Step by Step – Prepping up Windows 8 Hyper-V for SharePoint Lab VMs

Ever since Windows 8 came out, I have been either creating new SharePoint VMs using Hyper-V or becoming great advocate of Hyper-V & Windows 8 for people who have been using VMware Workstation since Windows 7 days. I was using VMware Workstation and upgraded workstation for three generations 7.0, 8.0, and 9.0 for Windows 7. As I have written earlier, VMware Workstation was the only desktop virtualization technology available for Windows 7 but with free client Hyper-V support in Windows 8, it was no brainer but jump on the Hyper-V bandwagon. I have seen many of my colleagues have tough time trying to jump on Hyper-V due to new technology and afraid of learning curve it may required.

In my experience, learning any new technology have challenges but once you adapt, it’s always great to have one more option in your armory. There have been 100s how to Hyper-V articles on internet but with this article, I am trying to help my fellow SharePoiners to provide step by step guide on how to prepare their Windows 8 environment for Hyper-V.

At high level, there are three major steps to prepare Windows 8 environment for Hyper-V and we will walk through each steps in this article.

  • Activate Hyper-V feature
  • Configure Hyper-V Manager
  • Configure Hyper-V Network Switch

Step 1 => Activate Hyper-V feature

By default, Hyper-V is disabled on the new Windows 8 installation. To activate or enable Hyper-V support, visit Programs in Control Panel and Turn on Hyper-V feature. Please plan to select all the options under Hyper-V tree including Hyper-V Management Tools.

1-Hyper-V Feature

After Hyper-V is installed, system will ask to restart the machine to make Hyper-V effective on the Windows 8 machine

2-Restart after Installation

Step 2 => Configure Hyper-V Manager

Before you start creating or importing Hyper-V VMs, first step you have to configure on the Windows 8 Hyper-V machine is Hyper-V Manager.

Access the Hyper-V Manager and make sure your Windows 8 machine is visible under Hyper-V Manager node on left panel. If you don’t have machine name shows up, your machine hardware may not support Hyper-V as discussed here. If everything is configured as needed so far, Click on “Connect to Server” to connect to the local machine.

3-Connect to the Server

4-Local Computer

Once Hyper-V manager is connected to the local machine, your host machine is one step away to host Hyper-V VMs.

5-Hyper-V Manager

Step 3 => Configure Hyper-V Virtual Network Switch

Last step before you can start creating Hyper-V VMs or import existing Hyper-V VMs, you must configure Hyper-V virtual network switch. There are three types of Network switch available – Private, Internal, and External. At high level, Private virtual network switch allows VMs to VMs communication, Internal switch allows not only VMs to VMs communication but allows VMs to Host communication (if you are planning to use Remote Desktop Connection on host machine to connect VMs, Internal switch is required at minimum, Private switch won’t work), and External switch allows not only VMs to VMs, VMs to Host communication but allows Internet connectivity through host Network adapters. My colleague Lenny Ankireddi has great article to explain what really happens when you create External virtual switch for Hyper-V VMs and one must read to understand what really happens and how Hyper-V External virtual switch affects Host network adapters.

In my opinion, for Hyper-V VMs for your lab environment, Private virtual switch is unnecessary since It doesn’t allow me to RDP into Virtual Machine from my Host Machine. You can get away with either Internal (for VM to VM Communication and VM to Host Communication) and External Virtual Switch (In addition to Internal Virtual Switch behavior, allows you to connect to Internet through Host NIC adapters)

To understand what really happens on the Host Machine network adapater, here is the initial state of host machine network adapter and you can see internet connectivity is provided by host machine Ethernet (or wireless, depends on your internet connectivity) adapter.

6-1-Host Machine Switch

6-3-Host Machine Ethernet Switch Properties

6-2-Host Machine Ethernet Switch Status

6-4-Host Machine IP Config

To create Internal Virtual Switch, open Hyper-V Manager and click on “Virtual Switch Manager” on the right Actions pane. Select “Internal” from Create Virtual Switch option and click on “Create Virtual Switch”.

7-1-Internal Switch

On the Create Virtual Switch page, rename the Internal virtual switch to “Internal LAN” and click OK. Please note that connection type must be “Internal Network”.

7-2-Internal Switch Details

To create External Virtual Switch, open Hyper-V Manager and click on “Virtual Switch Manager” on the right Actions pane. Select “External” from Create Virtual Switch option and click on “Create Virtual Switch”.

9-1-External Switch

On the Create Virtual Switch page, rename the External virtual switch to “External LAN” and click OK. Please note that connection type must be “External Network” and specify physical Network adapter which provides current internet connectivity.

9-2-External Switch Details

As you notice, upon confirming “External Virtual Switch” option, Hyper-V makes necessary host machine physical adapter changes which allows internet traffic route through Physical Virtual NIC configured by Hyper-V on my host machines and virtual machines.

9-3-Disrupt Network

To understand what really happens on the Host Machine network adapter after External Virtual Hyper-V Switch creation process, here is the after state of host machine network adapters and you can see internet connectivity on host machine is through External Virtual Hyper-V adapter.

10-1-Host Machine Switch after External

Host Machine Ethernet Adapter, network traffic routes through Hyper-V Extensible Virtual Switch.

10-3-Host Machine Ethernet Switch Properties after External

10-2-Host Machine Ethernet Switch Status after External

External Virtual Switch Adapter, network traffic routes through External Virtual Switch

10-5-Host Machine External Switch Properties

10-4-Host Machine External Switch Status

10-6-Host Machine IP Config after External Switch

That’s it. Your host machine is ready to host Hyper-V VMs. Next step would be either creating new Hyper-V VMs or import existing Hyper-V VMs from Hyper-V Manager.

My final advice is => Try new Hyper-V client virtualization technologies for your SharePoint lab environment in Windows 8. It’s free and it’s super cool.

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