HyperV server 2008 R2 - why?

I have been reading about HyperV Server 2008 R2.  It seems as if I'm consolidating existing servers by virtualizing them I could use it pretty well anywhere I would use server 2008 standard and it would  offer the same functionality. What if any  qualifiers are there to that belief? Would paying for 2008 R2 not buy me anything more?
lineonecorpAsked:
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Glen KnightCommented:
Hyper-V Server is a baremetal hypervisor like VMWare ESX

it's command line (mainly) and it's a free product.  You then create virtual machines on Hyper-V server with your required guest OS's

this is NOT Windows Server and it is VERY different from the Hyper-V role you I stall on Windows 2008 Server.

You don't need to buy a windows license for Hyper-V server but you will need to buy licenses for the Guest OS's you put on Hyper-V Server.

If you use the Hyper-V role you will need a live seforthe host windows OS and the guest OS's you install on it.
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skca54Senior EngineerCommented:
Hyper-V server does not run a 'GUI' as such and therefore has a much lower overhead than a full OS.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
We virtualize on Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 RTM (Core mainly), and Windows Server 2008 R2 (Core mainly).

As mentioned by SK, the OS overhead is significantly reduced. This means more of the CPU and I/O subsystem go to the VMs running on the machine.

Server Core and Hyper-V Server OS configuration also reduce exposure to security related vulnerabilities that get carried into the setup when the full GUI is installed. This reduced exposure means less opportunity to exploit the hypervisor OS.

Another aspect of using Server Core or Hyper-V Server is this: No IE patches, no .NET patches (phew!), no GUI related patches. Reduced patching means reduced reboots. This leads to a significantly reduced number of times the host OS needs to be rebooted after being patched.

As DM mentioned, the licensing side of things gets a little easier to navigate when using Hyper-V Server versus a Windows Server 2008 OS license.

Philip
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the info.  It seems that comparing apples to sort of apples the competition for HyperV Server is Server 2008 installed in Core mode. Both will host VMs but it seems to me that Server 2008 R2 in core mode will do more than that so I am getting more by paying more (or just paying), aren't I?  
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 gives you the same clustering abilities that Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise has.

This is where, IMNSHO, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 absolutely rocks in the virtualization realm. We get enterprise like features in a _free_ hypervisor based OS.

Simple comparison based on a cluster deployed on an Intel Modular Server or equivalent from Tier 1:
 + 2 Node Hyper-V Cluster
    + Nodes configured with: Dual Intel Xeon X5650 6Core, 48GB RAM, 4 NICs
 
Now, using Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with 10 CALs (P72-03988) @ CDW.CA $2520/node = $5,040.00 + CALs.
 Using Microsoft's virtualization licensing, this would give us 4+4 Server VM OSs/node  for a total of 8 server VMs licensed by the above OSs.
 CALs would be additional.

VMWare vSphere 4 Essentials Plus Bundle for up to 3 hosts (Dual CPU with 6 Cores) $3,744.00 (includes 1Yr 24/7 Support)
 Any OSs to run on top of this solution would need to be purchased in addition to the VMWare costs.
 Microsoft 4+4 for Win2K8 R2 Ent would not count here since VMWare provides the hypervisor.

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 = Free
 Any OSs to run on top of this solution would need to be purchased in addition.
 Microsoft 4+4 for Win2K8 R2 Ent would not count here.

Here is a good explanation via video:
http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=714

Philip
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
Philip,

I am sort of concluding what you concluded. It seems to me the only thing I don't get with Hyper-V server as opposed to Enterprise 2008 is the ability to cluster individual VM's. So if I never want to cluster individual VM's it seems like a no brainer. Of course if I ever change my mind well, I can buy the Enterprise Edition then - I'm sure Microsoft will be ok with selling it to me.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
I am not sure what you mean about "clustering individual VMs"?

Philip
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Glen KnightCommented:
Hyper-V server supports clustering HOST servers, this means a cluster if Hyoer-V servers.

If you are refering to clustering Windows servers then there is little point in having a cluster if Windows servers on a single Hyoer-V server as if the Hyoer-V server fails you have lost your cluster

On the otherhand a single Windows server VM installed on a cluster of Hyper-V servers is worth doing as it provided high availability.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
IC now.

I can see where we would have a load balancing cluster of VMs spread across the nodes to spread that load. Then yes, you would be able to run a cluster within a cluster even to the point of creating the necessary vLANs for your various cluster communication needs.

Depending on the horsepower and number of cores per CPU in the nodes, a pair of VMs per node in the virtual cluster would work quite well across as many nodes as needed.

Philip
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lineonecorpAuthor Commented:
1) The situation I was referring to was having two servers running HyperV Server 2008 R2. They would be clustered via a SAN.  There would be multiple VM's appropriately licensed running running on the servers. My understanding is that if Server A of the cluster died Server B would kick in and the the various VM's would be restarted as part of the clustering. Is that correct?

2) Full server 2008 R2 Enterprise offers another option. Again with the 2 server scenario above I could if I wanted have  'physical' clustering as above but also could cluster individual Enterprise 2008 R2 VM's that are running. In this situation, if a VM went down on server A the VM on server 2 would kick in - clustering doesn't only kick in for the whole box going down so there is a bit more granularity.


3) The clusters as far as I understand have to be part of a domain. So that means that in situation 1 the two HyperV servers have to be members of a domain.  Can I install a VM on them that I will make the DC for the domain that they will belong to so as to avoid having a third box to be the DC?  



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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
1: Yes. They would failover to the still running node. Because of this, each node needs to be able to run the full compliment of VMs.

2:This depends on what is being clustered in the VMs. But yes, where the second VM node mirrors the first, you would have further high availability.

3: We always deploy a small standalone that acts as DC. The cluster does need AD to authenticate after a full power down situation. Even an Atom based box can do this role.

Philip
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
1: Yes. They would failover to the still running node. Because of this, each node needs to be able to run the full compliment of VMs.

2:This depends on what is being clustered in the VMs. But yes, where the second VM node mirrors the first, you would have further high availability.

3: We always deploy a small standalone that acts as DC. The cluster does need AD to authenticate after a full power down situation. Even an Atom based box can do this role.

Philip
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