What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

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What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Fri May 30, 2014 11:25 am

So I've taken a crash course in learning HyperV, and because of the hypervisor it's radically different from my former experience with VirtualBox and VMware Workstation. The concept of a host OS is basically chucked out the window. For those that don't know, when installing HyperV the main/host OS actually turns into a higher-tier guest OS, with the benefits and drawbacks of one. On one hand it's frustrating as that means I can't measure system load via Task Manager anymore, and there's no readily apparent way to do so short of buying 3rd party HyperV plugin software. But on the flipside it's pretty cool to restart my OS and still have the VMs running in the background... something I knew servers can do but still seems weird to have on a consumer desktop that I built myself.

I also wish I could figure out how much system load VT-D was effectively reducing (or even if it was being utilized at all given the general uncertainty that exists on this point). The loads I am running right now would drag the host OS under VMware Workstation to a crawl or even crash the system, but with HyperV I can only only rarely notice the impact on system responsiveness. Hyper-V will even throttle back the VMs when I do absurd things like put a 100% 12-core load on a little quadcore chip, but the 12 single-core VMs are still chugging along anyway and the main OS doesn't feel the load.

One thing it took some googling to find out is that the new Generation 2 virtual machines don't support RemoteFX. If HyperV users want to install a virtual GPU for hardware acceleration then they have to use a Gen 1 type VM to get it. Does anyone think this will be one of the issues addressed or features added with the next big HyperV update, whenever that will be?
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Fri May 30, 2014 3:30 pm

What are you using for the OS? My understanding is that Windows 8.1 Pro can't do RemoteFX even on gen1 spec, and that you have to have Windows Server to do it.

I piddled with it long enough to install a Windows 7 VM so I could do some testing in IE10 and keep some other work-related stuff in its own container, and there were some things that VMWare just did better for my use, like drag-and-drop file copies and custom screen resolutions were easier too. Also, the aforementioned RemotFX limitation (which is what Win 8.1 Pro told me when I tried to use it)
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Fri May 30, 2014 3:52 pm

The parent partition still has direct access to the hardware. The child partition hosts the guest OS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hyper-V.png

RemoteFX is a Server only feature (2008R2 and newer). Windows 8.x lacks the host ability.

It also requires a specific GPU.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/201 ... 12-r2.aspx

Desktop class cards may or may not work depending on market segmentation implemented by the vendor.

AFAIK, Hyper-V does not use VT-D. Hyper-V has its own methods to provide direct access to certain hardware. Namely: SR-IOV, RemoteFX, and direct disk passthrough. The first two items are not available to Windows 8.x hosts.
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Fri May 30, 2014 3:52 pm

To be honest, I know nothing about Hyper-V, beyond the old jokes about it being a rip-off of ESXi/vSphere/et al.

I don't know if this will be very helpful to you, but I found an article with 3 free Hyper-V tools.

Everything else I found during a quick google search was pretty much technet and MSDN saying to use the built-in counters, and folks talking about which chipsets don't support VT-d,since it's supposed to be different from VT-x.


Wish I coulda been more help, but what little VM I know about is enough to administer a Nexus 1000v, and play ScummVM. Oh, and DOSBOX.
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Fri May 30, 2014 4:33 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:The parent partition still has direct access to the hardware. The child partition hosts the guest OS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hyper-V.png

RemoteFX is a Server only feature (2008R2 and newer). Windows 8.x lacks the host ability.

It also requires a specific GPU.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/201 ... 12-r2.aspx

Desktop class cards may or may not work depending on market segmentation implemented by the vendor.

AFAIK, Hyper-V does not use VT-D. Hyper-V has its own methods to provide direct access to certain hardware. Namely: SR-IOV, RemoteFX, and direct disk passthrough. The first two items are not available to Windows 8.x hosts.



Hi guys!

I've written a few articles on how to get RemoteFX going (on 2012 in my case); in this guide I use a consumer NV 650 and it works great. I now use the RemoteFX VM as my main work machine either local or remote (over an RD Gateway). Kougar note you can setup a Gen1 or Gen2 machine with the newest Hyper-V, so that shouldn't be that big a deal. HyperV does use VT-D as well as a couple other techs.

Here are the articles, hopefully they help!

http://blog.ittoby.com/2013/04/what-is- ... hyper.html
http://blog.ittoby.com/2013/02/server-2 ... otefx.html
http://blog.ittoby.com/2013/02/installi ... rs-on.html
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Fri May 30, 2014 8:16 pm

Toby wrote:HyperV does use VT-D as well as a couple other techs.


Digging a little deeper SR-IOV does use VT-D. RemoteFX and disk passthrough do not require VT-D.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/libr ... 31389.aspx

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/For ... rverhyperv
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Sat May 31, 2014 12:26 pm

I am using Win Server 2012 R2 DC Edition, courtesy of DreamSpark. I went for this as it meant I can create and delete VMs constantly for experimentation without worrying about keys or Guest OS activation. AVMA greatly simplifies this. Used to have a Technet membership and that was required given the number of XP VMs I used to create and then break/delete constantly in VMware, but that obviously wasn't an option anymore. I was done with XP, nevermind that Generation 2 VM's require Win 8 or Win Server 2012 as the Gust OS anyway. I know XP was favored for it's light footprint, but Gen 2 VMs seem to make up for this.

I've found this list of the differences between Hyper-V Client and HyperV in Windows Server in a few places, but it predates the R2 release. http://devonenote.com/2012/06/differenc ... r-hyper-v/

Regarding RemoteFX... that's a little surprising if Win 8 Pro's Client Hyper-V doesn't get this feature. All that is required for RemoteFX GPU support is DirectX11 and WDDM 1.2 support for the graphics driver, so even my old GTX 480 does work with this feature. I'm just hoping they will add the RemoteFX functionality to Gen 2 based VMs, I would imagine it's next on the list of features to be added?

So far Gen 2 VMs appear to be all-around better than virtualizing an entire ~486 based computer then sticking an OS ontop of it. I need to make a Gen 1 VM just to get a better feel for the comparison, but with Gen 2 Win 2012 VMs shutdown and boot literally take ~3 seconds tops, it's incredible. Linked clone Disk usage (or to use HyperV's terminology, differential disks) is also significantly more efficient, I can keep all the VM playing confined to a single SSD.

Yes, SR-IOV is a subset of VT-d if I recall. Per Ryu's link:

SR-IOV networking requires:

--A host system which supports SR-IOV (for example, Intel VT-d), including chipset support for interrupt and DMA remapping, and proper firmware support to enable and describe the platform’s SR-IOV capabilities to the operating system.

--An SR-IOV–capable network adapter and driver in both the management operating system (which runs the Hyper-V role) and each virtual machine where a virtual function is assigned.

Support for SR-IOV networking devices – Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) is a standard introduced by the PCI-SIG. SR-IOV works in conjunction with system chipset support for virtualization technologies. This provides remapping of interrupts and DMA and allows SR-IOV capable devices to be assigned directly to a virtual machine. Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 enables support for SR-IOV–capable network devices and allows an SR-IOV virtual function of a physical network adapter to be assigned directly to a virtual machine. This increases network throughput and reduces network latency, while also reducing the host CPU overhead required for processing network traffic.


That said I'd guess no that Z87's Intel-based Gbit LAN supports this. Figured out that Z87 uses this ethernet controller. And this list of SR-IOV compliant controllers seems to confirm it, oh well. http://www.intel.com/support/network/ad ... 031492.htm

Hz so good wrote:I don't know if this will be very helpful to you, but I found an article with 3 free Hyper-V tools.


Thanks for the link! I'll have to try out one of two of those and see what they can do!

Toby wrote:Hi guys!

I've written a few articles on how to get RemoteFX going (on 2012 in my case); in this guide I use a consumer NV 650 and it works great. I now use the RemoteFX VM as my main work machine either local or remote (over an RD Gateway). Kougar note you can setup a Gen1 or Gen2 machine with the newest Hyper-V, so that shouldn't be that big a deal. HyperV does use VT-D as well as a couple other techs.


Thanks for the links! I'll have to watch your site ;) I've already been using Gen 2 VMs, I'm just surprised you can't (yet) combine a Gen 2 VM with a RemoteFX vGPU. I'd think all the hard parts had already been done, unless there's some in-between interface driver they still need to write for this! Only Gen 1 VMs can use RemoteFX so far.
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:24 am

I've been using Hyper-V since the original release back in 2008. It's come a LONG way.

We started our deploying in 2008 with the initial release of Windows Server 2008...mostly out of necessity. I'd just started in the current job I'm in and to say things were in shambles is putting it mildly. Hardware was in short supply, as was any funding for anything at that point. Fortunately, I did have access to a PowerEdge 2800 that wasn't being utilized (even though everyone had been told it was). We reinstalled it, put Hyper-V on it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Also at the time there was another server running VMware Server. Yes, the old software virtualization platform that was free. To say it was sloooow is an understatement (but so is all software virtualization). I was able to reinstall some of the services from that environment into new Hyper-V VMs. However, I was stuck on a few and was looking for options to convert the remaining. Of course there are a ton of products that will convert a .vmdk to .vhd, but they weren't quite achieving the desired effect. Then along came Microsoft's Virtual Machine Manager with the ability to do a Physical-to-Virtual conversion. I know, you're saying "but you wanted a Virtual-to-Virtual conversion!" Well, as it turns out, I was able to treat the running VMware Server VMs as a "physical" server in VMM and run the conversion process without any problems. After they were all converted, we reinstalled that server with Server 2008, enabled Hyper-V and kept going.

Eventually we grew into running a Hyper-V Cluster for redundancy. We put in iSCSI storage, ordered a few servers with a ton of network ports, and had things running smooth. We could do host maintenance and the end users were none the wiser. Life was grand.

Then along came Windows Server 2008 R2, and it was time to upgrade the cluster. Nope...you can't have a mixed Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 cluster. Bummer. However, by this point we had three nodes in the cluster, so I was able to drop one, reinstall it with 2008 R2, and then migrate VMs one by one by one...manually. You can export and import them, but I found it just as easy to create a new shell with the same settings, and then reattach the VHD. So I moved enough VMs to be able to reinstall the second server in the cluster, created a new cluster, finished moving the VMs from the third, and then reinstalled it. Yeah...it was a loooooooong week.

Fast forward a few years of things running smoothly and along comes Windows Server 2012. Yay...I get to do it all again. This time, however, we had new server hardware, a new iSCSI SAN and were installing redundant 10GigE in the datacenter. Sweet! Lather, rinse, repeat the process from 2008 to 2008 R2 for the 2008 R2 to 2012 migration.

Then Microsoft goes and announces Windows Server 2012 R2 with tons of awesome new Hyper-V features. Crap. Wait...didn't I read something about being able to move a VM from one server to another without setting up a cluster? Something about Shared Nothing Migration? Does it work from Server 2012 to Server 2012 R2? Yep! Everything is awesome! (Is that trademarked by Lego now?) So this time I had four servers in the node...dropped two of them, installed 2012 R2, created a new cluster and was able to move all of the VMs from one set of hosts to the other while users were using them. About time!

Running Hyper-V hasn't gone without it's growing pains, or problems that we've had to work around...but I couldn't justify the extra cost of VMware when we proved that Hyper-V worked for our needs. And now there are third party products like AppAssure that can backup your VMs and even convert them from virtual to physical, physical to virtual, automatically spin up a backed up VM in the case of a failure, and so on. The speed of the Shared Nothing Migration, Live Migration, and even Quick Migration all depends on the speed of your network connection. We use the cluster's heartbeat link for this, which just so happens to be a dual 10GigE connection.

I will also agree that the Gen2 VMs seem to be much better than the Gen1 VMs so far. How many of you have ever had to extend a partition while the OS was running? Well now you can modify the size of the virtual hard drive while the Gen2 VM is running, and then extend the partition size inside of the VM, again, while it's running. Gen2 VMs also boot UEFI.

Oh...do you run a Domain Controller in Hyper-V? I do. If you aren't running Server 2012 or 2012 R2, don't restore a snapshot of that DC! Server 2012+ now keeps track of the delta changes to Active Directory and applies those to the snapshot. This keeps restoring a DC to an earlier snapshot from hosing your other DCs with them trying to figure out which one has the correct version of AD. Microsoft provided that code to both VMware and Citrix so they could do the same with their respective virtualization technologies, but I don't know if that ever got implemented.

I know a lot of people still dismiss Hyper-V as an option just because of the initial offering. Some six years later and a ton of enhancements, it's definitely worth consideration, even if you're just looking to expand what you're already doing with virtualization.
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:12 pm

curtisb wrote:I will also agree that the Gen2 VMs seem to be much better than the Gen1 VMs so far. How many of you have ever had to extend a partition while the OS was running? Well now you can modify the size of the virtual hard drive while the Gen2 VM is running, and then extend the partition size inside of the VM, again, while it's running. Gen2 VMs also boot UEFI.


Yeah, I'm totally loving those Gen 2 features. Resizing or modifying disks is much simpler... it was annoying as hell to have to resize a Windows XP VM under VMware as even the OS didn't like it very much and 3rd party disk tools would have to get involved.

Even though on one hand it seems like a perfectly normal evolution of software, I still find it amazing that OS's are finally morphing into flexible, pliable, self-aware modularized systems and aren't some rigid fixed-function code like in the XP days. That the Win 8 kernel can recognize and modify itself based on the environment it finds itself in is interesting, but especially so when it can recognize it is a virtual machine and make optimized changes for that setup automatically, exactly as it will do in a Gen 2 VM. That Gen 2 VM's have dumped most emulation and most legacy hardware support should only help them shed a lot of the baggage modern systems have been dragging around. I wonder what sort of stuff Linux will be doing now that MS has developed the handling drivers to allow recent builds to work in a Gen 2 VM environment.
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:02 pm

Kougar wrote:So I've taken a crash course in learning HyperV, and because of the hypervisor it's radically different from my former experience with VirtualBox and VMware Workstation. The concept of a host OS is basically chucked out the window...

What you're describing is a HperVisor-based system. There are many vendors doing it. VMware ESX is probably the current giant in that market, but there are others, including HyperV (which is actually thicker than VMware's Hypervisor, from what I understand).
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Re: What're your thoughts on Hyper-V

Postposted on Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:16 am

To get a virtual machine (VM) to work properly, it's critical to install the Hyper-V integration components. These integration components install agents into a VM that enable a host to successfully back up a VM, recognize when it has gone down, copy and paste data into and out of a VM, and synchronize its clock to the host. These components are important to processing a VM's workload: In effect, their installation reconfigures an operating system to make it "aware" that it has been virtualized, resulting in an "enlightened" OS.
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