Tag Archive for 'Hyper V'

Building the VT Class Server


Based on my previous experience in teaching my Virtualization (VT) class, I knew that I needed to have something portable to host the various VT environments on.  This is what I have assembled for this years class, after testing it as a pure Hyper-V server it is clear that it is very capable.


AMD 1090t, Six Cores @ 3.4 Ghz (200 Mhz mild OC)


MSI 880G ATX Motherboard

This has worked out really well as the onboard video means that I don’t have to worry about a video card and the NIC was automatically discovered by both Server 2008 R2 SP1 and ESXi 5.  This along with the 1090t set me back “only” $170.


16GB (4x4GB) Kingston Hyper-X DDR3 1333 ($60)

Hard Drives:

1x Samsung 470 128GB SSD ($115 used), 1x OCZ Petrol (Indillix based) 128GB SSD ($110 AMIR), 1x Hitcahi 250GB 7200 RPM Drive (old), 1x Seagate 7200RPM drive (older), 1x 16GB USB3 Drive (For ISO files under Hyper-V only, connected to an add in 1x PCIe USB3 card, $16)

The hard drives were really the crucial piece.  Under ESXi 5 and prior to the SSD drive investment creating VMs was a fine experience when done one at a time, but when ten groups of students tried to do it the system just crawled along due to the lack of disk IO.  It took nearly two hours just the students to activate Hyper-V and reboot the VMs a couple times.

Just this weekend, under stress testing, I was able to create ten Server 2008 R2 SP1 VMs under Hyper-V simultaneously and it only took 10 minutes!   That’s a huge improvement!

Case/Power Supply/DVD Drive:

Cooler Master Elite 310, Cooler Master GX 450W/Samsung DVD-RW.  $30, $25, & $18 respectively.

So, for about $550 I’ve built a PC that can act as a server for my class and that I also have access to 24/7.  It draws about 200W under load and spends its “spare time” running the BOINC Client and helping to save the world from various maladies.  I am pretty happy how it turned out, I think it is fairly balanced from a CPU/RAM/Disk standpoint.




An hour of my day.

This sounds like basic functionality to me – the ability to export a VM from Hyper-V into a single file for mobility/delivery.

10:00 am – logged into SCVMM to perform the task.  Couldn’t find it.

10:10 am – typed “export” into the help console.  Nothin’ – I don’t care about exporting reports.  I want *vm* related help.

10:20 am – Google-fu hit paydirt – except this most only pertain to Hyper-V in plain 2008.

10:30 am – Technet Hyper-V forum, let the fun begin.

10:55 am – realize you need to actually log in to one of the Hyper-V servers directly and run the Hyper-V manager.  Evidently the central console doesn’t have this functionality.

10:56 am – queue some reading about GUIDS & such pertinent to Hyper-V exporting.

10:57 am – decided to just export a VM to see what happens.

10:59 am – realize there is no local space to drop the exported files.  Need to map a drive or something to make this work…

11:00 am – lunch.  Tasty.


Frustrations with Hyper V

From the title, you might think I would be griping about Hyper V, Microsoft’s server virtulization technology.  The truth is, I am only frustrated by the prerequisites of Hyper V, one of which is particularly troublesome.  Mainly, that you need to have a Virtualization Technology (VT) enabled processor from either Intel or AMD to run Hyper V.

This effectively makes it impossible to have a virtualized Hyper V test/development environment by ensuring that all of your Hyper V hosts are indeed physical.  With vSphere, it is very possible to run an entire cluster on a machine that has enough enough memory through using a product like VMware workstation.   In that scenario, you are limited to 32 bit guest operating systems on that cluster because vSphere requires the VT bit for 64 bit virtual machines.  In the end, that is A-OK because what you are truly learning about is how to setup and configure the hosts along with vCenter.  Hyper V is a fairly complicated beast, so it would be nice to be able to completely go through its configuration (not too mention testing configuration changes) in a virtual environment.

It’s been a frustrating day at work because of this requirement.  Supposedly, Sun’s Virtualbox could pass along this VT bit capability to the VMs you were running, theoretically enabling the the running of a Hyper V host in a VM.  I am here to tell you that doesn’t work, at least in the latest 3.1 release of Virtualbox.  Other than that, I have no beef with Virtualbox, its actually pretty speedy and simple.