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  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

    A little background first. I am an IT professional, and I work for a very large midwest-based regional bank (Chicago to Miami). I have worked in the past with enterprises that spanned up to 70,000 seats across all timezones. My speciality is client engineering and deployment, but like any good client IT professional I need to have a good understanding of the server infrastructure my client infrastucture interfaces with.

    Now, with that aside, let me post two links that recently caught my attention. I have no idea how I missed these:

    Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 Home
    Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 x64 Download

    I downloaded and installed this free version of the Hyper-V Server 2008 and installed it on a spare computer I had at home. It's the Core version, meaning at login you get a command prompt and a VBScript menu to drive your basic functions (join domain, leave domain, rename computer, turn on RDP, configure network, etc). It's expected that you'll manage the server via remote using MMC snap-in's and such. If you download the MMC snap-in's for Vista you can then manage the Hyper-V features of the server and install your virtual servers on top of it.

    That's right, apparently Microsoft is handing out a free Virtal machine platform. Just the platform. You have to still provide the software to install on the virtual machines you create. Linux seems to work. I'm running two two Server 2008 VM's as well as a Server 2003 VM, all on the free Hyper-V Server 2008 install from Microsoft.

    My familiarity is mostly with VMWare. I know VMWare ESX server very well, and I have several coworkers who live and breath in the product. I know it's strengths (which are many) and it's weaknesses. It's a great platform. But it isn't free.

    Curiously, only certain CPU's from Intel support the VT technology required by Hyper-V.

    But I'd like hear serious, helpful discussion regarding this technology. One-liner comments and biased derogatory feedback isn't welcome.
    Last edited by Damonte; 01-30-2009, 10:57 AM.

    "Everytime I read your posts I do it with Morgan Freeman's voice in my head as if he is narrating your life" - Aimed

  • #2
    Re: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

    I started looking into Hyper-V a couple of months ago, but got sidetracked with the holidays and such.

    Currently I'm running linux with vmware server running on it. It's not very resource effecient but it was free.

    One question for you Damonte have you downloaded and tried the MMC snap-in for xp. I was under the impression they never released one. Only one for Vista SP1 or Server 2008. We still only have xp at work so it'd be nice to have.

    I'll have to look into this more soon thanks for the reminder.

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    • #3
      Re: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

      I stand corrected. There are no management tools for Hyper-V for Windows XP. In order to manage Hyper-V from Vista, you need Service Pack 1 installed.

      Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Management Tools update for the release version of Hyper-V

      "Everytime I read your posts I do it with Morgan Freeman's voice in my head as if he is narrating your life" - Aimed

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      • #4
        Re: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

        Spulat is surprised Damonte didn't post in the Third person.

        I currently work (though seeking new employment locally) for the same company I worked for in California, which is basically a Managed Service Provider and we focus on Small Business (CISCO VoIP and SBS 2003 serve our current cornerstone) We've discussed Hyper-V on-and-off at work as a means to consolidate non-critical or easier-to-recover server platform software, onto the pretty powerful servers Dell sells these days. Like the Dual-Quad Core Xeons with RAID-10 15k SAS (and soon if not now, SSD) arrays... Doing the usual due diligence in reducing power consumption, heat in the server rooms, etc.

        Our main concern has been doing backups FROM these virtual servers, and the fact that if that one machine somehow goes down, it takes everything with it. However, we're still pretty interested in it, and the servers we have brought up for new and existing clients have infrequently encountered errors. To counter this possibility, and what I think makes up for it, is instance redundancy. You would have a running backup and a spare bare OS ready on another VM on a different physical machine, ready to go in case it fails. In fact I'm sure it would be MUCH faster, especially if it were an image-based backup. Then you slap the image into the virtual drive, and have a nice day. After all, it would span the disks the same way. An absolute FAR cry from having to rebuild a server from the ground-up :\ Or if you have the money to spare for some licenses, "mirror" the machines and program a script to Make-Live if the other fails.

        I'm curious as to the Hyper-V acceleration, if any, and if I could actually run a full-blown OS on it with available hardware acceleration. I'm sure it already takes advantage of the hardware acceleration from the processor. That's without question. My VMware Desktop couldn't take advantage of the video card.

        Overall, we've decided that in the next two years we'll be consolidating the least powerful servers, and putting their software and databases on an application server with VMs. I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, especially with the cost of reasonably-powerful hardware, and the cost of having to install and run a dedicated AC unit like one client ended up having to do, begrudgingly. But the guy knows a reasonable amount about computers, and did want 9 servers in that closet... he just chose to ignore the fact that hardware WILL start locking up or failing at random, like some of it did, when the server room is at a constant 93f degrees ;)

        Overall, we like the idea of Microsoft diving into it and interfacing with their core OSes, but skeptical that they can achieve what VMware already has, on the whole. Regardless of my own experience with the latest VMware desktop (used to have my work machine on a VM on my desktop), and that horrible horrible web-based UI that liked to fail on me every so often on Vista. Then a lot of times, I would Shut Down the VM OS, and it appears to shut down just fine, only for it to come back on the next boot and Windows pop up saying it had an unexpected shutdown, or that my Hibernate or Sleep files would become corrupt almost regularly. I'm sure the Server software, EsX, whatever else, is much more stable... but then again if Desktop uses roughly the same technology, then it makes me wonder.

        With that, I may give that a try on a spare 800Mhz P3 we have lying around upstairs.
        "But way back where I come from, we never mean to bother. We don't like to make our passions other peoples' concern." -Dar Williams
        Former Captain of the 55th Infantry Division

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        • #5
          Re: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

          Originally posted by Spulat View Post
          Our main concern has been doing backups FROM these virtual servers, and the fact that if that one machine somehow goes down, it takes everything with it. However, we're still pretty interested in it, and the servers we have brought up for new and existing clients have infrequently encountered errors. To counter this possibility, and what I think makes up for it, is instance redundancy. You would have a running backup and a spare bare OS ready on another VM on a different physical machine, ready to go in case it fails. In fact I'm sure it would be MUCH faster, especially if it were an image-based backup. Then you slap the image into the virtual drive, and have a nice day. After all, it would span the disks the same way. An absolute FAR cry from having to rebuild a server from the ground-up :\ Or if you have the money to spare for some licenses, "mirror" the machines and program a script to Make-Live if the other fails.
          In our particular environment, we store the virtual machine data on a SAN. There are fail-over VM's which point to the same data on the SAN, hosted on different physical hosts.

          This explains it simply: http://blogs.msdn.com/clustering/arc...1/8628515.aspx


          Alternatively, you can use Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster, described here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/m....10.higha.aspx

          "Everytime I read your posts I do it with Morgan Freeman's voice in my head as if he is narrating your life" - Aimed

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