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Installing and Activating Hyper-V Linux Integration Services

By Nirmal Sharma (Send Email)
Posted July 14, 2014


Microsoft developers have designed components that help in improving the performance of virtual machines running on Hyper-V Server. These components are designed as part of the Integration Services.

While the Hyper-V Server is intelligent enough to install and activate Integration Services for Windows virtual machines, for virtual machines running Linux distributions you'll need to manually install and activate Integration Services. Windows Server TutorialsThis article explains the process of installing and activating Integration Services in Linux distribution virtual machines.

Linux Integration Services, sometimes referred to simply as LIS, provides two types of components: drivers and services. The drivers play an important role in enhancing the performance of Linux virtual machines, and services are designed to perform a specific job.

For example, the VMBUS driver acts as a communication channel to improve communication between virtual machines, and the “Time Sync” service helps in syncing time with the Hyper-V Host.

Once Linux Integration services are deployed, virtual machines running Linux distributions can use features like Live Migration, Jumbo Frames, VLAN Tagging and Trunking, support for Symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), Static IP Injection, VHDX resize, Virtual Fibre Channel and Live Virtual Machine Backup.

Currently, Microsoft supports a variety of Linux distributions running as a virtual machine on a Hyper-V Server. Specifically, Microsoft provides Integration Services components for the below Linux distributions:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.5-5.8, 6.0-6.3 x86 and x64
  • CentOS 5.5-5.8, 6.0-6.3 x86 and x64
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 with SP2 or SP3
  • Open SUSE 12.1
  • Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10
  • Oracle Linux 6.4

Before we talk about the activation and installation processes of Linux Integration Services, you should note the following points:

  1. There are a few Linux distributions that require installation and activation of LIS.
  2. There are a few Linux distributions that come with LIS already installed. For these distributions, only activation is required to use the full features of Hyper-V.

Activating Integration Services for Linux Distributions that Ship with LIS Drivers and Services Already Installed

Please use the steps below for Linux distributions that ship with LIS drivers and services already installed. For this example we have chosen Ubuntu 12.04.

  1. The first step is to edit the "modules" file located in /etc/initramfs-tools using the below command:

    sudo vi /etc/initramfs-tools/modules
  2. In vi Editor, navigate to the last line in the file and use the insert ( I ) command to append and enter the following lines:

    hv_vmbus
    hv_storvsc
    hv_blkvsc
    hv_netvsc
  3. Save the file by hitting the Esc key and then issuing the ": x" command.
  4. Next, run the following commands to re-initialize the “modules” file:

    sudo update-initramfs –u
  5. Finally, reboot the virtual machine by executing the below command in Shell:

    sudo shutdown -r now
  6. Once the guest virtual machine is rebooted, the LIS drivers and services will be registered in the system. After rebooting, you can run the below command to verify the registration of the LIS drivers and services:

    Lsmod

    The above command should list the LIS drivers and services. You need to look for hid_hyperv, hv_netvsc, hv_utils, hv_storvc and hv_vmbus for the successful activation of LIS.

Installing Integration Services for Linux Distributions that Do Not Ship with LIS Drivers and Services

You may find you need to install Linux Integration Services in a Linux distribution in the following cases:

  1. Linux distributions that do not ship with LIS already integrated.
  2. When there is a new version of LIS available at the Microsoft site. The current LIS version is 3.5.

Since Linux can only understand RPM files for installation, the LIS ISO comes with the required RPM files to help in installing or updating the existing LIS components.

The LIS installation process starts by attaching the LIS ISO to a virtual machine using Hyper-V Manager and then executing a set of commands to finish the installation as explained in the steps below:

  1. Attach the LinuxICv35.ISO file to a Linux virtual machine.
  2. Execute the command below to mount the ISO file:

    # mount /dev/cdrom /media
  3. As a root user, change to the directory relevant to your distribution:

    For RHEL / CentOS 5.5: # cd /media/CDROM/RHEL55
    For RHEL / CentOS 5.6: # cd /media/CDROM/RHEL56
    For RHEL / CentOS 5.7: # cd /media/CDROM/RHEL57
    For RHEL / CentOS 5.8: # cd /media/CDROM/RHEL58
    For RHEL / CentOS 6.0, 6.1, 6.2: # cd /media/CDROM/RHEL6012
    For RHEL / CentOS 6.3: # cd /media/CDROM/RHEL63
  4. Next, run the script provided with the LIS ISO to install LIS:

    For RHEL / CentOS 5.5: # ./install_rhel55.sh
    For RHEL / CentOS 5.6: # ./install_rhel56.sh
    For RHEL / CentOS 5.7: # ./install_rhel57.sh
    For RHEL / CentOS 5.8: # ./install_rhel58.sh
    For RHEL / CentOS 6.0, 6.1, 6.2: # ./install.sh
    For RHEL / CentOS 6.3: # ./install.sh
  5. Finally, you need to reboot the Linux virtual machine so LIS components are initialized and registered successfully.

    Once rebooted, use the "lsmod" or "Modinfo" command to check the status of LIS drivers and services.

Upgrading LIS

Microsoft has provided upgrade scripts needed to update LIS drivers for Linux distributions. Please follow the steps above to mount the ISO file and then execute the "Upgrade.sh" script after switching to the directory relevant to your Linux distribution.

Once the script is finished installing LIS drivers and services, reboot the virtual machine so that LIS drivers and services are registered with the Linux kernel.

Unsupported Features

As of today, the following features are not currently supported in the Linux Integration Services:

  • Dynamic Memory Hot add support
  • Trim Support
  • TCP Offload
  • vRSS


Nirmal Sharma is a MCSEx3, MCITP and Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. He has specialized in Microsoft Technologies since 1994 and has followed the progression of Microsoft Operating System and software. In his spare time, he likes to help others and share some of his knowledge by writing tips and articles on various sites and contributing to Solution IDs for www.Dynamic-SpotAction.com. Nirmal can be reached at nirmal_sharma@mvps.org.

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