How much is Hyper-V? Hmmm….. free is not really the right answer because you don’t technically “Buy” Hyper-V. In fact, you can’t buy Hyper-V!
Microsoft has structured the delivery of its Hyper-V hypervisor in such a way as to have no impact on the bottom line software acquisition costs to an organization. Cha-Ching! Here’s how it works.
Hyper-V comes in several packaged forms. (None of which let you buy Hyper-V)
- Hyper-V Server 2012 – This free download is a fully functional Hyper-V hypervisor designed to run without a traditional Windows Server installation in place. There is no cost to download this edition, and its capabilities are excellent!
- Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition (1+2) – This edition of Windows Server can be used to install and configure the Hyper-V role which in turn installs the Hyper-V hypervisor. This edition of Windows Server operates in a 1+2 license environment meaning that the cost of the server includes the native Windows Server license necessary to install and configure Hyper-V as well as two additional licenses to run two additional Windows Servers as VM’s in Hyper-V. This 3 for the price of one licensing effectively makes the use of Hyper-V a cost-free proposition. It is also important to note that with Windows Server 2012 there is no Enterprise edition and that all functionality of the datacenter edition is available in the Standard edition with the exception of unlimited virtualization rights. Read more on costs and licensing here.
- Window Server 2012 Datacenter Edition (1+Unlimited) - Microsoft has traditionally licensed Datacenter Edition on a per processor basis and Windows Server 2012 is no different. In fact, Standard edition will now be licensed the same way. All of the features associated with Datacenter server are now also included with standard edition. The differentiating factor between the two editions is virtualization rights. With Datacenter edition you may run an unlimited number of VM’s. Virtualization has become the delineating factor in choosing editions of Windows Server.
Shared Nothing Live Migration is included in all the above editions which allows you to Live Migrate a VM with nothing more than a network connection between the hosts…no clustering or shared storage required!
I am sure you are asking a couple of questions.
What about Monitoring and Management?
Both can be done with tools that have no cost. Hyper-V is PowerShell enabled with over 160 commandlets for use with Hyper-V 2.0 and even more coming to support the new features of Hyper-V 3.0. PowerShell 3.0 for Windows Server 2012 introduces some great innovations to PowerShell, among them PowerShell Web access which allows the ability to run PowerShell commands through a web interface. Awesome! The Hyper-V module is structured with the familiar noun verb context that you are used to in PowerShell and provides incredible power and flexibility for managing Hyper-V. For those of you looking for remote management capabilities but still have a fear of the command line, you could use the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 8 which is also free.
Let's look at a quick example of how you might use PowerShell 3.0 or RSAT to kick off one of the coolest new additions to Hyper-V 3.0 called shared nothing live migration. In a shared nothing live migration, you can perform a live migration of a running virtual machine without the need for shared storage. There are actually a couple of ways to accomplish this task. If you are GUI enabled you can use the Hyper V manager tool in RSAT simply right click on the Virtual machine you want to migrate and start the Migration. It really couldn’t be easier.
If you are PowerShell enabled then you can use a simple PowerShell commandlet called Move-VM to kick off the migration. Keep in mind that with PowerShell 3.0’s new Web access interface you could, of course, accomplish all of this remotely.
If you’re looking for a little more power and some more graphical details you might use Veeam One Free Edition to monitor and manage your Hyper-V environment. This is an excellent solution that takes your monitoring and reporting to the next level without taking your budget to the next level.
What about Backup?
You know what I am going to say here. Veeam Backup Free Edition is a great and powerful ad hoc backup solution for Hyper-V environments. It provides easy backup and easy recovery with the added benefits of compression and deduplication of the backup file (.vbk) file all at no cost.
Imagine a scenario where a small business wants to run their network infrastructure on a shoestring budget. (It’s not a big stretch of the imagination) Hyper-V virtualization provides the answer. The IT manager decides to use Hyper-V server and run a supported open source operating system (and there are several), he chooses PowerShell, Veeam One Free Edition and, Veeam Backup Free Edition. The network will operate effectively while providing great monitoring, reporting, management, backup and restore capabilities. The total cost in dollars at this point is nothing more than the cost of the hardware needed to support his Hyper-V host environment. The software cost is zero. At this point, he can grow his business and add cost-based features and functionality to his software as his business needs allow, or he can continue operating quid pro quo indefinitely.
Microsoft has effectively eliminated the acquisition costs associated with running a small virtual environment using Hyper-V. So next time someone asks you, “How much is Hyper-V?” Smile and tell them…”Price? You can’t buy Hyper-V!”