With the last release of Windows Server, Microsoft introduced a new interesting feature: Virtual Machine Automatic Activation (VMAA).
This feature enables the Hypervisor to automatically activate VMs without the support of a KMS server.
Why Microsoft built this feature? Because if you are a Service Provider and you want to provide VMs as a service you need to create those machines already activated.
If the VM is connected only with the tenant/customer network, you need a KMS server in place on this network or you need a different smart way to activate your VM.
What you need to know is that:
- The Hyper-V host needs to be a Windows 2012 R2 Datacenter Edition (VMAA doesn’t work on a R2 Standard edition or 2008/2012 edition or a third party Hypervisor)
- The Hyper-V host needs to be activated
- The automatically activated guests need to be Windows 2012 R2 (Standard, Datacenter or Essential Edition)
- The VMs needs to have a specific product keys in order to succeed in using VMAA (see below)
- If you want to move your autmatically activated VM from a Windows 2012 R2 Datacenter Edition to a different Windows Hypervisor (for example a Windows 2012 R2 Standard Edition) the VM will be deactivated in a week and you will need to use another method to re-activate it (KMS for example)
The specific product keys that you need to install in your guest VMs are Link:
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter: Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard: DBGBW-NPF86-BJVTX-K3WKJ-MTB6V
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials: K2XGM-NMBT3-2R6Q8-WF2FK-P36R2
You can use an unattended file or System Center Virtual Machine templates in order to inject the new product key.
Building an Answer File: Link
Creating Virtual Machine Templates in System Center VMM: Link
With Windows Server Hyper-V 2012 R2 you can share a virtual disk between virtual machines.
This is very useful in Clustering scenarios and you can read more about this technology here:
I’d like to share this additional information rised during a q&a with collegues from product group:
Question: Using shared VHDX feature which are the implications for Live Migration? With Shared VHDX can you perform:
- Live Migration?
- Live Storage Migration?
- Shared Nothing Live Migration?
As a quick reminder, here are the different types of Live Migration and a brief description…
- Live Migration. In this scenario, the virtual machine running state is moved between compute nodes while the virtual machine storage stays in place.
- Live Storage Migration. In this scenario, the virtual machine running state stays on the same compute node while the virtual machine storage is migrated to a new location.
- Shared Nothing Live Migration. In this scenario, the virtual machine running state and the virtual machine storage is moved.
Answer: Shared VHDX works with Live Migration however it doesn’t work with Shared Nothing Live Migration and Live Storage Migration because moving a virtual machine with Shared VHDX requires systematically coordinating configuration updates for the associated virtual machines across multiple hosts.
Windows Power Management is a feature that works with CPUs that can dynamically adjust processor voltage and core frequency to decrease heat and power usage.
As you can see in Task Manager, while the Maximum Speed is 2.30 GHz, the actual speed is typically much lower ~1.0 GHz.
However, installing Hyper-V feature, it seems that the Processor Power Management doesn’t appear to work anymore
Processor power management is still running but when the hypervisor is enabled, it
is in charge of managing processors, including processor power
management. Therefore, you won’t see Processor Power Management activity
when looking at Task Manager or the root’s (parent) performance counters. You
have to look at the hypervisor logical processor counter sets to see C-states,
Take a look at this article about Hyper-V Logical Processor Counters.
If you are using Windows 2012 R2 hypervisor and you want to create a VM using one of the following OS:
- Windows 2003
- Windows 2008
- Windows 2008 R2
- Windows 2012
- Windows XP
- Windows 7
- Windows 8
You will notice that in the device manager two devices are in an unknown state.
This is expected because the two missing devices are related to two Hyper-V 2012 R2 features supported only by Windows 2012 R2 Virtual Machines.
The two new features are:
This is a new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 that makes it easier to use the licensing advantages accorded by Windows Server Datacenter. Windows Server Datacenter provides unlimited virtual machine instances of Windows Server for a licensed system. With automatic activation, Windows Server 2012 R2 guests will automatically activate themselves when running on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter.
Enhanced Session Mode
In previous versions of Hyper-V, Virtual Machine Connection provided redirection of only the virtual machine screen, keyboard, and mouse with limited copy functionality. To get additional redirection abilities, a remote desktop connection to the virtual machine could be initiated, but this required a network path to the virtual machine.
Starting with Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V can now redirect local resources to a virtual machine session through Virtual Machine Connection tool. The enhanced session mode connection uses a Remote Desktop Connection session via the virtual machine bus (VMBus), so no network connection to the virtual machine is required.
I will write an in-depth article about these interesting features ASAP.
My friend Riccardo Corna wrote an interesting article about how to remove dependencies from Management Packs in Microsoft System Center Operations Manager.
The original article is written in italian so you can read it here: http://riccardocorna.com/rimuovere-manualmente-dipendenze-management-pack-microsoft-systemcenter-securereferenceoverride/
If you are an English reader, you can read it using the (automatically) translated version: http://translate.google.com/translate?langpair=it%7Cen&u=http://riccardocorna.com/rimuovere-manualmente-dipendenze-management-pack-microsoft-systemcenter-securereferenceoverride/
Would like to try Windows 2012 R2?
Are you interested in Hyper-V?
Please before try it, check this site to be sure that your hardware is certified
Furthermore, I think is also really useful the following site http://www.spec.org/cpu2006/results/
You can compare the CPU performance of several hardware vendors so you can decide for example that is better to invest in a Cisco UCS B200 M3 (Intel Xeon E5-2665, 2.40 GHz) with 16 core insted of Cisco UCS B200 M3 (Intel Xeon E5-2667, 2.90 GHz) with 12 core.
Recently, I had an interesting experience: my customer bought Cisco UCS B200 M3 machines and the perfomance were incredible but even if the hardware was certified for Windows 2012, we had problem using the Guest Clustering feature.
The problem was that the UCS storage drivers were not optimized for supporting in the right way the guest Clustering. It was a bug recognized by Cisco that was very proactive to provide a workaround.
So I don’t want to blame Cisco for this bug (s**t happens!), I want only warn you to always ask your hardware vendor about knowed issues with the Windows features you want to enable (not only Hyper-V)
If you need more Resources:
Today Microsoft announced the General Availability of Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager.
Hyper-V Recovery Manager helps our customers by coordinating the replication of System Center managed clouds to a secondary location, monitoring availability and orchestrating recovery as needed.
Furthermore, because Hyper-V Recovery Manager is an Azure service, customers don’t have to go through a difficult installation/Configuration process. Launch a web browser, log into Azure and manage Replica. Furthermore, because it requires only a web browser it works on your desktop, laptop, tablet and phone.
Hyper-V Recovery Manager is between sites, not to Azure. Hyper-V Recovery Manager is
the orchestration engine, but no replication occurs to Azure. Azure simply manages the replication between sites as well as provides recovery plans.
For more information: