I am happy to announce that I will be part of this year’s VeeamON Virtual Conference for Cloud Data Management. I will be part of the virtual expert’s lounge during the online event. As a Veeam Vanguard, this is a great opportunity and I am already looking forward to being part of this event. VeeamON Virtual will be on November 20, 2019, and you can find more information here.
Windows 10 is not just a modern desktop operating system, and it also has some great IT Pro and Developer related features build in. One of them is client Hyper-V. This is the same hypervisor which powers virtualization in Windows Server and the Microsoft Azure datacenters. With Hyper-V, you can create virtual machines running on Windows 10, without the need for third-party software. You can not just run Windows virtual machines, and you can also run Linux virtual machines. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can create an Ubuntu VM on Windows 10 using Hyper-V.
If you want to know more about Hyper-V on Windows 10, check out the Microsoft Docs.
First, you will need to install Hyper-V on your Windows 10 computer. Hyper-V on Windows 10 has the following requirements:
- Windows 10 Enterprise, Professional, or Education (Home does not have the Hyper-V feature included)
- 64-bit Processor with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
- CPU support for VM Monitor Mode Extension (VT-c on Intel CPU’s)
- Minimum of 4 GB memory
The easiest way to enable Hyper-V on Windows 10 is to run the following PowerShell command as an administrator:
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName:Microsoft-Hyper-V -All
After you have installed Hyper-V, you need to restart your computer.
Create an Ubuntu virtual machine on Windows 10
To create an Ubuntu virtual machine on Windows 10 Hyper-V, you could download the Ubuntu ISO file and install it like any operating system. However, there is a much easier way, using the Hyper-V Quick Create feature. In the Hyper-V VM Gallery, you will find not just two Windows 10 virtual machines; you will also currently find Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 19.04. These are prepared Hyper-V virtual machines images, ready for you to download and install.
Select the Ubuntu version you want to install and click on Create Virtual Machine. This will start downloading the virtual machine image.
After the image is downloaded, you can either connect to the virtual machine and start it, or you can first modify the virtual machine settings.
Optional: If you click on Edit settings, you will be able to configure the virtual machine hardware settings like vCPU or vRAM. You can also enable Secure Boot. If you enable Secure Boot for a Linux virtual machine, make sure you change the Secure Boot template to Microsoft UEFI Certificate Authority.
You can now start the Ubuntu VM.
This will boot you in the Ubuntu installation, where you can set up your Ubuntu operating system.
All the specific Hyper-V drivers for Ubuntu, are already included in the image. This allows you to use features like Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode, which enables you also to use copy-paste, and others.
I hope this gives you a step-by-step guide, how you can create an Ubuntu VM on Windows 10 using Hyper-V. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.
A lot of people have been waiting for this. After the release of Windows Server 2019 back in October 2018, you were able to download Windows Server 2019 Standard, Datacenter and Essentials. Today you can also download Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019. This is the free version of the Hyper-V role which you can find in Windows Server 2019. It includes all the great Hyper-V virtualization features like the Datacenter Edition. This is especially interesting if you don’t need to license Windows Server VMs, and is ideal when you run Linux Virtual Machines or VDI VMs.
This version of Hyper-V also comes with a lower footprint, since it is only available as Server Core and doesn’t include any other roles and features, which are not related to virtualization. That said, it does not come with other Software Defined Datacenter features like Storage Spaces Direct (S2D). These features are only included in the Windows Server Datacenter edition.
Microsoft Hyper-V Server is a free product that delivers enterprise-class virtualization for your datacenter and hybrid cloud. Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019 provides new and enhanced features that can help you deliver the scale and performance needs of your mission-critical workloads.
The Windows hypervisor technology is the same as what’s in the Hyper-V role on Windows Server 2019. It is a stand-alone product that contains only the Windows hypervisor, a Windows Server driver model, and virtualization components. It provides a simple and reliable virtualization solution to help you improve your server utilization and reduce costs.
You can download Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2019 ISO from the Microsoft Evaluation Center. You should also have a look at the Windows Admin Center, which is a locally deployed, browser-based app for managing servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure, and Windows 10 PCs
If you want to learn more about the new Hyper-V and Windows Server 2019 features, check out my blog: Windows Server 2019 – What’s coming next
With the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18917, the team also ships the first version of the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2), which was announced at the Microsoft Build 2019 conference. In this post, I am going to show you how you can install WSL 2 on your Windows 10 machine.
The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL 1) was in Windows 10 for a while now and allowed you to use different Linux distros directly from your Windows 10 machine. With WSL 2, the architecture will change drastically and will bring increased file system performance and full system call compatibility. WSL 2 is now using virtualization technology (based on Hyper-V) and uses a lightweight utility VM on a real Linux kernel. You can find out more about WSL 2 in the release blog or on the Microsoft Docs Page for WSL 2.
To install WSL 2, you will need the following requirements:
- Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18917 or higher
- A computer that supports Hyper-V Virtualization
Install WSL 2
To install the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2), you need to follow these tasks.
- Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux Optional feature (WSL 1 and WSL 2)
- Install a distro for the Windows Subsystem for Linux
- Enable the ‘Virtual Machine Platform’ optional feature (WSL 2)
- Configure the distro to use WSL 2
Enable the Windows Subsystem for Linux
To run the WSL on Windows 10 you will need to install the optional feature:
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
Install a Linux distro for the Windows Subsystem for Linux
If you don’t already have installed a WSL distro, you can download and install it from the Windows 10 store. You can find more here: Crazy times – You can now run Linux on Windows 10 from the Windows Store
Enable the Virtual Machine Platform feature
To make use of the virtualization feature for WSL 2, you will need to enable the optional Windows feature. You can run the following PowerShell command to do this. You will need to start PowerShell as an Administrator. After you run this command, you might need a restart of your computer.
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName VirtualMachinePlatform
Set WSL distro to use version 2
After you completed the first two steps, you will need to configure the distro to use WSL 2. Run the following command to list the available distros in PowerShell:
wsl -l -v
To set a distro to WSL 2 you can run the following command:
wsl --set-version DistroName 2
You can also set WSL 2 as the default:
wsl --set-default-version 2
To find out more about installing WSL 2, check out the Microsoft Docs page.
If you are now running your distro using WSL 2, you can now see that there is a Virtual Machine worker process running and if you search a little bit more, you can also find the VHDX file of the distro.
I hope this helps you and gives you a quick overview, if you have any questions, let me know in the comments and check out the WSL 2 FAQ. The Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 Kernel is also open-source, you can follow the project on GitHub.
By the way, you can now also start using Docker Desktop together with the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2.
A couple of days ago Microsoft announced the public preview of Generation 2 virtual machines on Azure. Generation 2 virtual machines support a bunch of new technologies like increased memory, Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX), and virtual persistent memory (vPMEM), which are not supported on generation 1 VMs. But more on that later.
What are Hyper-V Virtual Machine Generations
Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V introduced the concept of virtual machine generations. Not to be confused with Hyper-V configuration versions. The generation of a virtual machine defines the virtual hardware of a virtual machine and adds some additional and modern functionality. In Hyper-V, there are two virtual machine generations, generation 1 and generation 2. Generation 2 virtual machines support Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware instead of BIOS-based firmware. The Hyper-V team also removed a lot of the legacy devices and replaced them with a simplified virtual machine model.
On Windows Server Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs support features and improvements like
- PXE boot by using a standard network adapter
- Boot from a SCSI virtual hard disk
- Boot from a SCSI virtual DVD
- Secure Boot (enabled by default)
- UEFI firmware support
- OS disk > 2 TB
- improved boot and installation times
However, an important note here, not all of these features are currently available on Azure Generation 2 virtual machines, and not all operating systems are supported in Generation 2 VMs. For example, in Windows7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and 32-bit Windows systems are not supported. You can find more information about Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs here.
Azure Generation 2 Virtual Machines Overview
Azure Generation 2 Virtual Machines are currently in public preview. To be honest, Generation 2 VMs in Azure aren’t that new, with the public preview of Azure Confidential Computing, we already used Generation 2 VMs. However, now we can start using it for other workloads as well. This means that you can now upload and use your local VHD (not VHDX) files based on Hyper-V Generation 2 virtual machines. Before you had to use Azure Site Recovery to replicate and convert your Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs to Azure Generation 1 VMs.
Azure Generation 1 vs. Generation 2 capabilities
Currently, Generation 2 VMs are in public preview, and that means next to not having a service level agreement (SLA), the features which are available can and are limited. If you look at features like ASR or Azure Backup, which are currently not supporting Generation 2 VMs.
|Capability||Generation 1||Generation 2|
|OS disk > 2 TB||❌||✔|
|Custom Disk/Image/Swap OS||✔||✔|
|Virtual machine scale set support||✔||✔|
|Shared Image Gallery||✔||❌|
|Azure Disk Encryption||✔||❌|
You can find more information about Azure Generation 2 virtual machines with an updated list of capabilities on Microsoft Docs.
Hyper-V vs. Azure Generation 2 VMs
There are also differences between Hyper-V Generation 2 VMs and Azure Generation 2 VMs. Not all of the features provided in Hyper-V are currently present in the public preview version on Azure.
|Virtualization-Based Security (VBS)||✔||❌|
Again, you can find an up-to-date list on Microsoft Docs.
You can get started using the Generation 2 VMs on the following VM Sizes on Azure Premium Storage and Ultra SSD:
In public preview, you can now also use the following Azure Marketplace images from the “windowsserver-gen2preview” offer.
- Windows Server 2019 Datacenter (2019-datacenter-gen2)
- Windows Server 2016 Datacenter (2016-datacenter-gen2)
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter (2012-r2-datacenter-gen2)
- Windows Server 2012 Datacenter (2012-datacenter-gen2)
Create a virtual machine
You can use the Azure Portal to create a new VM or the Azure CLI using the following commands:
az group create --name myGen2ResourceGroupVM --location eastus az vm create \ --resource-group myGen2ResourceGroupVM \ --name myVM \ --image MicrosoftWindowsServer:windowsserver-gen2preview:2019-datacenter-gen2:latest \ --admin-username thomas \ --admin-password myPassword12
I hope this gives you an overview of the benefits and how you can run Generation 2 VMs on Azure. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments.
With the latest release of Windows 10 (1903), Microsoft introduced a new feature called Windows Sandbox. Windows Sandbox is based on Hyper-V technology and allows you to spin up an isolated, temporary, desktop environment where you can run untrusted software. In this blog post, I will show you how you can set up and configure Windows Sandbox in Windows 10. I will also cover how you can do an advanced configuration of your Windows Sandbox using Windows Sandbox config files.
The sandbox is great for demos, troubleshooting or if you are dealing with malware. If you close the sandbox, all the software with all its files and state are permanently deleted. It is a Windows 10 virtual machines, with the advantage that it is built into Windows 10, so it leverages the existing OS, which gives you faster startup, less footprint, better efficiency, and easier handling, without losing security.
Windows Sandbox is a lightweight virtual machine with an operating system. The significant advantage which makes it so small is the usage of existing files from the host, for data which cannot change. For the files which can change, it uses a dynamically generated image, which is only ~100MB in size.
There are much more exciting things happening with the Windows Sandbox like smart memory management, Integrated kernel scheduler, Snapshot and clone, Graphics virtualization and Battery pass-through. If you want to find out more about the Windows Sandbox, check out the official blog post.
Windows Sandbox comes with a couple of requirements. How more powerful your machine is, the better the experience will be.
- Windows 10 (1903) Pro or Enterprise build 18362 or later
- 64-bit architecture
- Virtualization capabilities enabled in BIOS
- At least 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
- 1GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)
- 2 CPU cores (4 cores with hyperthreading recommended)
Today, the Azure team is proud to announce a new member to the Azure Stack family, the Azure Stack HCI solutions. Microsoft Azure Stack HCI is Microsoft’s hyper-converged solution available from a wide range of hardware partners. Azure Stack shipped in 2017, and it is the only solution in the market today for customers to run cloud applications using consistent IaaS and PaaS services across public cloud, on-premises, and in disconnected environments. With adding the Azure Stack HCI solutions, Microsoft is offering customers a great new choice for their traditional virtualized workloads.
Today, I am pleased to announce Azure Stack HCI solutions are available for customers who want to run virtualized applications on modern hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to lower costs and improve performance. Azure Stack HCI solutions feature the same software-defined compute, storage, and networking software as Azure Stack, and can integrate with Azure for hybrid capabilities such as cloud-based backup, site recovery, monitoring, and more.
Adopting hybrid cloud is a journey and it is important to have a strategy that takes into account different workloads, skillsets, and tools. Microsoft is the only leading cloud vendor that delivers a comprehensive set of hybrid cloud solutions, so customers can use the right tool for the job without compromise.
It is built on a hyper-converged Windows Server 2019 cluster that uses validated and certified hardware to run virtual machines and workloads on-premises. Azure Stack HCI also allows you to optionally connect Azure services for BCDR, management and more. Azure Stack HCI solutions use Microsoft-validated hardware to ensure optimal performance and reliability. It includes support for technologies such as NVMe drives, persistent memory, and remote direct memory access (RDMA) networking, to get the best possible performance if needed. You can find more about this Hyper-converged system on azure.com.
What is behind Azure Stack HCI
Azure Stack HCI is based on Windows Server 2019, parried with validated hardware from OEM partners. With the Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition, customers get Software-Defined Infrastructure and Software-Defined Datacenter technologies like Hyper-V, Storage Spaces Direct and many more, which are the base of Azure Stack HCI. Paired with Windows Admin Center, you can use existing skills, gain hyper-converged efficiency, and connect to Azure services.
My name is Thomas Maurer. I am a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. I am part of the Azure engineering team (Cloud + AI) and engage with the community and customers around the world. I am located in Switzerland. I am focusing on Microsoft technologies, especially cloud and datacenter solutions based on Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack and Windows Server. Opinions are my own.