Microsoft Hyper-V: Virtualization

Virtualization is a hot topic (as Partridge would say) and Hyper-V is the new kid on the block. He’s not quite as big as the other lads nor quite as mature-but he’s handy where it counts and is constantly working out until he can take them all!

Their entry into the Virtual world wasn’t the smoothest (delays on release dates, missing features etc) but ever since Codename “Viridian” was announced-people have been talking and wondering how much of a difference it would make. Yes it was a little late coming out and it wasn’t quite what we were expecting feature wise, but it’s still a damn good product that has already, in just a few short months, shaken up the industry in a way that only the Redmond Giant can.

Here @ Bechtle, we’d gone down the VMWare route and trained up our guys (sales & technical) to push VMWare to those people looking at virtualising their infrastructure. We were doing well, generating interest and making sales..but how that Hyper-V is here, I’m hearing a lot more excitement when I talk to customers.

The big attraction with Microsoft Hyper-V is that it is built in to Windows Server 2008, reducing your outlay substantially straight away. It’s a Microsoft product so it’s familiar to the vast majority of IT techs out there today, it’s easy to use and it’s full of great features.

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 at all..and it’s true, it doesn’t. However Hyper-V’s “Quick Migration” gives only a few seconds downtime until everything is back as it was before. I understand that for some organisations (namely Fortune 500’s, large finance etc) even a few seconds downtime is too long and for now, until Hyper-V R2(?) is released, VMWare should be their product of choice.

However, for all those customers who don’t require 100% uptime I’d seriously suggest looking at Hyper-V when you implement Virtualisation. I’ve put together a number of Hyper-V proposals, some on their own and some to compete with VMWare, and people are very happy with what is on offer.

Microsoft have a ton of great info available online and a good starting point is:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/hyperv-overview.aspx

If you want to take a look at Hyper-V in a trial environment, then head over to:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/trial-software.aspx

You can get Windows Server 2008 trials and the Hyper-V add-in. There are a couple of extra requirements on top of those for running Win Svr 2008, these are:

  • A 64-bit system with hardware-assisted virtualization enabled and data execution prevention (DEP) is required.
  • It is also recommended to ensure that you have a clean install of x64 edition of Windows Server 2008 to be able to use the Hyper-V technology.

Microsoft’s other key weapon is their System Center Management family, particularly Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) which I think is worthy of a separate post-so keep your eyes open!

Cheers

Rich

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