Hyper-V Server Installation

Posted on 2012-09-10
Last Modified: 2012-09-14

Now that Hyper-V Server 2012 has been released, I was thinking about playing around with it.  I've actually never messed with it, mostly sticking with VMWare ESXi.

With ESXi, it has a small footprint and can be installed on a flash drive and booted.  Can you do the same thing with Hyper-V?  It seems like it is a lot larger, and bulky in comparison.  Do you have to have a dedicated drive, and then guest datastores?

I'd love to hear what others do in labs with it, and how in production it is done if possible.

Question by:mmicha
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    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    Hyper-V 2012 CANNOT be installed on a USB flash drive or SD card. If you try install time takes many hours, and boot time is approx 30 minutes.

    Its footprint is much larger and requires a RAID partition to install, you can then use the rest of the storage, another RAID array, shared storage or SMB for VMs.

    If you want to experiment, you can install as nested Hypervisor in ESXi 5.0, Hyper-V cannot do nested Hypervisors.
    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    I cannot imagine why you would want to do nested hypervisors for anything other than the most basic experimentation.  I cannot imagine the performance would be anywhere near acceptable.

    You don't NEED RAID... you SHOULD HAVE RAID, but you don't NEED it.  I would suggest you start by reading about some of the differences and the way Hyper-V does things.  There's a free e-book (it's a little dated - it doesn't include the enhancements of 2008 R2 SP1 or Server 2012, but it still has a lot of good information) called Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions -

    One thing to note - ESXi incorporates drivers for hardware directly into the kernel - one reason you never see "VMWare Drivers" - while this is great when using approved hardware, it can be a problem with you just want to experience with some generic system.  Hyper uses a different bare-metal model that allows you to install Windows Drivers to add support for just about any hardware Windows supports today or in the future.  While VMWare may have a smaller footprint and be able to run from a flash drive, It's got quirks just like anything else - I found this out first hand when I had to reload a system and I tried using the same install disk to install to a flash drive.  

    And another point, Microsoft and VMWare are touting (back and forth as they try to one-up the other) their limitations - Max VM CPUs, RAM, etc, etc.  Realistically, few companies would want and fewer companies would think it's a good idea to come close to reaching those maximums, so I don't really care if one supports 2 TB of RAM on a guest and the other supports 1 - So VERY FEW guests would ever even come close to needing that much RAM that it just doesn't matter... and hosting 500 servers or some other insanely large number - you're going to want to keep thing managable and reliable and avoid the "all eggs in one basket approach and if you had the money to have 500 servers then you probably have the money to ensure that you don't accidentally tax your hypervisor server and you'll have multiple clusters of VMs.

    An interesting comparison of VMWare ESX and Hyper-V 2012.

    NOTE: the Microsoft e-book I mentioned is CLEARLY pro Microsoft... try to look past the obvious pro Microsoft sentiment and read it for the technological explanations.
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