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My initial Windows Server 2008 RTM thoughts – Part I: Hyper-V

Posted by Christian Dam on February 6, 2008

Let me share my experiences with Windows Server 2008 after having replaced the old Windows Server 2003 R2 on my virtual server host.

Hyper-V / Virtual Machines:

Hyper-V works!!! The RC1 version didn’t on my hardware. However, since the Import Virtual Machine doesn’t work yet – or isn’t intended for Virtual Server VPCs – upgrading VPCs from Virtual Server to Hyper-V is a pain in the neck:

  • Recreate the VPC using the old VHD
  • The Guest OS noticed that the underlying hardware had changed and wanted to be re-activated
  • Some of the virtual hardware had changed and did no longer works. In my case it was the Network adapter. The virtual Machines Additions must be uninstalled before a new version could be installed. The Hyper-V additions are called Integration Services, BTW
  • Once the old Add-ons was removed and the VPC rebooted, the screen resolution changed from 640×480 to 1600×1200 (the maximum resolution on the physical server)
  • The Hyper-V Integration components required a HAL upgrade of the virtual machine – including a reboot. I reckon this is to take activate the feature where the virtual machines know they are in fact virtual and are thus able to take direct advantage of the Hyper-V virtualization.
  • Yet another reboot was needed after the Integration Services was installed
  • Now the network adapter was recognized and I was able to assign en IP-address and re-activate Windows.
  • For some reason my parallel port driver began to fail. Since it is not listed as a normal service, I stopped it the quick and dirty way in the registry by setting  the HKLM \SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Parport\Start-key to 4
  • A final reboot brought the server up correctly without errors.

Well, 4 reboots to convert an old Virtual Server VPC to Hyper-V seems a bit to many. Hyper-V is still in a beta state, though, so it will probably be improved upon when it is released for real. At the current state it will be a nightmare to convert more than a few VPC’s.

I like the new Virtual Machine Manager MMC Snap-inn much better than the old Virtual Server web console. It gives a much better overview of the virtual machines. And, oh, did I forgot to mention the cool feature with multiple snap shots? And that you can start any snapshot you want? That’s really neat!

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