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Help your organization using Microsoft Hyper-V

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Dave Coleman from SharePointEduTech Ltd ,user and ‘guru’ of Microsoft Hyper-V Microsoft Hyper-V and virtulization, has written a guest blog post on the benefits and commonly asked questions in regards to moving your old servers to virtual servers.

 

I always think that it is a good idea to look back so you can see the way things are heading so I will begin with a bit of history.

History of Hyper- V

Microsoft first released Hyper-V on 26th June 2008. Hyper-V started to knock on the door of other enterprise virtualization technologies with the release of Server 2008 R2 in September 2009 this version included the ability to configure Hyper-V in a clustered configuration with failover capabilities and shared storage so that if one of your Hyper-V servers rebooted during patching etc. your virtual servers would live migrate to another node in your Hyper-V farm.

The capabilities of Hyper-V were further enhanced with the release of Service Pack 1 for server 2008 R2. This added the dynamic RAM capability to Hyper-V, meaning that you could allocate a minimum and maximum amount of RAM to your virtual machines so that when your virtual machines need to use more RAM for an operation they will expand the amount of memory allocated and then return it when not needed. And with the upcoming release of Windows Server “8” Hyper-V will be extended even more.

Benefits of using Hyper-V

Licensing

As you can see, Microsoft are investing a lot in their virtualization technology and adding more enterprise features. But the real benefit is on the cost saving front. If you check out the table below, you can see the licensing benefits and with the new improved EES licensing, it makes much more sense to run the Datacentre edition of Windows server 2008. This will mean that you can run an unlimited amount of virtual servers but only pay for one server license for each of your hosts.

Windows Server Version

Number Of Free Licences

Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition

1

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition

4

Windows Server 2008 Datacentre Edition

Unlimited

Power Saving

The undoubted power saving features is very attractive as you are running fewer physical servers, so electrical costs will drop. You will also save money on cooling your server room so depending on the amount of physical servers that you virtualize you may find it possible to turn off that expensive air conditioning system.

Make the most of your hardware

Rather than having a set of physical servers running at a small percentage of their total capacity, Hyper-V allows you to make use of all the processing power and RAM of a physical box and therefore get the most out of your physical hardware.

What operating systems are supported for virtualization?

As you can see from the table below the support for operating systems is extremely wide and covers all Microsoft server versions from Windows 2000 server right up to Server 2008 and also includes some versions of Linux.

Guest OS

Virtual processors

Edition(s)

Windows 7

1,2,3 or 4

Both x86-32 and x86-64, all editions except home editions (the home editions are Home Premium, Home Basic, and Starter)

Windows Server 2008 R2

1,2,3 or 4

x64, Web, Standard, Enterprise, Datacentre

Windows Server 2008

1,2,3 or 4

Both x86 and x64, Web, HPC, Standard, Enterprise, Datacentre, with or without Hyper-V

Linux (SUSE, Red Hat Enterprise or CentOS fully supported, other distros may work)

1,2 or 4

Both x86 and x64

Windows Server 2003

1 or 2

Both x86 and x64, Standard, Enterprise, Datacentre, SP2 required

Windows Server 2003 R2

1 or 2

Web, Standard, Enterprise, Datacentre, both x86 and x64 except for Web whose 64-bit version is not supported

Windows 2000 Server

1

Server, Advanced Server, SP4 required

Windows Vista

1 or 2

Both x86 and x64, all editions except home editions

Windows XP

1 or 2

x86, Professional edition only, SP3 required (SP2 only supports 1 virtual CPU)

Windows XP x64 Edition

1 or 2

x64, Professional edition only, SP2 required

Windows Small Business Server 2011

1, 2 or 4

Essentials, Standard (Essentials supports only 2 virtual CPUs)

Windows Home Server 2011

1, 2 or 4

Standard

Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials

1, 2 or 4

Essentials

What server services can I virtualize?

We have completed many roll outs of Hyper-V and we have yet to find a server technology role that is not supported be that SharePoint, SQL, Exchange and Active Directory my only advice is do not virtualize all your active directory servers always keep at least one physical for disaster recovery.

How do I virtualize my old physical servers and manage my new Hyper-V farm?

Microsoft provides a tool for this as well in the shape of System Centre Virtual Machine Manager. This management tool installs an agent on old physical servers then does a P2V (Physical to Virtual) on these servers virtualizing them and bringing them into your Hyper-V environment. You can as well manage your virtual servers using this product.

Where next?

OK I want to virtualize but who do I ask?

For more information on running Hyper-V in your organisation including what hardware to buy, please contact SharePointEduTech at info@sharepointedutech.com

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