Windows Server 8 Hyper V 3.0

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As you all know by now, Microsoft has released its server edition of Windows 8 which offers extensive support for cloud computing and virtualization.

Microsoft Hyper-V is a virtualization technology for x86-x64 systems that use Windows 8 Server edition.

Microsoft has made the pre-beta version accessible to developers so that they get hands on practice using Windows 8 Server. In this article, we will review the features offered by Hyper V 3.0 in Windows 8 Server.

Figure 1 Hyper-V 3.0 features

Current Hyper-V limitations

The parent partition requires that you install the full operating system and then the child virtual machines are installed in the current Hyper-V edition. The extra operating system that needs to exist prior to child VMs takes extra resources, which is not a big issue if you consider server side installation. On the client side, extra OS can consume additional resources.

New Hyper-V Features

  • Increased RAM: The new Hyper V can support a maximum of 2 TB of RAM and enable 160 logical processors in parallel.
  • Virtual CPU support: It can support a maximum of 32 virtual CPU and 512 GB of RAM inside the guest hosts along with support for NUMA architecture. Previously only 4 CPU and 8GB of RAM was supported. The scalability increase will enable virtualization of SQL Server and Exchange.
  • Live migration improvement: live migration in Windows Server 2008 and previous versions had an associated downtime while migration was being performed. Live migration of data has been enhanced in Windows 8 Server by allowing multiple tasks to be executed in parallel when live migration is in progress.
  • Replication enhancements: Without using additional hardware or replication software, Hyper V 3.0 has a replication module inbuilt that can replicate a virtual machine from one Hyper-V host to another one. It also offers support for Network File System (NFS) storage.
  • Snapshot Merge: Previously, snapshot merges could be performed only when the virtual machines were offline and this process was time consuming. Hyper-V 3.0 enables snapshot merges to be performed even while the virtual machines are active.
  • VHDX format: The previously used format for virtual hard drives known as VHD had a 2TB limit that has been extended to 16 TB with the new VHDX format.
  • Virtual Switch: the virtual switch is capable of inspecting and monitoring sample traffic using advanced networking features.
  • §  Offloaded Data Transfer: While performing data transfer on storage area networks (SAN), CPU utilization is minimum due to the use of a concept known as Offloaded Data Transfer that enables Hyper-V to utilize the storage features on backend storage devices.
  • §  Dynamic memory allocation: You can control dynamic memory that is being allocated to a virtual machine by setting startup, minimum and maximum values which enable you to increase or decrease memory even as the virtual machine is running.
  • §  New PowerShell cmdlets: You can keep a track on memory usage of virtual machines by viewing statistics about CPU, memory, network and disk space through PowerShell cmdlets. You can use this tool to bill your virtual infrastructure according to usage.
  • §  Scripting: You can use the new PowerShell cmdlets to script any command through User interface.

I am extremely excited with the new features offered in Hyper V 3.0 and cannot wait to hear further news from Microsoft about their upcoming developments in this area.

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