Now that Microsoft has released System Center 2012 SP1, those wishing to deploy Hyper-V 3 can rejoice! Previously, you learned about three free tools that can help you in your Hyper-V journey. In this article, you will learn about five more tools that you can use with recent versions of Hyper-V. Not all of these tools formally support Hyper-V 3 at present, but I expect that support will be added to many.
5Nine Manager for Hyper-V
Although many people will opt to fully manage Hyper-V using System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager, many smaller organizations will likely forgo that bigger management tool in favor of something smaller, such as the built-in Hyper-V Manager. However, 5Nine has created an able replacement (free!) for the Hyper-V Manager. When used, you’re also able to easily integrate some of 5Nine’s paid products.
Called the 5Nine Manager for Hyper-V, you can see this tool in action in Figure 1. While it does bear some resemblance to the Hyper-V Manager tool, it moves a few things around and adds a bit of information. All in all, I’ve found the 5Nine tool to be a bit more intuitive than the native Hyper-V Manager.
In Figure 1, you can see that a number of the controls for virtual machines and the like exist across the top of the main work area underneath the tabs. From here, you can connect to a Hyper-V host, change settings, shut down a host or virtual machine and much more.
Figure 1: 5Nine Manager for Hyper-V in action
5Nine has also greatly simplified the virtual machine settings page, as shown in Figure 2. The screen you see below shows you how you can adjust memory parameters in a virtual machine running under Hyper-V.
Figure 2: A 5Nine Manager for Hyper-V configuration page
If you’re testing Hyper-V for your environment or running it in your lab, give the 5Nine Manager for Hyper-V a look and see if it might fit your needs.
5Nine V2V Easy Converter
As more vSphere-wielding organizations begin to consider running Hyper-V as either a supplemental or as a replacement hypervisor, having the ability to convert workloads from vSphere to Hyper-V becomes an increasingly important skill to have in the virtualization tool belt. Fortunately, there is a growing number of options available out there for this V2V conversion task, one of which is the 5Nine V2V Easy Converter. While not as full-featured as some other free tools available out there, it can sometimes be exactly what you need.
Here’s are some of the features and limitations of the tool:
- Pro. Very fast. It’s an offline conversion tool, so Easy Converter doesn’t need to worry about what’s happening on the system as is the case with an online tool.
- Con. Offline only. While this may enable faster speeds, it requires taking workloads offline to do a conversion. This is simply not possible in many of today’s 24/7 environments.
- Pro. Supports migration of the guests with different configurations, including large disk(s) and shared disks – these scenarios are specifically prone to the errors that other tools suffer from.
- Pro. Allows you to modify the target guest configuration parameters. The source VM configuration is preserved by default.
- Pro. Supports conversion of both Windows, Ubuntu and CentOS VMs in most configurations.
Here’s a look at the conversion tool in action. Here, you can see that you’re able to specify the virtual machine configuration for the target machine.
Figure 3: Virtual machine configuration for target machine
Veeam Backup free
Veeam has become one of the gold standard companies when it comes to backup and recovery and focuses solely on the virtualization market. At its inception, Veeam focused on VMware only but has since begun to embrace Hyper-V in a relatively significant way. In fact, Veeam includes Hyper-V support in their Veeam Backup Free Edition.
While you shouldn’t expect to find all of the bells and whistles of the paid versions in the free edition, Veeam does include an impressive feature set in the free product.
- VeeamZIP: backup a VM on-the-fly for operational, archival or portability purposes
- Instant File-Level Recovery: restore individual guest files directly from a VeeamZIP backup
- NEW! Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Exchange: get instant visibility into VeeamZIP backups of Exchange VMs for quick recovery of individual items (emails, contacts, notes, etc.)
- NEW! Veeam Explorer for SAN Snapshots: restore individual VMs, guest files and Exchange items from SAN snapshots (VMware only)*
- File Manager: the easy way to manage VM and host files
- Quick Migration for VMware: migrate a live VM to any host or datastore
The diagram below gives you a look at some ways that VeeamZIP can recover content. You can recover a full VM, individual VM files, guest files or even individual Exchange items.
For Hyper-V, this free tool allows you to export VMs without downtime. Although Hyper-V can encapsulate and export a VM, it takes a long time and can’t be done while the virtual machine is in operation. VeeamZIP backs up a VM while it’s running.
VeeamZIP encapsulates all virtual hard disk and configuration files into a single, compressed backup that can be recovered to another host. There is no need to worry about managing .exp files or where to place folders for successful import.
The Hands-on Guide: Understanding Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012
Not every free tool happens to be software. Recently, Veeam released the first five chapters of what will be a free twelve chapter book on Hyper-V 3.0, written primarily by Brien Posey. In this book, Brien provides a comprehensive hands-on look at how administrators can begin to deploy Hyper-V 3 with Windows Server 2012. He also provides you with detailed instructions on upgrading Hyper-V from previous versions and migrating virtual machines to the latest version of the hypervisor.
At present, five chapters are available:
- Chapter 1. An Introduction to Hyper-V 3.0
- Chapter 2. Failover Clustering
- Chapter 3. Migrations
- Chapter 4. Managing Virtual Machine Failover
- Chapter 5. PowerShell Management
More, however, are coming soon:
- Chapter 6. Virtual Machine Management
- Chapter 7. P2V conversions
- Chapter 8. Replication
- Chapter 9. Hyper-V Management
- Chapter 10. Networking
- Chapter 11. Automation
- Chapter 12. Backup
Download a copy of the free book from Veeam.
First launched in 2006, Spiceworks has become an invaluable tool for many, many IT departments that need a cheap (read: free) trouble ticket system that also includes a wealth of other capabilities, but most importantly for this discussion, Hyper-V support was added in Spiceworks 5.0 with the following description:
“Discover More Virtualized Machines…Plus Manage Them!
New support for Hyper-V in 5.0 means that you’ll be able to discover your Microsoft virtual machines servers. This is in addition to the ability 4.6 delivered to discover your VMware virtualization servers (ESX/ESXi & vSphere) and virtual machines.
See all the virtual machine data on MS (& VMware) virtual servers as well as details like allocated RAM and hard disk space.
Start and stop your VMs when the need arises – allowing for more sophisticated virtualization management.
See and report changes over time for a VMs state and configuration.
See all your VMs across all your hosts”
Today, Spiceworks is at version 6.2 and includes a plethora of capability including network monitoring, inventory management, quote generation, and much more.
For free, you can’t beat it, so download it and give it a shot.