- Live Migration - This was the No. 1 customer-requested feature for this release. One of the biggest differentiators between VMware's ESX Server and Microsoft's Hyper-V was VMware's vMotion capability (and I'm sure Microsoft had to hear about it all the time). Quick Migration just didn't cut it. Live Migration is now added into the product -- and even better, it's free. Along with Live Migration, Hyper-V R2 also introduces Processor Compatibility Mode, which allows you to move a virtual machine up and down multiple processor generations from the same vendor, making the migration less restrictive.
- New Processor Support - Hyper-V R2 scales to run on systems with up to 64 logical processors. It also takes advantage of the latest processor enhancements such as AMD's Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI) and Intel's Extended Page Tables (EPT), giving it a performance boost when these capabilities are present. The system supports up to 384 1-way virtual machines. And to help with power consumption and control, they've added support for Core Parking, which allows Hyper-V to put a host's processor to sleep if it isn't being utilized.
- Storage updates - Microsoft added additional storage flexibility with hot add/remove virtual storage -- you can add or remove storage while the VM is running without causing any downtime. Storage performance improvements have also been added. Microsoft claims that dynamically expanding VHDs have in some cases achieved a 15x improvement in performance and have reached approximately 87% of native throughput. Fixed or pre-allocated disks have also been improved to be on par with native disk performance.
- Networking - Hyper-V R2 adds Jumbo Frame and TCP/IP Offload Engine (TOE) support for 1Gb networks. And for those lucky enough to afford 10Gb networks, they've added Chimney and Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) support, which allows the hypervisor to take advantage of network offloading technologies to free up processor usage and improve performance.
Virtualizing memory-intensive application stacks? Support has been added for up to 1TB of physical memory.
And remember when we recently talked about Microsoft's Linux Integration Components (ICs)? Now, with this release, Microsoft is adding support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2 and 5.3 for both x86 and x64 to add to their already existing SLES support.