Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Top 6 features of Hyper-V 2012 R2...

...that the vSphere Admin thought were already there.

I'm not getting into a feature debate. Too much marketing on either side. Yes, VMware's licensing is complicated. AGREED.
What I'm talking about here is when I go through the "New Features" articles of Hyper-V 2012 R2 and see things that I ASSUMED WERE THERE FROM DAY ONE. Day one being ~2008. ESXi 3.5 came out in ~2007.
However, day one from Hyper-V didn't have "live migration" just "quick <cough power off cough> migration" so maybe I was expecting too much from VMware's competition out the gate.
Anyway, here's my list:

6) PXE Boot. Your Hyper-V hypervisor is now going to get out of the way of your virtual network adapter. Move out of the way. Available in ESX since probably the beginning or close to it as the generic virtual ethernet is Intel e1000 in ESX(i) and the VM traffic stack is separated from the management stack. Restricted to Gen2 VMs.

5) Online virtual HDD resizing. This feature in ESX(i) has been saving my butt since ESX(i) 3.5 (or 4.0, but I'm pretty sure 3.5). Windows Server introduced live resizing of the boot partition in Server 2008, 2003 you could only live resize non-boot partitions (shutdown, gparted, start). This was a function that the Windows Server team that got it right. Awesome feature. Because Hyper-V Gen1 VMs are IDE, you couldn't use this OS feature. Unbelievable. Oh, the fine print on the Hyper-V shrink HDD is that is has to be unpartitioned. That's reasonable. Restricted to Gen2 VMs.

5b) Clarification in that Gen1 VM boot partitions were restricted to being IDE. Other added disks could be SCSI (although I'm not sure if live resizing was available. Looks like no).

4) Live Migrate from Hyper-V 2012 server to 2012 R2. AKA, non-disruptive vMotion onto latest version. This is one-way onto 2012 R2, no clusters of different versions for any period of time. This has been available since at least ESX 3.5 circa 2007, probably before.

3) Clone a running VM. Available since at least ESX 3.5 with VMware. Again.

2) Virtual SCSI HDD boot disk. What? You mean Hyper-V guests have been running on virtual IDE? Yuck. Restricted to Gen2 VMs.

1) "VM Direct Connect" aka Virtual Console! You know that thing that happens when you screw up the network mask or IP and lock yourself out. Or maybe you had a security breach and want to keep the machine running without it being on the network. Well now you can! Introduced in the first version of VMware's hypervisor circa 2001 now coming to Hyper-V 2012 R2.

0) Restricted to Gen2 VMs. This is Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 only. ONLY. Though if you're using the Hyper-V equivalent of vCenter (VMM) it can't see Gen2 VMs. Doh!

Other bits:

- Dynamic memory of Linux. If you set this too low you will break your Linux VM (see FYI).
- SMB over RDMA (RoCE). Shared memory between physical servers. Like HPC infiniband solutions. While a very cool idea I think most Hyper-V deployments won't be shucking the dollars for this architecture.
- NVGRE is cool. At least Ivan thinks so.

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