Hyper-V Best Practices (Configuration, Networking & Security)

Hyper-V Best Practices (Configuration, Networking & Security). Hyper-V is a virtualization platform that allows you to provision and manage multiple Virtual Machines (VMs) at a go. These VMs run independently from each other on a physical server, sharing resources with the underlying infrastructure. As a result, hypervisor, Hyper-V creates an abstraction layer between a Virtual OS and the physical host machine to enable you to run VMs on a single machine.

Basically, successful utilization of Hyper-V requires understanding the virtualization technology. Besides, there are various best practices for installation, configuration, networking, and security. You have to set it up and configure it in the best way possible to harness its multiple benefits. 

Consequently, this article discusses some of the best Hyper-V best practices for seamless virtualization.

Shall we start with article Hyper-V Best Practices (Configuration, Networking & Security). Read on!

Hyper-V Installation Best Practices

Installing Hyper-V can be a challenge. Here are some of the best practices for Hyper-V installation:

Check Default VM Settings

Firstly, one of the most common mistakes during virtualization is assuming default settings are the most efficient. However, this is not always the case, as these VM default settings do not provide high performance. The default resource allocation is poor and results in hardware failure.

Choose the Right Storage System

Secondly, the storage system is very crucial when setting up Hyper-V.  So, in order to virtualize your workloads without experiencing major interruptions, you need enough I/O  bandwidth. Therefore you need to choose storage disks and controllers carefully. Besides, you need to configure RAID, which enables you to streamline operations among multiple disks. To achieve high performance, you must allocate sufficient RAM to both the hosts and VMs. 

Alongside storage,  you need large processor caches. A high CPU cache provides fast processing capabilities. This enables easy access to data and applications through the main RAM.

Manage System OS

Image Source: wikipedia

Certainly, the choice of management OS is crucial for seamless Hyper-V virtualization. There are three options for management OS. These are Hyper-V Server, Windows Server Core, and GUI-Based Windows Server. Each option has benefits, although the Hyper-V server is the most suitable choice due to its low footprint, minimum OS resource overhead, and zero licensing requirements.

Hyper-V Configuration Best Practices

Configuring the hypervisor is a critical process that requires a keen approach. Here are some of the best ways to configure the Hyper-V hypervisor for maximum performance and virtualization. These include:

Use Dynamic Memory Feature

Well, Dynamic Memory is a critical setting in Hyper-V. However, it does not contribute to virtual machine performance but helps balance memory allocation dynamically. Therefore you should configure the Dynamic Memory setting on each virtual machine running on the Hyper-V server. 

Differentiate Between VHD and VHDX

Virtual hard disk drives can be complicated. Therefore it’s best to differentiate between VHD and VHDX as these are different types of disks that affect performance. With VHD, you have to create a fixed-size disk so as to achieve maximum performance. When using VHDX, you should create a dynamically expanding disk that should autoscale itself if additional space is required.

Consider Generation 2 VMs over Generation 1 VMs

Keep in mind that you cannot change the virtual machine generation after creating it. Therefore it’s best to use Gen 2 VMs over their Gen 1 counterparts. This is because Gen 2 VMs have a better boot method. You can boot them from the SCSI controller, that’s faster and more secure. On the other hand, Gen 1 VMs boot from the IDE controller only. Moreover, Gen 2 VMs have a maximum boot volume of  64 TB, unlike Gen 1 VMs, with a maximum boot volume of 2 TB.

Close Unnecessary Windows

Always ensure you close all unnecessary windows to maximize Hyper-V performance. First, it’s essential to close the virtual machine connection window once the task is completed. When left open, this window consumes system resources that the hypervisor could utilize for other purposes.

There is another window to minimize is the Hyper-V Manager window. You should close this window to prevent it from consuming system resources. Also, close any other Application Window to ensure you have enough resources for the hypervisor.

Hyper-V Networking Best Practices

Image Source: Microsoft.com

Here are some of the best Hyper-V network best practices to have in mind:

Use IPv6 instead of IPv4

Generation 2 virtual machines use IPv4 by default when booting from a network with PXE. Basically, you have to change this by running the Set-VMFirmware Windows PowerShell cmdlet.

Avoid Creating Many Virtual Switches

Creating a single switch per host is the best approach when using Hyper-V. If you want isolation among virtual machines, creating too many virtual features can lead to processing overhead. Instead, try VLAN tagging, as it helps isolate the network and separate communication between virtual machines in the system.

Implement Hyper-V Network Monitoring

Monitoring with Hyper-V helps both security and performance. There are multiple performance parameters to gauge your network communication, virtual machines, and server performance. Monitoring these parameters helps you identify issues so you can remediate them in real time.

Hyper-V Security Best Practices

Here are some of the best practices for setting up your Hyper-V network:

Install Antimalware Protection

It is recommended to install anti-malware protection to minimize security threats. Besides installing anti-malware, you need to configure it to avoid performance issues within your virtualization environment. Some anti malware tools may impact operations in your infrastructure as they identify such operations as suspicious and block them.

Some anti malware tools scan your virtualization environment during critical operations, increasing the load. This often results in a reduction in performance. To prevent this from happening, you need to check the default settings of the anti malware tool and configure it properly so that it won’t impact your workload performance.

Enable Isolated User Mode

Image Source: Microsoft.com

It’s mandatory to enable isolated user mode if you select ‘Enable Trusted Platform Module’ on hosts that run versions of Windows below Windows 10. However, you don’t have to do this for hosts that run Windows 10 Anniversary Update or Windows Server 2016 or later. The Isolated User Mode has security applications inside the Virtual Secure Mode on the host. The Virtual Secure Mode is for Securing and protecting the virtual TPM chip.

Advantages of Using Hyper-V Hypervisor

When configured well, Hyper-V has numerous advantages. These include: 

Efficient Utilization of Hardware Resources

Hyper-V consolidates servers and reduces workloads by isolating virtual operating systems. Consequently, it uses fewer infrastructure resources such as CPU memory, storage, and low power consumption.

Establishing a Private Cloud Environment

A private cloud environment Is highly secure and scalable. Hyper-V enables you to establish a private cloud environment where you can run mission-critical workloads. You can use a single Hyper-V server as multiple virtual servers.

Simpler Cloud Migration

Hyper-V is a suitable hypervisor to use if you want seamless cloud migration. It allows you to run virtual machines from one host to another without experiencing downtime. This enables live migration that promotes continuous operations in your network.

Seamless Integration Within the Microsoft Ecosystem

Implementing Hyper-V is quite simple if you already use other tools in the Microsoft technology stack. This is because it integrates with other Microsoft products improving your productivity.

Thank you for reading Hyper-V Best Practices (Configuration, Networking & Security). We shall now conclude. 

Hyper-V Best Practices (Configuration, Networking & Security) Conclusion

This is a simple guide to assist you with installing and configuring Hyper-V and setting up your network and security. You will find it easy to use and virtualize your physical IT resources effortlessly if you have a good setup. Hyper-V provides numerous benefits, including efficient development and testing, live cloud migration, and efficient utilization of hardware resources. As long as you implement it correctly, this hypervisor will come in handy for your IT operations.

Avatar for Dennis Muvaa
Dennis Muvaa

Dennis is an expert content writer and SEO strategist in cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. He's also experienced in cybersecurity, big data, and AI.

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