If one browses this site they will quickly see that I am a fan of Hyper-V virtualization and also Windows Home Server. On April 26, 2010, Microsoft released the public preview of the long awaited Windows Home Server V2 codenamed VAIL. Of course, I did have a test system lying around, but the WHS V2 code base is supposed to be Windows Server 2008 R2 which is why it requires a 64-bit CPU. Now, I could have installed the VAIL preview onto a physical machine, but there are probably editors at 30 sites doing that right now. So how about something interesting, and more appropriate for software labeled beta and preview, a Hyper-V installation!
I configured my trusty Windows Server 2008 R2/ Hyper-V machine for a new Hyper-V virtual machine.
The test configuration is the following:
- CPU: Intel Core i7 920
- Motherboard: Supermicro X8ST3-F
- Memory: Patriot Viper 12GB DDR3 1600
- Case (1): Norco RPC-4020
- Case (2): Norco RPC-4220
- Drives: Seagate 7200rpm 1.5TB, Hitachi 7200rpm 2TB and 1TB, Western Digital Green 1.5TB
- Controller: Areca ARC-1680LP
- SAS Expanders: 2x HP SAS Expander
- NIC (additional): 2x Intel Pro/1000 PT Quad
- Host OS: Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V installed
For the virtual machine, I tried staying as close to my specs as my current WHS (v1) Hyper-V virtual machine:
2 CPUs, 2GB of ram, and this time a 160GB vhd, which is the new minimum required for installation. This is up significantly from in the 64GB range for WHS v1. I also gave the virtual machine its own port on a Intel Pro/1000 PT Quad.
I suspected that VAIL running on the 2008 R2 kernel would run well on Hyper-V. Installing WHS v1 was a bit painful because things like mouse support required Hyper-V integration tools to be installed after the installation was complete. That meant nothing but keyboard shortcuts for the entire install. Not knowing what to expect I fired up the WHS VAIL VM and this is what I was greeted with:
Now, I almost hit <enter> instinctively, but instead tried clicking that install button. It worked! Microsoft obviously included Hyper-V integration services. A few quick acknolwedgements that my virtual hard disk would be deleted (it was empty) and the installer went on its way:
I was feeling fairly confident at this point. Hyper-V was working it seemed… until…
Sorry for the suspenseful caption last time, but yes, the installer ran with no problems. The installation completed and the machine rebooted. I was then greeted with:
Yes it was that simple. Of course let’s go look at some interesting snippets in the EULA:
I love EULAs! First, it says virtualization is acceptable for the public beta. No wonder there was built in support. Scrolling down a bit more, this beta/ public preview expires on January 10, 2011 or the commercial release of the software, whichever is first. Thank you EULA for letting us know we have 9 months (or less) until shipping, unless you get the product out faster… perhaps for the holiday season 2010? Thanks Microsoft Attorney, esq.! Also you can see in that screen shot that the connector software can be installed on 15 different machines. I think WHS v1 was limited to 10, so that is an improvement.
After a few more minutes and a reboot or two (I walked away so the installation is really painless and much easier than WHS v1):
That’s all for today. Still some interesting notes:
- Hyper-V Integration Services seem to be available naively
- The WHS V2 / VAIL preview works fine in Hyper-V
- The branding is Windows Server Codename VAIL. I have a feeling this may not be called Windows Home Server v2 or 2010 when it is released. Judging from the installation, someone specifically edited the installation graphics and did not include the word “home” in there.
- Expect Q3/Q4 2010 availability of a released product based upon the mid-January 2010 EULA license term, and the fact that Microsoft will want this out for the holiday shopping season
- 15 clients can use the connector software in this version (according to the EULA.
Not a bad find for 30 minutes of “work”! I will be posting more in the coming days on Windows Server Codename Vail.