David U. asked this of us at our Saint Louis TechNet Event

“Free Hyper-V Server can be installed on bare metal.  Do I need Windows Server 2008 R2 plus Hyper-V running elsewhere to manage the Hyper-V Server, or is there another way I can manage that?”

Great question David.  Thanks!

Free Microsoft Hyper-V Server DownloadFor those of you not familiar with it, there is a FREE (yes, FREE) version of Hyper-V that you can download and install onto bare metal called Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.  This installs basically just as a small, efficient platform for Hyper-V virtualization.  To manage it, it’s best to do it from another computer using tools such as Hyper-V Manager and Server Manager.  So, part of the answer to your question is: No, it doesn’t require Hyper-V to be installed elsewhere.  Nor does it require you to manage it from a Windows Server 2008 R2 server.  You can just install the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) and use those to manage the Hyper-V Server either from a Server or from a Windows desktop.  See these TechNet articles for details on how to install the Hyper-V tools for remote administration, and how to remotely manage Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.

Another item you may not be aware of is that you can do much of the initial configuration right from the Hyper-V Server console.  Your user interface for Hyper-V server is basically two windows.  One is the basic commandline interface (very much like Windows Server 2008 R2 core installation).  The other is the updated Server Configuration Tool:

The Server Configuration tool is designed to simplify the most common configuration tasks. It helps you configure the initial settings without having to type command-line strings. In Hyper-V Server 2008, this utility is called Hyper-V Configuration Utility (HVConfig). In Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, this tool is called the Server Configuration tool (SConfig.cmd). It is included in Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and in the Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 R2. Two configuration options are available only when you run the Server Configuration tool on a server running Hyper-V Server 2008 R2:

  • An option to have the Server Configuration tool start automatically every time you log on to a computer running Hyper-V Server with the Administrator account
  • An option to configure failover clustering

On a related note – did you know that not only is Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 FREE, but it also includes support running as a node in a Hyper-V failover cluster, and as such can participate in the Live Migration of running virtual machines?

“Wait.. What?  A free virtualization platform that does that?  Do you have any idea how much that would cost us to do with VMware?”

Exactly…

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I hope that answers your question.  But if you have others, please feel free to put them in the comments.