Monday, November 17, 2014

Virtualize your data center on a budget with free Hyper-V Server and vtUtilities

In recent years Windows Server has become the leading virtualization platform offering world class features, reliability and great performance helping to transform existing infrastructures into modern setups. Latest enhancements introduced in Windows Server 2012 R2 have made it possible for small businesses to build an enterprise-level virtual environment on a very modest budget.

The sysadmins planning to use Windows Server as their virtualization platform may choose between two ways of having a Hyper-V in their data center: installing it as a role on top of Windows Server   or simply downloading and installing standalone version of Hyper-V Server.

The affordability can significantly increase if organizations were using Hyper-V Server, which is completely free. Hyper-V Server is an ideal choice for many data centers, because it makes possible to virtualize existing physical servers that are already licensed absolutely free by hosting them on Hyper-V Server, which doesn't require an additional license.

Aside from licensing standpoint, standalone Hyper-V Server has many benefits to offer, but can be difficult to manage in some situations. For example, it has no graphical user interface and after the installation looks like this:

In contrast with Windows Server edition, Hyper-V Server does not include the Hyper-V Manager console and doesn't allow changing Hyper-V settings, except for basic configuration tasks via command line interface.

Of course you can manage Hyper-V by using System Center Virtual Machine Manager, but this option is quite expensive and kind of defeats the purpose. PowerShell is good if you want to do things at large scale, requires a great deal of understanding of the subject and may be quite difficult for sysadmins being new to the Hyper-V world.  One more option is to run Hyper-V Manager remotely, but there is no way you can do it locally in case you wanted to troubleshoot your setup in an emergency type situation.  RSAT also doesn't allow to manage some versions of Hyper-V Server from the older operating systems, so if you are still running Windows 7 and planning to virtualize with Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, you're out of luck.

vtUtilities as a management tool for Hyper-V

To avoid a painful task of dealing with command-line interface, learning scripting with PowerShell, or paying a small fortune for SCVMM, we recommend VT Technology Management Utilities for Hyper-V. vtUtilities have a powerful collection of features which caters to all your virtualized infrastructure  needs. With a license priced only $120 per host, vtUtilities  is a sensible choice what can outrun all the mentioned above management options for Hyper-V. The low cost of the tool can be easily justified in small to medium environments, including setups for personal use.

After downloading and installing vtUtilities you'll get the full GUI with functionality level similar to Hyper-V Manager, options to choose local or remote management, monitor health of the Hyper-V host and guests. The tool enables an easy access to Hyper-V event logs and virtual machine jobs history providing diagnostic and troubleshooting options to the user. There are also all kind of extras what can help you to cut your workload and run your data center daily tasks more efficiently.

Take a look at vtUtilities GUI for Hyper-V:

vtUtilities GUI

vtUtilities deliver GUI for:

  • Replication, including support for extended replica
  • Guest migration
  • VHDX
  • Virtual Fibre Channel Adapters
  • Virtual network management (including the management of virtual connections and bindings)
  • Advanced virtual switch management, including port-level access control
  • File system views and operations
  • Guest configuration management, including support of Gen 2 virtual machines
  • Server manager view
  • New virtual machine wizard, Import virtual machine wizard
  • Hyper-V settings management
  • Diagnostic and troubleshooting, including real-time performance monitoring of host and guests, access to Hyper-V event log and asynchronous Hyper-V tasks history.

Advantages of the vtUtilities

vtUtilities allow management and monitoring of virtual machines, virtual hard disks and networks on both local and remote Hyper-V servers.

vtUtilities eliminate the requirement for an additional Windows license when used to manage free Microsoft Hyper-V Server locally.

The features that make vtUtilities unique are the product's ability to manage different versions of Hyper-V from centralized management console, including non-compatible versions and operating systems:

  • vtUtilities can be used for remote management of different versions of Hyper-V from a single application, adjusting to the features supported by managed version. With vtUtilities you can manage Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 while still having a full access to Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
  • vtUtilities allow local and remote management of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V Server 2012 / 2012 R2 not only from Windows 8 / 8.1 but from Windows 7 as well.

vtUtilities allow advanced management of  Hyper-V Virtual Network

A 7-day free trial for registered customers can be downloaded here: vtUtilities  free trial

Please note, what there is a non-obligatory registration to obtain a download, so the trial link here points to the vtUtilities registration page.
It is recommended what you download and read the latest version of User Guide prior to installing vtUtilities

vtUtilities Prerequisites

Virtualization platform: Microsoft Hyper-V

vtUtilities run only on computers with x64-based processors and 64-bit version of Windows. 

vtUtilities require .NET 3.51 or later

vtUtilities can be used on 64-bit versions of Windows that don’t support Hyper-V role too.

VT Technology Management Utilities for Hyper-V (vtUtilities) Demo