Since the release of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V uptake has surged through IT organizations of all sizes. While the latest release of vSphere 6.0 has jumped ahead of Hyper-V scalability for the moment that is sure to change as Microsoft readies Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V. Today both platforms are clearly capable of running the most demanding virtualization workloads.

Hyper-V Host Performance Tips

Hyper-V offers extreme scalability with VM’s of up to 64 vCPUs and 1 TB of RAM. However, in order to maximize the performance of your Hyper-V platform there are several best practices that you should follow for the both the Hyper-V host and VM guests. For the host:

  • Reserve the parent partition for Hyper-V — Do not run other roles or applications in the parent partition. The parent platform should be reserved for managing Hyper-V. Running other applications in it will degrade of the performance of all your VMs
  • Reserve 1GB for Hyper-V partition – The parent partition needs RAM to manage the various VMs and worker threads. Don’t allocate all of the available RAM to the VMs.
  • Don’t over allocate your cores – For maximum performance ensure the each VM has a physical core to handle its workload. A rule of thumb for the best VM performance is 1 CPU core per vCPU.
  • Don’t run Hyper-V Manager all the time – Hyper-V Manager is an application and will take resources form your VMs. Don’t leave it up all the time. It’s better to manage Hyper-V from a networked system.

Hyper-V Guest VM Performance Tips

For the guest Hyper-V VMs you should:

  • Use enlighten guest OSes – Enlightened OS can take advantage of higher performance synthetic drivers that use fewer host CPU cycles.
  • Consider separating the paging file from the boot drive – Separating the I/O of the paging file can help improve VM performance. Use a VHD or VHDX that is sized at 1.5x the VM RAM.
  • Don’t use checkpoints on production servers – Checkpoints are great for test, lab and help desk systems but they increase I/O requirements which will degrade the performance of production servers.

Register for IT/Dev Connections 2015!

Hopefully this gives you an idea of some of the high points that you can look into to maximize Hyper-V’s performance. At this year’s IT/Dev Connections conference at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas I’ll be covering the topic of Hyper-V performance in much more detail in my session Hyper-V Performance and Dynamic Memory. You can the following discount code to get a cool $100 off your registration fee.

Discount code: ITDCOTEY15 ($100 off)

Register here: IT/Dev Connections 2015