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Free E-Learning Collection: Introducing Windows Server® 2008

Posted by Rubel Khan on July 8, 2010

Collection 5934: Introducing Windows Server® 2008
In this online collection composed of five clinics, you are introduced to the new features and functionality in Windows Server 2008. This includes server virtualization, security and policy management, branch office management, centralized application access, and server management. This online collection is composed of a rich multimedia experience. It is intended for IT Professionals who are interested in the new features and functionality in Windows Server 2008. To get the most out of this collection it is recommended that you have experience implementing Windows Server 2000 or Windows Server 2003.

This offer includes the following:
Clinic 5935: Introducing Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008
Clinic 5936: Introducing Security and Policy Management in Windows Server® 2008
Clinic 5937: Introducing Branch Office Management in Windows Server®2008
Clinic 5938: Introducing Terminal Services Presentation Virtualization in Windows Server®2008
Clinic 5939: Introducing Server Management in Windows Server®2008 


Posted in E-Learning, Hyper-V | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Run IT on a Virtual Hard Disk – Test Drive Program

Posted by Rubel Khan on March 9, 2010

The Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format is the common virtualization file format that provides a uniform product support system, and provides more seamless manageability, security, reliability and cost-efficiency for customers.

Featured VHDs

Using the power of virtualization, you can quickly evaluate Microsoft and partner solutions through a series of pre-configured virtual hard disks (VHDs). You can download the VHDs and evaluate them for free in your own environment without the need for dedicated servers or complex installations.

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition x64 (Full Install)
    You will have the opportunity to try the new and improved features and functionality of Windows Server 2008 R2 free for 180 days. Windows Server 2008 R2 builds on the foundation of Windows Server 2008, offering new virtualization tools, Web resources, management enhancements, and Windows 7 integration. Tools such as Internet Information Services (IIS) version 7.5, updated Server Manager, Hyper-V platforms and Windows PowerShell version 2.0 combine to provide greater control, increased efficiency and the ability to react to front-line business needs faster than ever before.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise
    Windows 7 has many new features and file management enhancements — like Jump Lists and improved taskbar previews — to help speed you through everyday tasks. Windows 7 is designed for faster and more reliable performance. With 64-bit support, you can take full advantage of the latest generation of powerful PCs and processors. New features like HomeGroup, an updated Windows Media Center and Windows Touch make new things possible.
  • Exchange Server 2010 for Windows Server 2008
    Evaluate the new capabilities of Exchange Server 2010, which helps you achieve new levels of reliability and performance and delivers features that help to simplify your administration, protect your communications, and delight your users by meeting their demands for greater business mobility.

VHDs by Product

Learn More About VHDs

VHD Product Overview
Learn about the VHD Test Drive Program, get an introduction to virtual machine technology, and read about key features and benefits of using VHDs in this overview.
Frequently Asked Questions about VHDs
Find general information about using VHDs, virtual machine technology, requirements, and more in the VHD FAQ.
Become a VHD Test Drive Partner
The Microsoft VHD Test Drive Program provides Microsoft’s partners a convenient and simplified process for creation of application images, facilitates its widespread distribution by making it available as a free download and enables accelerated evaluation and testing of these applications by customers.
VHD Image Format Specifications
With the VHD format now available as a freely available specification, Microsoft is contributing to the continued expansion of the virtualization market by fostering interoperability among all commercial software solutions, including open source.

Posted in Exchange Server, Hyper-V, PowerShell, Windows 7 and 8.1 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Watch the EBS 2008 Virtualization Two-Minute Drill

Posted by Rubel Khan on December 6, 2009

Virtualizing your core infrastructure can help you reduce your hardware footprint and lower power consumption. Watch the video and learn how Windows Essential Business Server 2008 can be virtualized with Hyper-V.

Posted in Hyper-V | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Microsoft’s Hyper-V R2 vs. VMware’s vSphere: A feature comparison

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 30, 2009

VMware and Microsoft are ramping up their virtualization games with relatively new releases. Scott Lowe compares and contrasts some of the major features in vSphere and Hyper-V R2.


Microsoft was late to the virtualization game, but the company has made gains against its primary competitor in the virtualization marketplace, VMware. In recent months, both companies released major updates to their respective hypervisors: Microsoft’s Hyper-V R2 and VMware’s vSphere. In this look at the hypervisor products from both companies, I’ll compare and contrast some of the products’ more common features and capabilities. I do not, however, make recommendations about which product might be right for your organization.

This table compares items in four editions of vSphere and three available editions of Hyper-V R2. Below the table, I explain each of the comparison items. (Product note: With the release of vSphere, VMware has released an Enterprise Plus edition of its hypervisor product. Enterprise Plus provides an expanded set of capabilities that were not present in older product versions. Customers have to upgrade from Enterprise to Enterprise Plus in order to obtain these capabilities.)

Click the image to enlarge.

Max host processors. Indicates the number of physical host processors that can be recognized by the system. Bear in mind that the Windows columns are Windows limits and not necessarily Hyper-V limits.

Max cores/processor. How many processor cores per physical processor are recognized?

Max virtual SMP. In an individual virtual machine, this indicates the maximum number of supported virtual processors. Note: This is a maximum value; not every guest operating system can support the maximum number of virtual processors.

Max host RAM (GB). The maximum amount of RAM recognized by the hypervisor.

Max RAM/vm. The maximum amount of RAM that can be allocated to an individual virtual machine.

Failover nodes. The maximum number of physical hosts that can be clustered together. N/A indicates that failover clustering is not supported for that particular hypervisor edition.

Memory overcommit. Does the hypervisor support memory overcommit? Memory overcommitment is a technique available in vSphere that allows administrators to allocate more RAM to virtual machines than is physically available in the host. There are numerous pro and con articles about this topic, but it’s clear that having the ability to allocate more resources than are physically available increases overall virtual machine density. The decision to use memory overcommit in a production environment is up to each organization. That said, in my opinion, when used in the right circumstances, I can see great benefit in this feature.

Transparent page sharing. Transparent page sharing is one method by which memory overcommitment is achieved. With this technique, common code shared between virtual machines is, itself, virtualized. Let’s say that you have 100 virtual machines running Windows XP for VDI. Using transparent page sharing, RAM isn’t necessarily a major limiting factor when it comes to desktop density on the server. VMware has an excellent example of this technique in action.

Live Migration/VMotion. The ability for the hypervisor to migrate virtual machines between host servers without significant downtime. This is considered one of the most significant availability benefits provided by virtualization solutions.

Simultaneous Live Migration. Can the product utilize its Live Migration capabilities to move multiple virtual machines simultaneously between nodes?

Live guests per host. The number of virtual machines that can be powered on for a maxed-out host. In the real world, I’d be extraordinarily surprised to see anyone getting close to these limits. Virtualization is a great way to lower costs, but there are limits.

Live guests/HA cluster node. If you’re running your hypervisor in a cluster, this is the maximum number of virtual machines that can be active on any single host in the cluster. For vSphere with update 1, if you have eight or fewer cluster hosts, you can run up to 160 VMs per host. With nine or more cluster hosts, that number drops to 40.

Distributed Resource Scheduler. DRS is a technology that enables the migration of virtual machines between hosts based on business rules. This can be a boon for organizations with strict SLAs.

Snapshots per VM. The maximum number of snapshots that can be taken of an individual virtual machine. A snapshot is a point-in-time image of a virtual machine that can be used as part of a backup and recovery mechanism. I find snapshots incredibly useful, particularly on the workstation side of the equation, where a lot of “playing” takes place.

Thin Provisioning. One decision that has to be made early on in the life of any server (virtual or physical) is how much storage to allocate to the system. Too much storage and you waste valuable disk space — too little storage and services crash. In order to maintain reliable services, most IT shops overprovision storage to make sure that it doesn’t run out; but that conservatism adds up over time. Imagine if you have 100 VMs all with 4 or 5 GB of “wiggle room” going unused. With thin provisioning, you can have the best of both worlds. You can provision enough disk space to meet your comfort level, but under the hood, the hypervisor won’t allocate it all. As space begins to run low, the hypervisor will make more space available up to the maximum volume size. Although thin provisioning shouldn’t be used for massive workloads, it can be a huge boon to organizations that want conservatism without breaking the bank.

Storage Live Migration. This feature enables the live migration of a virtual machine’s disk files between storage arrays and adds an additional level of availability potential to a virtual environment.

Distributed Switch. VMware and Microsoft have virtual switches in their products, but only VMware has taken it one step further with the introduction of vSphere Enterprise Plus’ Distributed Switch. According to VMware, “Distributed Switch maintains network runtime state for VMs as they move across multiple hosts, enabling inline monitoring and centralized firewall services. It provides a framework for monitoring and maintaining the security of virtual machines as they move from physical server to physical server and enables the use of third party virtual switches such as the Cisco Nexus 1000V to extend familiar physical network features and controls to virtual networks.” In short, this new capability increases VMware’s availability and security capabilities.

Direct I/O. The ability for a virtual machine to bypass the hypervisor layer and directly access a physical I/O hardware device. There is limited support for this capability in vSphere; the product supports direct I/O operations to a few storage and networking controllers. Called VMDirectPath I/O, this feature can improve overall performance since it eliminates the “virtualization penalty” that can take place when hardware access is run through the hypervisor. There are some major disadvantages to VMDirectPath; for example, VMotion can’t work anymore because of the hardware need. (Note: This feature is different than direct access to disks, which Hyper-V does support.)

Max. partition size (TB). What is the largest partition supported by the hypervisor? Although VHD-based volumes, such as those used by Hyper-V R2, can be up to 2 TB in size, read this blog by Brian Henderson for insight into maximum Windows partition sizes, particularly if you bypass the VHD option altogether and use disks directly.

Application firewall (vShield). According to VMware “VMware vShield Zones enables you to monitor, log and block inter-VM traffic within an ESX host or between hosts in a cluster, without having to divert traffic externally through static physical chokepoints. You can bridge, firewall, or isolate virtual machine between multiple zones defined by your logical organizational and trust boundaries. Both allowed and blocked activities are logged and can be graphed or analyzed to a fine-grained level.” In other words, you don’t need to run traffic through external switches and routers to protect applications from one another.

Virtual instance rights. This is a Microsoft-only right that can seriously lower the overall cost of running Hyper-V R2 in a Windows-only environment. If you use the Data Center edition of Windows, you can run as many Windows Server-based virtual machines as you like without incurring additional sever licensing costs.

Hypervisor licensing. The method by which the product is licensed. Either per host or per processor.

Scott Lowe has spent 15 years in the IT world and is currently the Chief Information Officer for Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He is also a regular contributor to TechRepublic and has authored one book, Home Networking: The Missing Manual (O’Reilly), and coauthored the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Administrator’s Companion (MS Press). Read his full bio and profile.

Posted in Hyper-V, VMWare | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Free virtualization e-learning collection

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 14, 2009

Take clinics in the Microsoft E-Learning Collection 6333: Exploring Microsoft Virtualization Technologies, including:

Posted in E-Learning, Free Training, Hyper-V, Virtualization | Leave a Comment »

New Training on Channel 9

Posted by Rubel Khan on November 11, 2009


Are you trying to find more information to help you prepare for certifications?  Perhaps you would like to go a little deeper on some of the technologies.  Channel 9 has always been a great go-to place for developers looking for the latest information and now, they’ve added some great training content as well.

Channel 9 launched three new training courses created by developers for developers.  Channel 9 has always been about giving direct access to the engineers and future technologies from Microsoft.  These courses allow developers to get started on learning about emerging technologies at their own pace. 


Office 2010 Workshop

Discover how Office 2010 Beta is a broadly extensible platform for building information worker productivity solutions and see how developing for Office with Visual Studio 2010 makes this easy.

See online presentations with demos that will help you get started developing solutions from Add-ins to full featured Office Business Applications (OBAs) using Visual Studio 2010 with Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 as the core platform. 

Explore how to build solutions on SharePoint 2010

See how SharePoint 2010 is a major step forward as a development platform.  Learn how SharePoint 2010 provides the business collaboration platform for developers to rapidly build solutions using familiar tools such as Visual Studio 2010 through this self-paced course. 

Windows Server 2008 R2, “Not your average R2!”

Explore this significant Windows Server release via a self-paced training course of videos and hands-on-labs with a focus on performance, web, management, and other server solution scenarios.   Learn about developing applications for “many-core” scale, enable efficient “trigger-started” services, explore new Windows PowerShell features, create integrated solutions with the File Classification Infrastructure, build Web Platform extensions, and automate your dev-test environment with VHD and Hyper-V API’s.

Posted in Hyper-V, Windows Server | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

Posted by Rubel Khan on August 28, 2009

We are really excited to announce that Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is available for download here. It’s been a long an exciting journey bringing this product to our customers.

The chart below tells it all, we have listened to our customers and have designed the product to meet their needs. This is a robust virtualization platform with live migration built in at no extra charge.

Comparing Hyper-V Server V1 vs. V2

  Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
Physical processor support Up to 4 processors Up to 8 processors
Logical processor support Up to 16 Up to 64
Physical memory support Up to 32 GB Up to 1 TB
Live migration No Yes
High availability No Yes
Management options Hyper-V MMC, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008/R2 Remote Server Administration Tool (Free), Windows Server 2008 R2, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2

And don’t forget that Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 also supports boot from flash for our OEM partners.

Just to recap this release has the following features

(a)    High availability and live migration for managing a dynamic IT infrastructure

(b)    Support for 64 logical processors future proofing our customers to scale up with the hardware

(c)    Support for running up to 384 virtual machines with up to 512 virtual processors

(d)    Processor compatibility mode for live migration across different processor SKU’s from the same vendor

(e)    Hot add/remove virtual storage

(f)     Networking enhancements (VMQ, Chimney, support for Jumbo Frames)

(g)    Simplified management using sconfig

(h)    Boot from flash

Posted in Hyper-V | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Top Facts VMware Does Not Want You to Know About Microsoft Hyper-V

Posted by Rubel Khan on August 23, 2009

Now this is Interesting…

Top Facts VMware Does Not Want You to Know About Microsoft Hyper-V.

This video describes key facts that VMware does not want customers to know about Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Top Facts VMware Does Not Want You to Know About Microsoft Hyper-V

Posted in Hyper-V, VMWare | Leave a Comment »

Best Practices for Deploying and Managing Hyper-V Infrastructure

Posted by Rubel Khan on August 18, 2009

Dear Reader,

Register now for this webcast:

Title: Best Practices for Deploying and Managing Hyper-V Infrastructure
Date: Thursday, August 27, 2009
Time: 2 PM Eastern / 11 AM Pacific

Explore best practices for deploying and managing Hyper-V with Microsoft and Citrix. Learn how to rapidly provision Hyper-V infrastructure, reduce Hyper-V storage footprint by over 50%, increase I/O performance by up to 30%, and much more.

Discover how Microsoft System Center together with Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V helps administrators effectively manage and automate the delivery of virtual and physical infrastructure for Hyper-V deployments:

  • Rapidly provision virtual and physical infrastructure
  • Improve storage utilization with seamless storage integration
  • Conquer VM sprawl and take back control of virtual labs
  • Maximize performance and resource utilization

Attend this FREE event and ask your questions in real-time.

Posted in Hyper-V | Leave a Comment »

Partnercast: Quick Migration with Hyper-V

Posted by Rubel Khan on June 29, 2009

Duration: 14 minutes

This session will provide an introduction into how to enable Hyper-V for quick migration and will provide insight into how quick migration can be leveraged for business continuity and disaster recovery.

Frank Cicalese – Vitualization PTS
Tony Piltzecker – Partner Technology Specialist

Audio Files: WMA | MP3
Video Files:

Posted in Hyper-V, Virtualization | Leave a Comment »


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