I’m a Hyper-V Fanboy.

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I love Hyper-V Server 2012 R2.

There. I said it. I’m a MacBook wielding LAMP stack developing, open source evangelist and I still think It’s probably the best solution I’ve seen for small business visualization, and here’s why.


It’s free. Not free as in freedom, but free as in free beer. For once in the history of Microsoft’s licensing swamp, this water is clear. The only thing I would consider a “gotcha” is unless you’re a powershell ninja, you’ll need a windows 8.1 computer (or VM) to manage your hyper-v environment.


Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is a “core” installation product which means after it’s installed and configured you are presented with a command prompt and powershell window, there is no GUI and I think that’s a HUGE advantage. Without windows GUI you get a number of benefits including

  • Improved security

    • The obvious security enhancement is that the average person could sit down in front of this machine and have no idea how to operate it. Less chances for accidental deletes, reboots, shutdowns.

    • The less obvious is that most of Window’s software exploits are introduced through the GUI components

  • Less hardware demand

    • The Windows GUI in it’s current state eats up on average 1.5GB of RAM and several additional CPU clock cycles, without the GUI installed you get noticeable gains from your guest operating systems.


There are tons of freely available type 1 hypervisors out there, so why am I so enamored with Hyper-V 2012 R2? Metal to metal, dissimilar hardware replication without shared storage. It’s exactly as great as it sounds too, you can configure your “Source” (Primary) server to replicate to any other Hyper-V 2012 R2 box over tcp/ip, it could be on the other side of the building, other side of the state, or other side of the world without the need for a SAN or NAS. It can also be configured to keep hourly (up to 24) incremental failover images that can boot up in a matter of minutes, which makes a real dent in the often lacking DR strategies for small and medium businesses.  I’ll caution you with the normal disclaimers that replication is not a backup, but a backup is not replication either. If you only have backups your clients face hours of downtime and recovery time, if you only have replication you’ll have no way to step back further than it’s oldest image.


If you’re not already visualizing your workloads you should be, and for the cost of a Windows 8.1 management computer you could save tons on licensing, and tons of heartache in the event of a disaster through replication. Hyper-V 2012 R2 is by far and away my first choice for visualization for my clients big and small, but I’d love to hear your experiences with it. Let me know in the comments what software you prefer and why, I’d really enjoy learning from your experiences.


Jimmy Simpson III

I work small and micro businesses (between 1 and 75 users). I offer WordPress Development, Virtual IT Director Services, System Administration and Web Hosting.

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