes them from saved state on the new node.

    3. Move virtual machine(s) to another node:  Will move the VMs using the Cluster-controlled offline action that is configured in the ‘Settings’ tab of the VM’s properties.  Possible Values are Save, Shutdown, Shutdown (forced), and Turn off.  The default is ‘Save’, which is effectively the same as a quick migration.  If a VM had this setting selected for ‘Shut down’, then the move action will cause the VM to shut down, move, then start on the new node.

    Great efforts by Hyper V and Clustering Team here in Microsoft. Just cant praise them enough.  Great work guys.. !!!

    And all you people who are evaluating Hyper V in Server 2008 R2 RC, go ahead and test these features, its already available to you..

    And as always, do leave your comments and feedback..

    I leave you with this Hyper V Video.. Have fun and Enjoy !!!!

  • Get Virtual NOW: FREE Hyper V Server 2008 R2 RC

     image 

    In addition to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 RC, Microsoft also announced the public availability of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 RC (the stand-alone Hypervisor based product) this week.

    Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 RC is a bare metal hyper Visor without the Operating System, and Its FREE download from Microsoft.com

    So what are the new features of Hyper V Server 2008 R2?

    Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 contains the same Virtualization enhancements as in Windows Server 2008 R2 RC.

    To name a few:

    • Failover Clustering:  Unlike the previous version, Failover Clustering in now inbuilt into Hyper V Server 2008 R2 RC to provide High Availability against unplanned downtime
    • Live migration: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 includes support for live migration. With Live Migration, you can migrate the Virtual Machines from one host to another in a cluster WITHOUT any downtime.
    • Processor and memory support: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 now supports up to 8-socket physical systems and provides support for up to 32-cores.  In addition, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 supports up to 1TB of RAM on a physical system
    • Updated Server Configuration Utility: The Server Configuration utility is designed to simplify the most common initial configuration tasks.  It helps you configure the initial configuration settings without having to type long command-line strings.  In Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, this utility was named Hyper-V Configuration Utility (HVConfig). Now, with the R2 release, this tool has been renamed Server

     Configuration Utility (SConfig) and is included with both Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Server Core.

    New configuration options have been added for R2 including:

    • Remote Management Configuration
    • Failover Clustering Configuration (Microsoft Hyper-V Server only)
    • Additional options for Updates

    So how its different from the previous Hyper V Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2?

    Here is the chart:-

    image

     

    So go ahead and download the Windows Hyper V Server 2008 R2 RC from here and GET VIRTUAL NOW and do let me know what you think..

  • Microsoft Envision : The Future

    Here is how Microsoft sees the FUTURE:

    Ian Sands, Director of Envisioning at Microsoft, steps through the video scene by scene and describes in greater depth the story behind the people and technology on display. 

    So what you think.. ?? ;-)

  • Microsoft Bing! : Search Redefined

    image 

    image

    Today, Microsoft announced a new avatar of its search engine – Bing. I’ve been playing around with Bing www.bing.com since morning, and what I liked is that it’s not just a search engine, but designed to help make decisions.

    In fact we are making a paradigm shift and calling it a ‘Decision Engine’ because of the way It empowers people to gain insight and knowledge from the Web, moving more quickly to making the important decisions.

    Its pretty cool! The new snazzy design will have a beautiful daily image on the homepage which will have hotspots embedded in it to let you explore the picture in detail

     clip_image002

    Try the Best Match feature that makes finding relevant information, by putting up front information like customer service numbers for retail sites, the ability to track a package right from the search page, deep links to common pages within the site and much more.

    It also has this cool explorer pane on the left that lets me easily get to related searches, past searches, news on the topic etc. It even has a quick tabs feature that anticipates my intent when searching. For example, when I’m searching for a favorite musician, it filters results by albums, biography, videos and images….amazing!

    Check out the Video and image search – it has these handy filtering tools that let me sort by size, color, style and much much more. In fact, when I search for videos, it even gives me a preview, when I simply hover over one!

    Bing launches globally on 3rd June and some of the features will roll out in India in the coming months. You must check it out at www.bing.com.  Check out this Tour Video to know what BING is all about..

    So Stop Searching… START BINGING… !!!! Releasing June 4th on a PC near you..

    www.bing.com

  • Hyper V Server 2008 R2: So what's new ????

    Read this great post from Jeff Woolsey Principal Group Program Manager from Microsoft Virtualization Team on Microsoft Official Virtualization Team Blog.

    And you know what attracts me more about that Post..

    you may be thinking we're crazy to provide virtualization live migration and high availability at no cost. Well, I wish we could say we were first, but the folks at Xen have been providing free Live Migration and HA for a few months. In fact, the only one still charging for Live Migration and High Availability ($2245+ per socket) is VMware.

    Now that's crazy

    Read the full post here

    And as always do send your comments…