It has been quite a while now since I wrote part 8 of this series. I must admit I tried to start this post several times now and after all I am glad that I did wait because, as I wrote in my previous post about the Windows Server Virtualization features that we postponed, otherwise I had to change my current post and that is not what should be done. Those things said let's move on what is Windows Server Virtualization?
Windows Server Virtualization (WSV) is our hypervisor based virtualization platform that runs on a 64bit Windows Longhorn server. As starting from Beta 3 you will be able to install WSV onto a server core. Another requirement to run WSV is that the hardware has Hardware Assisted Virtualization technology.
When we talk about Virtualization overall we mainly see 3 scenarios were Virtualization is implemented:
- Server Consolidation
- Disaster Recovery
- Test and Development environments
The Hypervisor is a thin layer of software which resides between the hardware and the Operating system. The Hypervisor is now using the Hardware assisted Virtualization technology were in the past we could only achieved that through the Add-On software.
The resources are divided into different partitions the first one is always the parent partition and it's where the Windows Longhorn Server (core) is residing. Each time you create a new Virtual Machine you create a child partition. By using this technology we make sure that the Virtual Machines (child partitions) that are Hypervisor aware are talking to the hardware directly and don't have any emulated hardware.
A non hypervisor aware operating system will still use the current technology of hardware.
What are the compelling features in our WSV platform:
- Virtual Server Migration: We support the virtual machines created in VS2005, VPC2004 and VPC2007.
- AD integration: WSV is integrated into AD to provide a role based security system. You will be able to assign AD security groups to control who is able to access or manage the different Virtual Machines
- Server core: Server core has a smaller attack surface and also less to patch, less processes running more resources available for WSV.
- Group Policy integration: You will be able to use the GPO to manage the different Global Settings of WSV
- Snapshots: WSV is integrated with the Volume Shadow Copy service, this will enable you to create point-in-time copies (snapshots) of a running Virtual machine. This will have obvious benefits for Disaster Recovery and also to have a roll-back mechanism when you make changes to the VM.
- Scripting Interface: Because WSV relies on Windows Management Instrumentation you will be able to create automation scripts using PowerShell.
- Virtual SCSI: Windows Server virtualization provides support for virtual storage adapters.You can attach up to 512 virtual hard disks to a Windows Server virtualization virtual machine.
- Network Load Balancing: Windows Server virtualization includes new virtual switch capabilities. Virtual machines can be easily configured to run with Windows NLB to balance load across virtual machines on different servers.
- New Hardware: Support for 64 bit hosts and guests, more memory in the VM's 32GB
Besides all those new features we will deliver a solution for unified management of Virtual Machines. With System Center Virtual Machine Manager you will get:
- Centralized deployment and management of virtual machines
- Intelligent Placement analysis to determine the best servers for virtualization
- Quick physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual conversion
- Templates speed the creation of new virtual machines
- Windows PowerShell provides rich management and scripting environment
My next post will be about the new Terminal Services and all the improvement we've made.
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