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Virtual Machine Live Migration in Server 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Live migration of virtual machines is a key Hyper-V feature in Server 2008 R2 and 2012. But, Server 2012 introduces massive improvements:

Simultaneous migrations & Flexible live migration outside of a clustered setup.

Simultaneous migrations
Not only are simultaneous migrations now possible, but live migrations are now able to utilise far network bandwidths (up to 10 Gigabit) to complete a migration faster. For the first time, it's now possible to perform multiple simultaneous live migrations to enable you to move many virtual machines in a cluster quickly. These changes allow you to implement high levels of mobility and flexibility in your infrastructure. It's also much easier to perform maintenance now that it is quick and easy to move VMs around your environment. 

Live migration outside of a clustered setup
It is now possible to configure a virtual machine so that it is stored on an SMB file share. Then you can perform a live migration on this running virtual machine between non-clustered servers running Hyper-V, while the virtual machine's storage remains on the central SMB share.

This affords companies the benefits of virtual machine mobility without having to invest in expensive clustering infrastructure if they do not need it.

It is also possible to perform a live migration of a virtual machine between two non-clustered servers running Hyper-V when you are only using local storage for the virtual machine. This is referred to as Shared Nothing Live Migration. In this case, the virtual machines storage is mirrored to the destination server over the network, and then the virtual machine is migrated, while it continues to run and provide network services. Typically not even a ping is dropped during a live migration meaning end users remain totally unaware of the maintenance being performed.

It is important to configure the Hyper-V servers correctly prior to attempting a live migration and important to note that there are a few technical requirements for a environment that supports live migration:

  • Physical Servers must support hardware virtualisation
  • Processors (CPUs) must be from the same manufacturer (e.g. all Intel or all AMD)
  • The servers must be able to authenticate with each other - either in the same Active Directory domain or belong to trusted domains.
  • Virtual Servers must be configured to use virtual hard disks

If you are interested in live migration, please contact us for more information or support with your environment configuration.

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