I am working on deploying the latest and greatest in virtualization in the form of Hyper-V 3 in Windows Server 2012.  This post is to show the most notable features of the new version in no particular order.

  1. Virtual Workload Platform Improvements – hosts have support for 320 logical processors and up to 4 TB of memory per hosts.  Virtual machines can be configured with up to 64 vCPUs and 1 TB of memory, a HUGE increase from the previous version’s 4 vCPUs and 8 GB of memory.
  2. New Virtual Hard Disk File Format – VDX file format supports up to a 16 TB virtual hard drive.
  3. Hyper-V Replica – Built-in feature to asynchronously replicate virtual machines from one Hyper-V host to another over an IP network.  It is configured at the VM level so can specific ones can be chosen.  It is similar to VMware vSphere Fault Tolerance.  This technology tracks write operations on the source machine and replicates them to the the “replica” VM keeping them synchronized.  However, I would still recommend using Veeam as they are still the number one choice with regards to virtualization backup.
  4. NIC Teaming – Windows Server 2012 provides options to configure: switch independent, static teaming and Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP).  Previously, the only option would be to use a driver specific form of teaming making it less integrated and more difficult to configure and maintain.
  5. Failover Clustering – Cluster has increased support for 64 nodes and 4,000 VMs versus 16 nodes and 1,000 VMs previously.
  6. Concurrent Live Migrations – Previously only one live migration was supported at a time.  Now it is up to the administrator to define the maximum amount and should be configured to the available bandwidth between the different hosts.
  7. Dynamic Memory – This is not a new feature (released in Hyper-V 2 found in Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1), but the essential feature has been improved and now has the option to enable it during the “New Virtual Machine Wizard”.  It is memory management at its finest allowing to configure a startup RAM value as well as minimum and maximum amount of memory settings.
  8. Storage Live Migration – This is now built-in to the Hyper-V Manager versus requiring System Center Virtual Machine Manager for Quick Storage Migration.  This functionality enables moving or migrating a VM without any downtime from one storage system to another.  Previously in technologies from Microsoft and VMware a shared storage repository was required (i.e. an expensive SAN or cheaper iSCSI based NAS device) to work proporly.  This is not the case in Hyper-V 3 and is one of those shining differentiating the offerings against vSphere 5.  You are now able to migrate a live storage VM from local disk to another local disk with zero downtime.
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