What Are the Features and Benefits of Hyper-V VDI?

Hyper-V is Microsoft’s native, or bare-metal, hypervisor for creating and managing virtual machine (VM) environments. It has multiple operating systems running on a single physical server. Hyper-V isolates each VM within the same physical machine, which allows multiple users to access different systems independently on the same hardware. This type of isolation ensures that even if one virtual machine crashes, it does not impact other workloads running on the same physical machine.

Learn about Hyper-V virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), how it works and additional useful tools to manage Hyper-V VDI infrastructures in your organization.

What Are the Features of Hyper-V?

Hyper-V offers many features, each with its own set of benefits for Hyper-V administrators and users. Here are the top Hyper-V features and what they can do for your organization:

How Does Hyper-V Work?

Hyper-V supports various versions of Windows Server, Windows and Linux distributions to run on virtual machines as guest operating systems. It requires a processor that includes Second Level Address Translation (SLAT), present in the current Intel and AMD processors. The host machine must have at least 4 GB of RAM for running three to four basic virtual machines. You can leverage a more powerful physical server to host more VMs on a single server or provision VMs with higher processing power.

Hyper-V hypervisor provides an isolated space to multiple virtual machines sharing the same hardware platform by means of a partition. For running Hyper-V, at least one parent or root partition must be running a Windows OS. Hyper-V runs in the parent partition and can access hardware components such as the physical processor. The parent partition then creates child partitions using the hypercall application programming interface (API). Guest OSes or virtual machines run on these child partitions. As such, child partitions do not have direct access to the hardware components of the physical server. The hypervisor handles the interrupts to the physical processor and utilizes Input Output Memory Management Unit (IOMMU) to map physical memory addresses to the virtual addresses of the child partitions for forwarding interrupts to the respective child partition.

Similarly, child partitions cannot access hardware resources directly; instead, they have a virtualized view of each resource. The VSP, Virtualization Service Provider, in the parent partition, intercepts the child partition’s request for hardware resources and provides hardware support over the VMBus, a logical inter-partition communication channel. The child partitions host VSC, Virtualization Service Client, which utilizes the hardware support provided by the VSPs. This emulated device support is completely invisible to the guest OS. Alternatively, child partitions can also leverage Hyper-V integration services for Hyper-V enlightened I/O and a hypervisor-aware kernel that allows the guest OS to utilize VMBus directly, without the need for hardware emulation, for more efficient and quick communication.

What Is Hyper-V Integration Services?

Hyper-V Integration Services is a suite of services provided for ease of management, better OS performance and improved integration between Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines. These services are:

All Hyper-V Integration Services, except Guest Services, are enabled by default. Each service can be individually disabled via PowerShell cmdlets.

What Is Hyper-V Live Migration?

Hyper-V Live Migration allows moving and distributing running VMs to a different physical host without interrupting the production environment. Hyper-V Live Migration could be done manually from a Hyper-V standalone server to another server or a Hyper-V failover cluster, or it can be carried out automatically. Automatic Live Migration is available only for Hyper-V failover clusters.

With this feature, VMs can be migrated to standalone servers or cluster nodes in a different location altogether. This ensures high availability and quick and easy disaster recovery in the event of a blackout or hardware failure. For instance, if a Hyper-V failover cluster node fails, the VMs running on the failed cluster will migrate automatically to another node in the same Hyper-V failover cluster.

Hyper-V live migration supports four different types of migrations:

Shared-nothing live migration: This type of migration allows administrators to migrate VMs on a Hyper-V server or non-shared storage to the local disk of another Hyper-V server or to the shared storage of a Hyper-V cluster with negligible downtime.

Live Migration: This type of migration is for migrating or replicating running virtual machines in a Hyper-V Failover Cluster Node. It can be performed manually or automatically, without any disruption or downtime. In the event of a failed cluster node, the destination node is chosen via the Best Available Node option.

Quick Migration: This is pretty similar to Live Migration, except it must be initiated by the administrator, who can choose the destination node. There is some downtime depending on the network speed and the applications running. Quick Migration can also be performed on VMs that are powered off.

Storage migration: This type of migration allows administrators to migrate all VM files to another local disk, storage volume or a CSV without noticeable downtime. For VMs on a Hyper-V standalone server, files can also be moved to another physical location. Storage migration works for both running and powered off VMs.

Managing Hyper-V Hosts with Parallels RAS

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) supports flexible cloud deployment models, including hyperconverged infrastructure deployed on-premises or on the cloud. It allows organizations to leverage a flexible infrastructure with Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH), VDI, hypervisors and other cloud solutions from multiple providers, including Microsoft Hyper-V. Parallels RAS enhances and adds to the capabilities of Hyper-V by simplifying the management of Hyper-V VDI hosts. It also simplifies creating and managing VMs and guest clones on Hyper-V hosts. Administrators can publish virtual desktops and applications easily from VMs running on Hyper-V VDI hosts, all through a unified management console.

Download the 30-day trial of Parallels RAS for managing your Hyper-V VDI environments!