Microsoft Hyper-V is a free hypervisor-based virtualization system for x86-x64 systems, and has been upgraded to R2 version, together with the RTM release of Windows Server 2008 R2. Codenamed Viridian and formerly known as Windows Server Virtualization, Hyper-V exists in two variants – standalone product named Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 which is free, and as part of Windows Server 2008 R2.

The stand-alone version of Hyper-V Server 2008 was first released as a free software together with availability Windows Server 2008. With the release of R2 version, the Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is still available as the free software product, and packs features and enhancements that include in Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 hypervisor role, such as Live Migration, High Availability and Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV), in addition to performance and reliability enhancements, and improved processor and memory support for host systems made to R2 variant.

Live Migration makes it easy to plan a downtime such as servicing the underlying hardware like adding more memory, storage or applying a BIOS update by allowing the virtual machines to be migrated live to another server (without downtime) before shutting down the physical server and performing the maintenance. When the maintenance is complete, administrators can Live Migrate the virtual machines back to original server. High Availability makes sure that any unplanned downtime will have the virtual machine on the server that just unexpectedly went down automatically failover and restart on another node without any user intervention. Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) simplifies storage management and run multiple virtual machines from a single LUN.

In summary, the new features of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 include the following, according to Virtual PC Guy’s blog.

  • Support for physical computers with up to 8 physical processors
  • Support for using up to 1TB of physical memory (virtual machines can use up to 64GB each)
  • Support for clustering
  • Support for live migration
  • Support for CPU Core Parking – Core Parking allows Windows and Hyper-V to consolidate processing onto the fewest number of possible processor cores, and suspends inactive processor cores.
  • Support for Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) in CPUs – On Intel processors this is called “EPT” while AMD calls it “NPT”. SLAT adds a second level of paging below the architectural x86/x64 paging tables in x86/x64 processors, providing an indirection layer from virtual machine memory access to the physical memory access. In many virtualization scenarios, hardware based SLAT support can offer performance improvements.
  • Support for VMQ, Jumbo Frames and other optimizations on networking
  • The ability to hot add / remove SCSI virtual hard disks

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 RTM supports the following guest operating system (client and server OS):

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 (x64 or x86)
  • Windows Server 2003 (x86 or x64)
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 (x86 or x64)
  • Windows Server 2000
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with SP1 or SP2 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition)
  • Windows 7 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition)
  • Windows Vista (x86 or x64)
  • Windows XP Professional (x86 or x64)

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 setup installer in ISO image format can be downloaded from Microsoft Download Center, after registration. Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 is available in 64-bit edition only, so a x64 compatible processor with Intel VT or AMD-V technology enabled is required.

It’s also possible to download Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 using the following direct download links to bypass the registration requirement.

English: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
Traditional Chinese (Hong Kong): GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
Simplified Chinese: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
Traditional Chinese: GRMHVxFRE2_DVD.iso
Japanese: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
Korean: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
French: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
Spanish: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
Italian: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
German: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
Portuguese (Brazil): GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso
Russian: GRMHVxFRE1_DVD.iso