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HYPER-V 2012 R2 Review






I have recently been rolling out a lot of the Hyper-V installs. I wanted to give my opinion on the installation, Configuration, and Maintenance for this application.

Hyper-V 2012 has come along way from its Server 2008 roots. Tons of features Click here for a full list of features. I will only name a few of the highlighted features.


Generation 2 VM

Automatic Guest Activation

Azure Compatibility

Compressed Live Migration

Hyper-V Replica Extended Replication

Linux Live VM backup

Live Resizing of VHDX

Shared VHDX

Storage QoS

Just to give you a little history on my experience. I have done over 20 mid-size company implementations. VMware is most companies platform of choice. But due to VMware recent price changes and Microsoft willingness to give the feature fill host software away, I expect to see more and more smaller business move to Hyper-V as they virtualize old systems. Hyper-V has done some good things with the software there are other things I would like to see them do in the future to make the deployment easier.



If I was just installing Hyper-v for a small business and only needed 1 host. I would give Microsoft a A- in deployment but if you plan on installing multiple host and you want to manage these host you will need SCVMM (System Center). This is the equivalent to VMware vCenter but Microsoft’s version gives you more features and integration. System Center is not free there is a cost but it includes more bang for your buck than you would get from VMware’s equivalent Operations addon. The installation scenario I will talk to you about is the most common.

3 Host servers running Hyper-V 2012 R2

1 SAN (Equalogic, Netapp, EMC, Tegile, and etc…)

2 SAN switches normally 1gb (Starting next year I expect to see more companies go to 10gb switches)



20 Mins- OS Install – Nothing new here Microsoft has cut down the install time by 5-10 mins

1.5 Hours- OS Configuration – If you want to get your server configure properly and tested it takes time. Primary features include Hyper-v, Clustering, MPIO and other features like ISCSI target server. If you have an existing network System Center can deploy these servers automatically. Note you will still have some manual work.

3 Hours- SAN & Switch configuration very easy ensure you have Jumbo frames enabled on not only the switches but your SAN and the NICs on your server for best performance.

First VM with System Center  is now installed. Now I was used to installing vCenter on a windows server or virtual appliance and the install was fairly quick. System Center install was painfully slow I compare it to installing exchange. It requires SQL server and not the express version it needs a database running on the full version. If you dont have SQL already cooking you know it will take you another hour and a half to install before you even get started installing SysCenter. Microsoft has to attack this problem with future releases because its not fun rolling out this solution when most of your time is spent installing and configuring SQL and the Management software.


Now that we have the OS installed our SAN and Switch configured (VLANs). We rolled out the first VM Gen 2 and installed System Center + SQL. Now the fun begins. If you are fortunate enough to get the Data Center version of Server 2012 then you can pre-configure your VM to deploy start up **Activate** Join the domain and configure specific roles. Now this is what I’m talking about!!!  Additional VMM features include VM templates and Libraries for storing ISO, VHDX, and other custom applications readily available at your finger tips for attaching or running on your newly created VM.  After creating Profiles to fit the servers I expect to deploy. I can easily deploy 15 servers that vary from SQL, File, or Application in about an hour or less. The features included in Hyper-V will allow me to Migrate VM’s or VHDX files quickly between host. If you don’t know about Cluster Shared Volumes then you need to get familiar with it. It works seamlessly with attached storage. It allows to access storage across different Storage Pools or LUNs.


Microsoft has given us all the software need to create the sense of the highest available up time. If you use it correctly and cautiously you can keep you critical application up all the time with no issues. I always watch updates and test them in bulk before pushing them out to your server or Host. Microsoft has also included Cluster Aware updating for your VM’s. This will  allow you to update a host and move the live VM to another host while the server is restarting and move the VM’s back when everything is backup and running. Granted your servers have the resources. Managing the Hyper-V environment is very easy and familiar if you are used to working with Microsoft. If you are looking to get into virtualization make sure you have a strong base understanding of Storage, and Networking on the SAN level. Understanding how IOPS, Read and Write Latency and application demands work will go a long way in preventing headaches.



Wrap up:

All in all I would say VMware still has a lead over Hyper-V due to the ease of setup and universal compatibility. But Microsoft has closed the gap and it is still closing. Microsoft has already prepared it software for easy cloud integration and compatibility with Azure and other Cloud providers. Hope you have enjoyed the write up. Check back for other reviews.