Top 5 Benefits of Hyper-V for Windows Admins

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It's tough to estimate how many people in the world use Windows Server. There are over 8 million Microsoft certified professionals (but MS doesn't publish an official stat) and many more who aren't certified but use Windows Server. We know that there are easily over a billion PCs in the world running the Windows OS. Needless to say, there are millions of Windows Administrators in the world.

Every one of those Windows Admins should consider using Hyper-V. Why? Let's talk about the benefits.

Top 5 Benefits of Hyper-V for Windows Admins

The new version of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V offers a ton of new features. I have been quoted as saying "Microsoft has finally done virtualization right!" That doesn't mean that it's better than the elephant in the room, VMware vSphere. But it's a competitive offering, and that's a big change.

If you aren't using Hyper-V now (or virtualization in general), here are the top 5 benefits that you should know:

1. Do More With Less

One of the major benefits to using virtualization is that it makes you (and your company) more efficient. I worked as an IT Manager for many years where we were forced to do "more with less." We had over 100 servers but only 1 full time admin to manage the data center where they were run (among other things). When we implemented virtualization, our life changed. We were suddenly able to manage that load much more easily. Deployment of new servers could happen in a few minutes. Cluster maintenance could be performed during the day with no downtime to end users. Disaster recovery planning was simplified. Backup and recovery were both easier.

Across the board, virtualization made life easier and made it able for us to "do more with less." That doesn't mean you can implement Windows 2012 Hyper-V and fire most of your server admin staff. However, virtualization may allow those admins to finally get to the projects that could finally make a real financial and competitive difference for your company.

2. Flexibility

Virtualization, in general, offers tons of flexibility, but new Windows 2012 Hyper-V features especially make life easier. With Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Live Migration of running VMs from one host to another is so much easier. The new Storage Migration feature allows you to move the virtual storage of a running virtual machine from one VM storage repository to another (i.e. from one SAN to another). The ability to store VMs on any SMB3 file share and still use advanced features gives you the flexibility to put VMs on any Windows 2012 server. It potentially saves money on having to buy a SAN, and even serves as a front-end for a Fibre Channel SAN so you don't have to direct connect all your Hyper-V Servers.

3. Make a Difference at Your Company

Windows 8Personally, I love the features that can make a big difference; not just for you as an admin, but for the entire company. For example, with the new Windows Server 2012 scalability features, you can consolidate more servers into the Hyper-V infrastructure.

You can use applications built to analyze the Hyper-V virtual network. You can allow developers to use Client Hyper-V in Windows 8 to easily move VMs in and out of the Hyper-V infrastructure.

Most importantly, you can combine all these types of features to do things in minutes that you used to spend days, weeks, or months to do. This type of agility and cost savings can make big changes for your company and really make a difference.

4. Disaster Recovery: Replica

The new Windows 2012 Hyper-V Replica feature now makes replication of servers across a WAN or secure VPN easy and possible for the smallest of business. Previously, server replication was only something that the very large companies could afford.

In my Windows 2012 Hyper-V course, as you'll see, I'll walk you through configuring and testing Replica. I think you'll see that it's undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to protect your servers from disaster (and better yet, it's included with Hyper-V).

5. Save Money

I don't want to try to say that Hyper-V is "less expensive than other hypervisors" as I truly have not done that price comparison. I do know that Hyper-V is included in Windows Server 2012 and that, in itself, makes it something that most companies will already have onsite and will eventually use sooner or later. Server 2012 Hyper-V comes with some advanced features that are only available in the higher editions of VMware vSphere (such as svMotion and high availability). Besides the initial price comparison of "this hypervisor vs. that hypervisor," other things to configure are the usability of the product, the features that it offers, the ecosystem around it, an the comfort level you have with the solutions from that company.

Now, don't get me wrong in reading this blog post. I'm not saying that Hyper-V is the BEST hypervisor out there. There are other hypervisors such as VMware vSphere, Citrix XenServer, and RedHat Enterprise Virtualization. Each of those solutions has pros and cons. For example, the enterprise plus edition of VMware vSphere is going to cost much more than Hyper-V, but also offer many more advanced features.

No matter the solution you choose, the most important thing is to learn about virtualization and begin implementing it in your data center. With Windows 2012 Hyper-V being a very strong new offering, the time to learn about it is now. It just so happens that I have recently created two new video training courses:

Windows 2012 Hyper-V Essentials for those new to Hyper-V
Windows 2012 Hyper-V New Features for existing admins who want to learn about 2012

Have questions about Hyper-V 2012 or how it compares to VMware vSphere? Post them here or to @davidmdavis and I'll do my best to answer!

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David Davis

David Davis has authored over 50 courses for Pluralsight around enterprise data center technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization, and (especially) VMware vSphere. He is a partner at where he creates compelling enterprise technology content, moderates online events, and helps to connect some of the best-known technology companies in the industry with the end user community. With over 20 years in enterprise technology, he has served as an IT Manager, administrator, and instructor. David is an 11x VMWare vExpert, VCP, VCAP, & CCIE# 9369.