What’s new in Windows Server “8” Virtualization? (So many questions. So little time. Part 2.)

Here are another set of really good questions from our TechNet Event on Tuesday in Kansas City.  These came all on the same slip of paper, from the same person.

“How will Windows 8 / Server 8 change Microsoft Virtualization?”

a new foundation for the private cloudIn Windows Server “8” there are a great many improvements in Hyper-V; many more than can (or need to) be adequately restated in here in my blog.  So to answer you question I will point you to some good resources on virtualization improvements in Windows Server “8”.  HERE is a great blog post from the Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform Blog that introduces all of the most important Server “8” Hyper-V improvements.

In Windows “8” client, the biggest news (in my opinion) is that we will be including Hyper-V as a built-in option.  I’ll say it again.. on Windows “8” CLIENT (the desktop/notebook/tablet operating system) we will be including Hyper-V as an installable option.  That’s HUGE.

Read Stephen Sinofsky’s blog post about it, HERE.

“Will the Hyper-V synthetic network adapter ever be capable of supporting PXE boot?”

I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer on this question (and if you have it, please add it in the comments), but I rather suspect the answer is no; and here’s why…

Currently the synthetic network adapter, optimized for efficient data throughput through the VMBus, is a benefit of the Integration Components that are running within the virtual machine.  And since it is a part of this “enlightenment” that is running within the VM, it is something that is NOT running prior to the operating system actually loading. 

Perhaps we will improve or replace or give another option to using the slower “legacy adapter” – the one that does allow PXE boot.  But I don’t have that answer.  Yet.

“What are the requirements and limitations of RemoteFX for VDI?”

VDI with Cloud - From Don MacVittie - Persistently DifferentFirst of all, if you’re not familiar with what RemoteFX is, I encourage you to READ THIS article on the Microsoft Virtualization blog..

Second, as a solid overview of what’s new and exciting in Windows Server “8” for VDI and RemoteFX, I must borrow some text from a very well-done article by Jason Perlow:

“VDI… Did I mention the VDI improvements? Windows Server 8’s Remote Desktop Session Host, or RDSH (what used to be called Terminal Server) now fully supports RemoteFX and is enabled by default out of the box.

What’s the upside to this? Well now you can put GPU cards in your VDI server so that your remote clients, be it terminals or tablets or Windows desktops that have the new RemoteFX-enabled RDP client software can run multi-media rich applications remotely with virtually no performance degradation.

As in, completely smooth video playback on remote desktops, as well as the ability to experience full-blown hardware-accelerated Windows 7 Aero and Windows 8 Metro UIs with full DirectX10 and OpenGL 1.1 support on virtualized desktops.

This will work with full remote desktop UIs as well as ‘Published’ applications, a la Citrix. And no, you won’t need Citrix XenApp in order to support load balanced remote desktop sessions anymore. It’s all built-in.

RemoteFX and the new RDSH is killer, but you know what’s really significant? You can template virtual desktops from a single gold master image stored on disk and instantiated in memory as a single VM and then customize individual sessions to have roaming profiles with customized desktops and apps and personal storage using system policy. That conserves a heck of a lot of disk space and memory on the VDI server.

And in Server 8, RDP is also now much more WAN optimized than in previous incarnations.”

Please read Jason’s full article “Windows Server 8: The Ultimate Cloud OS?” for a very good introductory overview of what’s new in Windows Server “8”.

And finally – Your question was much more specific than that.  What are the requirements and limitations? 

Beyond some good news about relaxed requirements for graphics processor requirements on servers, virtualizing some of that processing, and even the great news for better support in remote desktops mentioned above, I don’t know of any technical specs yet available.  I expect more will be released on-or-around the beta release timeframe.

For those of you interested in getting the current, full story on Windows Server “8”, please read this post, and watch the Windows Server 8 blog

And if you have more questions or requests or better answers or off-the-wall-remarks, please give me a comment or two!

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