Creating and Managing Virtual Servers with Windows 2008 Server and Hyper-V

by Daniel Petri - January 7, 2009

In the two previous articles in this series (Planning for Windows Server 2008 Virtualization and Implementing Hyper Vision in Windows Server 2008), I walked you through planning and installing Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. In this article, I will continue the discussion by showing you how to install a virtual operating system.

Installing a Virtual Operating System

Open Server Manager and then navigate through the console tree to Roles -> Hyper-V -> Microsoft Hyper-V Server. If this is the first time that you have used Hyper-V, then you will be prompted to accept Hyper-V License Agreement.  Once you accept the license agreement, the various Hyper-V options will be made available to you.

The first thing that you must do is to click on the Connect to Server link, located in the Actions pane. When you do, you will be prompted to select the computer that you want to connect to. Choose the Local Computer option, and click OK. You will now see the screen shown in Figure A.

Figure A

This is the main screen that you will use for managing virtual machines.

Creating a New Virtual Server

To create a new virtual server, click the New -> Virtual Machine options found in the Actions pane. When you do, Windows will launch the New Virtual Machine Wizard. The wizard’s initial screen explains that you can click Next to begin customizing a virtual machine, but that you also have the option of clicking Finish right now to create a virtual machine that uses the default values. For the purposes of this article, I will create a custom virtual machine so that you can see the options that are available to you.

With that said, click Next and you will be prompted to enter a name and a location for the virtual machine that you are creating. I recommend using a descriptive name. The location is up to you, but if your server contains a striped RAID array, then that is a good location to choose for performance reasons.

Click Next and you will be prompted to enter the amount of memory that is to be assigned to the new virtual machine. By default, new virtual machines are assigned 512 MB of RAM, but that isn’t really enough if you plan on running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008. I would recommend 1 GB for Vista and 2 GB for Windows Server 2008 installations.

Click Next, and the wizard will prompt you to choose which network adapter you want to use for the machine’s virtual network connection. As you may recall, when you installed Hyper-V, you were given the opportunity to select one or more network adapters to be used by virtual machines. This option allows you to pick from the network adapters that you previously selected. The idea is that you can use a different network adapter on each virtual machine if you want, so that no single network adapter becomes over burdened.

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When you have made your selection, click Next, and you will be prompted to choose the virtual hard drive that you want the machine to use, as shown in Figure B. As you can see in the figure, you can either create a new virtual hard drive, or you can use an existing one. Since there aren’t any existing virtual hard drives right now, we will have to create a new one. Windows defaults to creating a virtual hard drive that’s 127 MB in size, but you can create a drive of up to 2 TB if you want.

Figure B

You must specify the size of your new virtual hard drive.

Click next, and you will be prompted to install an operating system on the new virtual machine. You have the option of installing an operating system later on, but you can also choose to install from a CD (or an .ISO file), a boot floppy, or from an installation server, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

You can choose to install an operating system now.

When you’ve made your choice, click Next. You will now see a summary of the options that you have created. If you have chosen to go ahead and install an operating system, then insert the operating system media, select the option to start the virtual machine, and click Finish. Windows will now launch the virtual machine and begin installing the operating system, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Windows will launch the new virtual machine and begin installing the guest operating system. And with that, we are done!

Conclusion

In this final article in this 3 part series, I have shown you how to create a custom virtual machine with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. If you haven't read the two previous articles in this series, please see Planning for Windows Server 2008 Virtualization and Implementing Hyper Vision in Windows Server 2008.

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