Archive for May, 2009

Windows 7- Virtual PC : How does Windows XP Mode work?

May 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Windows XP Mode is the combination of two features:

– The first part is a pre-packaged virtual Windows XP environment.
– The second is Windows Virtual PC, which is used to run the virtual Windows XP environment.

Customers can install their applications into Windows XP Mode using typical installation processes such as downloading from the Web or using the product CD. Once installed, the applications are automatically available on the Windows 7 Start Menu and can be launched just like any Windows 7 program. Optionally, these Windows XP applications can be pinned to the Windows 7 Task Bar and launched using just a single click from the Windows 7 desktop.

What types of applications are suited for Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC stand-alone?

Windows XP Mode is best suited for older business and productivity applications such as accounting, inventory and similar applications.

Windows XP Mode is not aimed at consumers because many consumer applications require extensive use of hardware interfaces such as 3-D graphics, audio, and TV tuners that do not work well under virtualization today.

The sweet spot for applications that run in Windows Virtual PC is business and productivity applications that tend to conform to the basic Windows API (Application Programming Interface.) Small businesses operate under constrained resources and are highly sensitive to the time and expense required to upgrade their PC.

Windows XP Mode provides small businesses with the ability to run many Windows XP applications, saving time and expense, but Windows XP Mode does not have 100 percent compatibility with all Windows XP applications.


Categories: Windows 7

Managing Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

May 11, 2009 Leave a comment


Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Live Migration and High Availability can be managed in a few different ways:

  1. Failover Cluster Manager/Hyper-V Manager from a Windows Server 2008 R2 Server OR,
  2. System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 OR,

.using the FREELY (there’s that word again) available Failover Cluster Manager/Hyper-V Manager for Windows 7. So, as you can see, there are a few different options depending on your needs and option three give you Live Migration and High Availability at zero cost.

BTW: If you decide to go with option #2 System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, you certainly can do a lot more such as:

  • Heterogeneous Virtualization Management
  • Rich PowerShell Support for Datacenter Automation
  • Maintenance mode
  • Virtual Machine Library Support
  • Templates, Clones, Sysprep Integration
  • Performance Resource Optimization (PRO)

.and a lot, lot more. But, I digress.

$$$ Comparison

Let’s take a look at a few cluster configurations and compare costs for Live Migration and High Availability functionality.


Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

VMware vSphere

3 Node Cluster; 2 Socket Servers



3 Node Cluster; 4 Socket Servers



5 Node Cluster; 2 Socket Servers



5 Node Cluster; 4 Socket Servers



You may be wondering, "Did he choose the most expensive VMware configuration?" On the contrary, I chose the least expensive configuration ($2245 per processor) that offers both Live Migration and High Availability.

You may be wondering, "Why isn’t System Center management represented here?"

In this example, I simply wanted to compare the lowest cost for Live Migration and High Availability functionality from Microsoft and VMware with some real world configurations that a small/medium business may use. I will post a follow-up blog that adds management for small/medium businesses. As for enterprise customers, they typically have larger server farms with more sophisticated management requirements. That’s another blog for another time.

You may also be wondering, "Why isn’t the cost of guest operating systems included here?"

Simple, neither Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 nor VMware include any guest operating system licenses so if you need to run 4 copies of Windows Server, you need to purchase the appropriate license. That cost is the same whether you’re running Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 or VMware so I didn’t bother to include it.

While VMware claims to be more affordable the facts are clear and the value of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is undeniable. Microsoft offers exceptional value especially for small and mid-market customers who have told us for years how they would like Live Migration/High Availability functionality and simply can’t afford it.

Those days are over.

At this point you may be thinking we’re crazy to provide virtualization live migration and high availability at no cost. Well, I wish we could say we were first, but the folks at Xen have been providing free Live Migration and HA for a few months. In fact, the only one still charging for Live Migration and High Availability ($2245+ per socket) is VMware.

Now that’s crazy.

Published on by Jeff Woolsey, Principal Group Program Manager, Windows Server, Hyper-V

Categories: Virtualization

HP publishes 2 whitepapers on NIC teaming support in Hyper-V

May 11, 2009 Leave a comment

HP has published 2 whitepapers that talk about NIC teaming support in Hyper-V running on HP hardware.

1. Using HP ProLiant Network Teaming Software with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V – How to

2. HP ProLiant Network Adapter Teaming

Categories: Virtualization

Rapid Provisioning in VMM 2008 R2 using the UseLocalVirtualHardDisks and SkipInstallVirtualizationGuestServices flags

May 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Here is a sample script where a new virtual machine is created by utilizing the local VHD d:file.vhd without copying any VHDs over the network.


#specify the file location
$VHDName = "d:file.vhd"

#specify other variables for new-vm
$vmname = "vm1"
$hostname = ""
$vmhost = get-vmhost $hostname

#create jobgroup ID for new-vm from template
$VMGuid = [System.Guid]::NewGuid().ToString()

#specify the local location for the VHD

#VMM expects that $VHDName already exists on the host computer when the new-vm cmdlet is called.
Move-VirtualHardDisk -Bus 0 -LUN 0 -IDE -Path $VHDName -JobGroup $VMGuid

#get the template name
$template = Get-Template | where {$_.Name -eq "template_2"}

#Get the current username to be passed as the VM owner
$callerUsername = whoami

#create the new-vm from template and specify the Rapid Provisioning flag (-uselocalvirtualharddisks)
New-VM -Template $template -Name $vmname -Description "" -Owner $callerUsername  -VMHost $vmhost -UseLocalVirtualHardDisks -Path $vmhost.VMPaths[0] -RunAsynchronously -JobGroup $VMGuid | Out-Null

Thanks to Michael Michael from


Categories: Virtualization

What’s new in the Windows 2008 R2 RC

May 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Windows Server 2008 R2 isn’t just about performance, and it certainly isn’t a fine-tuning of the Windows 2008, as its name implies.

The new Windows 2008 Server R2 increases the capabilities and features of the Windows Server line-up.

The RC version includes a number of new features and changes since the Beta.

Hyper-V improvements

Hyper-V 2.0 will include a long-awaited Live Migration feature. But there are some changes coming in:

          VM Chimney provides TCP offload support to virtual machines. That is, it allows you to map a VM to a physical network interface card (NIC) on the host computer, and bypass the virtual interface, improving performance. This feature is actually disabled by default because certain non-standard workloads actually experience a performance decrease. But in certain scenarios, like SQL backup and restore and Live Migration, VM Chimney will provide dramatic improvements.

          Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ).  Like VM Chimney, it’s disabled by default. The reason this time is that only one vendor, Intel, currently makes VMQ-enabled hardware, and Microsoft didn’t want a feature enabled that wasn’t doing anything. If you do get a VMQ-enabled NIC (Qualcomm has also announced they’re entering this market), you can enable it and see a performance bump.


Performance and scalability improvements

Windows Server 2008 R2 bumps up the number of logical processors supported by the OS from 64 to 256.

Windows Server 2008 R2 provides power consumption reductions compared with Server 2008 and, more dramatically, with Server 2003.

R2 also offers some improvements around the size of the working memory footprint. Using its internal engineering memory metric (i.e. not Task Manager), Windows Server 2003 Enterprise occupies about 250 MB of RAM at idle. This compares to a bit over 150 MB for Windows Server 2008 and about 105 MB for R2. Server Core sees similar improvements: It’s down from about 130 MB in Server 2008 to under 100 MB for R2.


Finally, WAN file copies see significant improvements, though you will need compatible systems (i.e. Windows Server 2008 R2 and/or Windows 7) on both ends of the transfers (hub and branch) to see them. Microsoft says that small and medium file uploads are up to 20 percent improved over Windows Server 2008/Vista, small and medium file downloads are improved up to 47 percent, and large file uploads are improved by up to 100 percent. Microsoft is also seeing up to 8 times improvements copying files across WANs with RoboCopy using its new multithreading capability.


Note :  Windows Server 2008 R2 is a 64-bit only release. Microsoft projects that the next Windows Server release will occur in 2012.

Categories: Virtualization

Windows PC for Windows 7 with “Windows XP Mode”

May 7, 2009 Leave a comment


Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help small businesses move to Windows 7. Windows XP Mode provides you with the flexibility to run many older productivity applications on a Windows 7 based PC.

All you need to do is to install suitable applications directly in Windows XP Mode which is a virtual Windows XP environment running under Windows Virtual PC. The applications will be published to the Windows 7 desktop and then you can run them directly from Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC are best experienced on your new Windows 7 PC. We will be soon releasing the beta of Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate


You can read about it here.  Stay tuned for more details soon.

Categories: Windows 7

Hyper-V Security Guide is now available

May 7, 2009 Leave a comment

The Hyper-V Security Guide is now available online or for download as a Word document. It covers hardening, delegation (including using SCVMM), and protection mechanisms for virtual machines.

You can read it online here, or download the Word document(s) here.

Categories: Virtualization

Hyper-V and in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate

May 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Hyper-V and in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate

A cautionary note for those of you performing an in-place upgrade of a machine running Windows Server 2008 with the Hyper-V role enabled, to Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate.

During the installation, you will see the following compatibility report message stating that you should turn off the Hyper-V role:

upgrade rtmv1 to r2rc

This warning is incorrect, and you should not do this as the virtual machines will not be present, and virtual network configuration will be lost once the role is re-enabled.

You will see a similar message if you have virtual machines running at the time of upgrade, but it is a “hard block” (in other words, you cannot proceed further). In the case where you hit the hard block, running VMs should be cleanly shut down prior to upgrade. However, I re-iterate, you should not remove the role itself.

One other point to note is if you have online snapshots or virtual machines in a saved state. Saved states are not compatible between Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 RC build, so you should ensure you cleanly shut down VMs and delete online snapshots prior to upgrading to avoid the following message after the upgrade is complete:

upgrade rtmv1 to r2rc saved state

Published on


Categories: Virtualization

How to use the Live Migration feature of the Hyper-V R2 without a Hardware SAN Solution?

May 7, 2009 Leave a comment


 Turn a Microsoft Windows machine into iSCSI Target appliance!


If you dont have a proper SAN and you want to use the benefit of the new Live Migration feature of Windows 2008 Hyper-V R2 you could use StarWind. (see presentation) .

Starwind is full-featured software-only iSCSI Target for Microsoft Windows (both commercial and free versions). StarWind enables anyone to quickly install and configure an IP SAN solution.

StarWind does not require any additional hardware, it utilizes the existing Ethernet and IP network infrastructure and leverages existing storage hardware.

StarWind’s volume snapshot feature allows simple scheduled or on-demand snapshots of critical data for backup. If necessary all backed up data can be retrieved at once, or individual files can be retrieved as needed. StarWind’s unique ability to virtualize and share physical storage hardware also eliminates the need to have an expensive DLT, AIT or LTO tape or high-capacity Blu-Ray or HD-DVD burner.

Click here to download the FREE version :


Categories: Virtualization

What are the major changes in Hyper-V R2 and how to Backup the Virtual machines: FREE STEP Event running on 26 May

May 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Hi Folks

If you would like to know what are the major changes in the new Hyper-V R2 and how to backup your Hyper-V environment, join us in this FREE STEP Community event that will run on Tuesday 26 May in Theatre 2 at Microsoft, 1 Epping Road, Sydney

What we will cover :

  1. What are the major changes in the new Hyper-V R2

    • Live Migration

    • Virtual storage (VHD) hot plug/remove

    • Support for shareable LUNs (CSV)

    • Support for AMD RVI and Intel EPT nested page tables technologies

    • Support for up to 32 physical cores

    • Support for I/O Virtualization technologies

  2. How to Backup the Virtual machines using DPM

    • Prerequisites

    • How To

    • Known Issues

Where : 1 Epping Road North Ryde NSW 2113

When : 26 May, 2009

Speaker :

Edvaldo Alessandro Cardoso
Microsoft MVP : Virtual Machine | MCT | Microsoft Heroes


Categories: Virtualization