Nice as Windows 7 client is, I’ve found myself feeling a more excited about Windows Server 2008 R2. Having banged on and on about how easy it is to set-up a cluster with Hyper-V on the original Server 2008, it turns out to be even easier. I’m trying to finish my Hyper-V library for PowerShell and the first few tests I’ve done show that everything coded for the original release works with R2. It’s one extra line in the PowerShell script to make a machine highly available (or two if you have to set up the cluster shared volume). And live migration just works. Actually I’ve got half a mind to suggest a change to the product team which is when the migration completes the management tool should play a fanfare. There should be more drama, more sense of achievement, but getting on with it in a low key way is Hyper-V’s style.

Which brings me to Hyper-V server R2 beta. I saw an e-mail saying we’d put out the beta out, but it’s been very low key. There is an overview document which you can download, and here are the major comparison points

Capabilities

Microsoft Hyper-V
Server 2008

Microsoft Hyper-V
Server 2008 R2

 

Number of Sockets licensed

Up to 4

Up to 8

 

Number of cores supported

24 (with QFE)

32

 

Maximum Memory

32 GB

1 TB

 

VM Migration

None

Quick and live migration

 

Manageable by SCVMM

Yes (SCVMM 2008)

Yes (SCVMM 2008 SP1)

 

Maximum running VM Guests supported

192,

256

 

You can see that R2 has feature parity with Enterprise editions of Windows Server, rather than Standard. That means 8 sockets and 1TB of memory, and clustering (with live migration, but no fanfare). In R2 we’re increasing the core count to 32 (either 8 x 4 Core chips or 4 x 8 core chips when they arrive) and the usual rule of maximum virtual processors = 8 x cores allows up to 256 uni-processor VMs on a 32 core machine

This document is the first place I’ve seen us say that there will be a service pack for SCVMM and R2 will need it. If our licensing remains unchanged you’ll be able to run VMs on Hyper-V server without needing a Windows CAL you won’t get any licences for instances of the server OS – but you’ll be able to assign a Windows Server Licence to the box and run something else as the virtualization layer. Yes, licensing creates daft anomalies but often fixing them is worse.

The beta itself is available for download here … I wonder if it supports boot from VHD like Windows Server 2008 R2 – that’s my preferred way to support multi booting and there’s only one way to find out.

Update. The installation seems to use the 6.0 version of Windows PE, which won’t mount a VHD to install it. I’ve got another post open about that.