First things first – what is Hyper-V? Hyper-V is Microsoft's answer to hardware virtualization. This technology allows you to create and run virtual machines that can operate as a standalone computing system and share hardware resources among themselves. It provides you with a cost-effective solution to run multiple isolated systems on a single physical hardware and save resource costs and time.
Microsoft Hyper-V allows you to make the best use of your available resources, scale your cloud computing capabilities, provide backups, and carry out efficient development and testing operations. While Hyper-V enables all of this, it is your job to optimize the overall performance and ensure you do take full advantage of your virtualization systems.
To do so, you need to continuously monitor the various facets of a virtualization system like memory usage, resource utilization, inventory management, network management, and more. Let us give you a heads up on the monitoring reports and trackable parameters you should check out when running a well-managed and optimized virtualization environment.
Hyper-V management tools and components
Understanding the technology behind the Hyper-V Manager can be a good start to managing your Hyper-V based virtualization applications. Hyper-V provides a hardware level virtualization that allows you to create isolated environments to run your virtual machines. It coordinates the interactions between the virtual and hardware machines.
The Hyper-V solution consists of:
- Windows hypervisor application
- Virtualization service provider (VSP)
- Hyper-V Virtual machine management service
- The virtualization WMI provider
- Virtual infrastructure driver (VDI)
- The virtual machine bus (VMbus)
All of these parts should be installed to make use of the Hyper-V technology. Besides these core parts, you can also install additional Hyper-V tools like HyperV manager, HyperV module for Windows PowerShell, Hyper-VM connection, and PowerShell Direct to manage and monitor your Hyper-V virtualization environments.
Major resource utilization parameters
Every processing task and software application demands certain resource requirements for optimized performance. You will need to recognize these requirements and any relevant dependencies early on and monitor the VMs to ensure these requirements don't cross the threshold values and workload is managed for optimized performance. Some of the significant parameters to consider are:
The RAM allocated for each VM should be adequate for the applications running in the VM.
The storage capacity and speed should be monitored
If applications are particularly CPU intensive, you will have to look into alternative solutions like using multiple CPUs and efficient load sharing for better performance.
The network requirements of the VMs must be identified. If a VM needs to access other systems or the Internet, the required network speed and traffic generated should be handled properly.
Most basic monitoring tools will have provisions to monitor the resources mentioned above utilization parameters. For more advanced monitoring, it is highly recommended to make use of custom monitoring scripts and HyperV monitoring tools to generate specialized and customized reports, which we will discuss below.
Reports you must track
Here is a list of reports that you must track in your Microsoft Hyper-V environment:
Inventory reports give details on the physical resources and the corresponding Hyper-V versions. You either write your PowerShell scripts. Additionally, you can also make use of Microsoft PowerShell scripts to generate inventory reports in both plain text and HTML format according to what fits you the best.
The Hyper-V inventory tool from Microsoft is a free tool that can provide a lot of information about the inventory status and utilization by your Hyper-V Virtual machines. It has five modes, namely:
- Cluster full inventory
- Localhost inventory
- Cluster only inventory
- VM Inventory cluster
- VM inventory host
Each of the modes provides in-depth reports on the corresponding inventory usage and management.
Performance reports can give details on the CPU usage and throughput for each VM. The best way to measure the performance and CPU usage of a VM is to measure it with the help of an external tool rather than the task managers within a VM.
As VMs operate as logically isolated environments, the actual CPU usage should be monitored via any external monitoring tool. A monitoring tool should be able to collect the usage logs and compare it with your established benchmark so as to make timely actions for improving the performance.
Network performance reports
These reports give information on network performance and speed. Most tools use the counter Network Interface (*) Output Queue Length to monitor network usage. When counter value reaches beyond the average threshold, it means that the network performance is lagging. Some parameters monitored via network reports include network availability, performance, and connected devices.
Memory and storage reports
When applications are run for a long time, the cache memory might get used up and cause slow performance. The memory reports can give you the information on available free memory, used memory, and cache memory, so you can adjust the priority levels for each VM and manage the workload efficiently.
Storage reports can give you information on the disk IO details, disk latency, partition details like free space, used space, and so on.
Hyper-V monitoring tools
Get acquainted with the Hyper-V monitoring tools like:
- Hyper-V hypervisor
- Hyper-V hypervisor partition
- Hyper-V virtual IDE controller
- Hyper-V virtual machine summary
- Hyper-V Virtual Network Adapter
- Hyper-V Virtual machine bus
- Hyper-V Hypervisor logical processor
The Hyper-V logical processor performance counters can be effectively used to identify performance bottlenecks via CPU usage monitoring. These tools offer basic monitoring functionalities. For advanced computing needs and monitoring huge virtual machine systems, you can use cloud-based monitoring tools or powerful dashboards.
Choosing the right tool is important to facilitate cost-savings, and make the best use of hardware investment in the form of consolidated servers and more. Taking the right choice will help you to ensure a flawless virtualization environment that is in line with your organization’s needs.
We recommend you analyze your requirements properly and choose a tool that fits your needs the best. You might also take help of professionals to choose a solution that meets the desired goals.
Yusuf Ozturk, Co-Founder and Chief Software Architect, VirtualMetric