Ignite 2015–What’s New in Windows Server Hyper-V

Speakers: Ben Armstrong & Sarah Cooley

This is a detailed view of everything you can do with Hyper-V in Windows Server 2016 TPv2 build. 14 demos. This is not a complete overview of everything in the release. This is what you can realistically do in labs with the build at the moment. A lot of the features are also in Windows 10.

Nano Server

Cloud-first refactoring. Hyper-V and storage are the two key IaaS scenarios for Nano Server.


Hyper-V can be used to deploy containers. Not talking about in this session – there was another session by Taylor Brown on this. Not in this build – coming in the future.

Making Cloud Great

This is how the Hyper-V team thinks: everything from Azure, public, private and small “clouds”.

Virtual Machine Protection:

Trust in the cloud is biggest blocker to adoption. Want customers to know that their data is safe.

A virtual TPM can be injected into a VM. Now we can enable BiLocker in the VM and protect data from anyone outside of the VM. I can run a VM on someone else’s infrastructure and they cannot see or use my data.

Secure boot is enabled for Linux. The hardware can verify that the kernel mode code is uncompromised. Secure boot is already in Windows guest OSs in WS2012 R2.

Shielded VMs

Virtual TPM is a part of this story. This is a System Center & Hyper-V orchestrated solution for highly secure VMs. Shielded VMs can only run in fabrics that are designated as owners of that VM.

Distributed Storage QoS

See my previous post.

Host Resource Protection

Dynamically detect VMs that are not “playing well” and reduce their resource allocation. Comes from Azure. Lots of people deploy VMs and do everything they can to break out and attack Azure. No one has ever broken out, but their attempts eat up a lot of resources. HRP detects “patterns of access”, e.g. loading kernel code that attacks the system, to reduce their resource usage. A status will appear to say that HRP has been enabled on this VM.

Storage and Cluster Resiliency

What happens when the network has a brief glitch between cluster nodes? This can cause more harm than good by failing over and booting up the VMs again – can take longer than waiting out the issue.

Virtual Machine Cluster Resiliency:

  • Cluster doesn’t jump to failover after immediate time out.
  • The node goes into isolated state and VM goes unmonitored.
  • If the node returns in under 4 minutes (default) then the node returns and VM goes back to running state.
  • If a host is flapping, the host is put into a quarantine. All VMs will be live migrated off of the node to prevent issues.

Storage Resiliency:

  • If the storage disappears: the VM is paused ahead of a timeout to prevent a crash.
  • Once the storage system resumes, the VM un-pauses and IOPS continues.

Shared VHDX

Makes it easy to do guest clustering. But WS2012 R2 is v1.0 tech. Can’t do any virtualization features with it, e.g. backup, online resize.

In TPv2, starting to return features:

  • Host-based, no agent in the guest, backup of guest clusters with shared VHDX.
  • You will also be able to do online resizing of the shared VHDX.
  • Shared drive has it’s own h/w category when you Add Hardware in VM settings. Underlying mechanism is the exact same, just making the feature more obvious.

VHDS is the extension of shared VHDX files.

Hyper-V Replica & Hot-Add

By default, a newly added disk won’t replicated. Set-VMReplication –ReplicatedDisks (Get-VMHardDiskDrive VM01) will add a disk to the replica set.

Behind the scenes there is an initial copy happening for the new disk while replication continues for the original disks.

Runtime Memory Resize

You can:

  • Resize the memory of a VM with static RAM while it running.
  • You can see the memory demand of static RAM VMs – useful to resize.

Hot Add/Remove Network Adapters

This can be done with Generation 2 VMs.

Rolling Cluster Upgrade

No need to build a new cluster to deploy a new OS. You actually rebuild 1 host at a time inside the cluster. VMs can failover and live migrate. You need WS2012 R2 to start off. Once done, you upgrade the version of the cluster to use new features. You can also rollback a cluster from WS2016 to WS2012 R2.

New VM Upgrade Process

Previous versions of Hyper-V automatically upgraded a VM automatically once it was running on a new version of Hyper-V. This has changed.

There is now a concept of a VM configuration version. It is not upgraded automatically – done manually. This is necessary to allow rollback from Cluster Rolling Upgrade.

Version 5.0 is the configuration version of WS2012 R2. Version 2.1a was WS2012 R2 SP1. The configuration version was always there for internal usage, and was not displayed to users. In TPv2 they are 6.2.

A VM with v5.0 works with that host’s features. A v5.0 VM on WS2016 runs with compatibility for WS2012 R2 Hyper-V. No new features are supplied to that VM. Process for manually upgrading:

  1. Shutdown the VM
  2. Upgrade the VM config version via UI or PoSH
  3. Boot up again – now you get the v6.2 features.

Production Checkpoints

Uses VSS in the guest OS instead of saved state to create checkpoint. Restoring a production checkpoint is just like restoring a system backup. S/W inside of the guest OS, like Exchange or SQL Server, understand what to do when they are “restored from backup”, e.g. replay logs, etc.

Now this is a “supported in production” way to checkpoint production VMs that should reduce support calls.

PowerShell Direct

You can run cmdlets against the guest OS via the VMBus. Easier administration – no need for network access.

ReFS Accelerated VHDX Operations

Instant disk creation and checkpoint merging. Ben created a 5TB fixed VHDX w/o ODX and it took 22 hours.

Creating 1GB disk. Does a demo of 1 GB disk on non-accelerated volume on same physical disks takes 71 seconds on ReFS and it takes: 4.77 seconds. 50 GB takes 3.9 seconds.

DOes a merge on non-accelerated volume and it takes 68 seconds. Same files on ReFS and it takes 6.9 seconds. This has a huge impact on backup of large volumes – file-based backup uses checkpoints and merge. There is zero data copy involved.

Hyper-V Manager and PoSh Improvements

  • Support for alternate credentials
  • Connecting via IP address
  • Connecting via WinRM

There’s a demo to completely configure IIS and deploy/start a website from an admin machine without logging into the VM, using PowerShell Direct with no n/w access.

Cross-Version Management

You can manage WS2012 and WS2012 R2 hosts with Hyper-V Manager. There are two versions of PowerShell 1.1 and 2.0.

Integration Services

Insert Integration Components is gone from the UI. It did not scale out. VM Drivers re updated via Windows Update (critical update). Updates go to VMs on correct version of Hyper-V.

Hyper-V Backup

File-based backup and built-in change tracking. No longer dependent on h/w snapshots, but able to use them if they are there.

VM Configuration Changes

New configuration file format. Moving to binary format away from XML for performance efficiency when you have thousands of VMs. New file extensions:

  • VMCX:
  • VMRS:

This one was done for Azure, and trickles down to us. Also solves the problem of people editing the XML which was unsupported. Everything can be done via PowerShell anyway.

Hyper-V Cluster Management

A new under-the-covers administration model that abstracts the cluster. You can manage a cluster like a single host. You don’t need to worry about cluster resource and groups to configure VMs anymore.

Updated Power Management

Conencted Standby Works


OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1 API supported.

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