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How Hyper is your V?

Looking at virtualizing some environments? Make sure your hardware can handle the job.

Hyper-V is hot. And best of all, if you've got Windows Server 2008, it's fairly likely that you've already got it in-house for no extra charge. So, there's little reason not to at least consider using it.

Well, at least there's little reason if your hardware can support it.

What's not well-known about Hyper-V is that it requires some fairly stringent hardware components to be present if it's to function on your existing server hardware.

First up is the requirement for x64-based processors. If your system doesn't support x64 with an installed x64 version of Windows Server 2008, you'll see a failure to launch. Now, this requirement is relatively known around virtualization circles, but you may not be aware that hardware-assisted virtualization extensions and hardware Data Execution Prevention (DEP) are also required.

For the virtualization extensions, your server's processors must support Intel's VT or AMD's AMD-V capabilities. For DEP, the Intel XD bit or AMD NX bit must be available and enabled.

Note that for some server models the hardware-based virtualization extensions are not always enabled by default. You may need to dig into your BIOS to locate and enable the extensions. Once enabled, you may need to power down -- as opposed to restart -- the machine to fully enable them.

Figuring out if your server supports all these needs is made easier with a free verification tool by Steve Gibson called SecurAble. This tool gives you a graphical heads-up to let you know if your hardware is ready to get your V all Hypered Up.

About the Author

Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.

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