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SP1 for Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Now Available

Microsoft on Tuesday released its first service pack for Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, the company's standalone server virtualization solution.

This release includes the same two features highlighted with Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2, which was released in February. Those features are "dynamic memory" and "RemoteFX." Both can be leveraged to support virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) scenarios, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Dynamic memory enables IT environments to allocate hardware memory resources on the fly to virtual machines running on the host hardware. It uses "dynamic memory balancing" to distribute memory resources without service disruptions, according to Microsoft. The feature can be used to improve virtual machine density by up to 40 percent, the company claims.

RemoteFX is a technology that Microsoft acquired from Callista Technologies in 2008. It enables rich application performance on thin-client devices using VDI technology. Software applications run in virtual machines in a datacenter and are accessed remotely on the devices via Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services (formerly "Terminal Services"). Microsoft suggests that even graphics-intensive three-dimensional CAD programs can run on thin clients using RemoteFX technology.

Installing the new service pack on Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 will make both dynamic memory and RemoteFX available on the server. However, Microsoft's announcement adds a caveat that RemoteFX requires further configuration of the host to work. Users should first verify the hardware requirements to run RemoteFX and then check that the latest 3D graphics card drivers are installed. The announcement cites a few other steps to get RemoteFX working.

Users can manage the dynamic memory and RemoteFX features in a number of ways, according to Microsoft. They can use the manager user interface "on a full version of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1." Remote server administration tools for Windows 7 and Windows 7 SP1 can be used. They can also use System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 SP1 or the new beta of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, which was announced last month.

Microsoft describes Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1 as a "free download," and it can be accessed here.

No Client Access Licenses (CALs) from Microsoft are required to use Hyper-V Server. A Microsoft FAQ explains that "CALs are only required for Windows Server and all Windows Server images that are virtualized, regardless of the virtualization platform." The system requirements are described here, but running Hyper-V Server basically requires Windows as a supported guest operating system.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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