Monthly archives for September, 2011

Virtualization Career Training

UPDATE October 20th 2011: Here is a link to the video:

On Tuesday, October 4th Technical Evangelists Symon Perriman and Rick Claus are hosting an online conference on Virtualization Career Training with Microsoft Learning.  This half day virtual event (8am – 11am PST) will offer a Level 100 to 200 introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about Microsoft Virtualization and how it can help their career.  It is free and public so sign up for this warm-up for the Jump Start event on October 6th.

  • Module 1Technology: Learn about Microsoft’s virtualization technologies, how they work, and the future roadmap to the Cloud!
  • Module 2Career: Understand the importance of virtualization and Private Cloud, and how it can make or break an IT Professional’s career!
  • Module 3Certification: Get prepared for your next steps towards a virtualization career by understanding and preparing for the Microsoft 70-659 Technical Specialist exam, Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization.

Learn More:

Instructor Bios:



How to Boot from VHD with Windows 8 Developer Preview

I received a tweet from Jeffery Hicks that many of you want to know how I did the boot from VHD with Windows (Server/Client 8. Here we go!



Windows Server 8 Hyper-V new features

Too cool to ignore: reblog from WindowsITPro Michael Otey:

At the recent Windows Server Workshop at the Microsoft campus in Redmond Washington Jeff Woolsey, Principle Program Manager Lead for Windows Virtualization in the Windows Server and Cloud division presented the new features in the next version of their Hyper-V virtualization platform. In the introduction to the workshop Jeffery Snover, Distinguished Engineer and the Lead Architect for the Windows Server Division made the bold statement that with Microsoft it’s the third release is where Microsoft really gets it right and with regard to what Microsoft demonstrated in the next version of Hyper-V this is definitely true. The upcoming Hyper-V 3.0 release that’s included in the next version of Windows Server has closed the technology gap with VMware’s vSphere.

Hyper-V 3.0 Scalability

The days when Hyper-V lagged behind VMware in terms of scalability are a thing of the past. The new Hyper-V 3.0 meets or exceeds all of the scalability marks that were previously VMware-only territory. Hyper-V 3.0 hosts support up to 160 logical processors (where a logical processor is either a core or a hyperthread) and up to 2 TB RAM. On the VM guest side, Hyper-V 3.0 guests will support up to 32 virtual CPUs with up to 512 GB RAM per VM. More subtle changes include support for guest NUMA where the guest VM has processor and memory affinity with the Hyper-V host resources. NUMA support is important for ensuring scalability increases as the number of available host processors increase.

Multiple Concurrent Live Migration and Storage Live Migration

Perhaps more important than the sheer scalability enhancements are the changes in Live Migration and the introduction of Storage Live Migration. Live Migration was introduced in Hyper-V 2.0 which came out with Windows Server 2008 R2. While it filled an important hole in the Hyper-V feature set it wasn’t up to par with the VMotion capability provided in vSphere. Live Migration was limited to a single Live Migration at a time while ESX Server was capable of performing multiple simultaneous VMotions. In addition, vSphere supported a similar feature called Storage VMotion which allowed a VM’s storage to be moved to new locations without incurring any downtime. Hyper-V 3.0 erases both of these advantages. Hyper-V 3.0 supports multiple concurrent Live Migrations. There are no limits to the number of concurrent Live Migrations that can take place with Hyper-V 3.0. In addition, Hyper-V 3.0 also provides full support for Storage Live Migration where a virtual machine’s files ( the configuration, virtual disk and snapshot files) can be moved to different storage locations without any interruption of end user connectivity to the guest VM.

Microsoft also threw in one additional twist that vSphere has never had. Hyper-V 3.0 has the ability to perform Live Migration and Storage Live Migration without the requirement of a shared storage on the backend. The removal of this requirement really helps bring the availability advantages of Live Migration to small and medium sized businesses that came afford a SAN or don’t want to deal with the complexities of a SAN. The ability to perform Live Migration without requiring shared storage really sets Hyper-V apart from vSphere and will definitely be a big draw – especially for SMBs that haven’t implemented virtualization yet.

VHDX, ODX, Virtual Fiber Channel & Boot from SAN

Another important enhancement with Hyper-V 3.0 was the introduction of a new virtual disk format called VHDX. The new VHDX format breaks the 2TB limit that was present in the older VHD format and pushes the maximum size of the virtual disk up to 16 TB per VHDX. The new format also provides improved performance, support for larger block sizes and is more resilient to corruption.

Hyper-V 3.0 also supports a feature called Offloaded Date Transfer (ODX). ODX enables Hyper-V to take advantage of the storage features of a backend shared storage subsystem. When performing file copies on an ODX enabled SAN the OS hands off all of the data transfer tasks to the SAN providing much high file copy performance with zero to minimal CPU utilization. There is no special ODX button. Instead ODX works in the backend. ODX requires the storage subsystem to support ODX.

Companies that use fiber channel SANs will appreciate the addition of the virtual Fiber Channel support in the Hyper-V guests. Hyper-V 3.0 guests can have up to four virtual fiber channel host bus adapters. The virtual HBAs appear in the VMs as devices very like virtual NICs and other virtual devices. Hyper-V VMs will also be able to boot from both fiber channel and iSCSI SANs.

Extensible Virtual Switch & NIC Teaming

In keeping par with the sweeping changes in Hyper-V’s compute capabilities and storage Microsoft also made a some of significant enhancements to Hyper-V’s networking capabilities. First, they updated the virtual switch that’s built into the Hyper-V hypervisor. The new virtual switch has a number of new capabilities multi-tenant capability as well as the ability to provide minimum and maximum bandwidth guarantees. In addition to these features the new virtual switch is also extensible. Microsoft provides a API that allows capture, filter and forwarding extensions. To ensure the high quality of these virtual switch extensions Microsoft will be initiating a Hyper-V virtual switch logo program.

Another overdue feature that will be a part of Windows Server 8 is the built-in ability to provide NIC teaming natively in the operating system. VMware’s ESX Server has provided NIC teaming for some time. Prior to Windows Server 8 you could only get NIC teaming for Windows via specialized NICs from Broadcom and Intel. The new NIC teaming works across heterogonous vendor NICs and can provide support for load balancing as well as failover.

The Magic Number 3

As Jeffery Snover pointed out three does seem to be the magic number – at least for Hyper-V. Hyper-V 3.0 brings Microsoft’s virtualization on par with VMware’s vSphere. Businesses that are just getting into to virtualization or those businesses that may be bulking at VMware’s latest price increases will find Hyper-V to be a very cost effective and highly competitive alternative.

Windows Server 8 will bring us this!

Well as I said in my previous blog I expect a lot of new details around Windows Server 8. The wave of new Windows 8 features that Microsoft announced yesterday is impressive and while watching the keynote I almost get a buffer overflow Emoticon met brede lach. Today It’s time for Windows Server 8 news, are you ready for some really cool stuff?

Windows Server Core

Microsoft introduced Windows Server Core in Windows Server 2008 and this continues in Windows Server 2008 R2. During the setup of your server you had to choose between the GUI or the Core version. Personally I like the Core version because it’s faster, more secure, needs less patching and so on. However sometimes it was a challenge to configure things within the OS like NIC bindings e.g. Over the time there appeared tools for managing Server Core (see also this and this blog). The command line scares many admins because of the unknown territory of CLI. Windows Server 8 will change this: In Windows Server 8 you can turn the GUI on and off whenever you want. So there is no reason anymore to choose the GUI version for a Hyper-V host. You can run Server Core and when you need to configure something you can turn on the GUI configure your stuff and turn the GUI off again!

Virtual Machines on a File Server

Yes you read that correctly. With Windows Server 8 it’s possible to store virtual machines on a Windows file server! This is made possible through the updated file server protocol SMB 2.2. This means that it is not a requirement anymore to make use of a SAN system when you build a Hyper-V cluster. You can simply point your nodes in the cluster to the file share where the VM is placed. I really wonder how this performs and how reliable it is. However this will give the small sized business the opportunity to easily build a high available Hyper-V environment.

Hyper-V Replication

This feature is already announced in the early summer of this year. Because it’s a very interesting feature I will mention it again. Hyper-V Replication makes it possible to replicate a virtual machine to another Hyper-V host without the need for expensive storage hardware and replication software. This even can be a virtual machine that is stored on local storage. The network connection between the host could be a one gigabit Ethernet link. If you have a large virtual machine that would take hours or days to replicate over your network it is also possible to do the first replication to a portable drive. Transfer this drive to the other host, copy the replica to the host and from then only replicate the changes. So this will give you the possibility to implement a disaster recovery site without the need to spend a lot of money.

NIC Teaming

In Windows Server 2008 (R2) Microsoft does not support NIC teaming but instead directs you to the OEM hardware vendor. This was a great disadvantage and a lot of people has complained about this. Well Microsoft has heard all these complaints. In Windows Server 8 we don’t need NIC teaming software anymore! The Operating System will do the job!!! Great isn’t it? It doesn’t matter if you use two or more different NICs for different vendors. These can all be teamed by the OS. The OS will do bandwidth management, failover management and will also improve throughput.

Domain controllers that are virtualization-aware

Snapshotting a virtual machine with the domain controller role is absolutely unsupported. The restore snapshot method will likely cause a rollback in the update sequence number (USN) used to track changes in Active Directory. When a USN rollback occurs, the contents of the Active Directory databases on the improperly restored domain controller and its replication partners may be permanently inconsistent… But thins will change with Windows Server 8!!!!!

On top of Windows Server 8 you can install a virtual machine with the Domain Controller role and AD will be virtualization aware. It even understand what needs to be done when a DC goes back in time (revert a snapshot). There is even an option DC cloning. When you setup a virtual DC you can make this DC clone-able.

Hyper-V scalability

Hyper-V in Windows Server 8 is more scalable then it was ever before:

  • In the beta a Hyper-V host support up to 160 CPU cores;
  • 2 TB of RAM
  • 4000 virtual machines per cluster
  • 63 nodes per cluster

Virtual machines will support up to 32 virtual CPU’s and 512 GB of RAM. There also will be a new virtual harddisk format VHDX. VHDX should be faster and can exceed the 2 TB size limit of a VHD file.

De-Duping on storage and network

Windows Server 8 can dedup files within a VHD file. So If you have some VHD files with all a Windows Server 8 installation on it identical files will be deduped to save storage! This will also happen when you copy a number of files between two Windows Server 8 host the network stack will do dedupping as well.

That’s it for now… Windows Server 8 add some very nice features which are not available in other hypervisors. Until today Hyper-V was always a step behind the other hypervisor but Windows Server 8 will change this and take a leap ahead of its competitors!

Windows 8 Developer Preview

Borrowed from Winsupersite:


Unexpectedly, Microsoft is making the Windows 8 developer preview available to the public today, starting at 8pm PT today. This includes 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) versions of the OS, with or without development tools, but not any ARM versions, which are chipset specific. Only clean installs are supported, not upgrades from Windows 7.

My expectation was that the initial preview release would have limited distribution and that the general public would get access at Beta.

Based on my early peek at the Windows 8 developer preview build, you’re going to want to wait. This build is not stable, and doesn’t have the fit or finish of the similar Windows 7 preview from three years ago. Too, it’s not feature complete. Instead, this build is aimed squarely at developers. And those users should race to check out what’s new.

"The new development tools enable you to start today to build Metro style applications that will seamlessly run on x86 (32 and 64 bit) or ARM architectures," Steven Sinofsky writes in a blog post announcing the release. "Even if you use native C/C++ code, these tools will enable Metro style apps to target specific hardware if you choose. As new PCs become available for testing, PC manufacturers will develop seed programs for developers."

Still not deterred? You’ll be able to download the ISOs later today at Have fun!

What will Build bring us?

Tomorrow (09-13) will the event Build kick off. Microsoft will give more details around Windows 8 and personally I can’t wait to read and see more about Windows 8!! My expectations are very high.

In the last few weeks a lot of news around Windows 8 appeared online. So before the Windows 8 hurricane will conquer the internet I will summarize some news around Windows 8 from the last few weeks.


Results of The Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2011 (part 2)

In yesterdays blog I started with the first part of my analysis of the Hyper-V Survey:

  • Why Hyper-V?

  • Hyper-V Implementation

The second part focuses on these three topics of the survey:

  • Systems Management

  • Private Cloud?

  • The Year is 2012



In this part we want to learn how people are managing their Hyper-V servers. Somehow I was not surprised to see that over 56% use System Center Virtual Machine Manager as their primary management tool. Many will be pleasantly surprised if they see what VMM 2012 can do for them! There are still a number of tasks you can only do (efficiently) in Hyper-V Manager or Failover Cluster Manager. So the 38% is understandable too.



Showing “Windows 8” Hyper-V in Pictures

A perfect storm just very unexpectedly. Sinofsky announced that the “Windows 8” client will have Hyper-V. This video shows the client hypervisor. If you look very carefully you see a lot of interesting details that might point to functionality in the new version of Hyper-V in the “Windows 8” Server edition. Ben Armstrong just confirmed that Hyper-V in “Windows 8” supports sleep/hibernation. I miss that very much on my Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V laptop today.




Results of The Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2011 (part 1)

On August 12 three MVP’s (Aidan Finn, Damian Flynn and Hans Vredevoort) launched their first worldwide Hyper-V Survey dubbed The Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2011. Our goal was to independently learn about why businesses small, medium and large have decided to implement Hyper-V as their primary hypervisor; to understand their infrastructure choices; to learn how they managed their Hyper-V servers and clusters; look at cloud as the future of virtualization and ask them to look one year ahead.

There were five sections representing those goals:

  • Why Hyper-V? [covered in this blog]
  • Hyper-V Implementation [covered in this blog]
  • Systems Management
  • Private Cloud?
  • The Year is 2012

Let’s begin with the statistics. We had 612 people who responded and 192 of those did not complete all 80 questions Perhaps that number questions was a little daunting for some. Nevertheless we are very content with the way this survey was received. After all the three of us only used our blogs, Twitter and maybe Facebook to promote the survey. The multiplication effect of social media helped us to get the message across and quite a few very respectable people in the IT industry took note and retweeted our intentions or even wrote a promotional blog. Thank you!

I decided to not dismiss the incomplete surveys because the answers to individual questions are quite interesting. In the results you see different totals for number of replies. That’s because of incomplete answers, but also because of several questions allowed multiple answers. So we have to look at the percentages of the answers which I sorted from high to low for each question.

If you want to help us … please retweet with hashtags #hyperv #survey or use any other medium to promote this survey.

So much for the introduction. Let’s look at the results!



First thing to note is the vast majority use Hyper-V at work. Only 6% use it for other purposes only. That means we have reached the intended audience.



The Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2011 is now closed

The Hyper-V Survey held by Aidan Finn, Damian Flynn and Hans Vredevoort has now run for almost three weeks and was closed yesterday. Today we received the results and  I can say they are very interesting for a number of reasons. If you have not implemented Hyper-V yet, the results of this survey may help you make a more informed decision. If you have already started implementing Hyper-V the results may feel you less lonely. They may reinforce your choices or even change your opinions. Others who may benefit could be the other hypervisor vendors, the server, storage and network OEMs, the software vendors who are (thinking of) offering Hyper-V oriented solutions.

Whatever your interest may be, we welcome you to not only read our analysis but also ask you to respond, make your contributions via replies to our blogs or in the social media.

The survey has had plenty of interest so far and I thank everyone who has paid attention or helped us promote this survey. A big thank you for you:

Here are some of your contributions

Please use hashtags #hyperv #survey if you do.

Expect my analysis in two separate blogs. The 80 questions and answers are far too interesting to quickly talk about. The first part will be published on on Wednesday, September 7th at 11:00AM CET.


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