Microsoft Hyper-V Server

We can expect the availability of Microsoft Hyper-V Server in the next 10 to 12 days. The announcement was made Sept. 8 stating a release date within 30 days. Here is what you need to know about this product and what makes it different.

I thought Hyper-V Server was already released?

Nope, Hyper-V was though. Confused yet? Microsoft could have done a better job with their product naming in this case. “Hyper-V” is a feature of the Windows Server 2008 OS, released this past summer, that can be enabled to allow for virtualization (see my previous post on the subject for a more in-depth discussion). “Hyper-V Server” is the standalone, small footprint, hypervisor based product that allows for virtualization on a server. Think of it as the operating system, only with no GUI or anything else not related to virtualization. It is very similar to VMWare’s ESXi bare-metal hypervisor based product.

What you need to know.

Hyper-V Server requires 64 bit hardware with AMD-V or Intel Virtualization Technology enabled processors. It supports up to 4 procs with single, dual, or quad cores, and a maximum of 32 GB RAM. Up to 128 guest VMs (x32 or x64) are supported, based on available resources. Hyper-V Server supports DAS, NAS, and SAN storage. Microsoft put together a good chart which I copied below that outlines the features of different Hyper-V/Hyper-V Server implementations. Worthy of note are the licensing requirements of VMs on different platforms.

Management of Hyper-V Server is accomplished via a basic command line interface (CLI) which allows for configuration of system settings like name, networking, domain membership, etc. Creation and management of virtual machines must be done remotely, either via the Hyper-V Manager MMC or with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

Hyper-V Server will be available here as a free download, a change from the original announcement that it would cost $28. This is likely in response to VMWare’s ESXi being released at no cost. In both cases, you still need to pay for the vendor’s management software (SCVMM or VMWare Virtual Center) if you want certain enterprise class features.

One of Hyper-V’s biggest weaknesses is the lack of any live migration capabilities. In fact, in terms of high availability features, Microsoft is lagging well behind VMWare; however, Microsoft has suggested that may change in the next year. Hyper-V Server will be a great addition to the virtualization landscape, and it will be interesting to watch how the market shapes out over the next year or so. When compared to ESXi, both are great for basic server consolidation. The choice really depends on your needs and your existing environment.

Links:

Microsoft Hyper-V Server

TechNet Hyper-V Server First Look

Hyper-V Supported Guest OSs

VMWare ESXi

VMWare ESX / Hyper-V Comparison

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