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Getting Started with Hyper-V Server 2012

Microsoft's hypervisor solution provides enterprise scalability and high availability

With all the news this week around the launch of Windows Server 2012, you may have missed that Hyper-V Server 2012 has also launched! I've provided details on this equally important launch milestone along with helpful resources to get started below ...

What is Hyper-V Server 2012?
Hyper-V Server 2012 is a FREE (yes, completely free!) purpose-built product that includes the core of Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V. The result is a streamlined Type-1 hypervisor that provides the same virtualization scalability and high availability features as the Hyper-V role in the full version of Windows Server - including up to 320 logical processors per Hyper-V host, up to 4TB of physical memory, Live Migration, Storage Migration, Virtual Machine Replication, Clustering and more!

Do It:

  1. Learn about the specific improvements in Hyper-V Server 2012 over Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.
  2. Learn how Hyper-V Server 2012 compares to competing virtualization products in sessions VIR311 and VIR312 from Tech Ed 2012.

Why would I use Hyper-V Server 2012 instead of Windows Server 2012?
Windows Server 2012 includes Hyper-V and a long list of other enterprise networking roles and features, such as file services, print services, Active Directory domain controller, DHCP, DNS, and more. Windows Server 2012 also includes additional virtualization rights that provide Windows Server OS licenses for guest virtual machines on a host - 2 license grants per host are included with each copy of Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition and unlimited license grants per host are included with each copy of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition.

In some scenarios, you may not need the additional capabilities of Windows Server 2012. For instance, you may be looking to setup dedicated hosts running only the Hyper-V role for consolidating large numbers of virtual machines on standalone or clustered hosts. In some cases, you may also not need the additional license grants provided by Windows Server 2012 - you may have already purchased your Windows Server licenses, or you may be setting up a client virtualization/VDI solution leveraging Hyper-V where Windows Server OS licenses are not needed for each VM. In these scenarios, Hyper-V Server 2012 makes perfect sense to deploy and integrate into your enterprise network. While Hyper-V Server 2012 itself cannot directly support other roles beyond Hyper-V on the parent partition, it can certainly integrate with your existing enterprise Active Directory and/or host virtual machines running the full Windows Server OS that can provide these additional roles.

How do I get started with Hyper-V Server 2012?
To get started with Hyper-V Server 2012, follow the steps I've outlined below.

Do It:

  1. Review the System Requirements for Hyper-V Server 2012
  2. Download Hyper-V Server 2012 RTM for FREE
  3. Install Hyper-V Server 2012
  4. Configure drivers (if needed) on Hyper-V Server 2012
  5. Configure Admin Password, IP Address and Domain for Hyper-V Server 2012

How do I manage Hyper-V Server 2012?

Because Hyper-V Server 2012 is intended to be a dedicated Hyper-V host server, other roles and features not directly related to supporting the Hyper-V role are not supported on the parent partition. This includes the Windows Server GUI console user interface. Hyper-V Server 2012 can be managed locally via the command line tools documented in the resources listed below, or it can be managed remotely from a Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 console using Hyper-V Manager.

Do It:

  1. Install the Hyper-V Management Tools on your Windows 8 management PC using Control Panel -> Programs and Features (see below)

  2. Download and Install the Windows Server 2012 Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) on your Windows 8 management PC (optional)

    While not absolutely critical for managing Hyper-V remotely, the RSAT kit provides the full suite of additional Windows Server 2012 management tools, including Server Manager, to provide a comprehensive remote management solution for managing Hyper-V Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012.
  3. Enable Remote Management on Hyper-V Server 2012
  4. Manage Hyper-V Server 2012

What's Next?
Now that you're up and running with Hyper-V Server 2012, you can manage this server remotely using Hyper-V Manager to create virtual networks and virtual machines - just as you would do with the full Windows Server 2012 product. Try these steps next for extra credit:

Do It:

  1. Live Migration! Configure and use Live Migration between non-clustered Hyper-V Server hosts (aka Live Migration Shared Nothing)
  2. High Availability! Use Server Manager to remotely install the Failover Clustering feature and use the Failover Clustering Admin Tool to remotely configure your cluster.

Are you planning to use Hyper-V Server 2012 in your shop?
What do you think of Hyper-V Server 2012? Post your questions, comments and feedback below!



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More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

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