#1 Insider’s Guide to Microsoft Hyper-V
Since the first launch, Microsoft has introduced numerous improvements to the product with each new version. So, today, the users of Hyper-V enjoy a dramatic improvement in server functionality as compared to the old times when only one primary role or application could be assigned to a single server. With Hyper-V, hardware use has become much more effective, allowing the hosting of more workloads with less space consumption in data centers.
What is a Hypervisor?
To understand the key benefits of Hyper-V, you should first have a clear understanding of what a hypervisor is. Hypervisors are not products exclusive to Microsoft, as many other brands offer software and hardware products of this type. In a nutshell, a hypervisor is a piece of software or hardware that can be used for setting up a virtual machine. Users run virtual machines (referred to as guest machines) on the hardware referred to as host machines and can exploit several guest interfaces depending on their needs. For instance, you can have one laptop and run Linux, Windows, and macOS interfaces on it, swapping between the guest machines when you need to.
Introduction to Microsoft’s Hyper-V
Maximizing the value of Hyper-V is impossible if you don’t understand what it does to your computer. First, keep in mind that this software is installed from OS via Windows. To complete the installation process, you only need to add roles in the Windows Wizard panel. After the installation is done, your Hyper-V add-on redesigns the OS architecture and functions as an additional layer of physical hardware (at least, your computer perceives it as such). Once Hyper-V is activated on your computer, you get another complete computer inside your physical one; it has a separate running OS and a specific set of programs installed on it. But the catch is that the operation of an additional machine on your physical machine does not cause any additional strain on your hardware resources because the entire capacity of the virtual machine is located in the cloud.
How to Install Microsoft’s Hyper-V
The first step to installing your Microsoft Hyper-V-enabled VMs is to check whether your hardware generally fits the task. Here are the core points to consider:
- Check whether your CPU is a 64-bit one as the 34-bit processors don’t support Hyper-V.
- The amount of memory on your gadget should be no less than 2 GB of base memory space, adding the memory space you would like to assign to each guest VM.
- If your computer is running on Windows 10 Home, Hyper-V is not supported by the system.
- Hyper-V has no feature for audio hardware virtualization.
After this simple checklist has been filled, let’s proceed to the installation process.
- Go to the control panel of your Microsoft OS and choose “uninstall a program”.
- Activate the option of turning Windows features on/off.
- In the drop-down menu of features, you’ll see the Hyper-V folder allowing you to select either Hyper-V Management Tools or Hyper-V Platform. Check both boxes.
- After the activation of these features, your computer will request a reboot, upon which you can start using your Hyper-V.
Once the installation process is complete, let’s proceed to run the program on your computer to create your first VM. Start by downloading the Hyper-V backup and proceed to the following steps:
- The VM creation process requires the user to be connected to a Hyper-V server by default. You can enable this process by clicking on the “connect to server” feature and choosing the “local computer” option.
- After this is done, your PC will have the status of a local server in the VM management system, while the central tab will display the available VMs running on your host machine. The right-hand tab displays the commands you can execute.
- Setting up a new VM is quick and easy – just click “quick create”. In the opening window, select between the Windows 10 dev environment and Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, which is a great level of automation as compared to a similar VM creation process with Oracle or VMware.
- Upon selecting the OS on which your VM will run, you may click on the “create a virtual machine” button and wait for it to be downloaded. That’s it – your new VM is up and running!
As you can see, the installation process is super simple, with active and licensed Windows users needing no separate downloads or license purchases. The feature is built in the OS you already have, so the path to setting up a VM will take just a few minutes.
The Benefits of Using Microsoft Hyper-V
As we have already mentioned above, the introduction of virtualization has offered a solution to a pressing problem, that is, optimal physical server utilization. Here are the key benefits Hyper-V offers in contrast to traditional hardware use:
- More workload can be allocated to a single server without the threat of role conflict and/or overlap.
- Workloads can be dynamically moved from one hardware object to another one without the interruption of operations.
- High-availability functionality is provided to workloads.
- Reduction of energy demands resulting in a lower energy footprint and smaller utility bills.
- Considerable cost reduction on hardware updates, support, and warranty expenditures.
- A combination of server consolidation benefits with application isolation.
- Quick server environment deployment.
- Reduced resource demands for management.
- Cost savings on licenses.
What You Should Know Before Installing Hyper-V
By using Hyper-V, you may reap numerous benefits. At the same time, always keep in mind that it has direct access to your machine’s hardware as it is “native” technology. This is the key difference between Hyper-V and the 2005 version of Microsoft Virtual Server, which is a “hosted” virtualization product. Here are some more issues for your consideration, helping you decide whether opting for Hyper-V is beneficial for you.
While you don’t need any drivers to install Hyper-V on your Microsoft-powered computer, there are still limits to what a Hyper-V-run virtual machine can do. For instance, it won’t function as a DNS server or a file server as these additional roles are not supported. Besides, the Hyper-V enabled virtual machines are devoid of the high availability clustering and Quick Migration features typical for traditional Microsoft machines. However, these limitations pay off with very economical memory use. Hyper-V can enable the operation of up to 4 virtual interfaces with only 32 GB of RAM required for their support.
Study the system specifications of your hardware, bearing in mind that Hyper-V works only on 64-bit systems. Besides, you should have the VT or AMD-V add-ons for enabling the virtualization acceleration processes. The choice of processors is quite broad, including Xeon, Intel, and Athlon products. But the speed of your processor should also meet the minimum requirements; for flawless Hyper-V operation, it is 2 GHz, but the technology may still run on 1 GHz processors (though the quality of operation may be lower).
Coverage of Your License
The standard Windows server 2008 license covers Hyper-V use, but the number of virtual machines you can create depends on the type of license. Individual licenses allow the setup of one physical and one virtual system, while an Enterprise license increases the number of allowed virtual machines to four. Keep in mind that even if you operate Hyper-V as standalone technology not tied to a physical Windows-powered machine, you will still have to acquire licenses for every virtual desktop running on Windows – that’s the policy of the manufacturer.
Users of Hyper-V-enabled virtual machines on Windows should keep in mind that all files stored in them are automatically saved in the .vhd extension. Thus, transferring the files between the systems and storing them on physical devices may be a challenge unless you know the exact procedures of handling these files correctly.
When using the Hyper-V-enabled technology, you may quickly organize a network of virtual machines. You can create a private, internal, and external network depending on your tech needs. In case you only need your virtual machines to link, the internal network will be enough. The communication of your virtual devices and the physical device on which you run them forms an internal network. In contrast, an external network involves the communication between your virtual machines and other physical machines included in your physical computer network.
Summary: What Can Microsoft’s Hyper-V Offer?
Overall, Hyper-V is a significant leap forward in the modern virtualization technology as it replaced prior virtualization products (for example, Windows Virtual PC, Microsoft Virtual PC, etc.) with a solution fostering better networking, advanced data storage, and rigorous security features. By installing Hyper-V, you get a computing environment similar to that of a physical machine, timely data recovery and backup, and a superior set of integration services allowing better resource optimization. Besides portability and remote connectivity about which millions of users dreamt, it provides robust anti-malware security measures, minimizing the risk of unauthorized data access and breaches.