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Migrate Hyper-V to Windows Server 2012 R2 from Windows Server 2012

Published: November 1, 2013

Updated: November 1, 2013

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 R2



Hyper-V enables you to create a virtualized server computing environment using a technology that is part of Windows. This guide provides information and instructions about migrating the Hyper-V role—including virtual machines, data, and operating system settings—from the source server running Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 to the destination server that is running the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system.

This guide describes how to migrate the Hyper-V role by providing preparation, migration and verification steps.

Migration documentation and tools ease the migration of server role settings and data from an existing server to a destination server that is running Windows Server 2012 R2. By using the tools that are described in this guide, you can simplify the migration process, reduce migration time, increase the accuracy of the migration process, and help to eliminate possible conflicts that might otherwise occur during the migration process.

In addition to the migration options discussed in this topic, System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager can facilitate and automate a lot of the migration process. For more information about Virtual Machine Manager, see Virtual Machine Manager.

This document is intended for information technology (IT) professionals who are responsible for operating and deploying Hyper-V in a managed environment.

  • Migrating from Hyper-V running on Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 R2.

  • This guide does not provide instructions for migrating more than one server role at one time.

  • Migration of Hyper-V from one server running Windows Server 2012 R2 to another server running Windows Server 2012 R2. Instead this process is supported by Hyper-V management tools and features. The general process is as follows:

    1. Determine whether you will use export and import or live migration to move the virtual machines:

      • Export and import can be used in either a workgroup or a domain environment. In Hyper-V running on Windows Server 2012 R2 you can now export a running virtual machine.

      • Live migration requires a domain environment as well as some additional configuration, but the virtual machine is running throughout the move process.

    2. Add the Hyper-V role to the destination server. You can configure the default storage locations and live migration when you add the role.

    3. Configure virtual switches and, optionally other networking features on the destination server. Management tools include the Windows PowerShell cmdlets New-VMSwitch and Set-VMSwitch, and the Hyper-V Virtual Switch Manager in the Hyper-V Manager Console.

    4. Move the virtual machines by exporting and importing or live migration. Management tools include the Windows PowerShell cmdlets Export-VM, Import-VM, and Move-VMand the Export, Import, and Move menu commands in the Hyper-V Manager Console.

This guide provides you with instructions for migrating a server that is running Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 to a server that is running Windows Server 2012 R2. This guide does not contain instructions for migration when the source server is running multiple roles. If your server is running multiple roles, we recommend that you design a custom migration procedure specific to your server environment, based on the information provided in other role migration guides. Migration guides for additional roles are available on the Windows Server Migration Portal.

The Hyper-V role is not dependent on any other roles. As a best practice, we recommend that no other roles are installed on a server running Hyper-V.

The following migration scenarios are not supported:

  • Virtual machine configuration under one of the following conditions:

    • When the number of virtual processors configured for the virtual machine is more than the number of logical processors on the destination server.

    • When the memory configured for a virtual machine is greater than the available memory on the destination server.

Hyper-V role migration involves moving the virtual machines, virtual networks, and all the associated settings from one physical computer to another physical computer in the enterprise. The process supports moving from a server running Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 to a server running Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2. The Hyper-V role is not dependent on any other roles.

The migration tools include cmdlets that you can use to perform some of the tasks required to migrate the Hyper-V role as well as script or automate the migration process.

In previous versions of Hyper-V you were required to shut down a virtual machine before moving it to a new server. If done properly downtime was limited but still there was downtime. A new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2, cross version live migration, supports moving a running virtual machine from Windows Server 2012 to Windows Server 2012 R2. The Export cmdlet captures the majority of the Hyper-V settings that are required to perform a successful migration, including the virtual machine configurations, virtual networks, and virtual hard disks. Now you have the ability to decide how to move virtual machines to Windows Server 2012 R2, where in the past your options where limited.

The following options are available to move a virtual machine:

  • In-place upgrade

  • Cross version live migration

  • Export and Import

  • Copy Cluster Role Wizard

For additional information about each option see, Hyper-V: Migration Options

This guide will explain the migration process for the following three main scenarios:

The length of time it takes to migrate the Hyper-V role depends on the size of the data to be transferred and the tools used. Of the various types of files to be transferred, the virtual hard disk, .vhd and .vhd files, have the largest file sizes (from a few gigabytes to many gigabytes in size). The length of time is required for migration is largely affected by the size of the virtual hard disk files and by the network bandwidth.

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