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Microsoft Releases SP1 for Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, Microsoft's standalone server virtualization solution, got its first service pack on Tuesday.

Service Pack 1 (SP1) includes the same two features -- "dynamic memory" and "RemoteFX" -- that were highlighted in Windows Server 2008 R2's SP1, which became available in February. According to Microsoft's announcement, both features can be leveraged to support virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) scenarios.

Dynamic memory allows IT environments to allocate hardware memory resources on the fly to virtual machines running on the host hardware. It uses "dynamic memory balancing" to distribute memory resources without service disruptions, according to Microsoft. The company claims, the feature can be used to improve virtual machine density by up to 40 percent.

RemoteFX is a technology that Microsoft acquired from Callista Technologies in 2008. It enables rich application performance on thin-client devices using VDI technology. Software applications run in virtual machines in a datacenter and are accessed remotely on the devices via Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services (formerly "Terminal Services"). Microsoft suggests that even graphics-intensive 3-D CAD programs can run on thin clients using RemoteFX technology.

Installing SP1 on Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 will make both dynamic memory and RemoteFX available on the server. However, Microsoft's announcement adds a caveat that RemoteFX requires further configuration of the host to work. Users should first verify the hardware requirements to run RemoteFX and then check that the latest 3-D graphics card drivers are installed. The announcement cites a few other steps to get RemoteFX working.

Users can manage the dynamic memory and RemoteFX features in a number of ways, according to Microsoft. They can use the manager user interface "on a full version of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1." Remote server administration tools for Windows 7 and Windows 7 SP1 can be used. They can also use System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 SP1 or the new beta of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, which was announced last month.

Microsoft describes Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1 as a "free download," and it can be accessed here.

No Client Access Licenses (CALs) from Microsoft are required to use Hyper-V Server. A Microsoft FAQ explains that "CALs are only required for Windows Server and all Windows Server images that are virtualized, regardless of the virtualization platform." The system requirements are described here, but running Hyper-V Server basically requires Windows as a supported guest operating system.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.