Andrew Fryer presents the second article of our new software Catch Up series. This time the focus is on Hyper-V: what you’ve been missing out on if you went straight from Windows 7 to 10, and how you can start leveraging hypervisors to perform essential tasks in the Windows Server platform.
For many of you, the upgrade to Windows 10 was from Windows 7 and as a result of missing out on Windows 8/8.1 you may be unaware of the hypervisor lurking in your laptop – Hyper-V.
In Windows 7 there was an XP Mode that enabled us to run legacy apps in a virtual machine, but that was built on a Virtual PC that was not a Type 1 hypervisor – it didn’t use the virtualisation technology built into the latest AMD and Intel chips and firmware. XP Mode went in Windows 8, instead we now have Hyper-V, the same hypervisor included in the equivalent Windows Server (8=2012, 8.1=2012R2, and 10=2016).
Hyper-V has a number of important advantages over its predecessor, notably the portability from server to laptops, and performance VMs that can be limited to minimise the impact on the host OS – which is important as your laptop is unlikely to be as powerful as your servers are (hopefully!). The downside is that some older and more basic laptops may not have the necessary virtualisation support to run Hyper-V or to move VMs across platform – say from Hyper-V to Virtual Box.
So enough of the fluff, how do you get started?
1. This is only going to work on the 64-bit versions of Windows as Hyper-V comes from the 64-bit only Windows Server. You’re not going to have too much fun splitting up 3GB of RAM across multiple copies of the OS!
2. Check that your BIOS is set up properly for Virtualisation Support
3. Data Execution Protection must be enabled.
4. Go to Programs & Features (Windows Key + X –> top option) and select Turn Windows features on or off
Enable both of the Hyper-V options – unless you are a legend in PowerShell – as you‘ll want the Hyper-V Manager. This is also how you add the manager to remotely manage your servers as it doesn’t come with the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT). Go and make yourself a coffee whilst the process runs through two reboots as Hyper-V slides underneath Windows. Your Windows 10 now sits on top of Hyper-V even though it’s not a virtual machine per se (I usually refer to this as the Host OS).
4. If all is well you are now running Hyper-V! You could, however, end up with the tools installed but Hyper-V not running; my advice is to check by taking a look at the Services, why not let Cortana get that for you?
The key thing to check is that the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management is running.
5. Now all you need to do is to set up Hyper-V from the console. It’s important to understand networking; you’ll probably want your virtual machines to have access to your network and that means setting up Virtual Networking. A typical laptop setup would be to share the wireless NIC between your Host OS and the VMs. To do that go to Hyper-V Manager (thanks again Cortana)…
…and create an External Network, i.e. the VMs can connect outside of the laptop you are on and it is shared with your host. I have checked the option allow the management operating system to share this network adapter as you’ll typically want to continue to access external networks from the Host OS as well. What this has done is altered the network adapter we can see from control panel.
Notice that there is a new bridge much as we would get if we enabled NIC teaming in Windows Server and that there is also a new object for our Virtual switch (Merlin in my case).
6. The final step is to create a VM – if for example you wanted to try out containers in Windows Server 2016 TP3 you could quickly create a VHD from the Windows iso, as per my aging LabOps series which I won’t repeat here.
Further your skills
Microsoft’s Virtual Academy has a free, eight-hour introduction course for those looking to leverage Hyper-V to perform essential tasks in the Windows Server platform. The jump start event focuses on Hyper-V infrastructure, networking, storage, management and integration with other System Center components.