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Overview of Hyper-V

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2


For information about Hyper-V in Windows ServerĀ® 2012, see

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 enables you to create a virtualized server computing environment. You can use a virtualized computing environment to improve the efficiency of your computing resources by utilizing more of your hardware resources. This is possible because you use Hyper-V to create and manage virtual machines and their resources. Each virtual machine is a virtualized computer system that operates in an isolated execution environment. This allows you to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on one physical computer.


Hyper-V is a hypervisor-based virtualization technology that requires specific hardware. For more information about the requirements and other considerations, see the following:

What does Hyper-V do?

Hyper-V provides software infrastructure and basic management tools that you can use to create and manage a virtualized server computing environment. This virtualized environment can be used to address a variety of business goals aimed at improving efficiency and reducing costs. For example, a virtualized server environment can help you:

  • Reduce the costs of operating and maintaining physical servers by increasing your hardware utilization. You can reduce the amount of hardware needed to run your server workloads.

  • Increase development and test efficiency by reducing the amount of time it takes to set up hardware and software and reproduce test environments.

  • Improve server availability without using as many physical computers as you would need in a failover configuration that uses only physical computers.

Who will be interested in this role?

Hyper-V can be useful to you if you are:

  • An IT administrator, planner, or designer.

  • An IT architect responsible for computer management and security throughout your organization.

  • An IT operations manager who is looking for ways to reduce the total cost of ownership of their server infrastructure, in terms of both power costs and management costs.

  • A software developer or tester who is looking for ways to increase productivity by reducing the time it takes to build and configure a server for development or test use.

What are the key features of Hyper-V?

The key features of Hyper-V are as follows:

  • 64-bit native hypervisor-based virtualization.

  • Ability to run 32-bit and 64-bit virtual machines concurrently.

  • Uniprocessor and multiprocessor virtual machines.

  • Virtual machine snapshots, which capture the state, data, and hardware configuration of a running virtual machine. Because snapshots record system states, you can revert the virtual machine to a previous state.

  • Large virtual machine memory support.

  • Virtual local area network (VLAN) support.

  • Microsoft Management Console (MMC) management snap-in.

  • Documented Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) interfaces for scripting and management.

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2 adds the following features:

  • Live migration

  • Dynamic virtual machine storage

  • Enhanced processor support

  • Enhanced networking support

For more information about the new Hyper-V features included in Windows Server 2008 R2, see What's New in Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2. For more information about the WMI interfaces, see Virtualization WMI Provider (