DevOps 101 - Introduction to Virtualization - Part 2

Introduction to Virtualization: The Ultimate Guide to Microsoft Hyper-V

Virtualization is one of the most significant technological breakthroughs of modern computing. It is a process of creating a virtual version of a computer system, which can be used to run multiple operating systems on a single physical machine. This technology has revolutionized the way we think about computing and has played a critical role in IT infrastructure management.

In this guide, we will discuss one of the most popular virtualization platforms – Microsoft Hyper-V. We will cover everything you need to know to get started with virtualization and how to use Hyper-V to create virtual machines.

What is Hyper-V?

Hyper-V is a type 1 hypervisor, which means it runs directly on the system hardware, allowing multiple virtual machines to run on top of a host operating system without the need for additional software. It is a native hypervisor that provides advanced features and capabilities for creating, managing, and running virtual machines.

Hyper-V was first introduced in Windows Server 2008, and since then, it has become a popular choice for enterprise-level organizations that require a robust platform for virtualization.

How Does Hyper-V Work?

Hyper-V works by creating a software abstraction layer between the physical hardware and the virtual machines. This abstraction layer allows the virtual machines to believe that they are running on a physical computer, even though they are actually running on a hypervisor.

The hypervisor manages the interactions between the virtual machines and the physical hardware. This includes allocating resources to the virtual machines, managing the virtual machines’ access to the hardware, and ensuring that the virtual machines do not interfere with each other.

Type 1 vs Type 2 Hypervisor
Type 1 vs Type 2 Hypervisor

Benefits of Hyper-V

Hyper-V provides numerous benefits over traditional IT infrastructure. Here are some of the main advantages that make it an excellent choice for virtualization:

  • Hardware virtualization: Hyper-V uses hardware virtualization capabilities, which provide significant improvements in performance and reliability.
  • Multiple operating systems: With Hyper-V, you can create multiple virtual machines, each running a different operating system, and run them all on a single physical machine.
  • Cost savings: With virtualization, you can maximize the usage of your existing hardware and reduce the need for additional servers, which can save your organization a considerable amount of money.
  • Redundancy and failover: Hyper-V offers advanced features such as live migration, which allows virtual machines to be moved between physical hosts with no downtime, ensuring that your systems are always available.

Why use Hyper-V

There are many virtualization software solutions available, but Hyper-V is a popular choice for several reasons. Here are some of the advantages of using Hyper-V:

  • Free: Hyper-V is included in all versions of Windows Server 2012 and later, so you don’t have to pay for a separate license.
  • Easy to use: Hyper-V is relatively easy to use, even for beginners. The Hyper-V Manager is a graphical user interface (GUI) that makes it easy to create, manage, and connect to virtual machines.
  • Secure: Hyper-V uses a hypervisor to isolate virtual machines from each other, so they cannot interfere with each other’s operations. This makes Hyper-V a secure solution for hosting critical applications.
  • Flexible: Hyper-V supports a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD. This makes it a flexible solution for hosting a variety of applications.
  • Scalable: Hyper-V can be scaled to meet the needs of your business. You can start with a small number of virtual machines and then scale up as your needs grow.

Important Hyper-V Terminologies

Virtual machine (VM)A software emulation of a physical computer. It has its own CPU, memory, storage, and network interface.
HypervisorA software program that allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical computer.
HostThe physical computer that is running the hypervisor is called the host.
GuestA virtual machine that is running on the hypervisor is called a guest.
Virtual switchA software-based switch that allows virtual machines to communicate with each other and with the physical network.
Virtual hard disk (VHD)A file that stores the operating system and data for a virtual machine.
Generation 1 VMA virtual machine that uses a legacy BIOS.
Generation 2 VMA virtual machine that uses UEFI and a newer hardware abstraction layer.
Hyper-V ManagerA graphical user interface (GUI) that allows you to create, manage, and connect to virtual machines.
PowerShellA command-line interface (CLI) that allows you to manage Hyper-V from the command line.

Getting Started with Hyper-V

To get started with Hyper-V, you need to have a computer running Windows 10 or Windows Server. Once you have a compatible system, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel and click on Programs and Features.
  2. From the left-hand side menu, click on Turn Windows Features On or Off.
  3. Find the Hyper-V option, tick the checkbox and click OK
image 11
Installing Hyper-V

Once Hyper-V is enabled, you can start creating virtual machines for various purposes. Before creating a virtual machine, you should make sure that the host system meets the recommended hardware requirements for running the virtual machines smoothly.

Creating a Virtual Machine

To create a virtual machine, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Hyper-V Manager Console by searching for “Hyper-V” in the Start menu.
  2. In the Hyper-V Manager window, click on “New” from the right-hand side menu, and choose “Virtual Machine”.
  3. Enter a name for the virtual machine, select the location where you want to store the virtual machine files, and click “Next”.
  4. Specify the amount of memory that you want to allocate to the virtual machine, and click “Next”.
  5. Select a virtual switch or create a new one, and click “Next”.
  6. Select the option to create a new virtual hard disk, and click “Next”.
  7. Specify the size of the virtual hard disk, select the location where you want to store the virtual hard disk file, and click “Next”.
  8. Choose the installation media source, and click “Finish”.

Your virtual machine is now created and ready to use. You can now install an operating system and any other applications that you need on the virtual machine.

Microsoft Hyper-V
Microsoft Hyper-V Manager
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Hyper-V Quick Create Wizard

Managing Virtual Machines with Hyper-V

Hyper-V provides several tools for managing virtual machines, including:

  • Hyper-V Manager: This is the main management console for Hyper-V, which allows you to create, configure, and manage virtual machines.
  • Virtual Machine Connection: This tool provides a virtual display and keyboard, which allows you to interact with a virtual machine as if it were a physical machine.
  • Virtual Machine Connection Toolbar: This tool provides a toolbar for the Virtual Machine Connection, which includes various options such as clipboard sharing, file transfer, and more.
  • Windows PowerShell: Hyper-V provides a PowerShell module that allows you to manage virtual machines using scripts and commands.

Hyper-V vs Others

FeatureHyper-VVMware vSphereOracle VirtualBoxXenServer
PricingFree with Windows Server 2012 and laterPaid subscriptionFree for personal use, paid subscription for business useFree for personal use, paid subscription for business use
Ease of useEasy to use, especially with the Hyper-V Manager GUIEasy to use, with a powerful management consoleEasy to use, with a simple interfaceEasy to use, with a command-line interface
FeaturesSupports a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and FreeBSDSupports a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOSSupports a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOSSupports a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD
PerformanceHigh performance, with good scalabilityHigh performance, with good scalabilityGood performance, with good scalabilityGood performance, with good scalability
SupportGood support from MicrosoftGood support from VMwareGood support from OracleGood support from Citrix


Microsoft Hyper-V is a robust virtualization platform that provides numerous benefits for IT infrastructure management. With its advanced features and capabilities, you can create, manage, and run virtual machines with ease. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to get started with Hyper-V and enjoy its benefits!

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