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Virtualization Role

Updated: January 21, 2008

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

The Virtualization role enables you to create a virtualized server computing environment using a technology that is part of the Windows Server® 2008 operating system. This solution is provided through Hyper-V™. You can use a virtualized computing environment to improve the efficiency of your computing resources by utilizing more of your hardware resources.

Starting with the Beta release of Hyper-V (available in Windows Server 2008 RC1 with Hyper-V Beta) you can install this role on either a full installation or a Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008.

Hyper-V provides software infrastructure and basic management tools in Windows Server 2008 that you can use to create and manage a virtualized server computing environment. This virtualized environment can be used to address a variety of business goals aimed at improving efficiency and reducing costs. For example, a virtualized server environment can help you:

  • Reduce the costs of operating and maintaining physical servers by increasing your hardware utilization. You can reduce the amount of hardware needed to run your server workloads.

  • Increase development and test efficiency by reducing the amount of time it takes to set up hardware and software and reproduce test environments.

  • Improve server availability without using as many physical computers as you would need in a failover configuration that uses only physical computers.

  • Increase or reduce server resources in response to changes in demand.

The Virtualization role can be useful to you if you are one of the following:

  • An IT administrator, planner, or designer

  • An IT architect responsible for computer management and security throughout your organization

  • An IT operations manager who is looking for ways to reduce the total cost of ownership of their server infrastructure, in terms of both power costs and management costs

  • A software developer or tester who is looking for ways to increase productivity by reducing the time it takes to build and configure a server for development or test use

Hyper-V requires specific hardware. You will need the following:

  • An x64-based processor. Hyper-V is available only in the x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008—specifically, the x64-based versions of Windows Server 2008 Standard, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.

  • Hardware-assisted virtualization. This is available in processors that include a virtualization option; specifically Intel VT or AMD Virtualization (AMD-V, formerly code-named "Pacifica").

  • Hardware Data Execution Protection (DEP) must be available and be enabled. Specifically, you must enable Intel XD bit (execute disable bit) or AMD NX bit (no execute bit).

The key features of Hyper-V are as follows:

  • 64-bit native hypervisor-based virtualization.

  • Ability to run 32-bit and 64-bit virtual machines concurrently.

  • Uniprocessor and multiprocessor virtual machines.

  • Virtual machine snapshots, which capture the state of a running virtual machine. Snapshots record system state, so you can revert the virtual machine to a previous state.

  • Large virtual machine memory support.

  • Virtual LAN support.

  • Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 management tool.

  • Documented Windows® Management Instrumentation (WMI) interfaces for scripting and management.

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