Lot's of interest at our IT Camp Events on using Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 with Hyper-V Server Virtualization.  Here's the key take-aways:

  • The Hyper-V server virtualization role is not available on Small Business Server 2011 Essentials or Standard Editions
  • The Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on does support the Hyper-V role when installing Hyper-V on the separate Windows Server 2008 R2 licensed server instance that is included with this add-on
  • Small Business Server 2011 is fully supported running in a Hyper-V client virtual machine … aka you can safely virtualize SBS 2011 in a client VM that is running on a Hyper-V host.

So, how can you better leverage Hyper-V if you only have the Essentials or Standard editions and want to play with Server Virtualization?  The answer is: Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 … and, better yet, it's FREE!  Here's the 10 steps to try for yourself:

  1. Backup and verify the backup of your existing SBS 2011 physical server - we won't be making any intended changes to this server, but it's always good form to backup before any migration
  2. Download the FREE version of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 to use as your new Hyper-V host.  This will permit you to virtualize SBS in a client VM on a new Hyper-V host side-by-side with other client VMs.
  3. Install Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 on a new 64-bit, virtualization-capable hardware platform using these steps (See hardware requirements here)
  4. Enable Remote Server management on your new Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 host using these steps
  5. Install the Hyper-V Remote Server Management Tools on your administrator workstation so that you can manage Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 remotely from your workstation.
  6. Configure at least one virtual network on your new Hyper-V host using these steps
  7. Use the FREE Disk2VHD tool to copy each of your existing SBS 2011 volumes to virtual hard disk (VHD) files.  Copy these files to your new Hyper-V host.
  8. Create a new child virtual machine in Hyper-V Manager using the VHD files you created with Disk2VHD.
  9. Shutdown your old SBS 2011 physical server and disconnect it from the network to prevent IP and network name conflicts from occurring.
  10. Start your new VM in Hyper-V Manager and install Hyper-V integration services

That's it!  Now, just test logging in and accessing your new virtualized SBS 2011 server, and, if successful, wipe and re-use the old physical server box for something else!