Hyper-V: Introduction to Hypervisor Nested installation

Running and testing configurations either in a Home Lab or in a proper dedicated Testing environment is always a great idea not just to do a rehearsal of specific settings and configurations related to Applications and VMs but also an exceptional playground where to visit and learn about new functionalities and tailored scenarios. From this perspective Hypervisors are a great companion!

 But what if we want to learn more about the same Hypervisor we are using to virtualise our playground? Or to put it simply what if we run out of physical resources where to install our Hypervisor?

 Well just for testing and learning purposes (and leveraging the proper physical hardware) it possible to install an “Hypervisor as a VM” inside another Hypervisor physically running on the Host. First of all we need to make sure the physical Hardware we are using is suitable for the purpose: in the BIOS settings the

  • Intel VT-x or AMD-V

  • Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI

instructions are supported and enabled.

 For the purpose of this Blog series I will install Hyper-V 2012 R2 Core as a “VM to host Guests”. The main Hypervisor is based in this case on a VMware Workstation 12 on my laptop. Yes you read it right! I currently have a laptop with 16GB of RAM and 2 drives. The second one is an SSD drive and will be hosting the VMs. The lab scenario will consist of:

  • 1x AD 2012 R2 (4GB) – Will host SQL2012 and SCVMM server as well

  • 2x Hyper-V 2012 R2 Core (4GB each) – will host one VM used for Cluster/Migration/Replication scenarios

I understand the lab might be quite tight in terms of resources but following this configuration the performance are quite decent considering the initial Physical resources available:

  • For each VM set the fixed memory to 4GB

  • For AD VM configure the Paging File to 6144MB (4GBx1.5) set as min/max value. This will avoid Paging file fragmentation inside the VM and “constant” performances

  • Install SQL on the same box as AD (I know it’s NOT a best practice!) and set the max memory used by SQL instance to 2048MB max

  • VM Guests inside Hyper-V can have initial memory set to 768MB to start and 2048MB max (Hyper-V Smart-Paging file option will make sure the VM can boot even if there is not enough RAM memory on the Host! – more on this later on this blog series)

So if you are curious about virtualised nested environments and have a physical hardware that can match at least these minimum requirements please feel free to either follow this article series or why not try this at home! This is what I would like to cover. List to be updated with lab progress:

  • Introduction to Hypervisor Nested installation (this article)

  • Hyper-V: Nested installation into VMware Hypervisors

  • Hyper-V: Install and Configure System Center Virtual Machines Manager part 1

  • Hyper-V: Install and Configure System Center Virtual Machines Manager part 2

  • Hyper-V: Install and Configure System Center Virtual Machines Manager part 3

  • Hyper-V: Virtual Machine Storage

  • Hyper-V: Guest Fail-Over Cluster overview

  • Hyper-V: Virtual Networking

  • Hyper-V: Virtual Machine Deployments

  • Hyper-V: Managing Virtualization Infrastructure Hosts

  • Hyper-V: Host Clustering vs. Guest Clustering

  • Hyper-V: Moving VMs between Hosts

 So I ‘m looking forward to start with this new series and I’m also open to feedback and suggestions!

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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