Hyper-V Integration Services


Welcome to the ITFreeTraining video on Integration
Services. Integration Services is software provided with Hyper-V designed to provide
the user with the best possible experience when using Hyper-V. To put it simply, Integration Services is
a suite of drivers and utilities for use with Hyper-V virtual machines. Hyper-V Integration Services enhances the
performance of the virtual machine’s guest operating system and optimizes the drivers
of the virtual environments to provide a better experience. The suite augments virtual machine management
by replacing generic operating system driver files. Some examples include those for the
mouse and video. Further, it synchronizes time between the guest and host operating
systems and can allow file interoperability and a heartbeat function to monitor the virtual
machine. Let’s consider a virtual machine. There
will be an operating system installed on the virtual machine, in this case Windows 8.1.
In order to access hardware resources, the operating system uses device drivers. Without integration services installed, the
hardware is emulated. This means in order to access the virtual hardware, it must first
go through emulated hardware. In contrast, if integration services is installed, the
operating system accesses the virtual hardware directly. This gives a performance boost,
but this is not the only advantage of using integration Services. The most noticeable feature is that it allows
unrestricted mouse movements. As shown here, the mouse pointer is not able to move outside
the virtual machine Window. In order to release it, the ctrl alt and left arrow must be pressed.
Integration Services allows seamless movement between the virtual machine and the desktop
without having to use a keyboard shortcut to release the mouse. If you are using a newer
operating system, you may notice that you have unrestricted mouse movement even though
you have not installed integration services. This is because the newer operating systems
have integration services pre-installed. However, it is recommended that you check the version
that is being used, to make sure that it is the newest version. There is also a component that improves video
performance and adds additional video features. Without the additional software installed,
we are limited to the basic video features, and video updates on the virtual machine can
be sluggish. The next feature that it adds is a heartbeat
service. Using the heartbeat service, the host can monitor the virtual machine. If the
virtual machine was to crash or become unresponsive, the host will not receive a heartbeat from
the virtual machine and will know something has happened to it. In this case, the host
could be programmed to power cycle the virtual machine or alert an administrator, depending
on how the administrator wanted this handled. Integration Services adds data exchange ability
between the host and virtual machine. Using data exchange, the client can pass information
to the host like host name, OS Version and build number. This information helps Hyper-V
manage the virtual machine. For example, configuring performance options based on the virtual machine
that is running. We will also find support for time synchronization
between the host and the virtual machine. With this feature, the host will ensure all
the virtual machines are set to the time configured on the host. We can also achieve the same
result using time synchronization software on the virtual machine. It is up to the administrator
to decide if they want to use this feature. Another feature is improved snapshot performance.
A snapshot allows the virtual machine state to be saved and then recalled later on. The
virtual machine will be returned to the same state when restored including what was in
memory. Snapshots are still available without this feature; however, when preforming a snapshot,
there may be a noticeable delay on the virtual machine when the snapshot is performed. That
is, the virtual machine may stall for a period of time. The last feature is remote desktop virtualization.
This allows management to be performed with the virtual machine using remote desktop.
With all the additional remote management features in Windows Server 2012, this allows
better management in Windows Server 2012, assuming that the operating system supports
the installation of Integration Services. Shown here are all the operating systems that
Integration Services supports. Essentially everything from Windows XP and Windows Server
2003 and above is supported. With the older operating systems, you will need to install
a service pack before you can install Integration Services. With Linux, only certain distributions
are supported. If your operating system is not listed, you can still install that operating
system however the performance of the virtual machine may be reduced since emulated hardware
will need to be used. Thanks for watching this video on integration
Services for Hyper-V. In upcoming videos, we will look at how to install integration
services in Windows and Linux. Until those videos, thanks for watching and see you next
time.

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