This article will serve as an introduction to Hyper-V and its main features. First of all what is Hyper-V and what are the elements that are part of this technology? Hyper-V is Microsoft’s virtualization tool which allows you to build Virtual Machines on both X32 and X64 architectures. Unlike its predecessor (Virtual Sever 2005), Hyper-V is built directly in the OS and can be installed as any other Server Role by using the Manager Console. Several features were added into this tool to allow Sysadmins to optimize their VMs and the overall network performance:
- Using Virtual Machines within your network you reduce the hosting costs for your infrastructure. By creating multiple Servers for hosting VMs you consolidate the whole hardware performance and provide an efficient way to allocate resources to your machines. Imagine that when implementing DNS, IIS or DHCP Servers you would rather create individual Virtual Machines that use the same hardware resources than installing and configuring physical Servers for each Server Role.
- Reliability is one important component of Hyper-V because you can create Server clusters for hosting your Virtual Machines. This technology allows you to limit downtime caused by hardware failures because resources are automatically allocated to the remaining machines. Further more, you can use hot swappable components (RAM, CPU and Hard drives) to ensure that your Systems can be easily repaired.
- By allocating resources for each machine based on their necessities, you can increase the hardware capacity of Systems that need higher performance. The process of increasing/decreasing hardware specifications of a Virtual Machines becomes really fast and easy.
- If needed, you can easily deploy multiple Virtual Machines and the process of decommissioning them becomes much faster rather than using physical Servers.
- Using backup technologies (like shadow copies) and snapshots you can ensure that data is saved in case of hardware or network failures. Snapshots allows you to backup a Server anytime and offers a fast way to rollback a machine when problems are encountered. Hyper-V can store multiple snapshots for each VM so you can restore multiple versions of the same Server.
- Virtual Machines can be easily moved from one host to another if needed so, in terms of portability, this technology offers huge advantages than physical machines.
Of course you need to take into consideration the Virtual Machine’s purpose and hardware necessities. Because Virtual Machines use shared resources, a machine which requires high CPU, memory and disk performance is not suited for virtualization. Database Servers are usually not deployed within virtualized environments and instead physical Servers are used to satisfy their requirements. A physical Server will always perform better than a Virtual Machine with the same hardware specifications this is why planning is really important when deciding to go for virtualized environments.
There are several ways to move your physical machine after deciding to migrate your infrastructure to Hyper-V. You can either install and configure new Virtual Machines for each Server or virtualize the existing physical Servers. Microsoft provides tools to virtualize physical Servers such as System Center Virtual Machine Manager and VSMT (Virtual Server Migration Tool). The difference between these two solutions is that the first one supports the management of large numbers of Servers and it’s fully integrated into Powershell while the second one is mostly used when there is a small number of Servers that need to be virtualized.
Note that all virtualized Servers need to have a valid Microsoft Server License so, you’ll need to ensure you have the right number of licenses.
That’s about it for this introductory article, we will continue discussing about Hyper-V in future posts and you will discover more interesting things about this awesome technology. I will show you how to install and configure Hyper-V and how to deploy Virtual Machines within your network. Please share your thoughts about this article and don’t forget to share it to others. Wish you a great day!