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The Role of Microsoft Hyper-V for Virtualization in Windows Server 2008


Microsoft Hyper-V (or Windows Server Virtualization) is a hypervisor-based virtualization system for x64 systems. A beta version of HyperV is included in the x64 editions of Windows Server 2008. A big attraction with Hyper-V is that it is built-in to Windows Server 2008. reducing the expenses considerably, straight away.

Microsoft describes the Hyper-V architecture as ‘micro-kernelised’, which enables it to minimize the footprint of the core Hyper-V code, while still delivering a rich set of features.

Hyper-V includes a hypervisor which is a very thin software layer, less than 1 megabyte in size. This separates the processor from the parent and child partitions. The hypervisor supports all the partitions on the host computer and also provides strong security separation between the parent and child partitions.

More information about the architecture of Hyper-V can be obtained from the last reference link that is mentioned in this article.

Table of Contents

  1. System Requirements
  2. Prerequisite
  3. How to enable HyperV role in Windows Server 2008
  4. How to create and set up a virtual machine
  5. Guest OS Installation
  6. Conclusion

1. System Requirements

1.1. Production and Testing Environment

Processor:

An x64 processor with Hardware-assisted Virtualization. This is available in processors that includes a virtualization option; specifically, Intel VT or AMD Virtualization.

Hardware Data Execution Protection (DEP) must be available and should be enabled. To be exact, you must enable Intel XD bit (execute disable bit) or AMD NX bit (no execute bit).

Recommended : 2 GHz or Faster
Memory:
Minimum: 1 GB RAM;
Recommended: 2+ GB RAM

Maximum (for 64-bit systems): 32 GB
Available Disk Space
Minimum: 10 GB;
Recommended: 40 GB or greater

Note: Computers with more than 16 GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation and dump files.

Network Adapters:
Minimum: 1;
Recommended: 2 or more

The actual requirements can vary, based on your system configuration and the number of virtual machines that you choose to run. Processor performance is dependent upon the clock frequency of the processor as well as on the number of cores and the size of the processor cache. Disk space requirements for the system partitions are approximate.

You can gather more details about the requirements of Hyper-V at: http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/system-requirements.mspx

The following table outlines which Hyper-V-enabled product would suit your needs:

Virtualization NeedsMicrosoft Hyper-V Server 2008Windows Server 2008 StandardWindows Server 2008 EnterpriseWindows Server 2008 Datacenter
Server Consolidation
Test and Development
Mixed OS Virtualization(Linux and Windows)
Local Graphical User Interface
High Availability – Clustering
Quick Migration
Large Memory Support(Host OS) > 32 GB RAM
Support for > 4 Processors(Host OS)
Ability to Add Additional Server Roles
Guest Virtualization Rights Included in Host Server LicenseNone – Each Windows Guest VM Requires a License1 Physical + 1 VM*1 Physical + 4 VMs*1 Physical + Unlimited VMs(Free)

2. Prerequisite

In order to install the Hyper-V, you need to make sure of the following:

1. The Processor must be VT (Virtualization Technology) enabled.
2. The Operating system must be Windows Server 2008.

You can verify whether your processor has the VT function using the following steps:

  1. “Start -> Run -> dxdiag”. From the General tab you can check the details of processor.
  2. If the processor is “Intel® Core2 Quad processor (Q9300)”, then you can check out its functions at:
    http://www.intel.com/support/processors/tools/piu/
  3. The VT function is available for this processor “Intel® Core2 Quad processor (Q9300)”.
  4. You need to enable VT via BIOS too.

2.1. How to enable processor-VT via BIOS:

You have to do the following to enable processor-VT via BIOS.

Advance Settings > Processor Options > Intel Virtualization Technology (in this case)> Enable > Save Setting.

You must also enable Hardware Data Execution Protection (DEP).

In case you enabled VT (Virtualization Technology) after the OS installation (Windows 2008) or forgot to do so, then the installation of Hyper-V role will throw an error message which says that Hypervisor couldn’t be loaded or initiated.

If it is found to be disabled, you need to enable it using the steps mentioned above and then perform an OS reload to make sure that it is working with VT enabled version. Note that Hyper-V will work with Windows 2008, only after enabling VT.

3. How to enable HyperV role in Windows Server 2008

  1. Click Start -> Server Manager ->
  2. In the Roles Summary area of Server Manager, click “Add Roles”.
  3. On the “Select Server Roles” page, click Hyper-V.
  4. On the “Create Virtual Networks” page, click one or more network adapters, if you want to make the network connection available to virtual machines.
  5. On the “Confirm Installation Selections” page, click Install.
  6. In order to complete the installation, you need to restart the computer.
    Click “Close” to quit the wizard, and then click “Yes” to restart the computer.
  7. After the computer is restarted, log on to the same account that you used to install the role.
    After the “Resume Configuration Wizard” completes the installation, click Close to quit the wizard.
A big attraction with Hyper-V is that it is built-in to Windows Server 2008. reducing the expenses considerably, straight away.

4. How to create and set up a Virtual Machine

After you installed Hyper-V, you can use the steps below to create a virtual machine and set up an operating system on the virtual machine.

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager (Click Start -> Administrative Tools -> Hyper-V Manager).
  2. From the Action panel -> New -> Virtual Machine.
  3. From the “New Virtual Machine” Wizard, click Next.
  4. On the “Specify Name and Location” page, specify the name for the virtual machine and where you want to store it.
  5. On the “Memory” page, specify the required memory to run the guest operating system which you want to use on the virtual machine.
  6. On the “Networking” page, connect the network adapter to an existing virtual network, if you want to establish network connectivity at this point.
  7. On the “Connect Virtual Hard Disk” page, specify a name, location and size to create a virtual hard disk and then install an operating system on it.
  8. On the “Installation Options” page, choose the method that you want to use to install the operating system.
  9. Click Finish.

Here are the short cut commands to get into the Management console:

Microsoft Hyper-V-Image Management Service - vhdsvc
Microsoft Hyper-V-Networking Management - nvspwmi
Virtual Machine Management - vmms

5. Hyper-V Supported Guest OS

You can see the list of Hyper-V Supported Guest OS at the link : http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/hyperv-supported-guest-os.aspx

The installation of FreeBSD (as Guest OS) also worked fine for me.

Other guest operating systems such as Ubuntu Linux 6.06/6.10/7.10 or Fedora 8/9 are not supported, though they have been reported to run. The Installation guide links are added in the reference section.

You can download and install the guest OS from the following sources:

  • Free BSD source: ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/snapshots/200806

Follow the steps below:

  1. Create a new Virtual Machine using Hyper-V.
  2. Remove the default network card that is added by the wizard.
  3. Add hardware and chose Legacy network adapter.
  4. Start the machine and “mount” ISO image to start booting FreeBSD.
  5. Modify the parameters as per your requirements.

Likewise, you can install Linux distribution as well as Windows in a HyperV role enabled Windows server 2008. You can install the Windows Guest OS by downloading the ISO image of it.

6. Conclusion

The biggest criticism Hyper-V receives is that:

  • It doesn’t do “Live Migration”, that is, moving a Virtual Machine (VM) from one server to another without any downtime.
  • Hyper-V’s “Quick Migration” gives only a few seconds downtime until everything is back as it was before.

Advantages & Disadvantages:

  1. Server Virtualization allows your client to run multiple servers on one physical computer, which renders into more efficient use of resources.
  2. As it is included with Windows Server 2008, the license cost is less than VMware.
  3. However, Hyper-V is still on Version 1.0 and this makes it hard to predict how good it is.
  4. Hyper-V comes with just the basic management software. Further Advanced systems may need the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager. HyperV management software has less options as compared to the Virtual Machine Manager.

References:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=950050
http://store.manojlovic.net/articles/FreeBSD%20on%20Hyper-V.pdf
http://connect.microsoft.com/directory/
http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2007/12/31/installing-fedora-core-8-on-hyper-v.aspx
http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/gabeknuth/archive/2008/03/11/microsoft-windows-server-2008-hyper-v-solution-overview.aspx


About the Author

Joseph Symon has been with Bobcares for more than two years. He has marked his presence in the company through his contributions towards enriching the knowledge level in the company. He is a Linux expert, and specializes in installing and configuring systems and customizing them for specific needs. Joseph is highly passionate about learning new technologies.



Bobcares
Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.
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