Hyper-V System Requirements

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An Overview of the Hyper-V ArchitectureInstalling the Hyper-V Role

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Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology has a number of very strict requirements in terms both operating system and hardware in order to run. In this chapter, an overview of these requirements will be covered in detail.

Hyper-V Operating System Requirements

Hyper-V is only available bundled with the 64-bit (x64) version of Windows Server 2008. It is not available with the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2008, nor is it available for any other members of the Windows operating system family. Availability is further limited to the Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter versions of Windows Server 2008 (Hyper-V is not included with Windows Server 2008 Web Edition).

Hyper-V is available in both Windows Server 2008 Full and Core installations.

Hyper-V CPU Requirements

As indicated in the previous section, a 64-bit CPU is required by Hyper-V. 64-bit processors from both Intel and AMD are supported (excluding Itanium), although the processors must support a number of key virtualization features in order for Hyper-V to run.

  • Hardware assisted virtualization - Processors with support for hardware assisted virtualization provide an additional privilege mode above ring 0 (referred to ring -1) in which the hypervisor can operate, essentially leaving ring 0 available for guest operating systems to run. Processors with Intel VT or AMD-V support include hardware assisted virtualization.
  • Hardware based Data Execution Prevention - Hardware based Data Execution Prevention (DEP) allows the processor to mark sections of memory as non-executable. This feature is available in processors with AMD NX and Intel XD support.

Details of the CPU type installed in a system can be obtained from the hardware vendor. Specific CPU features are available in the specification provided by the CPU manufacturer.

Enabling Hardware Assisted Virtualization

Although a CPU may include hardware assisted virtualization support, this feature is not enabled in default factory settings on many systems. If Hyper-V indicates during installation that the host system's CPU type does not support virtualization, restart the system, enter the BIOS configuration menu and ensure that the appropriate virtualization feature is enabled.

Hyper-V Memory Requirements

In order to deploy Hyper-V virtualization on a server it is essential that the system have sufficient memory to host both the parent partition (which requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM) and the guest virtual machines. The precise requirements will depend on the number of virtual machines that will be run concurrently, further taking into consideration the memory needs of each specific virtual machine.

Networking Requirements

Virtual machines will use the physical network adapters installed into the host system to communicate with the external network. If the host system is to be managed remotely, an additional network adapter will need to be installed for this purpose.

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