This content is part of the Essential Guide: Fine-tune your virtualization performance management skills

Eliminate Hyper-V slow network performance with these tools and tips

Network performance can make or break your virtual environment. With Hyper-V networking tools, you can maintain fast network performance and ensure your resources are distributed evenly.

It should go without saying, but virtual networking can have a major impact on your physical server and, consequently, your virtual environment. While virtualization comes with numerous benefits, its primary drawback is that it introduces new VMs to your environment that eat up valuable resources such as bandwidth and I/O from the physical server, leading to poor overall performance. This issue is compounded when multiple virtual servers are in contention over a singular network connection, leading to massive delays. One solution to this problem is to logically distribute network resources with tools such as virtual switches and virtual network interface cards. Keeping a watchful eye on available resources also helps, as it gives admins an idea of whether resources are being distributed equitably.

Designed to help users create and manage virtual environments, Microsoft's hypervisor, Hyper-V, includes tools to eliminate this contention and monitor resource distribution. From Hyper-V Port Mirroring to Hyper-V logical networks, there are a number of ways to ensure that your virtual network -- and, in turn, your virtual environment -- is at its peak performance levels. Check out these five tips for reducing Hyper-V slow network performance.

Hyper-V Port Mirroring makes network trafficking easier

When it comes to operating VMs in a multilayered virtual networking architecture, closely monitoring workloads isn't just helpful, it's essential. Included in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Port Mirroring captures network traffic from VMs running in Windows Server 2012 and relays that information to VMs configured for monitoring. Port Mirroring can monitor internal traffic coming from VMs attached to a virtual switch and external traffic from a physical server to a VM. In addition to this, Port Mirroring can also be used to capture VLAN tagged traffic, as well as to block unnecessary network traffic, eliminating Hyper-V slow network performance. By using Hyper-V Port Mirroring to keep a close eye on network traffic, administrators can easily optimize network performance while ensuring security and assessing any possible networking issues.

The virtual switches behind Microsoft connectivity

When it comes to operating VMs in a multilayered virtual networking architecture, closely monitoring workloads isn't just helpful, it's essential.

As readers probably well know, virtual network connectivity is established and managed in a Microsoft Hyper-V environment via the Hyper-V Manager. With the Hyper-V Manager, administrators can configure and manage network virtual switches, through which all communications from the host operating system pass. There are three key types of virtual switches in a Hyper-V environment, each of which performs a slightly different task, from providing connectivity to the physical network to working with network segments isolated from the host server. When used effectively, these switches can prevent Hyper-V slow network performance, all while increasing security.

Explore advanced Hyper-V networking security features

With the release of Windows Server 2012 came an overhaul on Hyper-V, with Microsoft making a few substantial changes and adding a number of new features to its popular hypervisor. Included in this revamp were advanced networking features, including Router Guard and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Guard, which can be accessed through the Hyper-V Manager. The former prevents a VM from acting as a router by removing router advertisements and redirect messages. This creates a layer of security in the event that your VM's OS is compromised. The latter, DHCP Guard, has a couple of potential uses. The DHCP Guard authorizes DHCP servers at the Active Directory level, preventing access to rogue DHCP servers. It also places constraints on authorized DHCP servers, limiting their scope. In summary, both the Router Guard and DHCP Guard shore up the defenses of VMs in your virtual networking environment against illegitimate network services.

Hyper-V logical networks help scale virtual environments

Despite its usefulness, the Hyper-V Manager isn't suited for networking environments of all sizes. Hyper-V Manager is only capable of operating as a server-level management tool, making it incompatible with a larger environment. In order to move VMs from host to host with Hyper-V Manager, you'd need to make multiple, identical virtual switches, which is time-consuming. Legacy Hyper-V virtual networks also encounter problems in multi-tenant environments. If you intend to work with a larger networking environment, you'll need to build a Hyper-V logical network to scale connectivity. Logical networks abstract physical networks by grouping virtual LANs and subnets with the intention of assigning them to host groups. Logical networks are defined and managed by the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager. In order to take full advantage of logical network and reduce Hyper-V slow network performance, you'll also need to create a VM network and define logical switches to operate in your logical network. Once you've assembled all the necessary pieces to build and run a logical network, you can reuse these components in the future when making new tenant networks.

Make the most of your Hyper-V performance tuning

When it comes to preventing contention on your physical server, avoiding Hyper-V slow network performance is just the beginning. You'll want to make sure your systems are up to snuff across all levels. This means executing performance tuning for Hyper-V live migration, removing background activity and setting up hardware acceleration tools to speed up GPU offloading in addition to optimizing your network performance. By taking these extra steps you can make sure you're getting your money's worth out of your Microsoft Hyper-V deployment and preventing your bandwidth resources from being spread too thin.

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