How Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V compares against VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.06.2012 at 12:43

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC) marks a major milestone in Microsoft’s foray into the virtualization world. While Microsoft have always been leaders in management technologies, an area where VMware was weak, Microsoft now have the hypervisor which exceeds VMware capabilities.

Facts and Figures: Hyper-V vs. vSphere 5

Thought I’d share some interesting information from the recently released Competitive Advantages document.

System Resource Windows Server 2012 RC Hyper-V VMware ESXi 5.0 VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus
Host Logical Processors

320

160

160

  Physical Memory

4 TB

32 GB

2 TB

  Virtual CPUs per host

2048

2048

2048

VM Virtual CPUs per VM

64

8

32

  Memory per VM

1 TB

32 GB

1 TB

  Active VMs per host

1024

512

512

  Guest NUMA

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cluster Maximum nodes

64

N/A

32

  Maximum VMs

4000

N/A

3000

Storage Virtual Fiber Channel

Yes

Yes

Yes

  MPIO

Yes

No

Yes (VAMP)

  Native 4-KB disk support

Yes

No

No

  Maximum Virtual Disk Size

64 TB VHDX

2 TB VMDK

2 TB VMDK

  Maximum pass through disk size

Varies

64 TB

64 TB

  Offloaded Data Transfer

Yes

No

Yes (VAAI)

VDI* Hardware GPU to vGPU support

Yes

No

No

  Software GPU support

Yes

Basic

Basic

  Remote Touch Support

Yes

No

No

  User Profile & Data Mgmt

Yes

No

No

Extensible Switch/Multi-tenancy

Extensible Network Switch

Yes

No

Yes

Confirmed Partner Extenstions

4

None

2

PVLAN

Yes

No

Yes

ARP/ND Spoofing Protection

Yes

No

vShield App/Partner

DHCP snooping/DHCP guard

Yes

No

vShield App/Partner

Virtual Port ACLs

Yes

No

vShield App/Partner

Trunk Mode to Virtual Machines

Yes

No

No

Port Monitoring

Yes

Per Port Group

Yes

Port Mirroring

Yes

Per Port Group

Yes

Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

*VDI comparisons were made taking VMware View into account.

Windows 8 Release Preview is now available!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 01.06.2012 at 09:58

The release preview for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 client operating system is now available! Download the Windows 8 Release Preview (RP) today.

Windows 8 delivers a fast, fluid, no-compromise experience and shared updates that are available in Windows 8 RP, including (but not limited to):

  • New Metro style Bing Travel, News and Sports apps.
  • Gaming and Music Xbox apps that integrate with your Zune pass.
  • Improvements to the Mail, Photos, and People apps that initially debuted with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

In addition to new apps from Microsoft and from others through Windows Store, customers testing Windows 8 RP will also experience tens of thousands of refinements across the product, such as increased personalization options for the Start screen, improved multi-monitor support, refinements to the way people find and download apps through the Windows Store, and new Family Safety features among many, many others. A touch-friendly, secure and power-optimized Adobe Flash Player is now fully integrated into IE10 and it’s also the first browser to feature Do Not Track “on” by default, giving customers more choice and control over their privacy.

I have been running Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my Lenovo X220 Tablet PC for work, and the experience has been extremely stable and highly addictive. I will be upgrading to RP shortly. If you have not tried Windows 8 yet, you should now!

Release Candidate for SCVMM 2008 R2 available

by Shijaz Abdulla on 10.06.2009 at 09:30

The Release Candidate (RC) for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 is now available for download on Microsoft Connect.

The major new features included with SCVMM 2008 R2 are:

  • Storage Migration: Enables migration of a VM’s storage while VM is running both within same host (with no downtime) and across other hosts (with minimum downtime).
  • Live Migration Queuing: By default Windows Server 2008 R2 can do only one Live Migration at a time. SCVMM 2008 R2 allows queuing of simultaneous live migration requests and retrying later on.
  • Rapid Provisioning: Allows administrators to use new SAN technologies to clone a LUN containing a VHD and present it to the host. Saves a lot of time, as the network copy (BITS) is not required.
  • Host compatibility Checks: Deep compatibility tests for testing hardware compatibility are included, which allows testing to be done before attempting migration (and subsequently failing). Also includes features that will make the VM compatible with the new host before migration.
  • Support for 3rd party Clustered File Systems (CFS): Support for third party clustered files systems similar to Microsoft’s Cluster Shared Volume (CSV). Example: Melo from Sanbolic
  • Support for Veritas Volume Manager: SCVMM 2008 R2 now recognizes Veritas Volume Manager disks as cluster disk resources.

Happy virtualization!

Windows 7 Beta: Shutdowns begin from July 1

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.05.2009 at 19:07

Windows 7 Beta will begin bi-hourly shutdowns starting from July 1, 2009. The Beta will completely expire on August 1, 2009.

Windows 7 Beta users should do a clean install of Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), which will expire on June 1, 2010. Bi-hourly shutdowns of the RC will start on March 1, 2010.

Setting up a home wireless network without a wireless access point

by Shijaz Abdulla on 21.05.2009 at 13:34

You can now share an internet connection among multiple computers in your home, even if you do not have a wireless access point or wireless router hardware – as long as the computers are running Windows 7.

You can now set up a wireless ad-hoc network (computer-to-computer network) WITH internet connection sharing!

At home, I use a Nawras Huawei E220 3G USB modem, which can only be used to access the internet from the PC on which the modem is physically connected. Thanks to Windows 7, my wife and I can both use the internet at the same time using just one modem on two different computers without any wires or extra hardware! 🙂

Setting up Virtual Windows XP (aka “XP mode”) in Windows 7

by Shijaz Abdulla on 21.05.2009 at 13:09

Last evening, I installed Windows 7 Ultimate Edition x64 Release Candidate (RC) on my Lenovo W500 notebook. Since I was moving from Windows 7 Ultimate x32 Beta, this meant a complete re-installation, as there is no upgrade option from beta to RC.

The installation was pretty smooth and I did not have issues with drivers for the standard hardware on this notebook.

After installing the RC, I decided to try out Virtual Windows XP (or ‘XP Mode’ as the media calls it). Here’s how I went about doing it:

  1. Restart the computer and enter BIOS. Make sure Hardware Assisted Virtualization (HAV) is enabled.  (Hint: Look under CPU options) This requires a processor that is HAV enabled with technologies like Intel VT or AMD-V, which is common on most of recent machines.
  2. Download Windows Virtual PC. This will require a restart at the end of the installation.
  3. Download XP Mode Beta. This is a 400+ MB download.
  4. Complete the installation, see screenshots below:
    clip_image002[7]clip_image002[9]
    clip_image002[11]clip_image002[13]
  5. Check out the Start Menu, you will find Virtual Windows XP.
    clip_image002[5]

    clip_image002[15]clip_image002[17]
    clip_image002[19]clip_image002[21]

  6. When Virtual Windows XP starts for the first time, it will take a while. Once it has started, you will find the Windows XP Virtual PC instance as below:
    clip_image002[33]
  7. Right click on the Windows XP Start menu and choose Open All Users.
    clip_image002[31]
  8. Place shortcuts to the Windows XP programs that you want to publish in Windows 7 in this folder. All shortcuts you place here will automatically appear in the Windows 7 Start Menu! Let’s put Internet Explorer 6 as an example:
    clip_image002[39]
  9. Close the virtual machine. You cannot open a virtual Windows XP application while the virtual machine is open, and you will be prompted to close the machine.
  10. On your Windows 7 Start menu, point to Windows Virtual PC > Virtual Windows XP Applications. You will find the XP shortcuts you placed in Step 8 here!
    clip_image002[41]
  11. Open your Windows XP application from the Windows 7 Start menu. See Internet Explorer 6 from Windows XP running side-by-side with Internet Explorer 8 from Windows 7!
    clip_image002[43]
    Notice the Luna theme of Windows XP is maintained on the IE 6 window, even while it is running on Windows 7.

How does one end a process running on the Virtual Windows XP machine?

Simply by opening the Windows 7 Task Manager, the user can see both Windows 7 applications as well as Windows XP mode applications in a single interface. The user may end the Windows XP task (labeled ‘(remote)’) from the same Task Manager instance:

clip_image002[45]

XP Mode is a really cool feature that will help organizations running Windows XP to make the move to Windows 7 much easier. Legacy applications that do not support running on Windows Vista or Windows 7 can still continue running on XP mode, just like we ran Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 7 in this example. The user simply clicks on a shortcut on the Windows 7 Start Menu or desktop and the Windows XP application opens, giving the end-user a seamless experience.

Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP 2

by Shijaz Abdulla on 07.03.2009 at 14:22

The 32-bit and 64-bit release candidate versions of Windows Vista Service Pack 2, and Windows Server 2008 SP2 are available for download on the Microsoft website.

Below are some of the enhancements that are available with SP2:

  • Support for Bluetooth v2.1
  • Ability to write data to Blu-Ray discs
  • Includes Windows Search 4.0
  • Provides Hyper-V as a fully integrated feature of WS08, including one free guest OS with WS08 Standard Edition, 4 free licenses with Enterprise Edition, and unlimited free licenses with Datacenter Edition.
  • and more

Internet Explorer 8 RC1 released

by Shijaz Abdulla on 28.01.2009 at 08:43

January 28, 2009

On Monday, January 26 at 12pm PT, Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) was be released to tech and consumer enthusiasts in a total of 25 languages.

RC1 marks an important milestone in the browser development that includes a number of bug fixes, user experience improvement and enhanced security, performance and compatibility.

Internet Explorer 8 RC1 will be available in 25 languages including: Arabic, Chinese (Traditional, Simplified and Hong Kong), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Swedish.

Internet Explorer 8 RC1 includes improvements to performance, stability and compatibility.  With this build, there are also enhancements to the fit and finish of the user interface, additional investment in CSS 2.1 and security and privacy updates to help address today’s evolving threat landscape. 

Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP1

by Shijaz Abdulla on 13.12.2007 at 07:28

Windows Vista is getting its first Service Pack while Windows XP is getting its last.

The release candidate of Windows XP Service Pack 3 is available for download. Service Pack 3 is more of a rollup of hotfixes and updates rather than a feature/experience enhancement. In short, it contains things that make Windows XP more secure, more reliable and faster. The user will not see noticeable change in the experience in general.

The Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate is also available for download. There are large number of improvements for performance, security, reliability, interoperability, hardware compatibility, and deployment. There also some improvements for power consumption, desktop administration and is better geared for Windows Server 2008, the next version of Microsoft’s server OS.

Please note that Release Candidates are not the fully released versions and you will not receive support for it. Release candidates are for testing purposes. Please wait for the final release of the service pack before deploying to production systems.