I recently downloaded the Windows Server 2008 RC0 to play around with the new Hypervisor layer Microsoft introduced with the upcoming server operating system. Initially perceived as a “feature” of the operating system itself, which now has come out as a completely separate product (an addon) called HyperV (with a strange pricing of 28 USD against the minimum windows Server pricing of atleast a 1000 USD) is the Hypervisor based Virtualization which Microsoft intends to release somewhere in the 2nd quarter of 2008. In addition to HyperV, we will also get a “Microsoft Hyper-V Server” somewhere around the same time.
WSV requires a 64-bit CPU and hardware assisted virtualisation (Intel VT or AMD-V) enabled in the BIOS (often disabled by default). I offcourse only installed it on my laptop under Virtual PC to test
There are two methods of installation for WSV:
1. 1. Full installation as a role on Windows Server 2008 (once enabled, a reboot “slides” the hypervisor under the operating system and it becomes virtualised).
2. 2. Server core role for the smallest and most secure footprint (with the advantage of fewer patches to apply).
The first installation becomes the parent, with subsequent VMs acting as children. The parent has elevated permissions. The host/guest relationship no longer applies with the hypervisor model; however if the parent fails, the children will also fail. This may be mitigated by clustering parents and using quick migration to fail children over to another node.
Another good news is that XenSource drivers for Linux will be compatible with WSV
There was no USB support – Microsoft see most USB demand for client virtualisation and although I think USB support may be required for some server functions (e.g. smartcard authentication)
Detecting the presence of a Virtual Environment (from the perception of a malware ;)) seems pretty straightforward, as described in the Hypervisor Functional Documentation.
“, this is done by executing the CPUID instruction with an input (EAX) value of 1. Upon execution, code should check bit 31 of register ECX (the “hypervisor present bit”). If this bit is set, a hypervisor is present. In a non-virtualized environment, the bit will be clear.”
At the same time, Microsoft announced a Windows Server Virtualisation validation programme – designed to validate Windows Server with virtualisation software and enable Microsoft to offer co-operative technical support to customers running Windows Server on non-Windows server virtualisation software platforms (such as Xen) as well as virtualisation solution accelerators