The Hyper-V Manager updates in Windows Server 2016 provide Hyper-V with numerous new features that you should study and consider implementing.
Windows Server 2016 added features and updates to Hyper-V Manager that offer a wide variety of options, including added security policies, virtual memory flexibility, a new virtual disk format, and other tweaks and improvements.
New virtual switch extension adds security
Virtual Switch Manager is part of the software-defined network (SDN) stack that's new to Hyper-V Manager. Microsoft also added an additional virtual switch extension to Microsoft Azure called the Virtual Filtering Platform (VFP).
VFP provides a virtual switch extension for Microsoft Azure's network services. VFP is cloud-scale and provides a scalable SDN policy to Microsoft Azure.
The SDN stack increases security when enforcing network policy in virtual switches. This new security policy layer is a step forward for network policy.
Hot add and remove for VM virtual memory
Hyper-V Manager now offers hot add memory to change a VM's virtual memory while it's running. Virtual memory hot add and remove, which Microsoft calls runtime memory resize, is available as an option for both Generation 1 VMs -- which use Hyper-V's original BIOS architecture -- and Generation 2 VMs, which Windows Server 2012 R2 introduced and which are hypervisor aware.
Runtime memory resize for virtual, non-uniform memory access is still supported, but it isn't possible in IT departments that use dynamic memory. If a VM has dynamic memory enabled, the hot add and remove option is disabled.
New VM security options
Microsoft added security and encryption options for VM data to its Hyper-V Manager update. The VM security section has a complex array of options and configurations, but there are a few options worth exploring.
Generation 1 VMs don't have a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), so you'll need a key protector. If a key protector is not already present, you must create one. This option encrypts the VM's saved state when it's written to the Hyper-V disk and during live migration.
To enable this security measure in Generation 1 VMs, click Add Key Storage Drive, as seen in Figure A. This creates a Key Storage Drive in your VM, which makes the Encryption Support option available and ready to use.
For Generation 2 VMs, Microsoft added more security options, such as secure boot, TPM and shielding.
New virtual disk format adds options
Among Hyper-V's new features, there's a new type of virtual disk format called VHD Set, which you can find in Hyper-V Manager's main menu. VHD Set shared virtual disks are new virtual disk models for guest OS clusters in Windows Server 2016 VMs. This new format supports Hyper-V replicas and the online resizing of shared disks. VHD Set also supports checkpoints, snapshots and virtual backups.
The Hyper-V Manager updates also enable you to resize a shared virtual disk and do live migrations with the new VHD Set disk format. Those tasks weren't possible in previous versions of Hyper-V.
This removes the requirement to use a storage area network. This also removes the need to have a virtual host bus adapter configuration when presetting the same logical unit number -- such as the number of virtual disks -- to more than one VM to create a cluster shared disk.
You can use this new format to create a nested Hyper-V failover cluster for testing. OSes earlier than Windows 10 don't support this format.
Alternate credential support
You can now use a different user profile for remote management with Hyper-V Manager. With these Hyper-V Manager updates, there's no need to use the same user credentials.
To log in to the remote Hyper-V host, use the domain\user credentials. You can save these credentials to make it easier to log in going forward.
Improved version management
Hyper-V Manager updates include snap-in, which enables the management of earlier versions of Hyper-V. Previously supported Hyper-V versions include Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
All the features and options in Hyper-V Manager are only available in the currently connected version.
Updated management protocol
Hyper-V Manager communicates with remote Hyper-V hosts using the Web Services-Management (WS-MAN) protocol, which enables the Credential Security Support Provider (CredSSP) protocol, Kerberos protocol and NT LAN Manager authentication.
When using CredSSP to connect to a remote Hyper-V host, you can do a live migration without enabling constrained delegation in Active Directory. The WS-MAN-based infrastructure also makes it easier to enable a host for remote management. WS-MAN connects over port 80, which is open by default.
Hyper-V Manager has become a much more capable tool with the latest Hyper-V Manager update. Try out these new tools and improvements to see how they can add to your deployment.