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Windows Server 2012 : Hyper-V - Installing the Hyper-V Role

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3/6/2014 1:24:40 AM

1. Requirements

Hyper-V is included in two of the four editions of Server 2012: Datacenter and Standard. And, as mentioned earlier, Hyper-V is also available as a free, downloadable standalone version.

A Hyper-V host (the system on which you are installing the Hyper-V role or standalone version) requires an x64, virtualization-capable processor (Intel VT or AMD-V). The processor also needs to support DEP (data execution prevention). You may need to enable DEP in the host machine’s BIOS.

Microsoft claims that the host machine requires a minimum of 2 GB of memory. Realistically, since VMs also use physical memory, the more VMs you plan to run, the more physical memory the host machine will need for optimal performance. So let’s forget about minimum memory requirements and focus on the real world.

Insufficient memory can decimate Hyper-V performance. It is of utmost importance that, before deploying Hyper-V, you have a strong grasp on how much physical memory the host machine needs and how you will allocate memory to VMs.

Note

There is a rule of thumb for calculating memory allocation in Hyper-V: the total memory of the physical host server should at least equal the sum of memory allocated to each VM. Additionally, Hyper-V optimally needs 300 MB of memory for the hypervisor alone, 32 MB for the first GB of RAM allocated to each VM, 8 MB for every additional GB of RAM allocated to each VM, and another 512 MB for the host operating system.

In Windows Server 2012, VMs now support NUMA (non-uniform memory architecture). A technology originally reserved for high-processing computers, such as machines used in science and academic environments, NUMA helps boost performance. With NUMA, processors access directly attached memory faster than memory attached to another processor in the system. Hyper-V R3 uses existing NUMA topology in a system (typically enterprise-level servers) to maximize performance and scalability without intervention from a user.

There are some other best practices to consider before deploying Hyper-V. To maximize performance, use multiple network adapters on a Hyper-V host. With multiple NICs (network interface cards), one physical adapter is dedicated to Hyper-V management, and another can be used by VMs. System administrators will also often use dedicated NICs for iSCSI storage and clustering.

It’s also a good idea to keep VM files off the system partition. Either create another partition for storage, or better yet, put them on a separate disk.

2. Installing the Hyper-V Role

Deploying Hyper-V in Server 2012 requires adding the Hyper-V role. As with other roles and features, this is done in Server Manager.

From the Server Manager dashboard:

  1. Click “Add roles and features,” then click Next and select “Role-based or feature-based installation.” Click Next until you get to “Select server roles.”

  2. Scroll and select the Hyper-V server role. By default, the Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell and Hyper-V GUI Management tools are also installed. Opt to include management tools by leaving the checkbox selected and then click Add Features.

  3. Click OK to select the destination computer. The Next button will enable. Click Next until you see the window Create Virtual Switches. This is where you select the network adapter installed on the physical host that will be used to create a virtual switch. The virtual switch provides network connectivity to virtual machines. By default, all the network adapters installed on the Server 2012 box are listed. Select the network adapter you want to use (see Figure 1).

    Finish this step by clicking Next.

    Selecting the network adapter
    Figure 1. Selecting the network adapter
  4. Now you’ll see the window for Virtual Machine Migration (see Figure 2). In this screen, you can enable the server for live migration. If you plan to use live migration on the server in the network for which you are installing Hyper-V, check “Allow this server to send and receive live migrations of virtual machines.” Do not select this option if, for example, you plan to set up clustering or a heartbeat network—a private network between clustered machines within a cluster. You can select a specific network after installing Hyper-V from network settings instead.

  5. If you are performing a relatively simple deployment of Hyper-V without clustering, you can opt to allow the server to do live migrations. You also have to select the protocol to use to authenticate live migrations—either CredSSP (credential security support provider) or Kerberos.

    Configuring the authentication protocol for live migration
    Figure 2. Configuring the authentication protocol for live migration

    Note

    CredSSP and Kerberos are both SSPIs (security support provider interfaces) used for authentication in Windows environments. Most Windows, Active Directory–based infrastructures use Kerberos. CredSSP is used in environments where Kerberos can’t be used. For example, CredSSP is used when system admins have to remotely execute PowerShell commands related to clustering—a scenario that would cause various issues in environments where Kerberos is deployed.

  6. The Hyper-V Role Wizard then lets you select the default location for the virtual hard disk files and virtual machine configuration files. You can also modify these filepaths after install. Click Next, and then you can choose to automatically restart the server if required (as is the case with the Hyper-V role). Click Install.

    When the server comes back from reboot, some final installation tasks are automatically performed.

 
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