Hyper-V gets live migration and more with R2 update

Microsoft's Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 beta comes with a host of new features and updates, including live migration and support for failover clustering

Microsoft's stand-alone hypervisor-based product, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, has now reached beta and is currently available for download. The public beta went live the first week of January.

If you missed the announcement, it may have been because it was drowned out and overshadowed by the beta release of Microsoft Windows 7.

Microsoft has been fighting an uphill battle in the virtualization world against VMware. And even though Hyper-V has for the most part been well received and well regarded by almost everyone who has used it, one missing feature has been holding it back for full-blown production enterprise use for some companies: Hyper-V has been offering what it calls Quick Migration, but many folks -- especially those people who are using VMware VI3 today -- want more. They want VMware's VMotion live migration technology.

Microsoft has been doing a decent job of downplaying this capability for a while now, but it looks like this feature is now available with the early beta release of Hyper-V R2. And if that's the case, I suspect that this feature will now be highly promoted by Microsoft.

Live migration wasn't expected to be released for another year or so, but now that the beta is already released, we could see this long-awaited feature become reality by the middle of this year.

Microsoft Hyper-V Server R2 Beta includes:

  • Live migration: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 includes support for live migration. Live migration enables customers to move running applications between servers without service interruptions.
  • Failover clustering: The initial release of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 did not include support for failover clustering. But the R2 beta release includes host clustering technology that enables support for unplanned downtime.
  • Increased processor and memory support: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Beta now supports up to 8-socket physical systems and provides support for up to 32 cores. In addition, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Beta supports up to 1TB of RAM on a physical system.
  • Updated Hyper-V Configuration Utility: The Hyper-V Configuration utility is designed to simplify the most common initial configuration tasks. It helps you configure the initial configuration settings without having to type long command-line strings. New configuration options have been added such as Remote Management Configuration, Failover Clustering Configuration, and Additional Options for Updates.

If you want to manage the environment, you'll have to stick with the command-line options for now. The System Center team is currently working on an update for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 that will support Hyper-V Server R2.

All in all, a nice list of updates and feature adds for Microsoft. However, just simply adding live migration may have been enough to help elevate Microsoft's virtualization game. But VMware isn't waiting around for Microsoft to catch up with feature parity either. We'll have to wait and see if there are any announcements about VMware's next-generation platform during VMworld Europe next month.

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