Shared Nothing Live Migration on Windows Server 2012

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Rob Waggoner


With Windows Server 2012 around the corner, I wanted to start sharing some of the capabilities that Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 will start providing.  Today I want to show you the Shared Nothing Live Migration.  Just as the name implies, you can Live Migrate a VM from one host to another over just a network cable.  Take note: Shared Storage and a Windows Cluster are no longer required to Live Migrate a VM from one host to another, but don’t tear down your cluster, or throw your SANs out yet!  They still provide plenty of value, but now you can Live Migrate a VM to another host, or even another cluster if you need to. 


Here’s a quick video that demonstrates Shared Nothing Live Migration:

As you can see, it really is pretty simple. 

Now let me give you a few of the details about my setup.  First, if you saw my Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V videos here, you may notice that I’m using the same server names that I was using for Windows Server 2008 videos.  The reality is that I’m using the same hardware I used for those videos.  That means the hardware is showing some age, but still runs Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V, just not as fast as some of the modern day hardware.  Second, the VM I was Live Migrating was about 16 GB in size and took 8 minutes, 40 seconds to Live Migrate from one host to another.  About 2 GB per minute?  As I said, I’m running on older hardware, I expect more current hardware to reduce this migration time significantly, but the reality is that Shared Nothing Live Migration still works.  I’ve even seen VMs Live Migrated from one laptop to another with just a single network cable. 

I recorded and timed three migrations; Shared Nothing Live Migration, Storage Live Migration, and Live Migration (in a cluster). All three migrations leveraged the same servers and virtual machine to migrate the VM. While I agree my timings were not “scientific”, I think these timings will give you some insight into the performance as you plan your deployments.

Remember, for this Live Migration the whole VM was copied over the network.

This was a faster move than transferring the whole VM “over the wire”. Yes, my iSCSI SAN is “on the wire” as well, but I have two iSCSI NICs dedicated to the SAN.

The same VM and hardware that took over 8 minutes to Live Migrate over the network took only 11 seconds to Migrate in a cluster.

I hope this information has helped, if you have any more questions, please let me know.

This session is one part of a whole series of screen casts around Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012, you can go this link to access the whole series.

So you want to get started with (Windows Server 2012) Hyper-V? Start here! – In Summary

Until next time!


Comments (6)

  1. VMNewbie says:

    Does the shared nothing live migration works with 2 machines having different hardware or they should be the same hardware?

  2. Ross says:

    God help you if you have an AMD CPU on one and an Intel on the other. It won't happen.

  3. Dejan says:

    Do you know a private netwrok can be created just for live migration? For example dedicate one NIC on each server on private vLan and move the VMs back and forth.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from Does "Shared Nothing" Migration Mean the Death of the SAN? | VirtualQube Blog

  5. aries says:

    Hi, I found this post very helpful for me, it is very easy to understand about the live VM migration. I have a confusion regarding VM migration that if any VM is migrated from one physical host to another what components of VM (vCPU, vBIOS, vRAM, vHD,
    vNIC, OS, Apps) will be changed? Kindly help me to understand that: 1. Security of VM. 2. What components will be modified during the migration of VM? 3. Will OS running on VM will be changed or remain same? 4. Will Core components of VM such as BIOS, Boot
    Loader, OS be changed during migration of VM. Thanks in anticipation. Looking forward for your response.

  6. 1Roso says:

    Thank you Rob for this article, it helped me to understand this scenario. Will test it soon though 😉

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