Microsoft offers administrators three free Hyper-V virtualization tools

New virtualization tools help speed up Linux virtual machines, scan for configuration best practices, and patch or update offline virtual machines

As the virtualization wars continue, hypervisor platform vendors are looking for every opportunity to make their virtualization platform stand out among the rest. One way is by expanding product support with additional application stacks. These add-on management application stacks can include lab management, lifecycle management, orchestration, disaster recovery, or business continuity, to name a few.

However, in some cases, providing useful yet simple tools can go a long way with virtualization administrators, and it looks like Microsoft may be taking a page from that book. Over the last few weeks, Microsoft has introduced a few tools to help with Hyper-V virtualization management.

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Last month, the Virtualization Report detailed new enhancements made by Microsoft to help boost the performance of Linux virtual machines running on Hyper-V. The updated 2.1 version of Microsoft's Linux Integration Services for Hyper-V provides additional enhancements or "enlightenment" for Linux guest operating systems. Some of the new updates include providing SMP support for Linux workloads (Linux VMs will be able to have up to four virtual CPUs rather than restricted to a single virtual processor), introducing a Timesync option (to keep the guest operating system synchronized with the parent partition), adding a heartbeat feature (to detect if the guest is still running) and an integrated shutdown feature (to gracefully shut down the Linux guest rather than pulling the power cord).

This release is currently available for download on Microsoft Connect under the Linux Integration Services for Microsoft Hyper-V connection.

For many of its back-end server products, Microsoft offers something called the Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) tools. To help IT professionals optimize the way they administer the hypervisor role included in the latest Windows Server operating system, Microsoft has introduced the Hyper-V Best Practice Analyzer tool. This BPA is designed to scan servers running Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Hyper-V role installed and find configuration problems that conflict with Microsoft best practices for the hypervisor. It will scan the configuration of the physical machine and the virtual machines, as well as other resources such as the virtual networking and storage.

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