As Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0 challenges VMware's popularity in the data center, Microsoft partners should prepare for battle.
Some companies have already made the switch, and Microsoft introduced its "Switch to Hyper-V" partner program designed to boost the number of rip-and-replace deals that migrate VMware environments to Hyper-V. Microsoft is also making a big push for increased adoption with the launch of System Center 2012.
To help Microsoft partners that want to take advantage of the company's traction while managing customer expectations, here are the answers to frequently asked questions about Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0.
- Virtual machine capacity of up to 32 virtual CPUs
- Support for virtual machines with up to 512 GB RAM
- Support for multiple concurrent live migrations and storage live migrations
- Hyper-V Replica disaster recovery tool
- Support for 63-node clusters
- Support for 16 TB VHDX format
- New extensible virtual switch
- Hyper-V client for Windows 8 desktops
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What are the hardware requirements of Hyper-V 3.0?
To sell Hyper-V 3.0, VARs may need to set up a test environment for customers to try it out. The set-up process is pretty straightforward, and most servers released in the last three years will meet the hardware requirements. The processor will need to have virtualization extensions and must have Data Execution Prevention enabled.
What are the Hyper-V 3.0 design options available to customers?
With the new features included in Hyper-V 3.0 and Windows Server 2012, you have more options when designing your customer's virtual data center. These include the single-server Hyper-V deployment, a nonclustered multiserver Hyper-V deployment, a nonclustered multiserver Hyper-V deployment with highly available storage, or a clustered Hyper-V deployment with high-availability storage. Solution providers need to help customers determine which design is the best fit for their business needs.
What can customers expect in terms of replication and high availability?
Hyper-V 3.0 features improvements in high availability and redundancy that can make customers feel more at ease with critical business applications. They include a Predictive Failure Analysis feature that allows Windows Server 2012 to natively support error correction codes. Redundancy has also been engineered into almost every level of Hyper-V's architecture.
The Hyper-V Replica feature is another improvement. It uses the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Service to take a snapshot of the virtual machine on the primary host and move it to a secondary host. This tool is a good fit for one-off virtual machine replication, but it is not the best option for enterprise-scale disaster recovery.
What are the benefits and limitations of shared-nothing live migration in Hyper-V 3.0?
Another tool that works great for small and medium-sized businesses is shared-nothing live migration. It allows running virtual machines to move between two separate standalone servers without any clustering or shared storage between them. This can be particularly appealing to small IT shops that don't want to pay for shared storage but want to migrate virtual machines during planned maintenance operations.
What about massive memory allocation in Hyper-V 3.0?
Hyper-V 3.0 is capable of assigning up to 1 TB of RAM to a virtual machine. This increase brings Hyper-V in line with vSphere 5, but it might not have a lot of good real-world use cases. For example, live migration would be really costly, because it requires two hosts that can handle such large virtual machines. The presence of the large virtual machines can make load balancing difficult and reduce the performance of a virtualized infrastructure.