So as the excitement of Windows 10 levels off, we look to the future to see what new toys Microsoft has in store for us. One of the big events in the future will be the release of Server 2016, currently still in the Technical Preview state.
What do we have to look forward to? There is a lot to digest with this release. For this blog we will deal with Hyper-V, check back in the future for some of the other exciting features.
Connected standby is a feature first seen in Windows 8 and now supported in Virtual Machines in Hyper-V 2016.
Connected standby allows your PC (Windows 8 or newer) drop to a low power standby mode rather than full sleep. This means that when you wake your machine it comes back online faster.
It also allows the phone to listen for notifications and wakeup to receive emails, IM’s, windows Updates etc.
Discrete device assignment
This feature allows a virtual machine access a PCIe hardware device. The device access will be exclusive to a single VM. There are some requirements on the part of your Bios/UEFI in order for this feature to work. For the most part if your machine supports SR-IOV you should be ok.
The device you wish to pass through must tag it’s traffic to allow redirection.
More information here: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/virtualization/2015/11/20/discrete-device-assignment-machines-and-devices/
Hot Swapping RAM and Network Cards
Add and remove virtual network cards without a shutdown/restart. Will work for all Generation 2 VM containing Linux or Windows OS’s
Increase or Decrease VM RAM on a running machine, even without dynamic memory assignment.
- Connect remotely to another Hypervisor using alterative credentials and save credentials for future use.
- Backward compatible with previous versions of the server OS running Hyper-V.
- Connect by WS-MAN, CredSSP, Kerberos or NTLM authentication.
While secure boot has been available to Generation 2 VMs running Windows operating systems since Server 2012R2. Server 2016 is the first time we see this feature supported for some Linux VMs.
It will require you to enable the VM to use the Microsoft UEFI certificate authority this can be done from Hyper-V manager or PowerShell.
Integration services for Virtual Machines in Server 2016 is no longer delivered via ISO disk image as in previous releases. Integration services are now downloaded with Windows updates and can be deployed using WSUS.
The idea of a virtualized hypervisor is not new it has been supported by VMWare for a number of years now. The latest server OS will see this functionality added to Hyper-V. Requirements include:
- A minimum of 4 Gig of RAM must be assigned to the virtualized host
- Server 2016 or Windows 10 on both Physical host and virtual host
- An Intel CPU with VT-x support (no support for AMD processors to date)
There is now support for connecting from host to Virtual Machine using PowerShell without any network requirement. Server 2012R2 introduced the ability to open an RDP connection to a VM through the VMBus, bypassing the need for an External or Internal Virtual switch to connect the host to the VM. Server 2016 will see this technology expanded to allow PowerShell sessions through the VMBus.
The Cmdlets Enter-PSSession and Invoke-Command gain the parameter –VMName to enable the functionality
Supported OS for technical Preview 4 are Server 2016 or Windows 10 Host and VM OS only.
Standard checkpoints using saved states will still be available in Server 2016. However, the new and default checkpoints will be production checkpoints which will use backup technology inside the Virtual Machine to create a file system consistent checkpoint.
Bye bye XML. The new configuration file for virtual machines will be VMCX and VMRS which should improve performance while sacrificing the ability to edit configurations with notepad. You will now have to change the VM configuration so that Hyper-V updates the configuration file since the contents are stored in binary.
Virtual Machine Versions
Importing a 2012R2 VM to Hyper-V 2016 does not cause it to automatically update. This means it is possible to later move the machine back to a 2012R2 server. Virtual Machines created in Server 2016 will not be backward compatible with previous generations of Hyper-V. To update the version of an imported VM in Server 2016, you will need to run the Update-VMVersion cmdlet from an elevated PowerShell prompt on the host while the Virtual Machine is shutdown.
Using the Host Guardian Service, TMP, Bitlocker and the Windows Azure Pack it is possible to create a VM that is not accessible to the Hyper-V administrator of the host machine. Machine state, hard disks and video output are among the protected components.
Storage Quality of Service
One of the many new features related to storage in Server 2016 is Storage Quality of service. Features include:
- Balance storage resources between multiple virtual machines
- Monitor end to end storage performance
- Policy based minimum and maximum performance
Add a server 2016 node to your 2012 R2 Hyper-V cluster, upgrade each node in turn to Server 2016, when the whole cluster is running 2016 you can raise the cluster function level to 2016.
Previous cluster upgrades would involve bringing a second cluster online alongside your active cluster and migrating across.
- RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access) support in VMs with or without SET support
- VMMQ (Virtual Machine Multi Queues) faster throughput by allowing multiple hardware queues for each VM with traffic spread between the queues.
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