Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology is available as a role in Windows Server 2016, as a stand-alone product in Hyper-V Server 2016, and as a feature in some versions of Windows 10, 8.1 and 8. In Windows Server 2016, Hyper-V incorporates key technologies initially developed for and proven on Microsoft Azure, one of the world's largest public clouds. This significantly improves the ability of the Windows Server platform to support private cloud as well as hybrid cloud/on-premises deployment models by fortifying security, availability, scale, manageability, reliability and disaster recovery.
Progent's Microsoft-certified consulting team can help you to evaluate the benefits of Hyper-V 2016 for your business, configure pilot environments to verify the ability of Hyper-V 2016 to run your critical workloads, design a cost-effective network topology for a cloud-centric or hybrid deployment, develop and execute an efficient migration plan, train your IT management and support staff, and provide ongoing consulting and troubleshooting support to ensure that your Hyper-V 2016 solution quickly delivers maximum business value. Progent offers online and onsite consulting services and can provide comprehensive project management outsourcing or co-sourcing to help you complete major initiatives on time and on budget, or Progent can provide as-needed expertise to help you over occasional technical hurdles. Progent also offers the skills of certified information assurance experts to help you with security and compliance issues plus disaster recovery/business continuity planning specialists to help you utilize the advanced capabilities of Hyper-V 2016 to restore operations rapidly in the event of a catastrophe.
New Features of Hyper-V on Windows Server 2016
Hyper-V for Windows Server 2016 includes a long list of new and enhanced features that impact practically all aspects of virtualization. Many improvements are drawn from Microsoft's Azure public cloud technology and address the fact that most businesses require a hybrid IT environment that seamlessly integrates on-premises resources with cloud-based services. Headline features include:
For descriptions of other new or enhanced features available in Windows Server 2016, see Windows Server 2016 hybrid solutions.
- Expanded Scale: Hyper-V 2016 supports up to 12 TB of virtual machine (VM) memory per physical host, a 12-fold improvement over Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. In addition, the number of virtual processors supported per VM has jumped from 64 to 240.
- Zero-downtime Hyper-V Cluster Upgrade: The Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade feature allows you to upgrade the operating system of cluster nodes from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 without stopping the Hyper-V workloads, resulting in a zero-downtime migration. The upgrade process (pause, drain, evict, reformat, and install) for each node can be automated with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2016.
Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade lets you upgrade Hyper-V cluster nodes to Windows Server 2016 without downtime
- Windows Containers: Hyper-V Containers are a type of Windows Container that relies on lightweight VMs to encapsulate containers which securely isolate applications running on a physical host. By running each container in its own optimized VM, Hyper-V Containers increase the isolation features provided by Windows Server Containers because the host's kernel is not shared by other Hyper-V containers. Benefits of Hyper-V Containers include high VM density, easy portability, the ability to run under Windows Server 2016 Nano Server for improved resource utilization, HTTPS support for web sites and applications, controls for restricting resources, and data management through container shared folders.
- Hot add/remove for network adapters and memory: You can add or remove a network adapter while a generation 2 VM is running without having to pause or restart the VM. The VM can be running Windows or Linux. With generation 1 or generation 2 VMs running Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10 you can you can change the amount of assigned memory without downtime.
- Host resource protection: You can stop a VM from hogging system resources by monitoring VMs and automatically allocating fewer resources when excessive activity is detected. This feature, which is controlled via PowerShell, can prevent a VM from overloading its host or degrading the performance of other guest VMs.
- Shielded Virtual Machines: Shielded virtual machines use an additional layer of encryption to prevent malware with stolen credentials or renegade administrators from seeing, modifying or taking data from the state of a VM. You can also use a Host Guardian Server to restrict shielded virtual machines to run exclusively on known, healthy hosts.
Shielded VMs help protect against malware with stolen credentials or malicious administrators
- Production checkpoints: Production checkpoints allow you to restore point-in-time images of a VM for any production workload. Production checkpoints utilize backup technology rather than the saved state-technology used by standard checkpoints for development and troubleshooting. For VMs running Windows, the Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) is used to create the checkpoints. For Linux VMs, checkpoints are created by flushing the file system buffers.
- Linux Secure Boot: Later distributions of Linux (including Ubuntu, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Centos) running on generation 2 VMs can have Secure Boot enabled. The VM must be configured to use the Microsoft Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Certificate Authority, which can be done with Hyper-V Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, or Windows Powershell. Secure Boot helps stop unauthorized firmware, OS, or UEFI drivers from running during the boot process.
- Windows PowerShell Direct: PowerShell Direct enables remote management of Windows Server 2016 virtual machines from a Hyper-V 2016 host. Because PowerShell Direct runs between the host and the VM, it is independent of the network configuration or remote management settings. This makes it easier for administrators to automate and script the management and configuration of Hyper-V virtual machines.
- Enhanced Hyper-V Virtual Switch: Hyper-V Manager includes Hyper-V Virtual Switch, a software-based layer-2 Ethernet switch that allows you to connect VMs to external networks such as your intranet or the Internet. Hyper-V Virtual Switch supports tenant isolation, traffic shaping, protection against malicious VMs, policy enforcement for service levels, and streamlined troubleshooting. Management tools can query switch-wide capabilities, configuration settings, and individual port network statistics via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).
Hyper-V Virtual switch lets admins review traffic across the network switch
- Start Order Priority for Clustered VMs: You can specify which clustered VMs start first to ensure that VMs which provide services are running when you start VMs that consume those services. The Start Order Priority feature allows you to use PowerShell to group VMs into sets and define dependencies.
- Nested Virtualization: For testing and development environments, you can use a virtual machine as a Hyper-V host for other VMs. This requires that the host and guest VMs run Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10. This also requires a processor with Intel VT-X.
- Enhanced Storage Quality of Service (QoS): You can create storage QoS policies and monitor performance for multiple Hyper-V virtual machines that share a file server cluster. By allowing you to establish policy-based minimum and maximum performance targets for I/Os per second (IOPS), you can prevent a VM from appropriating all the available storage bandwidth, centrally monitor and manage the VMs on a scale-out file server cluster, and deliver consistent storage performance to all VMs.
How Progent Can Help You with Hyper-V on Windows Server 2016
Progent's Microsoft-certified Windows Server 2016 consultants can help you with any stage of building and maintaining an on-premises, cloud-based or hybrid deployment of Hyper-V 2016. Progent can help you take advantage of Hyper-V's new cluster OS rolling upgrade feature to carry out a zero-down-time migration from Windows Server Hyper-V 2012 R2 to Windows Server Hyper-V 2016. Progent can also help you deploy shielded virtual machines to protect your data from malicious admins and comply with current and upcoming security regulations. In addition, Progent can show you how to follow best practices for managing Hyper-V ecosystems with Hyper-V Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Windows Powershell and PowerShell Direct. (See Progent's System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) consulting services.)
Progent's disaster recovery/business continuity consultants can help you design and test a DR/BC plan that incorporates Hyper-V failover cluster technology. In addition, Progent's information assurance consultants can help you validate the compliance of your Hyper-V environment with regulatory standards.
Progent's Online Consulting and Troubleshooting Services
Progent has more than two decades of experience providing advanced online consulting and troubleshooting services for Windows-powered networks and has delivered remote consulting support to businesses or government agencies in every state in the U.S. (See Progent's Customer Testimonials.) Progent's online support team resolves IT problems quickly and affordably and offers problem escalation to world-class subject matter experts. If your situation calls for onsite support, Progent can provide certified IT consultants to major metropolitan areas across the U.S.
If you need immediate online support from a Microsoft-certified consultant, visit Progent's Online Support Services.
To learn more about how Progent's Hyper-V experts can help your organization, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.