TechEd: What’s new in Hyper-V 2012 R2 (MDC-B330)

This is the first session of the week focused entirely on the new features in Hyper-V 2012 R2, due out later this year. Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 saw monumental changes from prior versions, which were needed to keep up with the competition. Hyper-V in WS 2012 R2 builds on the prior functionality with some big enhancements, just a year later.

  • Windows Azure uses the stock Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
  • Complete virtual machine compatibility between on prem Hyper-V and Azure IaaS

Hyper-V 2012 R2

Generation 2 VMs

  • Legacy free (no BIOS) but uses UEFI
  • Many emulated devices removed
  • Boots from virtual SCSI or synthetic network adapters
  • Enables UEFI secure boot standard
  • Supported Guest OS: 64-bit Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, 64-bit Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2
  • You can run Gen1 and Gen2 VMs side by side
  • Gen1 VMs are not going anywhere anytime soon
  • No performance improvements on Gen2 VMs, except booting is 20% faster and OS install is about 50% faster.
  • Big advantage is booting off a virtual SCSI or network controller instead of IDE device

Automatic Activation

  • Zero touch activation of VMs
  • Automatically activated according to the hosting environment
  • Gets its activation information from the Hyper-V host
  • Not tied to type of activation method (OEM, VL, etc.)
  • The VM does not have the product key in it
  • Only supported for Windows Server 2012 R2 VMs (no prior versions)

Demos:

  • Difference between generation 1 and generation 2 VMs: No ISA, no com ports, no PS/2 ports, no floppy, etc. Simplifies VM hardware configuration.
  • Showed the ability to enable secure boot for VMs
  • Enhanced virtual machine connection – Supports rich text copy and paste in and out of VMs. Cut and paste files in and out of VMs.
  • VM console now supports audio redirection as well
  • VM connect now uses remote desktop services, so you can do smart cards, folder redirection, plus USB support.
  • Full support for these features on Windows 8.1 Hyper-V, and are enabled by default. Disabled by default on server for security, but can easily enable per-host.

Zero-downtime upgrade

  • Live migrate virtual machine from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Includes shared nothing live migration

More new Features

  • Online VHDX resize (expand, shrink, compact)
  • Increase or decrease the size of virtual disks while the VM is running
  • Live machine export (clone a running VM)
  • VMs with snapshots and other settings can be migrated without intervention to 2012 R2 (no more draconian procedures)
  • Live migration with compression – default option (1/3 faster than w/o in his demo)
  • Live migration using RDMA (SMB Direct) – Uses less CPU than a standard Live Migration
  • Faster live migration – 10Gb or less then use compression. Over 10Gb, use SMB/SMB Direct

Enhanced Linux Guest Support

  • Full dynamic memory support
  • Online backup with filesystem consistency (VSS-like functionality on Linux)
  • Online VHDX resize
  • New video driver
  • Linux has and will continue to run very well on Hyper-V
  • You can use any enterprise solution that backups up Hyper-V and get full Linux support automatically
  • Microsoft claims they offer the most Linux support of any hypervisor, since the competition can’t do VSS-like Linux backups
  • Microsoft releases the hypervisor integration pack with a GPL license to the open source community

Additional Features

  • Storage QoS
  • Ability to configure min/max IOPS on a per-VM basis
  • Guest Clustering with shared virtual disks. No need for ISCSI, fibre channel SAN, or block storage. Can be done with SMB, or cluster in a box.

Hyper-V Replica Disaster Recovery

  • Extended replication (tertiary copies)
  • Replication frequency has 30 seconds, 5 minutes and 15 minute intervals
  • Example: On-prem replicated to hoster, then host replicates it elsewhere
  • Example: first hop within prem, then second hop to hoster/Azure
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