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Microsoft Pushes the Envelope with Hyper-V Live Migration

When the third iteration of Microsoft's Hyper-V arrived with last year's release of Windows Server 2012, many regarded its virtual machine live migration capability as one of the hypervisor's key improvements. Hyper-V 3.0 offers faster migrations at speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second, while allowing IT pros to conduct simultaneous live migrations. IT pros can also now perform live migrations outside a clustered environment.

As Microsoft explained last year, "You can configure a virtual machine so that it is stored on an SMB [Server Message Block] file share. You can then perform a live migration on this running virtual machine between non-clustered servers running Hyper-V, while the virtual machine's storage remains on the central SMB share. This allows users to gain the benefits of virtual machine mobility without having to invest in the clustering infrastructure if they do not need guarantees of availability in their environment. (Hyper-V with SMB storage can also be configured with Failover Clustering if you do require high availability."

So how is Microsoft upping the ante on live migration in Windows Server 2012 R2? Following up on a demo at TechEd last month, Microsoft Principal Program Manager Jeff Woolsey showed attendees at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston Monday just how much faster IT pros can perform live migrations with the new release. In the demo, Woolsey showed an 8 GB virtual machine running SQL Server, which he described as a worst-case scenario for live migration.

In the demo scenario, migrating Windows Server 2012 to a like system takes just under 1 minute 26 seconds, while the Windows Server 2012R2 Preview performed the same migration in just over 32 seconds. Then using remote direct memory access (RDMA) during the live migration process combined with SMB Direct, it took just under 11 seconds, without utilizing added CPU resources.

"With compression we're taking advantage of the fact that we know the servers ship with an abundance of compute resources, and we're taking advantage of the fact that we know that most Hyper-V servers are never compute bound," Woolsey said during the WPC demo. "So we're using a little bit of that compute resource to actually compress the virtual machine inline during the live migration. This allows us to compress it and it's actually done a lot faster and much more efficiently. All of this is built into Windows Server 2012 R2."

Of course this was a demo and mileage will vary. For those testing Windows Server 2012 R2, are you impressed with the improvements to Live Migration in Hyper-V as well as other new capabilities Microsoft is bringing to its hypervisor? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line at [email protected].


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/10/2013 at 4:59 PM


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