Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Features Glossary

I’m going to do my best (no guarantees) to update this page with a listing of each new WS2012 Hyper-V (and related) feature as it is revealed by Microsoft (and that I can think of).

Last updated at 19:01 on September 4th, 2012.


Feature Description
Affinity rules In Failover Clustering, you can set affinity or anti-affinity rules to keep selected VMs on the same host or on different hosts.
ARP/ND Spoofing/Poisoning Protection Prevent a VM’s guest OS administrator from impersonating other VMs using ARP spoofing or IPv6 Neighbour Discovery spoofing.
Asymmetric Hyper-V Cluster A single cluster with Hyper-V and Scale Out File Server roles on dedicated nodes.
BitLocker & CSV Use Bitlocker to encrypt CSV to prevent data theft by disk theft.  Uses a Cluster Name Object (CNO) for locking and unlocking CSVs.
Block-Level Redirected I/O Used for CSV storage path fault tolerance instead of normal SMB redirected IO. Still SMB 3.0 based, but it bypasses the CSV stack on the CSV Coordinator making it 2x faster.
Boot From SAN VMs can boot from iSCSI or Fibre Channel disks, rather than just the traditional VHD(X)
Cluster Aware Updating Automate the Windows Update process for clustered hosts. It automatically places hosts in paused state and drains them of VMs, enabling hosts to be patched in order without VM downtime.
Cluster Bootstrapping A Windows Server 2012 Failover Cluster does not require a physical domain controller to be present.  This allows DCs to be virtualised for SMEs and branch offices.
Cluster Scalability Up to 64 hosts and up to 8,000 VMs.  Guest clusters can also be 64 nodes.
Cluster Scheduled Tasks Schedule tasks to run on all hosts, a specific host, or the host that currently owns a VM.
Cluster Shared Storage A cluster requires shared storage.  In the past it was SAS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel.  Windows Server 2012 supports SMB 3.0 (file server or Scale Out File Server) and PCI-RAID (JBOD, mirrored Storage Spaces).
Cluster Validation Wizard Adds new Hyper-V tests, tests for CSV, and hardware replication awareness for multi-site clusters.
CNO and VCO Flexibility You now can intelligently place Cluster Name Objects (CNO) and Virtual Computer Objects (VCO) in desired OUs
Concurrent Live Migration Perform many live migrations at once between two hosts, with the only limit being your bandwidth. The default maximums are 2  Live Migrations, and 2 Storage Live Migrations.
Converged Fabrics Simplified host networking by merging all of the various LAN, SAN, and cluster networks to a reduced number of teamed NICs, using features such as QoS, virtual NICs, and DCB.
CSV 2.0 Simpler setup. Supported for things other than Hyper-V, such as Scale Out File Server.  Supports multi-subnets for multi-site clusters. Backup uses a single coordinated or distributed VSS snapshot, and this removes the need for redirected I/O for backup.
CSV Backup Distributed parallel backups simplify and speed up orchestrated application consistent backups with VMs spread across many hosts.
CSV Block Cache Dedicate a small amount of memory (e.g. 512 MB) to provide a CSV read cache.  Memory configured per cluster.  Then enable caching on a per CSV basis.
CSV Filter Drivers Intermediate  storage filter drivers should just work out of the box with Cluster Shared Volumes
CSVFS CSV appears as CSVFS instead of NTFS in Disk Management
Data Center Bridging DCB enables better performance for very different classes networking protocols to run on the same network infrastructure, such as iSCSI and LAN.  DCB Requires supporting NICs and switches and boosts performance of converged fabrics. Required if converging RDMA.
Dedup Dedup can be turned on for a volume.  It depups –at rest- files.  Great for file shares, but does nothing for running SQL, Exchange, VMs. Useful for VMM Library, or inside VM file systems.
Deploy Roles and Features to Offline VHDs Server Manager can add/remove roles and features to offline VHDs, enabling you to prep a VM configuration before deployment of a VHD from the library.
DHCP Guard Ban DHCP traffic from rogue DHCP services running in VMs.
Direct I/O Backup VMs on Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs) can be backed up without Redirected I/O (Mode/Access).
Drain VMs Easy host maintenance by draining VMs from a clustered host when it is paused.
Dynamic Memory Once a VM has booted it can balloon down to a new Minimum Memory setting if it is underutilising the memory allocated by the Startup setting.  Smart Paging can assist starting the VM if there is insufficient host memory to provide the Startup Amount (before ballooning down to the Minimum).  Minimum can be reduced and maximum can be increased while a VM is running.
Dynamic Quorum The default quorum choice in Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters.  Enables a cluster to continue working smoothly in the event of multiple host failures.  Probably useful with Power Optimisation turned on in VMM 2012.
Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue DMVQ will dynamically span processing VMQ for VM n/w traffic across more than one core. It will automatically scale up and scale down the CPU utilisation based on demand
ETW Tracing The ability to capture network events from a Hyper-V Switch for later analysis
Failover Prioritisation Order the failover of VMs based on application dependencies based on high/medium/low/do-not-failover priorities.
Guest Application Monitoring Configure Failover Clustering to monitor WS2012 VMs for certain events and perform a response to those actions, e.g. restart service, reboot VM, etc.
Guest Aware NUMA Virtual machines are aware of Non-Uniform Memory Architecture and can schedule processes in accordance with memory placement at the physical layer. Guest NUMA can be customised on a per-VM basis according to host architecture.
High Availability A feature of Failover Clustering, allowing a service or VM to failover from one host to another, enabling machine fault tolerance and maintenance windows with minimised service downtime.
Host Scalability 320 physical logical processors, up to 4 TB RAM, 2048 vCPUs, and 1024 VMs on a single host.
Hyper-V Administrators A new local security group enables easier delegation of full Hyper-V administrative rights to that host.
Hyper-V Appliance This is a concept where a Cluster-in-a-Box solution is engineered to be a Hyper-V cluster-in-a-box by an OEM.  It likely includes 3 or more NICs per server blade, JBOD (mirrored Storage Spaces), SAS expanders, and 2 Hyper-V hosts.
Hyper-V Server 2012 The free product that can be used when you don’t run Windows Server VMs on the host, such as VDI or Linux guests.  Includes all of the scalability and features of the top-end Datacenter edition.  It does not have the licensing benefits for Windows Server guests.  Designed to be managed remotely via GUI or PowerShell.
Hyper-V Extensible Switch Replacing the virtual network, this programmable layer-2 virtual switch offers extensibility for partners, with products already announced by the likes of Cisco (Nexus 1000v) and 5Nine (filtering).
Hyper-V Manager Connect and Live Migration When a VM live migrates, an active Connect to the VM window will follow it to the new host.
Hyper-V Manager Tabbed Interface More information is provided to the end user on the status of a VM using a tabbed information pane in the console.
Hyper-V Replica Asynchronous replication of virtual machines from one location to another, supporting VSS snapshots, failover, and IP address injection.
Import VM More Reliable The VM import process doesn’t require VMs to be exported.  It can also fix up import problems.
Incremental Backup of Running VMs Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V supports incremental (change only) backup of running VMs.  Only the differences are backed up during this type of backup.
IPsec Task Offload IPsecTO moves this workload from the main host’s CPU to a dedicated processor on the network adapter
Live Migration Move a virtual machine from one host to another. This does not require Failover Clustering or shared storage Windows Server 2012.  Move the VM, move the VM and storage, or move the storage.  The algorithm was enhanced to allegedly make Live Migration 70% faster than before.
Live Migration Queuing Live Migrations are queued up if more than the maximum simultaneous amount are started at once.
Live Storage Migration Physically relocate a VM by first copying it and synchronising I/O until the source and destination are identical. Can leverage Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) in a SAN to make the process up to 90% faster.
Management OS The term used to describe the host OS, or what was previously known as the Parent Partition or Root Partition.
Monitor Port Turn on traffic monitoring for a specific virtual switch port (virtual NIC).  It is not promiscuous mode.
Multi-Tenancy With features such as Network Virtualisation, PVLANs, and PORT ACLs, you can use Windows 8 Hyper-V in multi-tenant environments such as IaaS public cloud hosting.
Native 4k disk allignment This will allow disk alignment for VHDXs created on 4k sector physical disks, thus improving performance.  Almost no shipping OS currently supports this format of disk – WS2012 does.  OEMs to start transitioning to this type of disk, via 512K emulated disks with 4K sectors under the hood.
Network Virtualisation The abstraction of virtual IP address from physical IP address, allowing easier mobility of VMs across fabrics. This is a key feature of multi-tenancy.  Uses either GRE or IP address rewrite.
NIC Teaming Team up to 32 NICs of the same speed in Windows Server 2012 (and Hyper-V) for bandwidth aggregation and network path fault tolerance (LBFO). Specify teaming mode, load balancing algorithm, and optionally VLAN binding.
Node Vote Weight Configure if a clustered Hyper-V host has a vote or not. Especially useful in multi-site clusters to disable DR site nodes from voting.
ODX Offloaded Data Transfer is a feature of a SAN.  File transfers/copies between hosts on the SAN is done by the SAN rather than the normal network transfer.  Will speed up the creation of fixed VHD files and Live Storage Migration on a supporting SAN.
Online Disk Repair Windows 8 will detect storage faults and incrementally fix them with brief delays to I/O traffic that don’t interrupt it. Should replace the need for offline chkdsk.
Port ACLs Set rules based on local IP/MAC, and remote IP (specific or network)/MAC. Rules can meter traffic, block or allow.  Can specify inbound, outbound, or both directions.
Port Mirroring Copy traffic from one NIC to another where the traffic can be analysed.  This could be useful for IDS, etc.
PowerShell Hyper-V has over 162 built-in PowerShell cmdlets. 100% of features are revealed via PowerShell and includes things not in the GUI, e.g. Port ACLs.
Private VLAN PVLAN is a mechanism where a VM’s vNIC PVLAN port type can be set to isolated/private/community to control how it can communicate with other VMs on that large flat VLAN.
QoS Specify maximum limits and minimum guarantees for network communications.
Read-Only Domain Controllers WS2012 Hyper-V Clusters now support the use of RODCs in branch office and DMZ scenarios.
Receive Side Coalescing RSC aggregates packets from the same TCP/IP flow into one larger packet, reducing per-packet processing costs for faster TCP/IP processing
Receive Side Scaling RSS (NIC function) allows the host network traffic processing to be shared across multiple processors.  Enables SMB 3.0 Multichannel on a single NIC.
Redirected I/O Now uses SMB 3.0 and can leverage SMB 3.0 Multichannel and RDMA. It is used for metadata operations (very brief). Loss of storage connection also causes Redirected I/O but now at a much faster block level.
Remote Direct Memory Access / SMB Direct RDMA enables massive throughput of data through the network without taxing the CPU. Found in iWarp, RoCE, and Infiniband. This powers greater throughput for SMB 3.0.
Resource Metering Measure CPU, storage, network and memory on a per-VM basis. This data is stored with the VM and moves with the VM. It can be used for cross charging cloud usage.
Router Guard Prevent VMs from advertising themselves as routers.
Scale Out File Server Using CSV and a witness as features, you can create an active/active file share failover cluster with transparent failover. This is supported for services that use large file with little metadata access, e.g. Hyper-V. In other words, you can use a file share cluster instead of a SAN for your Hyper-V cluster.
Single Root I/O Virtualisation SR-IOV allows a physical NIC to appear to be a number of physical NICs, and allows virtual machine networking to bypass the virtual switch/management OS user mode. Virtual machines with SR-IOV can be live migrated and have guest NIC teaming.
SMB 3.0 Formerly known as SMB 2.2, it supports RDMA (SMB Direct) and SMB Multichannel (RSS or multiple NICs) and is in Windows Server 2012. Storage of VMs is supported on SMB 3.0. file shares if using Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosts.
SMB 3.0 Multichannel Enables multiple simultaneous data transfer streams between source and destination.  Can use RSS over a single  NIC.  Can also span  multiple RSS capable/incapable NICs, teamed or not.
SMI-S SMI-S will be supported by Windows Server 2012 file servers, enabling SMB 3.0 and Scale Out File Servers to be managed by VMM 2012 in the future.
Snapshot Live Merge You do not have to shut down a VM to merge a snapshot in Windows 8, resolving a major support issue.
Storage Pools An aggregation of disks without any RAID. They can be as loosely coupled as a bunch of USB drives or a JBOD. The disks can be different sizes. A pool does not appear in Explorer. You can create Storage Spaces from Storage Pools. This is one of the storage types you could use to create a scalable and continuously available active/active file share cluster.
Storage Spaces A thinly provisioned slice of storage from a storage pool. Can be a 2-copy-mirror (Like RAID 1 in concept and performance), 3-copy-mirror, or parity (like RAID 5 in concept and performance) storage space. Can be lots of spaces in a single pool. A space is divided up into slabs across disks in the pool depending on the fault tolerance chosen. Advanced configuration allows you to choose which pool disks to use.
System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 This will add support for Windows Server 2012 and the new version of Hyper-V
Thin Provisioning Deploy thinly provisioned Storage Spaces, consuming only the disk that the LUN requires.
Trunk Mode The ability for a Hyper-V Switch to pass through multiple VLANs to a VM’s port
Unified Tracing Enables network diagnostics in the Hyper-V Extensible Switch by trapping packets.
Unmap Supported on VHDX and Passthrough disks, attached to Virtual SCSI or Virtual Fibre Channel, this allows de-allocated blocks to be returned to storage for thin provisioning.  In other words: Trim.  Happens around every 5 minutes, and will thin provision LUNs and VHDX files.
VHDX The default virtual disk type, expanding up to 64 TB, and supporting dynamic and fixed types.
Virtual Fibre Channel HBA Fibre Channel HBAs in the host can be virtualised and FC SAN LUNs can be mounted directly by VMs, enabling guest clusters on FC SANs.  Requires NPIV in the SAN.  Can support guest MPIO/DSM with multiple virtual SANs in the host and multiple vHBAs in the VM.  Probably requires OEM support for this solution.  Support includes FCoE because it’s just Fibre Channel to the VM.  The only limit on the number of guests using this feature is FC bandwidth utilisation.
Virtual Machine Converter A free Accelerator tool for converting VMware virtual machines into Hyper-V virtual machines.  It is a free alternative to System Center 2012.  It uninstalls the VMware tools, converts the disks AND the VM configuration, and installs the Hyper-V integration components.  GUI and command prompt driven.
Virtual Machine Scalability 64 virtual processors, 1 TB RAM
Virtual NIC As before, VMs can have virtual NICs.  Now the Management OS can also have virtual NICs.
Virtual SAN Like a virtual network, connects Virtual HBAs to physical HBAs.  Recommended that there is one virtual SAN (in a host) and one virtual HBA (in each VM using the SAN) per physical HBA if you want to install OEM supported MPIO/DSM in the VM.
Virtualisation Aware Domain Controllers Windows Server 2012 domain controllers are aware if they are Windows 8 Hyper-V VMs. This prevents USN rollback (VM restore or snapshot application) and enables you to clone DCs by copying VMs, using a feature called VM-Generation ID (GenID).
VP:LP Ratio The old 8:1 (server VMs) or 12:1 (VDI) limitations have been removed.  Now you can place as many vCPUs as you want, keeping in mind the host (2048 vCPU) and VM  (64 vCPU) limits, and the capabilities of the host hardware versus the VM workloads (assess your workloads before virtualisation).
WHEA/RAS Windows Hardware Error Architecture is hardware fault detection.  WS2012 Hyper-V can detect hardware errors, e.g. ECC RAM degradation.  Non-correctable memory error in a VM might cause the VM to be stopped to prevent data corruption.  Unused memory is blocked from being used.
Windows 8 Client hypervisor Hyper-V is included in Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise for free. It’s the same Hyper-V as in the server, offering VM mobility and an easy introduction to Microsoft’s enterprise virtualisation.  The client version of Hyper-V requires Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)  in the CPU (Intel EPT, AMD RVI/NPT).  This is not a requirement in the server version, but it is recommended.
Windows Server Backup WSB in WS2012 supports backing up Hyper-V VMs on standalone hosts and on clusters with SAS, iSCSI, and FC storage.  It does not support VSS backups of VMs on SMB file shares. Backup can be stored on USB or file shares.


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23 thoughts on “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Features Glossary”

  1. Great blog Aidan.
    I’d be interested to know whether the replacement for the free “Hyper-v Server 2008” and whether its features have been announced? Have you heard anything on this?

    1. Thanks Jim, nothing has been announced about “Hyper-V Server 8” so I cannot comment. I guess we’ll hear around RC stage. To be honest, it has a very limited market if you license Windows VMs correctly (by licensing the host). Really it only has a place for VDI or Linux VM hosting.

  2. Thanks Aidan. I guess most of my clients run SBS Server and the “Hyper-v Server” is a great way to get things like clustering etc into a small to medium business environment.
    I guess I just can’t wait for the next version to come out and support things like virtual switches etc.

    1. Being able to store VMs on a file share, live migration without clusters, Live Storage Migration, and Hyper-V replica should be features that give lots of new functionality for the SME/SBS space. Service providers could offer new services with Hyper-V Replica too.

  3. Very impressive feature set correcting and addressing some of the problems faced with Hyper-V on Server 2008 R2.

    Best features which I would welcome for a high available environment will definitely be Live Storage Migration, Hyper-V Replica, Converged Fabrics and Concurrent Live Migration.

    Microsoft is definitely listening and going in the right direction!

  4. I’ve been looking for a brief on Windows 8 Hyper-V like this for a while now, great write-up.

    Also found you document on backups to be very useful!

    Come to think of it, this is the best blog i’ve come across in a while!

  5. Hi,
    We are a financial brokerage firm and we are virtualizing our servers which include (SQL servers,application servers, file servers and DC). I need your suggestion on following
    1. Shall i go ahead with Win2008r2 with software assurance or i will wait for the Windows 8 to be arrived.If i am not mistaken Windows 8 also called win2012 server will be replacing 2008r2.
    2.I have FC storage and my requirement is to do failover clustering of sql servers but all my local vendors are saying not possible on FC ,needs ISCSI storage.
    3.What is the best backup solution for Hyper V as per my scenario…

    1. That’s a big conversation with business implications. My advice is that you engage with a local consultant with experience in this field.

  6. Great Improvement & Favourable Features are …Hyper V Replica,Windows 8 Client,Unified Tracing,Network Virtualisation,Cluster Aware Updating,Snapshot Live Merge…

  7. Hi Aidan,

    I have approached so many vendors but nobody knows exactly why we cannot do guest failover clustering on FC storage. Please i appreciate if you can provide us your expertise….

    1. The HBA cannot be virtualised in current versions of Hyper-V. See my post from today on the topic for Windows Server 8. Until then, you’d need to put in an iSCSI Gateway.

  8. Hi Aidan – simple question….

    I’m running Datacenter 2008 R2 – can I upgrade my ‘old’ Hyper-V to the new 2012 version or does it require an O/S upgrade?


  9. Great work Aidan – all I can say it ‘Bring it On’ I have been waiting for an enterprise strength answer to ESX for a looong time.
    Watching MSFT and VMWare going toe to toe is going to be better than the WWF and Hulk Hogan body slamming a chair thrower!!


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