What’s New with Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

As many of you know, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is the (soon to be released) second release of Microsoft’s free hypervisor.  This is the version of Windows Server 2008 that is a free download – no license needed.  It’s locked into a Server Core installation, capable of only running the Hyper-V role.  There’s some new important advancements coming in the R2 release that will have an impact on market (editorial statement for now, but probably will prove to be true).

  • Hyper-V R2 will increase the CPU support from 4 to 8 sockets, and from 24 to 64 logical CPUs
  • Memory support will increase from 32GB to 1TB
  • Increased VM capacity support per host from 192 VMs to 256 VMs

There are also some pretty interesting advancements on the feature front as well.   The initial release of Hyper-V Server 2008 was a pretty stripped down version – no clustering or Quick Migration support.  All of that changes in R2.  Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 will include:

  • Host Clustering Support (application clustering is not supported as you can’t add any additional roles to Hyper-V Server).
  • Live and Quick Migration Support
  • Clustered File System

Finally, the HVCONFIG utility is being updated to include support for clustering and remote management configuration, and is being renamed to SCONFIG (the same utility that will be in all version of Server 2008 Core).  The SCONFIG utility is a menu-driven configuration tool, instead of being at the mercy of the Windows Server Core prompt.

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 can be managed from the graphical tools loaded on another Windows Server 2008 R2 (Failover Cluster Manager/Hyper-V Manager) or from VMM2008 R2.  There’s also a Failover Cluster Manager and Hyper-V Manager toolset for Windows 7 here.

Guest OS support is increasing to include all version of Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 and a few new Linux distributions; When Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is RTM, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and RedHat RHEL 5 will be supported, in addition to the already-supported SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.  No word on whether RHEL support will include the Integration Services.

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 RC is available now:
http://www.microsoft.com/hyper-v-server/en/us/default.aspx

The RTM will probably be coming in the next week or two.  It should RTM the same time as Windows 7, and Server 2008 R2 is scheduled to hit the retail shelves on October 22, 2009 (same date as Windows 7).

This is big news.  These features will make Hyper-V Server all that’s needed for enterprise deployments.  There isn’t much that the full blown version of Server 2008 R2 brings with regards to Hyper-V.  Of course, you still need to license the guest OS instances, and when you buy Enterprise or Datacenter, you can run the host hypervisor for free anyway (1 physical + 4/unlimited guests for Enterprise/Datacenter, respectfully).

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