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Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware vSphere

Welcome to a new series of articles about Hyper-V. The main focus is to cover primarily the steps for Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware vSphere. In the past I already covered this topic. Eventually other priorities and available resources changed in the meantime thus driving my attention to revisit this topic for other scenarios. Main reasons for revisiting this subject are:

  • create a test environment in my home lab to learn more about new platform features
  • add this “Host” to the list of Managed Servers in Veeam Backup and Replication

As per usual I would like to address the installation phases in three steps along with detailed screenshots:

Deploy Hyper-V 2016 in VMware vSphere: Introduction article showing the steps for creating the “Hyper-V Host” as a VM in VMware vSphere

Install Hyper-V 2016: Quick article on first installation steps with regards to the “OS” phase

Configure Hyper-V 2016: Walk-through for the configuration settings including Hostname, Domain Join, Network and Firewall configuration plus VMware Tools installation. This “Host” is a VM in the end so we can benefit from enhanced drivers for better performances.

Create VM on Hyper-V 2016: A quick look on how to create Virtual Machines in different ways.


Before proceeding I would also like to make this statement very clear:

“Nested installations of different Hypervisors are not supported in Production environments”

Nested Hypervisors deployments are perfect in a home lab helping to test and learn more about different types of configurations


Deploy VM in VMware vSphere

In order to install Hyper-V 2016 in a VMware essentially we have 2 options. The first one will be to install a Windows Server 2016 VM and then enable the Hyper-V role inside this VM. Easy option as it can include the Windows Server GUI and Hyper-V Management features to administer the “Hyper-V Host”. The second option will be to install the Hyper-V 2016 Server directly to the hardware (well virtual hardware in our case!). This article series will focus on the latter option. The main benefit of this option is clearly outlined in the description below from the Microsoft website:

“The Windows hypervisor technology in Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016 is the same as what’s in the Microsoft Hyper-V role on Windows Server 2016. It is a stand-alone product that contains only the Windows hypervisor, a Windows Server driver model, and virtualization components. It provides a simple and reliable virtualization solution to help you improve your server utilization and reduce costs”

The latest image of Hyper-V 2016 Server is available for download at this link including free registration to obtain the ISO file. Next step is to launch the wizard and create a new Virtual Machine.

Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware

Let’s provide a name and select the location in the logical infrastructure. If we plan to deploy multiple Hyper-V Hosts, we can also use this deployment and clone this VM to a template. Having this in mind I simply call this VM HV2016A. Next step as in part 3 of this article series would be create a Template called “HV2016”. Since I’m planning to install an Hyper-V cluster will then create a new VM based on the same template and keep all settings consistent.

Hyper-V 2016 nested install

From here we can select the “Physical VMware Host” that will run the “Virtual Hyper-V Host”.

Hyper-V 2016 nested install VMware Host

As per usual let’s select the storage where the Hyper-V Host will reside. Another consideration of course goes to the storage requirements for the Hyper-V VMs. In this case we have 2 options: Mount an additional disk to Hyper-V Host as storage for Hyper-V VMs. Or create and present some iSCSI storage directly to the Hyper-V Host. We can achieve this in a numerous ways and with different free solutions as well in the market. Some time ago I described the steps for example using NAS4Free. Truth to be told in this particular instance a simple direct attached storage for the Hyper-V VMs is more than sufficient as a nice sandbox environment we can play with. So for this reason I will go with the first option by adding a secondary vmdk disk to the Hyper-V VM. More info on this later in this article.

Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware Storage

At this point we need to select the OS for the Guest OS Type. Differently from the VMware Workstation Edition it is not possible to select the Hyper-V directly. So an easy workaround that doesn’t even require tweaking the virtual machine configuration file (vmx), is simply pretend to create a Windows Server 2016 VM as per screenshot below.

Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware OS Guest

We are now ready to customise the Virtual Hardware and other parameters before closing the Wizard. In my home lab I will use the following settings: 1 vCPU, 4 GB vRAM, 20 GB HDD for the OS install. About the rest of the settings I leave everything with default. We are going to define other settings later.

Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware confiiguration

As a final step in the wizard let’s review the option and click on finish to amend the changes.

Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware summary


Configure VM settings

Before proceeding with the next steps and Power on the Hyper-V Host VM there are other few settings we need to consider. The first one course is the CPU and the exposure to the Physical Hardware. Now we need to take into account this is a nested installation of multiple hypervisors. For this reason we need to make sure the VM can talk directly to the Physical Hardware. We can achieve this by selecting the option to expose the NX/XD instructions and choose to Expose hardware assisted virtualisation to the OS.

The screenshot below shows the settings. In addition we might want to enable the CPU Hot Add which is supported for this Guest OS type (Windows Server 2016). This is useful when in need to add more CPU power to the Hyper-V Host without shutting down the Hyper-V VMs and the Host itself. Pretty amazing for a a home lab environment!

We might want to review and enable the Memory Hot Plug option. Again in my case this Host will only run a couple of VMs so it shouldn’t be resource intensive. Of course requirements can change.

Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware RAM memory

In this step let’s edit the CD/DVD option by pointing at the Hyper-V Server 2016 and also remove for example the Virtual Devices that will not be in use. In my case this is the floppy disk.

One other important configuration setting to add is a secondary virtual disk. The idea here is to add another disk to store the Hyper-V VMs. This will avoid using the first disk dedicated to the Hyper-V Server OS. My choice will be a 40 GB disk. Of course thick provisioning will result in better performances for the Hyper-V VMs. Thin provisioning for my home lab has proved decent performances and most of all helps keeping the overall size for the provisioned Hyper-V Host to the minimum.

As an additional step we can also change the VM display name to something more convenient

This concludes the first part of this article series on Hyper-V 2016 nested install into VMware vSphere. In the next articles we’ll focus on Hyper-V 2016 installation and configuration.

About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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