What’s new in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V

Windows Server 2012 R2

Today Microsoft announced the new features which are coming in Windows Server 2012 R2 which will be the next version of Windows Server at Microsoft TechEd North America. By the way just to show you how great Windows Server 2012 was and how great it scaled, Windows Azure uses the same Hyper-V virtualization service built-into Windows Server 2012 and this means complete virtual machine compatibility between on premise Hyper-V and Windows Azure IaaS.

Here the next version names:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • System Center 2012 R2
  • Windows 8.1

Now Microsoft announced a lot of new features especially for Hyper-V, and here are some of them:

  • Shared VHDX – a VHDX can now be shared between two Virtual Machine by using the virtual SCSI controller. This is created if you need shared storage for guest clustering inside virtual machines instead of using iSCSI or virtual fiber channel.
  • Live Migration Compression – Live Migration traffic will be compressed by the Hyper-V host before it’s sent over the wire. Which does reduce Live Migration time dramatically, up to 50% faster.
  • Live Migration over SMB Direct (RDMA) – Live Migration can use leverage SMB 3.0 and this means it can also make use of SMB Direct or RDMA which allows you to do live migration even faster.
  • Storage Quality of Service (QoS) – Limit storage IOPS per virtual machine
  • Live Virtual Machine Cloning / Exporting – You can now live clone a virtual machines without downtime and also export a running virtual machine.
  • Linux Guest OS support enhancements – Support for live backups of linux virtual machines and dynamic memory support for Linux guests.
  • Hyper-V Replica 2.0 – Hyper-V replica can now replicate not just two one other host, this replica can also replicate to a third Hyper-V host and the replication time was changed to three different settings (every 30 secs, every 5 minutes or every 15 minutes). Hyper-V Replica also got some background scalability and performance improvements.
  • Windows Azure Compatibility – As I already mentioned Windows Azure is running Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V which means that Hyper-V virtual machines on-premise are also capable to run in Windows Azure
  • Online resizing of VHDX – You can expand and shrink VHDX files during the virtual machine is running.
  • Automatic Guest Activation – zero touch activation of virtual machines. Virtual machines automaticly get activated if the Hyper-V hosts is an activated Datacenter edition.
  • VM Connect using RDP or enhanced VM interaction – This uses Remote Desktop over the VMBus, which allows you to use full remote desktop capabilities (Shared clipboard, audio redirection, folder redirection, smartcards, USB pass-through enhanced login and more…)
  • Generation 2 virtual machines – Gen2 VMs are legacy free and based on UEFI. So this means no more emulated devices, boot from virtual SCSI controllers or synthetic network adapters (PXE boot >100MBit) and enables UEFI secure boot as a standard. Supported guest operating systems: 64-bit versions of Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • Zero-downtime upgrade (Cross version live Migration) - Live migrate virtual machines from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2012 R2 (this also includes shared-nothing live migration).
  • Hyper-V Recovery Manager – I already mentioned the new service called Hyper-V Recovery Manager in Windows Azure which allows you to run a orchestrator failover of your virtual machines using Hyper-V Replica.
  • Deduplication – Deduplication of VDI Virtual Machines

There are a lot of other cool features in Windows Server 2012 R2 which add other great value to Hyper-V and your Private cloud. I will cover them in some other blog posts in the next days.

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