Hyper-V Virtualization

Virtualization is the creation of a non-physical IT environment, using specific software called hypervisor. The hypervisor is a virtualization platform that can be thought of as a layer that is sandwiched between the physical computing environment and the virtual computing environment that one is trying to create. They manage the task of distributing hardware resources among virtual machines (VMs) in an efficient and flexible manner. Software and programs could be run from virtual machines just as if they were running on the physical machine, without hindering the user experience. Microsoft came up with its own hypervisor in 2008, and named it Hyper-V. It is a Windows Server role that can be installed by the administrator. Hyper-V Virtualization technology revolves around creating, configuring, and deploying virtual machines.

Why should an organization try their hand at Hyper-V? Well, the transition from a physical platform to a virtual platform could save so much time, money and space for an organization. A host of VMs running on a single physical machine could eliminate the need for multiple servers. Different operating systems can run parallelly and also be isolated from each other. It also provides a powerful and efficient development and test environment. Besides, there is ample amount of control and flexibility. Hyper-V Nested Virtualization, which comes with Windows Server 2016, is an enhancement to Hyper-V, where more than one hypervisor can be executed by nesting them inside another. Nested virtualization can extend hardware support to guest VMs.

Hyper-V Prerequisites

Hyper-V has specific set of system requirements and licensing requirements for its deployment. The following are the list of prerequisites :

  • A 64-bit processor with a minimum speed of 1.4 GHz
  • Hardware-assisted virtualization which is a feature of processors that incorporate either the Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) or AMD Virtualization (AMD-V)
  • Hardware-enforced Data Execution Prevention (DEP) that should be enabled along with either the Intel XD bit or AMD NX bit.
  • A minimum memory requirement of 1 GB

Configuring Hyper-V

Hyper-V settings fall into one of the two categories: Server settings and User settings. While Server settings deal with specifying the default location of virtual hard disks and virtual machines, User settings deal with customizing interactions with Virtual Machine Connection, Wizards and display messages. The following steps illustrate how to configure Hyper-V:

  • Click Start → Administrative ToolsHyper-V Manager
  • In the Actions pane, click Hyper-V Settings
  • In the left pane, click the setting that is to be configured.
  • Finally, click Apply and OK to save the changes.

Creating a Virtual Machine

A VM can be created with the help of the New Virtual Machine Wizard. One may either use the default settings available or configure the settings themselves.

The following steps illustrate how to create a VM with the help of the default settings:

  • Click Start Administrative Tools → Hyper-V Manager
  • In the Action pane, click New, and click Virtual Machine
  • Finally, click Finish

The following steps illustrate how to create a customized VM by configuring the settings:

  • Click Start → Administrative Tools → Hyper-V Manager
  • In the Action pane, click New, and click Virtual Machine
  • Specify the custom settings required, and click Next.
  • Finally, click Finish

Note that the configuration of the VM can be modified as and when required.

Virtual Network Manager

The Virtual Network Manager allows the administrator to configure VMs for networking. With the help of the Virtual Network Manager, an administrator can add, remove and/or modify virtual networks. It also specifies a suitable range of Media Access Control (MAC) addresses that can be allotted to the VMs. By doing so, it resolves potential MAC address conflicts. The Virtual Network Manager is a one-stop solution for managing virtual networks.

Just like a physical network, a virtual network is also characterized by a network adapter and an available network.The first VM that is created on the Hyper-V server is automatically configured to have a network adapter. Further VMs could be connected to this adapter on need basis. Virtual Networks are configured by adding, removing and/or modifying their networks adapters as required.

Adding a network adapter

The following steps illustrate how to add a network adapter:

  • Click Start → Administrative ToolsHyper-V Manager
  • In the left pane, expand Virtual Machines, and right click the VM that is to be configured and click Settings.
  • Click Add Hardware and select the required network adapter. Click Add.
  • Click Network, and select the virtual network to be connected to. A MAC address may be specified here.
  • Click OK.

Removing/Modifying a network adapter

The following steps illustrate how to remove/modify a network adapter:

  • Click Start → Administrative Tools → Hyper-V Manager
  • In the left pane, expand Virtual Machines, and right click the VM that is to be configured and click Settings.
  • In the left pane click on the network adapter to be removed and click Remove. To modify the configuration, make the appropriate changes and click Apply.
  • Click OK.

 Hyper-V Network Virtualization and Hyper-V Application Virtualization: An Overview

Hyper-V Network Virtualization

Just as server virtualization, which allows one to run multiple virtual servers on a physical server, Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) allows one to run multiple virtual networks on the same physical network. Each one of the virtual network operates as though it were running as a physical network. Organizations can create and host cloud data centers and expand their network infrastructure. A functionality called gateway is essential to deploy various cloud environments. HVN gateways are used to bridge the network virtualized environment and the non-network virtualized environment.

Hyper-V Application Virtualization

Hyper-V Application Virtualization (App-V) allows end users to work with applications without having them installed on their computers. Such applications can execute their self-contained virtual environment on clients. The application package must be published to the client OS before they can work them. However, ensuring that all the required applications are available to users as and when they need is quite a challenge.

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