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Five quick tips for foolproof Hyper-V performance tuning

Master Microsoft's virtualization and hypervisor platform with these five tips to Hyper-V performance tuning.

Since its debut in 2008, Hyper-V, Microsoft's virtualization platform, has become a familiar tool for many administrators....

Hyper-V is a virtualization platform that offers users a wide set of management options, including GUI-based tools like the Hyper-V Manager and command-line tools such as Windows PowerShell. There are a number of ways to boost performance to get the most out of your Hyper-V deployment. Check out these five tips for Hyper-V performance tuning to get started.

Optimizing Hyper-V networking performance

One of the drawbacks to virtualization's focus on the optimization of core computing resources is that network I/O often takes a backseat despite its essential role within the larger context of virtualization. When administrators make the mistake of neglecting network I/O in Hyper-V, they run the risk of compromising client/server workload efficiency in their data center. Fortunately, there are a few basic measures admins can take -- like choosing the proper networking technology or updating network interface card firmware at the appropriate time -- to address network I/O and enhance Hyper-V networking performance.

Apply Hyper-V performance tuning to live migration

If you were to assemble a list of the most significant features of virtualization, you'd be remiss to exclude live migration. Live migration moves VMs from one physical host to another, allowing administrators to discretely take a server offline for maintenance with minimal effect on the end user's experience. For this reason, live migration plays an indispensable part of data center maintenance, performance and disaster management. However, as with all things, Hyper-V live migration isn't failproof -- unless administrators take the proper precautions, they risk opening up their data centers to performance issues.

By ensuring processor compatibility, employing Transmission Control Protocol chimney offload technology and initiating backups with Volume Shadow Copy Service, admins can prevent post-migration VM failure, boost network and system performance and effectively secure VMs.

Take your Hyper-V live migration to the next level

Proper configuration for different data center environments is critical for any Hyper-V installation, particularly when it comes to elevating performance levels. Introduced as part of Windows Server 2008 and updated with the release of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, the Hyper-V Manager allows administrators to adjust performance settings to create optimal Hyper-V live migrations. These settings include an option to disable compression, which can save processing and memory resources, and to use server message block 3.0 protocol, which can improve network performance with minimal overhead. Overall, by making changes to performance settings through the Hyper-V Manager, users can create a customized configuration, reducing the network overhead and computing resources of a Hyper-V live migration.

Don't let background activity effect Hyper-V performance tuning

When conducting Hyper-V performance tuning, what happens behind the scenes is often just as important as what happens on center stage. While Microsoft provides tools for monitoring configuration issues -- namely the Hyper-V Best Practice Analyzer -- no such technology exists to keep tabs on background activity. When left unchecked, background activity can eat up valuable memory resources and jeopardize Hyper-V server performance.

The best fix for this problem is to disable background activity entirely. You can do so by making small changes, like minimizing or closing unnecessary application windows, or by completing more complicated maneuvers, like removing legacy devices from VMs. While this should have a positive impact on overall Hyper-V host performance, bear in mind that disabling background activity is not a cure-all and you may need to make additional adjustments.

Setting up RemoteFX and vGPUs for GPU offloading

Server virtualization has come a long way since its early days, but it still has some maturing to do. Although VMs can run a variety of workloads, some -- namely graphically-intense applications -- pose a significant challenge. Thankfully, hardware-accelerated graphics can help make the task of processing these workloads much easier.

RemoteFX and virtual graphical processing units (vGPUs) are hardware acceleration tools designed with Hyper-V in mind. These tools reduce the amount of graphical processing done by the host's GPU by handing the process off to a physical GPU within the host server. This offloading is based on RemoteFX, which in turn, accesses graphically-intensive workloads through the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client, in much the same way that a VM would. Users running RDP version 7.1 or higher can enable RemoteFX and vGPUs through the Hyper-V Manager.

Next Steps

The impact of Hyper-V Integration Components on performance

Create an SCVMM cluster with Hyper-V nodes

Tips for building a Hyper-V Server failover cluster

This was last published in May 2016

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