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Hyper-V Tips of the Day

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Hey folks!  I know it is Friday afternoon, it is mid-May, and most of the country is hip-deep in the NHL playoffs, so I figure I will give you a lighter post… something that will stick in your mind, but with no ‘gotta test it, action items attacked’ sort of thing.

Hyper-V has come a long way since its introduction.  They have gotten to a position of parity with vSphere (its major competition), with a few unique features and a couple of missing features… but for the first time the Microsoft team is confident that their product is on a par.

As someone who has been around Hyper-V since the beginning, I always enjoy when I notice something that has been introduced quietly; not the big ones, like Storage Live Migration and Dynamic Memory that get all of the fanfare, but smaller things. Such as:

  • Hot-changing of many of the Virtual Machine settings, such as Name, Integration Services, and Automatic Start Actions; these are all things that can be changed on running virtual machines.
  • Hot-changing Memory & CPU Resources: With Dynamic Memory the Minimum RAM can be lowered and the Maximum RAM can be raised; the Memory Buffer and Memory Weight can both be changed on the fly as well.
  • Virtual Hard Drives can be added to an existing SCSI Controller – this is great for demonstrating Storage Spaces!
  • Virtual Switches (previously Virtual Networks) can be modified on the fly, and virtual machines can be connected or disconnected on the fly; in fact the only change that cannot be made to Virtual Switches is with SR-IOV, which can only be configured for a virtual switch when that switch is created.
  • Snapshots can be taken of virtual machines at any point, and those snapshots can be reverted or deleted at any time.  One huge improvement to this is that VHDs and AVHD files will merge on the fly, instead of having to wait until the virtual machine is shut down.

These are just some of the minor improvements that I have found in Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 (although it applies equally to Hyper-V Server 2012 and Hyper-V in Windows 8).  There are more of course, but in a nutshell we see real advantages here over previous versions.

No, we do not have hot-add memory and CPUs… I hope the team is working on that; but by enabling the adjustment (up and down) of Dynamic Memory we have made real strides, and adding to that the other improvements, it is worth downloading and installing right now!  You can deploy this in you lab and take advantage of the flexibility this technology can provide. Try it for yourself by downloading Windows Server 2012!

 

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