Resources and Q-A for TechNet Webcast: Road Map for the Future of Virtualization (Level 300)

image Here are some resources relating to webcast I delivered on March 20, 2009, entitled “TechNet Webcast: Road Map for the Future of Virtualization (Level 300)” 

This is part 19 of a 20 part series on the many aspects of virtualization.  (Yung Chou blogged the entire schedule HERE).

I also included links to resources that will help answer some of the Q&A that I had at the end of the webcast, and added the Q&A at the end of this blog post. 

One more note: Those of you who watched the webcast know that I had no problem configuring for Live Migration – but that for some reason my migration didn’t run as expected.  I promised during the webcast that I would make a recording of that demo and make it available here.  I still intend to do that.  Stay tuned.

I hope you find this information useful.  And also watch me as I delivered parts 1, 5, and 7.  See you there!


FAQs: Virtual Hard Disks in Windows 7

What’s New In Virtual Hard Disks?

Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7 (beta) – Includes the documentation for creating  VHD Boot

WIM 2 VHD Converter

What’s New In Windows 7 for IT Pros (Beta)

Excellent Blog Post: Creating a Cluster in Windows Server 2008

Failover Cluster Step-by-Step Guide: Configuring a Two-Node File Server Failover Cluster

Hyper-V: Step-by-Step Guide to Using Live Migration in Windows Server 2008 R2

Microsoft Virtualization Website

Virtualization for Windows – A Technology Overview


What’s New in Hyper-V R2

Hyper-V Overview Whitepaper

Virtualization Management

Microsoft System Center

Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 – Evaluation Download

How Customers Are Cutting Costs and Building Value with Microsoft Virtualization

White Paper: How Customers Are Cutting Costs and Building Value with Microsoft Virtualization

White Paper: Flexible Desktop Computing

Windows Server 2008 – web, virtualization, security, and a solid foundation for your business workloads (training resources)

Microsoft TechNet

Live TechNet Events

Microsoft Events page:

Save 15% on a TechNet Plus Subscription (including beta access like Windows 7, non-timeout evaluation software, 2 support calls, and more!)


Webcast Q&A

“Is there a document that outlines the proper steps to configure the environment to boot from the VHD?”
Yes. Some of the Windows 7 resources above have the instructions on how to do this.

“When booting from a vhd file does this mean that none of that original server core OS is loaded, ie Do you have to have an OS of some kind (server 2008 r2, win 7, server core) on the physical machine for this to work?”
No. As long as you can boot to the drive and have the bootloader re-configured to include the .vhd as one of the bootable drives, you’re good.

That said, one thing I should have made more clear in the webcast is that you are limited to what OS you can run from the .VHD. Currently it is Windows 7. That’s it.

Check out the FAQ link above on What’s new – Virtual Hard Disks in Windows 7. Here is the specific details on what’s new in “Native VHD Boot”

“If booting from a VHD, does the OS have any direct access to hardware devices such as USB drives, bluetooth etc?”
Yes, it does. It’s not running “virtual” per se. So yes, you’ll have hardware access.
From the FAQ:

Are there any firmware requirements for native VHD boot?
The platform firmware enumerates physical hard disk devices that are available to the Windows Boot Manager during power up. The Windows Boot Manager initiates the native VHD boot process as well as a normal boot process. The VHD file configured for native VHD boot must reside on a physical device that is enumerated by the firmware. Native VHD boot is supported on platforms that have either BIOS or UEFI firmware.

“You mentioned twice about compatible hardware, what does it mean?”
The CPU needs to match between the two cluster node servers. Otherwise it’s a good idea to use the hardware validation wizard as described here:
Failover Cluster Step-by-Step Guide: Validating Hardware for a Failover Cluster

And it’s a good idea to be familiar with this document, too:
The Microsoft Support Policy for Windows Server 2008 Failover Clusters;EN-US;943984

“I just want to clarify one thing, CSV is not required for Live Migration, Correct? CSV is just recommended but Live Migration can work with current Hyper-V storage setups.”
CSV is required for Live Migration. The cluster nodes (both source and destination) have to share a volume in order to facilitate the live switch. Remember that it’s only the configuration and the “working set” of memory that is moved from one node to another. The .vhd and other files that make up the VM do not actually move.

“When is r2 due out and is it going to be a simple upgrade from r1 to r2?”
No announcements have been made about the release date of Windows Server 2008 R2. And as for the support for an upgrade, that hasn’t been determined yet.

“What is the upgrade process for moving from 2008 clustered hyper-v to 2008 r2? inplace?”
Yes, you’ll have the option to in-place upgrade a x64 Windows Server 2008 with the Hyper-V Role installed to Windows Server 2008 R2 x64. If you’re running Windows Server 2008 32-bit, you won’t be able to upgrade. Windows Server 2008 R2 is 64-bit only.

“Will users be able to use SAN based snapshots with CSVs?”

“So does this mean i could have servers which boot from a SAN which store these VHDs? if that is the case, do I need any storage at all in my physical servers, or do i need at least storage space for the boot files?”
“Can I boot physical or VM off of a VHD file that is sitting on a SAN?”
The .VHD has to be on a local hard disk. Actually, more correctly, the .VHD has to be on a locally accessible disk that the Windows Boot Manager has access to during power-up.

“During live migration, if you had a server which was using a lot of memory, constantly updating the memory pages (i cant think of an example where that happens, i dont know much about memory) im assuming the migration will take longer… is there a chance where the migration wouldnt succeed?”
I suppose conceptually you could encounter a machine that was so over-worked that there was no chance the changes would be able to be duplicated.. but it is highly unlikely.

“I hear that you can’t use snapshots on virtual machines which are domain controllers because it can cause corruption in AD. Can you use live migration on domain controllers without any bad side affects?”
Sure. The difference is that in the VM (or .VHD) file that you’ve snapshotted, the directory is going to have to come back online in an unknown state. The live migration of a running VM is actually just that – LIVE. It’s going to start running from the very point at which it stopped on the source machine… so there is no need to have anything on that machine in a back-up-able state or ready for snapshot, or anything.

“Will there eventually be support for different cpu architectures for live migration?”
Extremely unlikely. As I said in the webcast, it’s as if we could take a running machine and suddenly tell the instructions currently happening, “*BOOM!* Now you’re running on a different processor with a different instruction set available.”

“Is there a minimum OS version required for the guest’s for live migration to work, ie could those guests be win2k?”
UPDATE: Got the answer.  There is no OS minimum or anything special about the guest to support live migration.  Any OS that is supported to run under Hyper-V is able to be migrated live.  (Awesome!)

“Is the capability to boot from VHD only available on 64-bit computers or is the boot loader 32-bit compatible?”

“Is there a plan to support multiple simultaneous live migrations from a single server?”
Not that I’m aware of.

“Are there any risks associated with live migration? Is it transactional?”

Well, one of the good things about Live Migration is that you’re not actually moving files from or between disk systems – so the only corruption would potentially be in the memory – which is going to have to match exactly before the switch is thrown and the destination machine comes online in place of the source. So, while I’m not going to say “It’s 100% foolproof” (because NOTHING is), I’d say it’s pretty solid. And the worst that would happen would be having to restart the migrated machine.

“Do you know about Microsoft’s plans how the update from R2 Beta to R2 RTM will take place?”
No, I don’t know of the plans.

“Can you tell multiple VMs to live migrate so they will automatically migrate one right after the other?”
I don’t know of a way to do it in the Cluster Manger, but in SCVMM 2008 you could use PowerShell, and make it a part of a script to do one after another. Actually, you can use PowerShell and WMI to do it without SCVMM 2008, but that is a little more tricky.

“Here is a really dumb question. what is a node and clustered node?”
Not dumb.. I probably used the two interchangeably. That’s my mistake. They both refer to a physical node (machine) in a Failover Cluster configuration.

“For CSV, are there specific storage hardware requirements, like specific FC controllers and/or switches? What about iSCSI or FCOIP?”
I will find the req. documentation and link to it on my blog. Great question!

“Thank you for answering my question. Now, can you use 1 min to explain the inter relationship of VDI, TS, Hyper-V, App-V, remote desktop, etc.. quite confusing, but, you are the best, so :-)”
LOL! I’m good.. but not that good. 🙂 I’ll see if I can expand upon it in my blog, however. And I recently participated in a “Thrive” webcast that included a “360 Virtualization Overview” section that outlined the different Virtualization types and products. Here it is:

It is listed as an introduction to the Thrive web resources, which is also worth watching. My part starts about 25 minutes into the webcast.

“I know that this is a webcast series of virtualization. Where can i download the previous webcast, am really interested in learning more”
Check out the top of this post. Yung Chou put a blog post up with all of the webcast links.

“Thank you very much, and great job in this webcast!”
Thanks! ..and you’re welcome!

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