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Microsoft Hyper-V Server Virtualization: Product Overview and Insight

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted February 28, 2019


See the full list of best server virtualization software.

Bottom line:

Microsoft was a long way behind VMware when it first released Hyper-V. But it gained ground steadily over the years and now there is little to choose between them. VMware wins out on sheer breadth of virtualization features. But not everyone needs so many bells and whistles. Hyper-V is lower cost and gains ground in terms of Microsoft integration.

For enterprises running Windows shops, Hyper-V is a top choice. Not only is a mature product, but its integration and interoperability with today's data centers is clearly the result of expert design expertise.

Product description:

Hyper-V lets you create and run VMs, with each one run in its own space to avoid problems such as a crash affecting the other workloads, or to give different people, groups or services access to different systems. The hypervisor manages the interactions between the hardware and the VMs. Hyper-V consists of various parts that work together: Windows hypervisor, Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management Service, the virtualization WMI provider, the virtual machine bus (VMbus), virtualization service provider (VSP) and virtual infrastructure driver (VID).

Hyper-V includes a variety of tools for management and connectivity. This includes Hyper-V Manager, the Hyper-V module for Windows PowerShell, the Virtual Machine Connection, and Windows PowerShell Direct. Hyper-V enables you to set up or expand private clouds, consolidate servers and workloads onto fewer servers, improve disaster recovery, run a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and improve dev/test operations.

Hyper-V also supports both emulated and Hyper-V-specific devices for Linux and FreeBSD VMs. No additional software is required for emulated devices. Microsoft is in the final stages of developing and testing the 2019 version of Hyper-V.

“HyperV became the virtualization choice to replace or migrate as many systems to a virtual environment for the entire company. The largest business problem it solved was the physical space and requirements needed to continue to use physical servers. It also addressed the increasing complexity of server management. It allows you to avoid overtaxing individual VMs during backup operations,” said a Systems Engineer in healthcare.

Servers/Operating systems:

Just about software that runs on x86.

Implementation:

Hyper-V is available in Windows Server and as a server role available for x64 versions of Windows Server. It's also available as a downloadable, standalone server product.

Scalability:

240 virtual processors per VM, and up to 512 virtual processors per host.

Overhead:

9% to 12%.

Management:

Each supported guest operating system has a customized set of integration services that make it easier to use the operating system in a Hyper-V virtual machine. Virtual Machine Connection is a remote connection tool for use with Windows and Linux to see what's happening in the guest even when the operating system isn't booted.

Microsoft System Center 2016 with its Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) helps users take full advantage of Hyper-V.  An organization with Windows 2016 Datacenter edition and System Center 2016 Datacenter edition can deploy unlimited VMs across the licensed host, as well as leverage and manage all Hyper-V capabilities.

“Hyper-V could use better native tools for users to look into VM performance and health,” said a Systems Engineer in healthcare.

Patching/backup:

Patching is done automatically via Windows Server and includes Hyper-V patches. For disaster recovery, Hyper-V Replica creates copies of virtual machines to be stored in another physical location. For backup, Hyper-V offers either saved states of the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for application-consistent backups.

Migration:

Features such as live migration, storage migration, and import/export make it easier to move or distribute a virtual machine.

Security:

Secure boot and shielded virtual machines protect against malware and other unauthorized access to a virtual machine and its data.

Key Markets:

Windows Server users, Microsoft customers, Azure customers.

“Hyper-V is deeply integrated with Windows Server, and works with the built-in Windows Server backup software so 3rd party backup solutions are not required.  Hyper-V is easy to set up,” said a Support Consultant in IT services.

Cost:

Hyper-V is free without Microsoft System Center (MSC). With MSC, it costs $1,323 for up to 16 cores.

Product

Microsoft Hyper-V

Platforms

x86

Scalability

240 vCPUs per VM

Overhead %

9 to 12

Markets

Windows Server users, Microsoft/Azure customers

Cost

$1,323 for up to 16 cores, free with MSC

Migration

 Import/export enables easy VM move

Key Differentiator

Top offering for Windows data centers

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