I decided to play around with Microsoft’s version of virtualization on my old AMD Phenom II x4 940 (3.0Ghz x 4) system. It parried it with a Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P and 8GB of generic DDR2 RAM. For the boot drive I used a 300GB WD Velociraptor and for the data drive I purchased a Seagate 1.5TB drive.
Windows 2008 installed with no problems on the system- but when I went to add the Hyper-V services, the system would no longer boot into windows. I would see the ‘starting windows’ logo and then a black screen and no disk activity.
The latest beta BIOS for my motherboard resolved this issue. I flashed the BIOS and Windows was able to finish configuration of Hyper-V on the next boot.
The Hyper-V manager that is included with Windows 2008 is fairly feature lacking:
To get the advanced features for Hyper-V management, you will need to download and install System Center Virtual Machine Manager:
Either interface will allow creation of virtual machines, taking snapshots and basic configuration. With the SCVMM you can clone VMs, convert VMs, and use ‘libraries’ which can be used to store disk images, ISOs and templates. SCVMM also allows management of multiple Hyper-V servers and the ability to move VMs between different hosts and storage locations.
One very interesting feature of SCVMM is the ability to create a virtual machine from a physical machine- while the target machine is still powered on; I have tried against a few different Windows XP and Windows 7 clients and verified this can be done without powering off the machine that is being cloned.
Creating a Windows 2008 VM is easy. Older OSes (Win2003) need to have the ‘virtual guest (integration) services’ installed to enable mouse usage inside the VM (as well as other features). This does not appear to work with non-Windows operating systems (such as Linux) as when I attempted to install it to a powered off Ubuntu host as i received an ‘unable to determine boot device’ error in SCVMM- so no Linux VMs for Windows Hyper-V!
I also had issues with a NIC driver a new Windows 2003 x64; it appeared as an unknown ‘network adaptor’ in device manager. A search on the internet indicated that a ‘synthetic NIC’ driver was installed with with virtual integration components (virtual guest integration services) and there were no drivers for a ‘physical virtual NIC’. I shut down the VM, removed the associated NIC and added a new NIC. It was detected as a ‘Microsoft Virtual Machine Bus Network Adaptor’ and was now usable as a NIC.
Hyper-V performance on a quad core 3.0GHz Phenom II with 8GB of RAM is fairly good. I think ACHI along with a 32MB cache on the 1.5TB hard drive helps with disk performance.
So now I am building a Win2008, Win2003, XP and Windows 7 systems to use as clients in a domain to test out Exchange 2010 along with SCCM and SCOM…
Looks like it will be a fun Thanksgiving Holiday! :)