Windows Server 2012 In Your Small Business – Part 4

Today I’m going to highlight a few features that all revolve around Hyper-V. They are:

– Live Migration
– VM Import
– Hyper-V Replica

Live Migration

If you’ve been working in virtualized environments for any period of time, you’ll likely agree the migrating a VM from one host to another used to be a tedious task to undertake. Typically the VM would have to be shut down, all of the associated files moved, make sure the hypervisor manager reflects the move, and then started up again. If it was a big VM (filesize), and you weren’t running 10GbE yet, well then it took even longer.

While being able to perform live migrations isn’t new, the approach Windows Server 2008 R2 took required a fairly beefy infrastructure. With Server 2012, Live Migration is now possible if the VM is stored on a shared folder on your network, or without using any shared storage whatsoever. I won’t bore you with the process Hyper-V uses to move a VM without using shared storage, but if you’re like me, feel free to look it up in Microsoft’s “Introducing Windows Server 2012” book. The implementation is very, very smart.

Anyway, the improvements to Live Migration are a huge improvement for small businesses that can’t afford (or don’t need) a storage area network (SAN), or have two standalone Hyper-V hosts.

VM Import

During the VM import process, Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 now checks for possible configuration problems, and resolves them automatically if it can. A big time and headache saver. You also don’t need to export a VM from the original host either; you can simply copy the files over to the new host, and then start the import process. Another time saver.

Hyper-V Replica

It’s not likely your small business can afford a full-blown VM backup and restore solution, or an entire set of servers solely for business continuity purposes. Hyper-V Replica can help solve this issue, by providing you with the ability to replicate VMs across a WAN (or Internet connection) periodically, and asynchronously. It doesn’t require shared storage, and it works in clustered and nonclustered environments.

I see small businesses using this to replicate their mission-critical VMs to a hosting provider, ensuring those services are still available in case something happens to the on-premise servers. You can obtain Windows Server 2012 VMs from a hosting provider for under $150 per month, and that’s a small price to pay to make sure your business can keep running in case of a disaster.

Thanks for reading! That’s all the information I wanted to share with you today. We are half way through the series, so keep checking back for more ways Windows Server 2012 can benefit your small business.