Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate! (Free Live Migration/HA Anyone?)

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate! (Free Live Migration/HA Anyone?)

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Virtualization Nation,

The Virtualization team is pleased to announce the availability of the Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate for download. Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, our free standalone hypervisor, represents our continued commitment to providing high performance, hypervisor based virtualization for everyone, especially small and mid-market customers. This release underscores our customer focus by adding key new capabilities such as Live Migration and High Availability (and more.). The Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 Release Candidate is available here:

Free Live Migration and High Availability? Really?

A couple weeks ago, Zane Adam first blogged the news that Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 would include Live Migration and High Availability at no charge. The response from our customers was "AWESOME!! When is the final release?" :-) Understandably, the phone's been ringing off the hook, my inbox has been on overdrive and some folks in the blogosphere have been trying to imply <cough, cough, FUD> that there are some strings attached. So, I wanted to take a moment to provide more details about the upcoming Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 release and free Live Migration & High Availability.

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Availability

When Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 goes gold and is released to manufacturing (RTM) the bits will be available as a free download here:

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 will be available worldwide in 11 languages.

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 includes Live Migration and High Availability. Period. No Strings Attached.

Live Migration is a great solution for planned downtime such as servicing the underlying hardware like adding more memory, storage or applying a BIOS update. Simply Live Migrate the virtual machines to another server (without downtime) shutdown the physical server and perform the maintenance. When the maintenance is complete, Live Migrate the virtual machines back and your done.

High Availability is a great solution for unplanned downtime. For example, suppose someone accidentally unplugs the wrong power cable on a server. The virtual machine on the server that just unexpectedly went down will automatically restart on another node without any user intervention.

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 includes both these capabilities as well as our new Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) capabilities to simplify storage management and run multiple virtual machines from a single LUN.

Managing Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Live Migration and High Availability can be managed in a few different ways:

  1. Failover Cluster Manager/Hyper-V Manager from a Windows Server 2008 R2 Server OR,
  2. System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 OR,
  3. Using the FREELY (there's that word again) available Failover Cluster Manager/Hyper-V Manager for Windows 7.

So, as you can see, there are a few different options depending on your needs and option three gives you Live Migration and High Availability at zero cost.

BTW: If you decide to go with option #2 System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, you certainly can do a lot more such as:

  • Heterogeneous Virtualization Management
  • Rich PowerShell Support for Datacenter Automation
  • Maintenance mode
  • Virtual Machine Library Support
  • Templates, Clones, Sysprep Integration
  • Performance Resource Optimization (PRO)

.and a lot, lot more. But, I digress.

$$$ Comparison

Let's take a look at a few cluster configurations and compare costs for Live Migration and High Availability functionality.


Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

VMware vSphere

3 Node Cluster; 2 Socket Servers



3 Node Cluster; 4 Socket Servers



5 Node Cluster; 2 Socket Servers



5 Node Cluster; 4 Socket Servers



You may be wondering, "Did he choose the most expensive VMware configuration?" On the contrary, I chose the least expensive configuration ($2245 per processor) that offers both Live Migration and High Availability.

You may be wondering, "Why isn't System Center management represented here?"

In this example, I simply wanted to compare the lowest cost for Live Migration and High Availability functionality from Microsoft and VMware with some real world configurations that a small/medium business may use. I will post a follow-up blog that adds management for small/medium businesses. As for enterprise customers, they typically have larger server farms with more sophisticated management requirements. That's another blog for another time.

You may also be wondering, "Why isn't the cost of guest operating systems included here?"

Simple, neither Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 nor VMware include any guest operating system licenses so if you need to run 4 copies of Windows Server, you need to purchase the appropriate license. That cost is the same whether you're running Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 or VMware so I didn't bother to include it.

While VMware claims to be more affordable the facts are clear and the value of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is undeniable. Microsoft offers exceptional value especially for small and mid-market customers who have told us for years how they would like Live Migration/High Availability functionality and simply can't afford it.

Those days are over.

At this point 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.

Jeff Woolsey

Principal Group Program Manager

Windows Server, Hyper-V

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  • &#160; The Release Candidate (RC) is now available @ which

  • I have spent 20 years developing, writing and speaking about ROI as the appropriate tool for making intelligent IT platform decisions.  TCO is inadequate because it fails to consider the context of the overall savings realized.  Such is the case here.  When organizations successfully virtualize their data centers, they are typically able to save hundreds of thousands, millions or tens of millions (depending upon the size of the environment).  Moreover, because the bulk of virtualization cost is absorbed up-front in terms of hardware (servers/storage), consulting and training – the marginal ROI that results as an organization virtualizes closer to 100% of its data center is even higher.

    The enormous savings at stake make it imperative that an organization considering virtualization should evaluate its overall projected savings/cost avoidance versus the overall costs to achieve those savings.  Data center virtualization typically enables a truly amazing reduction in costs relative to the investment, resulting in payback periods commonly less than 12 months.  And these savings/cost avoidances are not the type of reduced risk or increased agility type of ROI commonly touted.  While virtualization certainly includes these benefits, we’re talking about only very hard savings of hardware, data center space and power that the CFO will validate and sign off on.  When calculating ROIs for our clients, we don’t even bother to quantify the large reduction in IT staff time required, because this figure is a little more fuzzy and can therefore lead to skepticism.  Besides, there is no need – the other savings are compelling enough on their own.

    The first step to a successful virtualization project is therefore to calculate an ROI for which we only need a general idea of the investment in order to get an acceptable order of magnitude for the ratio.  Assuming the numbers overwhelmingly justify an enterprise virtualization deployment, the optimal platform (HW/SW) for successfully enabling the virtualization project can then be evaluated.  While the comparative cost of any specific solution component can be a factor, much more important is its ability to facilitate the overall goal of 100% virtualization with the required performance, reliability, scaleability and manageability.  

    A lot has been written about the superior capabilities of ESX to any other virtualization platform in these areas including features such as Storage vMotion, DRS, Distributed Power Management, etc.  Even Redmond Magazine, “The Independent Voice of the Microsoft IT Community” gave its 2008 Editors Choice award for the most reliable IT technology to VMware ESX (the IBM mainframe came in #2).  Now vSphere takes these capabilities up a level with new features such as Fault Tolerance, vmSafe, storage thin provisioning and around 150 more.  And the enhanced performance capabilities of vSphere mean that even the largest workloads can now run as fast or faster as virtual machines.

    One of the major inhibitors to organizations virtualizing their data centers today has been the lack of networking support within any virtualization hypervisor.  This becomes even more important in facilitating a seamless cloud computing strategy.  vSphere includes the vNetwork Distributed Switch enabling QOS and the application of security and network policies that follow virtual machines as they migrate across hosts.  By adding the Cisco Nexus 1000v (which only works with vSphere), network administrators can use the same Cisco command line tools in the same way they manage physical switches.

    The competition to VMware vSphere isn’t Hyper-V or any other hypervisor, it’s inertia.  By not virtualizing, organizations continue to purchase servers, network and SAN ports, rack space, power and cooling, UPS and generator slices, cable runs, etc.  It makes far more sense for an organization to virtualize today with the best platform available and achieve what is likely to be an amazingly short payback on the investment while also reducing IT staffing requirements.

    Since I’ve covered the ROI, I do want to bring a TCO item you highlighted. You say that you leave the cost of the guest OS out of your calculations because, “That cost is the same whether you're running Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 or VMware so I didn't bother to include it.”  This is silly – if we’re running a Linux VM on vSphere, we obviously, as opposed to Hyper-V, do not require a copy of Windows Server.  

    Finally, even when evaluating Hyper-V and vSphere on a TCO comparative basis, we still need to consider the context of the overall cost requirements for each.  We estimate that Hyper-V will require twice the number of servers as vSphere to handle a similar number of virtual machines (Microsoft and VMware’s recent documents reflect this ratio today for the organizations’ internal virtualization projects).  This means a requirement not only for twice as many hosts, but also more rack space, network ports, SAN ports, maintenance contracts, generator and UPS slices, etc.  Additionally, Gartner says that it now costs more to power and cool a server than it costs to purchase the machine itself.  So when factoring in all of the additional costs that v-Sphere requires up front, it doesn’t even compare favorably on an isolated TCO basis.

  • Today the Windows Virtualization Team , Blogged the availability of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

  • Here’s another FYI that may not be System Center Virtual Machine Manager specific but it’s probably something

  • いやはや、次から次へと。。 Japan Windows Server : H...

  • Read this great post from Jeff Woolsey Principal Group Program Manager from Microsoft Virtualization

  • Neben dem Windows Server 2008 R2 RC und einer neuen Version der Rolle Hyper-V ist jetzt auch die kostenfreie

  • Virtualization Nation, I prefer to spend my time talking about the great things we're doing with Hyper-V

  • I believe VMWare will file a lawsuit for Microsoft bundling virtualization platform with Windows, just like what happened in the case of IE and EU's hopeless reasoning.

  • Jeff Woolsey:I prefer to spend my time talking about the great things we&#39;re doing with Hyper-V and Microsoft virtualization. We have a lot of very happy customers today with Hyper-V R1 and the upcoming R2 release delivers even more in terms of scalability,

  • Virtualization Nation, For those of you who have been following the "VMware FUD Fiasco" blog thread (

  • Microsoft has been promising Enterprise-grade virtualization platform for quite some time while VmWare has bee busy delivering.

    No doubt the SMB market, along with certain firms lured by the "Free" tag will bite and stake their reputations and infrastructure on Hyper-V.   But they will painfully find out that not only is Enterprise Hyper-V NOT free, but woefully inadequate when compared to VmWare comprehensive virtualization suite.

    As the Virtualization architect of a revenue-generating data center, I will only take a look at Hyper-V when it demonstrates an Enterprise ready product for a few years.  After all, that's exactly the kind of track record VmWare built their reputation on.

    Some things are worth paying for...

  • How do I get the book, buy, because I have knowledge in virtualization but I doubt many here in Brazil and still not found the book. If I could give reliable which site or send me e-mail where I can buy I thank.


    Leandro Machado

  • Meu email e