Step-by-step guide to understanding Hyper-V Live Migration

The biggest advantage of computer system virtualization is an increase in the efficiency of hardware utilization. Hyper-V was introduced by Microsoft as a virtualization technology in 2008 and new versions of Hyper-V have been released along with new versions of Windows Server.

Right from the time Hyper-V was introduced, it has been an integral part of Windows Server that can be installed upon demand; kind of like you can order a Taco Supreme from Taco Bell on demand!

Hyper-V is also available as a separate product called Microsoft Hyper-V Server. Hyper-V is a shortened, standalone version of Windows Server where all the functionality that is not related to services, virtualization, and GUI is removed to make the server footprint as small as possible. This also helps to reduce the maintenance time needs for the server and makes it less vulnerable to attack.

Microsoft Hyper-V

What is Hyper-V?

Hyper-V is a hybrid hypervisor software that is installed from the OS. The intricacy associated with the installation is that during the time of installation, the hypervisor gets installed as just another layer just above the hardware and below the virtual machines.

How to install Hyper-V

The steps below describe the installation process for Hyper-V:

  • First, the version of the Windows operating system being run needs to be checked. Too bad no one checked “Jurassic World” before it was released! The script was horrendous!
  • If the OS is Windows Server and the version is later than 2008, the Hyper-V role should be activated through Server Manager and the installation should be performed by following the instructions provided in the wizard.
  • If the OS is Windows 8/8.1, check the corresponding comparison chart to ensure that the current OS license permits you to deploy Hyper-V.
  • If the Windows version is older than 2008, you will need to upgrade to a later version before you can proceed.
  • Once installation completes, the computer will automatically reboot. Once the reboot completes, you will need to confirm that the additional services have been installed, including those related to Hyper-V manager.
  • To verify the installation components, go to Control Panel, and then to Administration, and on to Hyper-V manager to examine the details.

Stepwise Guide to Understanding Hyper-V Live Migration

How does Hyper-V work?

All the operations available from Hyper-V can be accessed from Hyper-V manager. Owing to the fact that the Hyper-V role is integrated into Server Manager, we can find a lot of useful information by viewing the services and events related to Hyper-V. (No, that has nothing to do with the art festival event you’re going to over the weekend!) We can also find recommended tasks, configurations, online resources, and best practices.

Using the Hyper-V manager, you can manage, create, change, and delete VMs, perform related dependent operations and tune virtual networking. When you do a right-click on the server node from inside the main window, choose New and then Virtual Machine. You will see the new virtual machine starting.

You must now enter a specific name for the virtual machine, locate a place to store the virtual machine (the system disk being the default), and then specify the exact quantity of memory storage to be allocated.

Next, you will go ahead and select a network adapter specifically for VM use, have a virtual hard disk created, and subsequently define how an operating system is going to be installed to the VM (either a physical DVD ROM/CD or an .ISO image located on a hard disk). Consequently, you should click Finish and the creation of the VM will be completed.

To check if the VM in question is working, you need to right-click on the name associated with the virtual machine and then click Connect. Once the initialization of the VM is complete, the installation of the operating system will automatically begin.

Guide to Understanding Hyper-V Live Migration

Licensing considerations

Windows Server permits you to have one physical instance of an OS installed, and additionally, some virtual machines, depending on the OS edition and version. On the other hand, the standalone edition of Hyper-V does not require any OS license.

However, you will be required to purchase licenses for any instances of Windows that are installed on VMs. For instance, if you have Windows Server 2012 (datacenter version) installed, you can go ahead and have an unlimited number of VM installations immediately.

 Hyper-V Live Migration

Live Migration refers to Hyper-V technology that performs shifts of virtual machines across physical hosts in a manner so that it happens without any interruption in service. This type of feature appears in the form of several different implementations:

Live Migration

Often used as a blanket term, the most specific meaning for this terminology is with regards to the ownership transfer that happens between one node and another for a clustered virtual machine. This is applicable when the transfer happens within a single cluster.

Storage Live Migration

This describes the transfer of one or many of the constituent files of a virtual machine between locations in a manner that the service to the virtual machine actually owned is not interrupted. A Storage Live Migration may or may not occur simultaneously along with a Live Migration process.

Shared Nothing Live Migration

The process is similar to that of a standard Live Migration with regards to the fact that a virtual machine is transferred between hosts without any interruption. The key point to be noted is that the virtual machine is not operated in a clustered manner. The most common purpose for a Shared Nothing Live migration is to move a virtual machine between hosts. Transfers from one node that is a cluster member can be accomplished so long as the VM is not in a cluster role.

This type of migration normally happens in sync with a Storage Live Migration. However, it is not a requirement that the files of the virtual machine need to be present on a SMB3 share that can be accessed by the target and source physical hosts.

Hyper-V Live Migration without shared storage

What is Quick Migration?

Quick Migration refers to an earlier form of technology that actually used to move virtual machines across cluster nodes that, however, causes a short service interruption. Live Migration is normally utilized for actually operating virtual machines.

However, owing to the fact that the virtual machine’s active state is saved to a disk instead of being transferred through the network, Quick Migration normally executes with lower total operation. Quick Migration is typically the only way in which nonrunning virtual machines can be transferred.

Executing Quick Migration from inside Failover Cluster Manager

Failover Cluster Manager is the only tool with a native GUI that has the ability to perform a Quick Migration. Below, we list the steps involved in performing a Quick Migration.

  1. First, invoke the Roles tree node.
  2. To move multiple virtual machines, ctrl+click is used to select the different machines.
  3. Now, use a right-click to choose the VMs that are to be shifted.
  4. Within the context menu, choose Move and then Quick Migration.
    1. To permit the cluster to make a selection of the exact destination, click on Best Possible Node.
    2. To choose the destination in manual fashion, click on Select Node. This pulls up a dialog box including a list of all the cluster nodes. Double-click on any one and click OK. Good job, now you can have a slice of pizza. Don’t forget some salad and/or some fruit as well!

Executing Live Migrations from inside Failover Cluster Manager

As with Quick Migration, Failover Cluster Manager is the only native GUI-based tool that has the ability to execute a Live Migration.

  1. First, invoke the Roles tree node.
  2. To accomplish a move for multiple VMs, use a ctrl+click to make the selections.
  3. Now use a right-click to choose the actual VMs to be moved.
  4. From within the menu, invoke Move and then to Live Migration.
    1. To permit the cluster to choose the destination, choose the Best Possible Node.
    2. To manually select the destination, choose Select node. This will have a dialog box created with a list of all the cluster nodes. Either double-click on one and click OK. Pat yourself on the back, now you can relax and watch “Bad Boys II” again!

If more virtual machines have been selected than what can be actually migrated at that time, the cluster will choose the maximum number that is possible before moving them. The rest of the machines will be listed as Migration queued.

Performing Storage Live Migrations

A Storage Live Migration can be executed with non-clustered virtual machines by employing Hyper-V manager. On the other hand, only a Failover Cluster Manager can be used to execute similar migrations in the case of clustered virtual machines.

For non-clustered VMs:

  1. Perform a right-click on the specific virtual machine and choose Move.
  2. The Move Wizard will now open. The opening screen is purely informational in nature. You should click Next when ready.
  3. When you see the option Choose Move Type, select Move virtual machine storage and then click Next.
  4. You will be called upon to make a choice related to the exact move you are planning to make (this is chess, not checkers!). There are three related options:
    • Move all virtual machine data to one location.
    • Move all virtual machine data to different locations.
    • Move only the hard disks associated with the virtual machine.

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