Three free Hyper-V tools
When it comes to monitoring the Hyper-V environment, there is a time and a place for enterprise level monitoring and management tools that provide historical data spanning months. However, there is sometimes a need to just get as much information as possible about the environment in the here and now just to get a feel for what’s going on.
It’s the latter use case that is satisfied by a tool called HyperV_Mon, a free tool from TMurgent Technologies. HyperV_Mon supports all versions of Hyper-V starting with the Hyper-V that shipped with Windows Server 2008 R2. According to the product’s documentation, it’s been tested with everything up to some of the preview editions of Windows Server 2012, but should also work with RTM.
The company is careful to say that HyperV_Mon is not intended to replace your day to day monitoring solution, but is intended to augment it when necessary. TMurgent also recommends that you not install HyperV_Mon to the Hyper-V server itself since doing so can have a performance impact on the host.
In order to run HyperV_Mon, you must have the .NET Framework 4.0 installed on the system which will run the tool. As for installation, there is none. When you download HyperV_Mon, you’re downloading the full executable wrapped in a ZIP file. So, to run the tool, just extract the contents of the downloaded ZIP execute the download.
Upon execution, you’re asked to provide the name of a Hyper-V server along with credentials that can read statistics. The result is a screen much like the one shown in Figure 1 below. Here, you can see what kind of impact the running virtual machines are having on the host at this time, including CPU, memory and I/O impact. That’s on the left. On the right in the main window, you can see some virtual machines.
Figure 1: HyperV_Mon output
For each virtual machine, you can see that HyperV_Mon provides you with individual statistics about that virtual machine so that you can see exactly what is going on. When it comes to trying to nail down a specific issue, this kind of quick and detailed information can be invaluable in your troubleshooting efforts.
Finally, at the very bottom of the window, HyperV_Mon shows you a graph of all of your processors, along with currently utilization of each.
Corefig for Hyper-V 2012
Hyper-V Server 2012 is a Windows Server Core only affair. Sure, you can install Hyper-V as a role under the full Windows Server 2012 product, but if you want the free Hyper-V, you will not be using the full Microsoft Windows GUI that you know and love.
Some helpful people have brought to Windows Server Core and Hyper-V Server 2012 a series of PowerShell-based scripts and a GUI that can help the Windows administrator more easily make the changes that are necessary to bring a server (or fifty!) into production.
Most administrators have a routine that they follow when placing a new server into production. Although it’s not that hard in Core and administrators can also rely on PowerShell, Windows admins are more accustomed to the point and click nature of Windows and, sometimes, you just need to get a job done without resorting to working with PowerShell.
That’s where Corefig for Core and Hyper-V 2012 comes in. Prior to this release a different developer had released a tool called the Core Configurator, but this tool is not compatible with Windows Server 2012. So, Corefig 1.0 came into being with Server 2012 compatibility as well as a number of additional enhancements. Some minor elements, such as promoting a machine to become a domain controller, have been removed since Server 2012 no longer includes DCpromo.
Here are the features that Corefig brings to a Windows Server Core/Hyper-V Server 2012 installation:
- Server renaming and domain joining
- Role and feature management
- Service control
- Remote Desktop Host and WinRM configuration
- Windows Update settings
- Display settings configuration
- Windows firewall settings
- Driver installation
- Regional settings (keyboard, date and time)
- Add Programs
- Network card settings, including TCP/IP
- Proxy configuration
- Local group membership
- Share management
- iSCSI Configuration (connecting to remote targets)
- View, start, and stop virtual machines
- Windows Server licensing
Figures 2 and 3 below provide you with a look at what the screens look like in this tool. As you can see, Corefig makes it pretty easy to make configuration changes.
Figure 2: Corefig main menu
Figure 3: Corefig network adapter settings window
To use Corefig, download the tool from Codeplex and follow the instructions.
Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter Solution Accelerator (MVMC)
As Microsoft attempts to dethrone VMware in the hypervisor space, the company has a lot of work ahead of it. There are millions of vSphere-based virtual machines that Microsoft wants to see running atop Hyper-V 3 instead. However, customers aren’t just going to rebuild their entire virtual environment just to move to Hyper-V 3. There will be an expectation that tools will be made available that will ease the work associated with making such a transition.
In order to meet this demand, Microsoft has developed the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter Solution Accelerator. This tool has but one purpose: Migrate virtual machines from supported versions of vSphere to supported versions of Hyper-V. MVMC is pretty full-featured and can convert VMware virtual machines, virtual disks, and configuration) from the source to Hyper-V. During the process, MVMC will add virtual network interface cards (NICs) to the converted virtual machine on Hyper-V and uninstall VMware tools prior to conversion to provide a clean way to migrate VMware-based virtual machines to Hyper-V. Additionally, MVMC supports conversion from multiple VMDK formats to fixed-size and dynamically expanding VHD formats.
MVMC supports virtual machine migration from the following versions of vSphere and vCenter:
- vCenter Server 4.1, 5.0
- ESX Server 4.1
- ESXi Server 4.1, 5.0
As you can see, MVMC is a little limited in that it doesn’t support older versions of ESX/ESXi/vSphere, making it unsuitable for those that want to move from ESX 3.x or 4.0 to Hyper-V. That’s a big disappointment, but for those that have stayed relatively current, MVMC is very useful.
As far as destinations are concerned, you can migrate workloads to Hyper-V 2008 R2 or Hyper-V 3.
Another limitation for some customers revolves around guest operating system support. If you’re running Linux, MVMC is not for you. Only versions of Windows starting with Windows Server 2003 SP2 are supported. These include:
- Windows Server 2003 with SP2
- Windows Server 2003 R2 with SP2
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008 R2
- Windows Vista
- Windows 7
Once you’ve installed MVMC and connected it to vCenter or to a vSphere host, the tool will return to you a list of the virtual machines that can be converted to Hyper-V.
Figure 4: A list of virtual machines that can be converted
For each migrated virtual machine, you have options from which to choose, including the items that you see in Figure 5, but in addition, you get to choose the target Hyper-V host and more.
Figure 5: Configure the migration
Figure 6: Choose the server to which the converted virtual machine should be copied
Microsoft provides a complete set of instructions for using MVMC and it’s actually quite simple to use and can provide switchers with a great solution as long as you’re running relatively new versions of vSphere/ESX/ESXi and the guests are running on supported operating systems.
These are just three completely free tools that are available for Hyper-V and that work with Hyper-V Server 2012. In coming articles, we’ll take a look at a few more free tools.