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Learning about Hyper-V for Windows 8 (part 3) - What you need to know to succeed

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4/14/2014 9:47:32 PM

5. What you need to know to succeed

Getting started with Hyper-V is easy, but a number of points should be addressed ahead of time. In addition to how and when Hyper-V will be used, you will also need a thorough understanding of a number of critical elements of the virtualization technology as a whole so you will be successful.

Hyper-V operating systems

A broad offering of the Windows family of operating systems is supported with Hyper-V. Windows Server families include Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012. Client operating system families include Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

Linux operating systems are also supported in the CentOS 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 families.


Guest enlightenment

With the broad set of operating systems offered for Hyper-V, it is important to understand a critical aspect of how these operating systems work on Hyper-V. Guest enlightenment is a generic term that refers to a virtual machine’s ability to work correctly in the hypervisor. In layperson’s terms, this means drivers. For most Windows family situations, this is built in, but a number of scenarios require interaction to optimize the virtual machine in the Hyper-V environment.

For Hyper-V on Windows 8, adding a Windows 8 Hyper-V virtual machine is a nonissue. Integration services are built in (see Figure 3). Adding a Windows 7 virtual machine, however, requires an update of the guest enlightenment drivers: Integration Services.

After a virtual machine is running, a virtualized disk can be inserted to update Integration Services by pressing Ctrl+I while viewing the virtual machine’s console.

The Integration Services guest enlightenment kit provides drivers and critical Windows services on the virtual machine that can address critical topics such as quiescence (the act of quieting a virtual machine), time synchronization, shutdown events, and other critical virtual machine events.

Note

INTEROPERABILITY

Linux and Hyper-V will get along just fine.

Integration Services took a major step forward recently when the Hyper-V drivers (components of Integration Services) were put into the main Linux kernel branch. This means that as the main Linux kernel is deployed across multiple additional distributions, Hyper-V will work right out of the box.

The Integration Services options shown for each virtual machine

Figure 3. The Integration Services options shown for each virtual machine

Important

KEY DIFFERENCES

It is important to note the difference between “an operating system that works” and a supported Hyper-V operating system.

Windows PowerShell extension

Windows 8 has Windows PowerShell 3.0 built in, and Hyper-V has a PowerShell extension. This makes automation easy and is an excellent opportunity to learn new ways to perform Windows administrative tasks. The latest commands for Windows PowerShell can be found on TechNet and other online communities such as blogs and PowerShell podcasts.

Virtualized media

Although mentioned previously for Integration Services, virtualized media is an important step in using Hyper-V virtualization. Specifically, it is how guest virtual machines can be installed on the Hyper-V server system. Although many of the Hyper-V technologies are new to Windows 8, virtualized media is something you have been using all along. Consider the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM ISO file used to install Windows. That is a form of virtualized media, and this file is downloaded and then written to an optical disk. This same ISO file is used in the first step to deploy a Hyper-V virtual machine. The ISO format is the most frequently used virtualized media for installing virtual machines.

If you will have a number of Hyper-V servers—which are computers running Windows 8 with the Hyper-V feature enabled—you should designate a predefined repository for all virtual media. In this manner, all virtual machines being built will use the same media without causing unnecessary bloat on client systems with a potentially confusing array of files. This repository can be a network drive letter or a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path that the Hyper-V server can access. Non-virtualized media can also be used, such as a local CD/DVD drive for source media. The CD/DVD drive settings are shown in Figure 4.

Selecting virtualized media for a virtual machine

Figure 4. Selecting virtualized media for a virtual machine

If automated deployment technologies are already in place, you can also use these on Hyper-V. This can include technologies such as PXE (Preboot eXecution Environment) boot and Windows Deployment Services.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V technology and Windows 8

Hyper-V on Windows 8 is the same technology as the Hyper-V engine on Windows Server 2012. Therefore, a number of important features become available. Virtual machines can easily be moved from Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 to Windows 8. Virtual machines can then be portable, which might work well in the “one user to one virtual machine” situation for certain development and test situations.

 
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