Windows Hyper-V Server 2008: Part 1 Clarification

12 11 2008

So, the trouble with “Hyper-V Server 2008″ is that it, by nature, is pretty much a free version of one of the full/pay editions of the stripped down “Server Core” versions of “Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V“.  In fact, it is so much like a server core version, that I’m just going to classify it right now as part of the server core family.

What are the implications of that accusation?  Well, for starters, don’t go expecting to be able to use Hyper-V from the local machine.  The concept of a server core is that it runs and runs and does its job like bread and butter, but it can only be managed remotely.

…And?  you ask.  Managing it “remotely” means that your Server Core can only recieve user interaction from another computer.  This includes installing OSes on top of Hyper-V, and also running those OSes.  In other words, even if you use a nearby computer to install the OS and do the basic setup, the computer that Hyper-V is installed on is now dead in the water if you expected to use the machine locally.  Even though Hyper-V is running your Virtual Machines, there is no way to connect to those VMs visually while sitting in front of your Server Core.

So, if you were a misled hopeful of Hyper-V’s application to you as a virtualization groupie for your sweet desktop at home to run Windows Vista and Ubuntu side by side, then I’m afraid you’ve made a blunder 🙂  There will be no Visbuntu for you, laddies.  Your only other options are to download and crack up one of the full versions of WS 2008 w/Hyper-V (so that you have a GUI and the management tool right there on the local machine, thus allowing you to run your VMs and interact with them locally) or, alternately, you could use the free edition of VMware Server (I’d recommend 1.x, since version 2 got a little goofy with the interface– it’s webbrowser-based only) or something free like VirtualBox, by Sun Microsystems.

For those of you who want to press forward, you’ll find only minimal documentation on the matter.  You’ll be adding Windows Firewall rules from the command line, etc (the Windows Firewall is on by default in a Server Core installation, and there’s no easy GUI to turn it off with).  And make sure you’ve got a copy of Vista with Service Pack 1 on it.  You’ll need it to do the remote management, once you’ve got the Hyper-V configuration done.




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