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The Hyper-V Primer – 20+ Days of Server Virtualization (Part 1 of 20)

The Hyper-V Primer – 20+ Days of Server Virtualization (Part 1 of 20)

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To kick off our series of “20+ Days of Server Virtualization” articles, I’m going to introduce you to Hyper-V

“Introduce?  It’s not new!”

True.  But even though many of you may have heard of Microsoft’s virtualization solution, you may not know much about it.  And so to start our series, a brief introduction and some related, useful resources to get you ready for the month are definitely worth sharing.  So let’s answer the following questions: What is Hyper-V?  How do I get Hyper-V?  Is it hard to use?  And then I’ll wrap up the article with some additional resource links.

 

WHAT IS IT HYPER-V?

Hyper-V is just a part of the full Microsoft virtualization solution.  It is the engine that supports running multiple virtualized installations of operating systems on top of a single physical operating system.  Hyper-V is a “microkernalized hypervisor”, which is fancy-talk for “it’s a very thin layer that runs underneath the installed operating system”, to support many “machines” (including the main OS) running on and sharing the resources of the hardware.  Even though your Windows Server 2012 or even Windows 8 with Hyper-V enabled is installed on hardware, virtualization is actually even supporting that main operating system as what is known as the “Parent (or Root) Partition”; still running on top of virtualization, but having higher-priority than the “child partitions” that are the virtualized machines. 

Here’s a detailed Hyper-V Architecture diagram showing this relationship between the hardware and the partitioning involved:

Hyper-V architecture overview

For an explanation of other aspects of this architecture, please refer to this document: Hyper-V Architecture

So in summary – Hyper-V is fast and efficient, and imposes minimal overhead in how the hardware is used to efficiently run all of the machines at the same time and on the same shared hardware.

 

HOW DO I GET HYPER-V?

The latest version of Hyper-V is included with Windows Server 2012; both Standard and Datacenter editions.  It comes as a FREE hypervisor in the form of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012.  And finally, it’s also included for enabling on Windows 8 Professional and Enterprise editions (64-bit only).  Click here for an overview and an explanation of the hardware requirements.

“Ah.. you say there’s a free version of Hyper-V?  Is that like Microsoft’s answer to the free ESXi server?”

Well.. yes, and no.  Yes, it’s a free platform for virtualization.  But unlike ESXi, there are no restrictions or limitations of functionality.  Everything that you can do and support with Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012, (Massive machine scale, Live Migration, Live Storage Migration, Windows Failover Clustering, Hyper-V Replication, etc.) are all fully supported exactly the same on the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server as they are on Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012.

 

IS IT HARD TO USE?

It’s actually quite easy.  Once installed, you will start out by using the Hyper-V Manager; which is the included management tool.  (This same tool is available for installation along with other Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) on workstations from where you’ll be doing remote management, such as your Windows 8 workstation.) 

Here’s a quick video showing you how easy it is to create and configure a new virtual machine using Hyper-V…

 

I recommend viewing this at the highest resolution, full-screen.

RESOURCES

Here are some links to other useful resources and information:

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I hope you found this useful!  Make sure you keep following this series for even more detail on some of what I’ve just barely touched on in this article.

  • Hey Kevin,

    Great Article.  Just want to add for those that are interested in Enabling Hyper-V on their Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 box I have a Hands-On-Lab to guide them through the steps at http://itproguru.com/hol. The particular hands on lab is "3.Install/Enable and Configure Hyper-V Getting Started"

    Here are the steps from that guide:

    1) Install Hyper-V

    a. In Server Manager click “Add roles and features”

    b. Before You Begin: Next

    c. Installation Type: “Roll-based feature-based installation”; click Next

    d. Server Selection: Click Next

    e. Server Roles: Click the checkbox next to Hyper-V ; In the popup, click Add Features ; Click Next

    f. Features; Enable Wireless LAN Service;  Click Next

    g. Hyper-V Click Next

    h. Hyper-V – Virtual Switches;  We will manually add the switch later; just click Next

    i. (if you do not have a network adapter listed that means you need to install a NIC driver; we can do that later)

    i. Migration click Next (we will enable this later)

    j. Default Stores; Click Next

    k. Confirmation: Turn on checkbox to “Restart destination server automatically if required” ; in the popup; click Yes to restart automatically; then click Install

    l. After Reboots, Login to server

    m. Click Close on Installation Progress Page (may take a min or two for the box to come up}

  • Good stuff, Dan!  Thanks for sharing that, my friend.

  • Can't wait to see the rest of the series. Thanks for putting this up.

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