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My Best Practices for Hyper-V Deployments

Hyper-V is Microsoft’s Hypervisor which is shipped as part of Windows Server 2008 Family.In My Best Practices on Hyper-V deployments , I have tried to compile certain best practices that I follow as part of Hyper-V Deployments .  These are recommendations that would help administrators maximize server performance as well resource utilization.

  • Ensure Intel Virtualization Technology is Enabled along with Intel XD bit (execute disable bit) or AMD NX bit (no execute bit) in the BIOS of the Server
  • Always ensure that Windows 2008 / R2 Core is preferred over Full Installation of Windows  for Hyper-V deployments. This will help in less resource utilization for Hyper-V and also is more secure than the Full Installation. Configuring 2008 / R2 Core using sconfig and Core Configurator is covered here.
  • No roles other than Hyper-V must be enabled on the host server.
  • Do not place the system files for example page file along with the Virtual Machine files.
  • Verify that the Guest Operating System running on the Virtual Machine  is supported on Hyper-V from here. Please note that the number of Virtual Processors that is supported on the Guest OS.
  • Always ensure that the Integration Services is up to date. The management operating system and guest operating system must run the same version of integration services
  • To improve the performance of Hyper-V, we can add the processes (VMMS.EXE,VMWP.EXE and VMSWP.EXE) and files (VHD, VSV, ISO, AVHD, VFD, and XML) to the exclusion list in the Anti-Virus Software.
  • It is always recommended to have a dedicated NIC for the Management interface that will be used by the Windows 2008 Root partition .
  • Fixed Size Disks should be used in production environments and for the cluster host architecture models.
  • Dynamic disks can be used where disk space needs to be conserved and where oversubscribing of disk space will not have an impact.
  • Differencing disks should only be used where disk space restrictions is in place and in LAB and demonstration environments where the logical servers that share are parent virtual hard disk are not running simultaneously.
  • Periodically defragmenting, pre-compacting, and compacting the VHD files on the guest and defragmenting the volumes on the host will help ensure optimal disk I/O performance.
  • Creating fix sized VHD files instead of dynamically expanding VHD files will also ensure lesser fragmentation on the host.
  • Periodically defragmenting, pre-compacting, and compacting the VHD files on the guest and defragmenting the volumes on the host will help ensure optimal disk I/O performance.Creating fix sized VHD files instead of dynamically expanding VHD files will also ensure lesser fragmentation on the host.
  • For applications that Disk I/O dependent , ensure high-speed access using external storage using SAN , iSCSI etc..
  • Using Pass Through disk can also give direct access to storage to VMs running on Hyper-V Servers . This will increase the Disk Performance of the Virtual machines as well can be used in scenarios like MS Clustering.
  • For VMs with high network utilization , try to dedicate a Physical NIC on the host server .
  • Always ensure to run BPA Analyzer for Hyper-V to ensure that the server has been configured as per Microsoft Recommendations . You can find all the details on how to download , Install and Run BPA for Hyper-V from here.

These are certain Best Practices that I follow for my Hyper-V deployments . Please do let me know your thoughts and also best practices that you follow so that i can add them to the list.

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  1. August 11, 2010 at 10:31 pm

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