One of my early posts on this blog went into detail about value of Hyper-V, and the ability to easily backup and recover servers in new and inexpensive ways. I explained that encapsulating all sorts of (even non-Windows) operating systems in Hyper-V enables backup snapshots of running systems at no additional cost.
In another post, I touched on one of Microsoft’s open source contributions last year – the Hyper-V device driver code (Integration Services) for Linux. The Integration Services code gives Linux VMs significantly improved storage and networking performance. It’s exciting to see this code appearing in an easy to use fashion as part of Linux. While not all of the capabilities of the newest (2.1) version of the Integration Services have made it into supported, commercial Linux distributions (SUSE and Red Hat), there’s great sustained progress. The version 2.1 Integration Services are currently a beta download from the Microsoft Connect site.
What’s so great about the new Integration Services, and why did I mention backups? Taking a snapshot of a Linux virtual machine works great on Hyper-V, but unlike snapshotting a properly configured Windows VM, the Linux instance is briefly “frozen” (like a TV dinner) while its memory contents are saved to disk. When the Linux VM “thaws” the clock in the VM isn’t aware of the seconds that ticked away while it was in a trance, and it’s clock may be out of sync. Before version 2.1 of the Integration Services, time synchronization might have required correction via NTP, but the new release includes (among other awesome things) code to synchronize the Linux VM clock to Hyper-V.
Version 2.1 also includes Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) support for Linux VMs (for up to 4 virtual CPUs per virtual machine) as well as code to coordinate shutdown requests from Hyper-V. Continuing to enhance Windows Server, Hyper-V, and System Center to host, manage, and monitor virtual machines of all kinds is the goal.
Old or new, Windows or not – reducing the complexity and cost of infrastructure while improving the service provided is what makes cents!