Microsoft Hyper-V R2 is hot on VMware's heels

A review of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2

Bottom Line

Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 offer substantial performance and functionality enhancements over the previous editions, but support for non-Windows guests remains extremely limited.

Microsoft is poised to improve its standing in the world of virtualization with the much-anticipated update to Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Redmond's hypervisor-based server virtualization solution for 64-bit Intel- and AMD-based servers. First released last year, Hyper-V proved a less-than-compelling offering compared to virtualization platforms from VMware, Virtual Iron (now Oracle), Citrix, and other rivals. Hyper-V Release 2, part of Windows Server 2008 R2, delivers some exciting new features that change the game.

Among Hyper-V R2's new features is support for 64 logical processors; Live Migration support, which allows admins to move a VM from one physical server to another without service interruption; VM Chimney, which provides TCP offload support; and a new processor compatibility mode for Live Migration, which enables migrations between different CPUs in the same family.

[ See the InfoWorld Test Center review, "VMware vSphere 4: The once and future virtualization king. "]

On top of these enhancements, Hyper-V will remain free with the purchase of Windows Server 2008, which seems like a great deal. However, to use the new Live Migration capability -- and to centrally manage more than one Hyper-V host -- you also need System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM), which costs $869 per physical server. Depending on what you're running at your organization, SCVMM may be a welcome addition. Among its features, it can manage both Hyper-V and VMware servers.

Start your virtualization engine

Installing Hyper-V is no different than installing standard Windows Server 2008, although you do need to install the new Hyper-V Manager MMC (or SCVMM). The Hyper-V Manager can be installed on the same server as SCVMM or on a separate machine. It can run on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista SP1.

Guest operating system images can be installed from physical media or ISO image files, as well as over the network from a network image server. I had no problems installing any of the supported versions of Windows or Linux that I tried.

Installing SCVMM 2008 R2 is somewhat more complex than installing the usual single application: It depends on SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008 (SCVMM will install SQL Server Express, but you'll need the full SQL Server if you'll have more than 150 hosts), plus PowerShell 1.0, the Windows Automated Installation Kit 1.1, IIS 7.0, and an instance of System Center Operations Manager 2007 for reporting. Installing Operations Manager isn't strictly necessary, but only through the combination of SCVMM and Operations Manager can you monitor and manage virtual servers and their physical hosts together.

See more on the features next...

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags VMwareWindows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Logan G. Harbaugh

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?