I once made an offhanded remark within an article that if you don’t like the Hyper-V Manager, then it would be theoretically possible to create a replacement tool using nothing but PowerShell. While I have yet to hear of anyone actually using PowerShell to build a Hyper-V Manager replacement, ManageEngine has taken it upon themselves to create a free, lightweight Hyper-V management tool, which the company simply calls the Hyper-V Configuration Tool. In this article, I want to show you how the tools works so that you can get a sense as to whether it might be a good fit for use in your own organization.
Downloading ManageEngine Hyper-V Configuration Tool
As previously noted, the ManageEngine Hyper-V Configuration Tool is available for free. You can download the tool here. The installation process is based around a really simple wizard, and does not require the installation of supplementary software such as SQL Server or the .NET Framework.
The configuration process
Once the Hyper-V Configuration Tool is installed, you will be taken to the screen shown below. To get started, just enter the hostname (or IP address), domain, username, and password for your Hyper-V server. It is worth noting that when I added one of my Hyper-V servers to the Hyper-V Configuration Tool, the tool seemed to lock up for about a minute. Eventually, though, the tool became responsive again.
The screenshot below shows what the Hyper-V Configuration Tool looks like once a server has been added. As you can see in the screenshot, the left side of the screen shows the server name, followed by a list of the VMs residing on the server. The right side of the screen displays the server’s current resource utilization.
The interface displays metrics for the Hyper-V host’s CPU, storage, memory, and network resources. Additionally, a block of text at the top of the interface lists the host operating system, the host’s uptime, and the number of VMs that are installed on the host. The column that lists the virtual machines includes a status indicator so that you can tell which VMs are running. If you look at the next screenshot, you can see that I have started a few VMs, thereby causing the VMs’ status indicator to turn green.
The Hyper-V Configuration Tool does not allow you to make any host-level modifications, aside from adding or removing hosts. You can, however, use the tool to make modifications to your virtual machines.
Clicking on a virtual machine causes the tool to reveal five VM-related tabs: Power, Boot, CPU, RAM, and Hard Disk. The Power tab tells you whether the VM is turned on and how long the virtual machine has been running. There are also buttons for turning the VM on or off, pausing, and suspending the VM.
The Boot tab displays the virtual machine’s current boot device order and allows you to change that order if necessary. You can see what the Boot tab looks like below.
The CPU tab lists the total number of available processors, as well as the number of processors that the virtual machine is currently using. There is also an option to change the number of processors that are allocated to the virtual machine. You can see what this looks like in the next screenshot.
As you would probably expect, the tool’s Memory tab tells you how much memory the virtual machine is currently using, and it also allows you to make changes. What you can’t do, however, is make changes to the memory allocation mode. If you look at the next screenshot, for example, you can see that this particular VM is configured to use a fixed amount of RAM, and although you can change the amount of memory that is assigned to the VM, there is no option to configure the VM to use dynamic memory allocation.
Finally, the Hard Disk tab lists the size, type, location, and format of the VM’s virtual hard disk. It also contains options to expand the virtual hard disk or to create a new virtual hard disk that has been cloned from an existing virtual hard disk file. You can see the Hard Disk tab in the next screenshot.
You will still Hyper-V Manager
Hopefully, by reading this article, you have been able to get a good feel for ManageEngine’s free Hyper-V Configuration Tool, as well as the tool’s features and limitations. I think that the big takeaway is that the Hyper-V Configuration Tool works well as a lightweight management tool, but it is not a true replacement for the Hyper-V Manager. In all fairness though, the tool is free, and ManageEngine does not market it as a Hyper-V Manager replacement.
The reason why I do not consider the Hyper-V Configuration Tool to be an effective Hyper-V Manager replacement is because it lacks some of Hyper-V Manager’s key functions. For example, there is no option to create a new virtual machine or to perform a live migration of an existing virtual machine.
Now please do not misunderstand me. I’m not trying to bash the Hyper-V Configuration Tool, but rather to set expectations. Besides, it would not be fair for me to bash a free tool, especially one that seems to work just the way that it is supposed to.
I think that the Hyper-V Manager could be an effective tool for keeping tabs on host resource consumption (in smaller organizations), and for making basic virtual machine configuration changes.
The one thing that I think that ManageEngine could do to really improve the tool is to allow it to be run full screen. You might have noticed in my screen captures that there is no option to maximize the window. This probably isn’t a big deal for a lot of people, but I think that a full-screen mode would really improve the tool’s usability.
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