My standing recommendation on allocating virtual machine resources is to start small. It’s very easy to grow almost all virtual resources with very little, and sometimes no impact. Taking resources away, on the other hand, can be trickier. The most difficult resource to remove from a virtual machine is drive space. If it’s just a matter of removing a disk, that’s usually not so bad. Making a virtual disk smaller is somewhat trickier.
Creating and managing VDI are not trivial tasks in Hyper-V (or any other hypervisor) and can end in disaster if not properly planned. My goal with this article is to reach you during the contemplation phase where you’re trying to determine if VDI is worth tackling.
Here are 7 things to think about before even starting a pilot project.
By now, you’ve likely heard variations of the term “enlightened” used in conjunction with virtual machines. This term, and its relatives, mean that the virtual machine has some capability to directly interact with the hypervisor. The benefits are an enhanced experience, often related to performance.The basic enlightments are standard driver packs, the Integration Services require a little something more. This post will explain how to enable and disable the Integration Services.
Replica is one of the many compelling features of Hyper-V. It allows you to create a comprehensive disaster recovery system with very little effort. It’s simple to design and deploy. What’s not always so easy about Hyper-V Replica is understanding many of its constituent components and some of the operations. In this article, the focus will be on the Replica Broker.
Checkpoints are something like an “undo” button for a virtual machine. As the name suggests, you set a marker at a particular point in time for the virtual machine. This post gives you a clear understanding of how to revert to a checkpoint and what happens when you do so to prevent you from having any scary moments of uncertainty when dealing with your own.
Checkpoints (known as “Snapshots” in previous versions), provide something similar to an “Undo” capability to Hyper-V virtual machines. With a Hyper-V checkpoint, everything about a virtual machine is captured in a checkpoint; the disk contents to be sure, but also the state of memory and active CPU threads, the hardware configuration, the condition of Integration Services, etc. Essentially, anything captured by any of the virtual machine’s files is perfectly preserved at the aptly named “checkpoint”.
Hyper-V Manager isn’t just for working with virtual machines. It also has the ability to perform a number of operations directly on virtual hard disks (VHDs). This includes the VHDX format introduced in 2012. One of these features is the ability to transfer data from an existing physical or virtual hard disk into an a new file.
Most titles like that requires some clarification. I would hope that, to anyone that has read even a little of my work, it’s obvious that I’m not anti-Microsoft. The vast majority of technologies that I work with at my regular job are from Microsoft. However, I strongly believe that my pragmatism must always be tempered by my realism, and the realist in me insists that regardless of how much I depend on something, I must always remain aware of its flaws. So, in this post I’m going to talk about the larger things I believe that Microsoft should truly be doing differently with Hyper-V. In simple terms, these mainly boil down to backward compatibility.
Are there any bumper stickers or t-shirts out there that say, “I was using Hyper-V before using Hyper-V was cool?” If there are, I think I need one. I built my first production system on Hyper-V 2008 R2 not long after it debuted. So, I missed the early-adopter crowd by a couple of years but I’ve definitely been in this for a while. The only problem with sticking with a tech as it grows from infancy is that sometimes things change and you miss out. One of the things that changed on me was the way that time synchronization works between Hyper-V and its guests.
Things in Active Directory get deleted. Sometimes, it’s an accident (or maliciously done) and the object really shouldn’t have been deleted. Other times, something happens that causes great chunks of Active Directory to become corrupted. The oldest technique for dealing with these problems is called an “Authoritative Restore”. In the past, this process involved restoration of the System State of a domain controller. If your domain controllers are virtualized and you’re using a hypervisor-level backup tool like Altaro, you can’t perform just a System State restore. Fortunately, that’s not a problem at all.
Metering is one of those unpleasant yet essential parts of systems administration. If you don’t know anything about your systems’ resource utilization, you can’t properly design their replacements. If you haven’t been keeping track, you won’t be able to answer the question, “What happened” when things go awry. If you aren’t keeping a close eye, you won’t have any advance warning before something collapses in the middle of a major production cycle. When it comes to networking, you’re probably not going to believe how easy it is to get MRTG up and running.
Linux on Hyper-V is becoming more and more popular as Microsoft continues to increase their support for it. One of the nicest parts about it is the “It Just Works” aspect. For distributions that are less than a few years old, the Hyper-V Integration Components are built right in. There isn’t any time wasted fiddling with scouring the Internet to look for instructions on compiling or even scripting them in. For me, my interest was sharpened when my TechNet subscription expired for the last, non-renewable time. I could, and will, start using the evaluation copies of Windows Server for testing, but that expiration thing is pretty annoying. Sure, 120 days seems like a long time. Maybe for people in their 20s, it is. But, as I was working up my Linux examples, I noticed that I hadn’t even rebooted my test lab switch in about seven months. If you’d… Read More»
One day, I was out traversing the wide, untamed world of my Twitter feed when I came across this most lovely post by Aidan Finn that does a great job summarizing Hyper-V’s Biggest Weakness. That post is required reading for this one. Actually, that post should be required reading for anyone that has anything to do with Hyper-V. Start there, then come back here. Aidan’s post is about the state of management tools for Hyper-V in general. I’m going to focus on System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). Even if you don’t use VMM, this article is for you. If you have Hyper-V but not VMM, then that is something that Microsoft seriously needs to address whether you (or they) realize it or not. I believe that there should be a set of free tools with a premium management pack. The free tools should be enough for anyone to… Read More»
Last year, Nirmal Sharma wrote a fantastic article on this blog titled 23 Best Practices to improve Hyper-V and VM Performance. This sparked up a very lively discussion in the comments section; some were very strongly in favor of some items, some very strongly opposed to others. What I think was perhaps missed in some of these comments was that, as Nirmal stated in the title, his list was specifically “to improve Hyper-V and VM performance.” If squeezing every last drop of horsepower out of your Hyper-V host is your goal, then it’s pretty hard to find any serious flaws with his list.
Dynamic Memory is one of Hyper-V’s most misunderstood and underutilized technologies. Many people believe that it’s not working when it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to. Too many won’t use it at all based on incorrect assumptions. Most don’t understand the conditions in which it will operate. Unfortunately, there’s really not a simple guide to using it properly, or you’d find articles on it everywhere. If you want to squeeze the most out of your virtual environment, you’re going to need to get your hands dirty with some of the grease that’s down in the guts of your systems