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If you are using Red Hat Enterprise Linux you’ll find great support for Hyper-V as a standard feature in the new minor Linux 5.9 release for which a beta became available recently.
Running Linux distributions with native Hyper-V support will save you the trouble of separately installing Hyper-V Integration Components to provide support for multiple cores and synthetic drives for mouse, video, network and storage. The Hyper-V Linux drivers were recently accepted upstream by the Linux community. For Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 this means running as a guest on Hyper-V will improve overall performance.
[Update: from Mike Sterling’s mail detailing the changes since version 3.1]
Microsoft released an updated version of Linux Integration Services for Hyper-V v3.2 and can be found here: http://22.214.171.124/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=216de3c4-f598-4dff-8a4e-257d4b7a1c12
When installed on a virtual machine that is running a supported Linux operating system, Linux Integration Services for Hyper-V provides the following functionality:
- Driver support: Linux Integration Services supports the network controller and the IDE and SCSI storage controllers that were developed specifically for Hyper-V.
- Fastpath Boot Support for Hyper-V: Boot devices now take advantage of the block Virtualization Service Client (VSC) to provide enhanced performance.
- Time sync: The clock inside the virtual machine will remain synchronized with the clock on the virtualization server with the help of the pluggable time source device.
- Integrated Shutdown: Virtual machines running Linux can be shut down from either Hyper-V Manager or System Center Virtual Machine Manager by using the “Shut Down” command.
- Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) Support: Supported Linux distributions can use up to 4 virtual processors (VP) per virtual machine. SMP support is not available for 32-bit Linux guest operating systems running on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.
- Heartbeat: Allows the virtualization server to detect whether the virtual machine is running and responsive.
KVP (Key Value Pair) Exchange: Information about the running Linux virtual machine can be obtained by using the Key Value Pair exchange functionality on the Windows Server 2008 virtualization server.
- Integrated Mouse Support: The cursor is no longer bound to the VMConnect window when used with the Linux Graphical User Interface.
These are the changes since version 3.1:
- Synthetic Mouse Support: The virtualized mouse device is no longer bound to the VMConnect window, and can now be used with a RDP session.
- Merged Device Drivers: We now present a single device driver for both IDE and SCSI devices (hv_storvsc).
- Windows 8 Fix: The synthetic network device (hv_netvsc) can now be used with a Windows 8 host, eliminating the hang on boot that was previously seen.
- SCVMM Fix: This release fixes the issue as described in KB2586286.
- Improved Setup Experience: Users now only need to run install.sh (as root) to automatically detect the correct architecture and install the appropriate drivers.
When you look at the Hyper-V marketing page, you’ll notice that the list of supported operating systems is incomplete. If you want to know the whole support story including the recent CentOS Linux distribution that was added please go to the TechNet page, which also states end-of-support for some older Microsoft operating systems such as Windows Server 2000 with SP4 and Windows XP with SP2.
Here is the list for Linux distributions and as you can see they all have multi processor support up to the current maximum of Hyper-V R2.
For more details go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc794868(WS.10).aspx
Today at TechEd 2011 in Atlanta we learnt that Microsoft now officially supports CentOS. CentOS is a popular free Linux distribution and is among the top three most popular ones.
CentOS has been added to the list of formally supported Linux Distributions. The others are SUSE Linux Enterprise (v10 and v11) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 and up. With the added support for CentOS, Windows Virtualization becomes even a better candidate for mixed Windows-Linux environments.
Many other Linux distributions can be easily integrated into a Hyper-V R2 environment since Microsoft submitted the code for the Hyper-V integration components. These additions enable native Hyper-V support for synthetic devices (video, network, mouse), multi-processor support and graceful shutdown of Linux VM’s.
In this blogpost Ben Armstrong explains how to install Ubuntu Server 10.10 on Hyper-V.
Another nice announcement was made by Yusuf Öztürk from Istanbul who developed a PowerShell based new functionality for Linux virtual machines on Hyper-V: Set-LinuxVM
What you can do with Set-LinuxVM?
- Unattended IP, Hostname and DNS configuration for Linux VMs
- Automatic Linux integration components installation
- Multi Distro Support: Debian, Ubuntu, Centos, Fedora, Redhat and Suse
- Automatic CPanel installation for Redhat and Centos
- Linux VM Template support (Use Skip for EnableLIC switch
- Hyper-V support! You don’t need SCVMM to use this script.
- Multiple Hyper-V and SCVMM host support.
- Automatic Emulated NIC to Synthetic NIC support
- No need to internet connection (SSH access etc.) or additional changes on VM.
- Custom Answer File support! You can execute your own scripts.