Windows Server Technical Preview – Delivery of Integration Components

Those of you who have run more than one generation of Hyper-V will understand the pain of updating integration components in a VM’s guest OS. If you run Windows (this is not applicable to Linux because the process is different) the you need to run the latest ICs in a guest OS for that VM to have:

  • The latest virtualization features
  • Stability
  • Performance

We typically have seen new versions of the ICs in three occasions:

  • A hotfix or Windows Update
  • A service pack – no longer relevant but an update rollup might bring new ICs
  • A new version of Hyper-V

The process was that VMGuest.ISO was updated on the host, and we would mount that ISO from the VM to install the latest integration components. This assumed that:

· We had admin rights to the guest OS – not applicable usually in a cloud

  • Network access
  • Time
  • Patience

We had workarounds such as using PowerShell or System Center, but again, this assumed we had rights to the guest OS or network access.

Microsoft was keen to solve this issue … and they went to a method that I think many of us will approve of: updates to the Windows integration components for Hyper-V will be delivered by Windows Update (and hence WSUS). This has started with delivery to any of the following guest OSs running on the Tech Preview of vNext:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7

Microsoft uses KVP (enabled by default) to determine that the VM is running on vNext.

This new process will give cloud admins control over the IC release (via WSUS) and will automate the delivery of the ICs to all guests that run Windows Update, ensuring that clients are up to date and can avail of the best that Hyper-V can offer. No more McGuyvering required.

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