Hyper-V Program Manager
Some of my colleagues were talking to me about this blog entry this morning where Emmanuel is commenting on the inability to run Hyper-V on a system with high end graphics (as discussed here).
Before I talk about my thoughts / reactions here – I want to be clear: Yes, this is a short coming in Microsoft’s virtualization offerings today.
Hyper-V has been developed to be a great solution as a dedicated virtualization server, not as a desktop computing environment. Similarly, Windows Virtual PC has been developed as a great application compatibility solution. This means that neither of these solutions are ideal for people who want to use server class virtual machines (64-bit, multiprocessor, etc…) on a system that they also want to get a high fidelity desktop experience on.
Here at Microsoft we are well aware of the pain / problems this causes.
Despite that, I still feel frustrated when I see someone stating that they / their company is going to go with VMware because of this issue. There are the three big reasons why:
This last point is really the one that chaffs me.
If you tell me that you are going to use VMware workstation on your personal development system because we do not meet your needs – okay, I am bummed by that, but I can understand your reasoning. If you tell me that your company is going to standardize on VMware because there is functionality / value that they provide in their server software that we do not – once again, bummer, and we will work hard to turn this around in the future – but I can understand that too.
But if you tell me that your company is going to standardize on VMware across the board because Hyper-V does not run well on your desktop environment, and you are not willing to get a dedicated entry level server to run Hyper-V, I cringe – because I do not believe you are heading in the right direction.
So where do we go from here? Well, I am planning to do some posts in the near future where I am going to dig into the issue of high-end graphics + Hyper-V so that you can have a better idea of what is happening there – and what you can do to avoid it (yes, there are options available).
If there is anything else I can do to help here, please let me know (and before you say it “fix Hyper-V to run well on my desktop environment” is a bit out of scope for me personally :-)).
I hope we do too :-)
Unfortunately we do not have a solution here, and you will have to use VMware or VirtualBox.
I also wanted to say vmware's thinapp is much smaller simpler and has only 1 file versus your appV
I'am a infrastructure consultant - I use a notebook for mobility reasons. When working on customer site it's important to me to be able to quickly start a VM to test some settings or to compare with the costomer environment. I also use VMs to test migration szenatiosm, scripts and configurations before documenting them. For me it's extremly painfull to loose the possibility to start a server OS in a VM - I have to reboot everytime I need a single scrrenshot .... Please add x64 support to WVPC.
I wonder if Mark Russinovich is still running VMware Workstation? I had a chance to speak to him a couple years ago as he was transitioning to MSFT (this was at his final Windows Internals course with David Solomon). I recall him saying he had an exemption to run VMware because of 64-bit guests. :-)
One would have to assume this capability is coming soon for VPC. But you know the old saying about "assume."
Sorry for my ignorance, but surely if Windows 7 and Windows 2008/R2 are built on the same core(big assumption?), how difficult would it be to just port hyper-V over to windows 7 and supply it as an unsupported, free download for developers?
Ideally I would prefer if I could just continue using Virtual PC with x64 support without having to now consider porting them all across to VMware. I have always championed VPC in organisations because of the free VPC that MS delivered for testing and just preferred the way they work with ISO's and Shared folders but with the age of x64 approaching, without having to dual-boot my laptop, another virtualisation solution will have to be used by me and the rest of our development team. This also affects or current production use of hyper-v, as we can’t then use the same image easily across both environments.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE speak to the powers that be and make something happen. Developers are Microsoft; help us get the tools we need to help Microsoft. You never going to drive large scale adoption of Hyper-v until developers are happy and able to work on the platform.
There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding, leading to questions about why Hyper-V can't run "on top of" Windows 7. (Ken, and now Riccardo, both asked this question.)
Hyper-V does not run "on top of" any OS. It is a bare-metal hypervisor; it runs directly on top of the hardware. All your OSes run on top of Hyper-V. If you installed Hyper-V as part of Windows Server 2008 (R2), then even that copy of Windows Server 2008 runs on top of Hyper-V after the reboot.
There is no technical reason that you cannot *TODAY* run Windows 7 on top of Hyper-V Server (the standalone Hyper-V, not the role bundled with Windows Server). But it's so complicated that it's clearly better just to use Windows Server 2008 as a workstation.
The main problem is how to install Windows 7 after Hyper-V has been installed. The only way to administer a standalone Hyper-V Server is to do remote administration (see: Hyper-V Server FAQ). Thus, you will temporarily need at least one other computer to administer the install from. After the install, you can then administer Hyper-V "remotely" from within the Windows 7 VM, assuming that you've got the NAT/private network setup correctly.
Needless to say, this is quite a complicated process for people who are used to hosted hypervisors, such as Virtual PC or VMWare Workstation. It's a big change. You need two computers. You need to install remote admin tools on two PCs. You need to understand the intricacies of VM networking. And after it's all done, you still have the problems with high-end graphics cards.
On second thought, scratch that idea.
There's no console access at all from Hyper-V standalone, right? So even though you *could* run Windows 7 on top of Hyper-V, without Windows Server, it'd be more-or-less useless because you could never access the VM instance from the console.
If you beleive you would be happy with Hyper-V as it is today on Windows 7 - then use Windows Server 2008 R2 as your desktop operating environment. Just be aware of the potential for performance issues as is outlined in this post.
it would be really interesting if you can post some insights on your Laptop config and how you get along with this on the road.
Like others, I've run into several issues with Hyper-V as a desktop VM solution, but the one I see mentioned the most is the problem with modern graphics card performance. Some have complained that this hasn't been fixed in R2. However, that's not exactly true. Windows Server 2008 R2 has support for Second Level Address Translation (SLAT), aka Extended Page Tables (EPT), aka Nested Page Tables (NPT), aka Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI). On hardware that supports this, and with Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V for your VM solution, modern graphics cards (and their associated WDDM 1.1 drivers) work fine. The catch is that you need an Intel i7 (Nehalem) processor or a recent AMD processor to have that support -- Intel Core 2 Duos and Quads don't support EPT. This prompted me to switch from my C2D E8400 to an i7 920 for my desktop VM machine; with 2008 R2, Hyper-V no longer suffers from the horrible slowdown in the video drivers.
Hi Scott - really?! That's great news if so. I've got a Core i7 920 processor as well, and an NVidia graphics card... so if I were to upgrade to R2 I'd be able to use it properly with the regular drivers?
John, that is correct. I'm using the latest 190.62 Win7 x64 drivers for my 9600GT on Win2K8 R2 with Hyper-V with no discernible slowness. When I had a C2D E8400 for my desktop instead of an i7 920, with the same graphics card (but, granted, not the RTM of the OS yet, as it wasn't available), I experienced the same poor graphics performance noted in this blog and other places. So, give it a shot -- you may be pleasantly surprised.
This developer says this really sucks... I'm stuck on R2 with no VM's... I'm 100% Microsoft and found myself installing VMware today... that Java/Wildcat/Crap didn't work in R2 either... but come on... get this fixed, obviously developers are going to be in this scenario -- high-end system, including video and running the latest OS.