VMware started a revolution with virtualization. Suddenly, you could use one server and installed several server operating systems on one physical server. You see, in the past, you needed one physical server for the one role. For example, one physical server was used for MS Active Directory; one server was used for the File and Print server. One physical server was used for MS Exchange. One physical server was used for the MS SQL database. If you could not afford so many physical servers, you could combine several roles on one physical server. That way, you saved some money, but you have also taken a greater risk of problems. At that time, there were many problems. One example was backup.
The backup was a mess. Every server had an agent installed. The backup agents could consume 99% of the CPU and slow down all the running services. Windows update could be excellent for most services running on the server but could affect MS SQL, for example. Another problem was restoring from backup. Testing backups was slow. The backup restore was slow. And it often didn’t work as advertised.
Oh, did you know that physical servers were underutilized? Let’s take a look at the MS SQL server as an example. MS SQL is commonly used for ERP. Every ERP uses an SQL server. MS SQL and Oracle are most likely used the most, but open source solutions like My SQL. Employees start work at 9.00 in the morning. When they enter data into ERP, the CPU is idle most of the time. When management runs reports, the CPU spikes for a couple of minutes, and then the server is idle again. CPUs hardly did any work. Other examples are MS AD and print servers. Idle most of the time.
Now, imagine how the world has changed for admins around the world. Suddenly, they could use one physical server and install several virtual instances on one server. The cost went down dramatically. And backup was very improved but much on that topic later.
Microsoft released Hyper-V, its hypervisor-based virtualization product, in the summer of 2008. It is used by IT professionals and IT enthusiasts around the world. It provides hardware virtualization and thus enables you to run multiple operating systems as virtual machines.
Why do you need virtualization?
Virtualization enables you to:
- Run multiple operating systems on the same physical device
- Save cost
- Run the software that requires an older operating system.
- Test and Experiment with the software, software updates, or operating systems. You can use snapshots and revert to the original state if you made a mistake or the update breaks the system.
How to get Hyper-V
Hyper-V is available as a free standalone server product. It is also available on a desktop or laptop. On Windows, it is available as a FREE role you can enable (Home version is excluded, requires PRO or Enterprise version). Hyper-V is also available as a role you can install on Windows Server.
Windows server has two options you can choose from. The first is Standard. Standard version license allows you to have up to two Windows Server virtual machines running simultaneously. The second option is a Datacenter license. Datacenter license allows you to an unlimited number of virtual machines. Another benefit of a datacenter license is several advanced features that are not present in the Standard version.
Hyper-V Management Tools
PowerShell a tool used by Microsoft to script and automate operating systems and applications. For example, you can automate Microsoft Server and Microsoft Exchange with PowerShell. You can also create custom applications that can control and automate required products. You can manage Hyper-V with PowerShell. There are many scripts available online to help you start with managing Hyper-V.
You can manage Hyper-V with FREE or commercial tools.
Hyper-V Manager is a free Windows Server tool. You can use it to perform basic operations. It has limitations. For example, you won’t be able to move VMs between hosts.
Failover Cluster Manager is included FREE of charge, just like Hyper-V Manager. Failover Cluster Manager is used for building and managing Hyper-V failover clusters. You would use this tool when you want to configure and maintain a group of servers that are part of a cluster. Only when servers are in a group can you configure high availability. High availability means that servers are working together. When one of the servers fails, the other takes over without interruption to the application and users.
SCVMM – System Center Virtual Manager
SCVMM must be purchased separately. It is a powerful tool used to manage Hyper-V hosts and Hyper-V failover clusters in large environments. The SCVMM has a nice user interface with an analytics dashboard and many built-in custom templates. You can also use it to manage Azure Subscriptions and can become a powerful tool for on-premise and cloud infrastructure management.
SCOM – System Operations Manager
SCOM helps you monitor your virtual environment when combined with SCVMM. You can put your operations manager agents on virtual machines. Because the agents will report back, SCOM will track your virtual machines and services’ performance and health. You can also use agentless monitoring. Agentless monitoring works by the use of the proxy agent. For example, you can use one computer to install an agent that will monitor the servers.
What can Hyper-V do for me?
Save the cost
Hyper-V is very cost-efficient. You can start with the free edition and scale up when you need to. You can also use PowerShell or 3rd party tools to automate most tasks.
VM Backups and disaster recovery
You can use a tool like Nakivo Backup and Replication to backup and replicate virtual machines. You can easily use a secondary location or a cloud for a bulletproof backup solution.
Security, Patching, and updating
By using snapshots, you can easily patch and update applications. If something goes wrong, you can immediately revert to the original state. You can easily patch all applications without problems. You can also separate virtual machines with VLANs and keep your apps secure.
Hyper-V is built for automation. You can automate various parts of the system and can create a complete self-service environment.
Hyper-V and virtualization can do wonders for your infrastructure. There are many benefits, including cost-saving. Once you migrate your infrastructure to Hyper-V, you will also have to protect with backup. Why not try one of the best Hyper-V backups? What are your experiences with Hyper-V?