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In less than an hour Windows Server 2012 will be officially launched to the world! You can follow the event live here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/new.aspx starting 8:00 US Pacific Time and 17:00 Central European Time. If you live in the Asia/Australia region, you’ll have a very late night.
The launch of a brand new server operating system is not a small thing. For the first time we can say a properly designed, extremely complete and fully standards based cloud operating system will see the light. And it is Microsoft that can boast being its creator. Also for the first time, Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V will be able to go head-to-head with VMware. It was overly clear that VMware has had to change gear to keep up with the multitude of new and spectacular functionality in the operating system.
The result of competition is always better quality and better price. VMware would never have changed its vTax without Microsoft attempting to overtake the money machine from Palo Alto. If you look at a number of the new features in vSphere 5.1 you cannot but conclude that VMware has been trying hard to keep up with Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012. One such last minute addition to vSphere 5.1 is an equivalent of what Microsoft calls Shared Nothing Live Migration, allowing any running virtual machine to migrate between two machines with just an Ethernet connection. This can be between standalone Hyper-V hosts, from standalone to cluster, from cluster to standalone or even between clusters. A VM is no longer confined to a machine or cluster. Well, now VMware boasts it has a similar functionality.
Hyper-V Replica is still considered the killer feature that will attract many small, medium but also large companies to seriously begin with Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery projects. And man! Is Hyper-V Replica a super functionality to have in the basic operating system.
In the past I have also been critical of Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2. Back in January 2011, I wrote this blog:
The final paragraph read:
Where will we go with Microsoft Virtualization?
Last year during MVP Summit 2010, I met the people of the Hyper-V and Cluster product teams. I know they are working really hard to make Hyper-V a better product and tune clustering into that rock solid product we all need. Because they don’t make the hardware, they also strongly depend on the efforts of OEMs. During that time they could not say much about the future of Windows but they listened and had tons of questions about our experiences in the field as well as requests for the next version. In a few weeks I will meet them again and hope to hear and see what they have come up with. I am really looking forward to the progress I expect them to have made. After all, the 3rd generation of Hyper-V and its virtualization management software will have to live up to its expectations because Microsoft will not get a second chance
That was almost 17 months ago! As an MVP you have the opportunity to help shape the new products that mean so much to you. Back in 2010 I handed in a very long list with requested features, both for Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Data Protection Manager. I can now finally see what the product teams have done with all the feedback from their customers. Windows Server 2012 is a very high quality and well designed new operating system. I already enjoy its flexibility and ease every single day. I am looking forward to implementing it with the majority of our customers. Features that really make me smile: Hyper-V Replica, SMB 3.0, Scale-Out File Servers, Cluster Shared Volumes 2.0, PowerShell 3.0, Concurrent Live Migration, Concurrent Live Storage Migration, Offloaded Data Exchange (ODX), Extensible Switch, Network Virtualization, Converged Fabric, the new VDI capabilities, the new server virtualization capabilities with Hyper-V.
Windows Server 2012 with its suberb third generation hypervisor and the strength of a rock-solid and secure cloud operating system more than lives up to my expectations.
Thanks product teams, thanks developers, thanks fellow MVP’s for such a great result.
Windows Server 2012 is exploding out of the gates! (no pun intended)
Microsoft at MMS 2012 announced a new toolkit for mass conversion of VMware VM’s to Hyper-V. VMMT is wizard based conversion tool aimed at conversion from VMware to the current version of Hyper-V. Windows Server 2012 support is still under development.
Please note that this is a different tool from the Microsoft Solution Accelerator called Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter.
If you are only converting a dozen or so VM’s it is not worth your while. However if you have 100+ Windows and Linux VM’s in your environment this tool is for you. The target customer has multiple hypervisors, wants to move to Hyper-V and has primarily a Windows workload.
VMMT as it is called uses a combination of existing products and custom scripts:
- vCenter & vSphere
- Veeam Backup and Reporter
- Orchestrator 2012
- Virtual Machine Manager 2012
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.
During an entertaining #mvpchat today, someone mentioned a Twitter statistics site called the Archivist. It is very easy to use and the graphics are very attractive. Just enter a keyword or hashtag. You can save up to three archives. Initially saved archives are private, but you can make them public too. I have not found a way to share my public archives yet.
I blogged about the webcast earlier. Corey Hines and Simon Perriman did a great job bringing awareness of Microsoft Virtualization (certainly not only Hyper-V) among VMware admins.
I strongly recommend this series if you want to have the best possible overview of this fantastic platform.
Microsoft Learning hosted another new and exclusive Jump Start virtual training event – Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals. We are thrilled to announce availability of the HD-quality video recordings – FREE – on TechNet Edge and soon coming to MS Showcase, the Zune Marketplace, iTunes! Additionally, every module will be made available (with assessment questions) on the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) in the next few weeks.
In this video Kenon Owens is interviewed by Symon Perriman, talking about creating a Private Cloud with Virtual Machine Manager in less than 90 seconds! Symon is the guy with the stop-watch!
Go and see this cool video (contains a demo towards the end):
Microsoft Virtualization for VMWare Professionals – Free Online Classes – March 29-31
By Elden Christensen
Just one week after Microsoft Management Summit 2011 (MMS), Microsoft Learning will be hosting an exclusive three-day Jump Start class specially tailored for VMware and Microsoft virtualization technology pros. Registration for “Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals” is open now and will be delivered as a FREE online class on March 29-31, 2010 from 10:00am-4:00pm PDT.
On March 29th we will spend 2 hours focusing on Microsoft’s high-availability solutions for Virtualization using Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Clustering. Learn about cluster planning, deployment, management, System Center integration and disaster recovery using multi-site clustering.
Ever since the appearance of Hyper-V in the market, I have been stressing and promoting the blessings of the Microsoft Virtualization platform. I started writing articles and blogs about Hyper-V and joined Jaap Wesselius in the Dutch Hyper-V User Group which assembles quarterly in different parts of the country. We have been presenting Hyper-V and related technologies many times and have grown a small community in the Netherlands. My endeavors have even earned me an MVP, albeit not for Hyper-V but for Cluster. If you meet me on Twitter, you know that whatever I communicate on this social network deals with Hyper-V and System Center related topics. I use it to promote the further growth of Hyper-V.
We have seen Hyper-V version 1 still beta in Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V RTM as an update, the major update Hyper-V R2 and Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. Now we are looking forward to Hyper-V vNext, “the next version” of Hyper-V, Hyper-V in Windows 8, Hyper-V Next Generation, Hyper-V Cloud, Hyper-V 2012 or whatever the marketing people at Microsoft think will capture our minds. I personally believe not even the word Hyper-V is sacred and could be replaced if it serves a purpose.
If you are curious about how Dynamic Memory (DM) is implemented in Hyper-V R2 SP1, go and take a look at Ben Armstrong’s presentation at TechEd 2010 US.
Expect a public beta of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 towards the end of July. I can tell you it is a very well architected implementation of Dynamic Memory.
Ben explains how DM works under the covers and what you can expect from SP1.
Adding memory is implemented by a Synthetic Memory Driver (VSP/VSC Pair) which requires an update of the Hyper-V Integrations in the guest partition before it can use DM.
Supported guest operating systems:
Windows Server 2003 (32-bit & 64bit)
Windows Server 2008 (32-bit & 64bit)
Windows Server 2008 R2
Widows Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit only)
Enterprise and Ultimate Editions only
The new memory feature is clearly what it says: Dynamic Memory and NOT Memory Overcommit.
Memory Overcommit means Memory Oversubscription means Paging to the disk means Bad Performance
DM treats memory like Hyper-V treats CPU resources: as a dynamically schedulable resource.
So oversubscribing, NOT overcommitting.
New in SP1 too is the ability to protect the memory Root Reserve. By means of a registry key static memory can be set to reserve memory for the parent partition. This memory cannot be grabbed by guest partitions.
Ben also explains a new NUMA setting in the configuration of SP1 guest partitions.
VMware is targeting MS for not using Hyper-V for their virtualization platform. Well in fact they are not using Hyper-V current version but Hyper-V vnext (possibly even vnext R2) version. Hyper-V R2 already benefited from the experiences with Azure Hypervisor and the upcoming Hyper-V or even the next service pack will benefit in an identical fashion.
Design Principles Behind The Windows Azure Hypervisor
By Hoi Vo, Director on the Azure team
We are frequently asked about the Windows Azure Hypervisor, and whether or not the code will be made available to customers as a product they could run in their own datacenters. We built the Windows Azure Hypervisor with three principles:
- Efficient: push work to hardware as much as possible. Any percentage gain once multiplied to tens of thousands of machines will be very significant for us. Consequently we can bet on new processor features to save CPU cycles for the hosted application.
- Small footprint: any features not applicable to our specific cloud scenarios are removed. This guarantees that we do not have to worry about updating or fixing unnecessary code, meaning less churning or required reboots for the host. All critical code paths are also highly optimized for our Windows Azure scenarios.
- Tight integration: The Windows Azure Hypervisor is tightly optimized with the Windows Azure kernel. This is required to achieve the level of scalability and performance we want for our stack.
Much of the development for the Windows Azure Hypervisor would only work in our environment, taking advantage of our specific homogenous data center environment. Some of the innovations would be useful to customers with a different data center design and will be incorporated in future releases of Hyper-V (e.g. Second-Level Address Translation will be available in Hyper-V v2.0).