Graphical management user interface option for Microsoft Hyper-V

by [Published on 12 July 2011 / Last Updated on 12 July 2011]

This article provides an overview of the 5nine application, available versions, and feature details.

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with the server core installation option do not support installing and running the Hyper-V Manager like the full installation of Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Hyper-V role. In order to locally manage the virtual machines, 5nine Software has produced a solution called 5nine Manager for Hyper-V. This article provides an overview of the 5nine application, available versions, and feature details.

Introduction

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1 is a free hypervisor-based virtualization platform that does not provide a graphical management user interface; instead it is designed for configuration tasks to be performed using a command line interface. Once the server is configured, Microsoft assumes that you will perform all management remotely using the Hyper-V Manager running on a separate management server.

But what if you want to configure a Hyper-V Server and be able to manage the virtual machines and the host configuration locally from the machine console? This is a valid requirement for a small remote office, in a DMZ environment, or in a backup scenario. Using Microsoft solutions, this is not possible because the MMC framework requires components and graphical APIs that are not available in the Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1 installation or in a Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 server core installation. Recently, 5nine Software, an independent software vendor (ISV), has developed a solution that can be installed locally on a Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1 server, providing a single server solution to manage Hyper-V and virtual machines.

5nine Manager for Hyper-V Versions

5nine Manager for Hyper-V is available in two versions: a free version and a full version. The difference between the two versions comes down to two features that are found only in the full version of the software:

  • Guest remote console connection (local or remote)
  • Virtual network bindings configuration

Both versions of the software are available for evaluation and can be downloaded from the 5nine Software web site.

System Requirements

5nine Manager for Hyper-V is available only in a 64-bit version and supports managing Hyper-V R2 or newer versions. The software can be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, or newer versions (such as the SP1 versions) to manage local or remote Hyper-V servers. It can also be installed on Windows Server 2008 or Windows. In order to install 5nine Manager for Hyper-V, the system must have .NET Framework 3.51 or newer already installed.

Installing 5nine Manager for Hyper-V

After you download the 5nine software from their web site, you will have a single file named 59Manager.exe. To install 5nine Manager for Hyper-V, follow these steps:

  1. Copy the 59Manager.exe file to a directory on the appropriate Hyper-V server.
  2. From a command prompt, launch the 59Manager.exe application.
  3. On the End user License Agreement screen, enable the checkbox next to “I have read this license agreement”, and then click the “Agree” button to continue with the installation procedure.
  4. While prerequisites are checked, if .NET 3.51 is not installed, you have the option to install it automatically.
  5. Select the setup options shown in Figure 1).
    a.       Program Directory - Enter \%Program Files%\5nine\5nine Manager for Hyper-V
    b.       System Path - Select Add This Location To System Path
    c.       Automatic Start – Deselect Automatically Start 5nine Manager When Logon To Windows
    d.       Update Settings - Select Automatically Check For Updates


Figure 1:
5nine Manager Setup Options

You will have to log out, log back in, and then reopen the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V in order for some of the modified settings to take effect.

5nine Manager for Hyper-V Features

Both versions of the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V provide all of the features available in the default Hyper-V Manager console, with additional capabilities.

Feature

Description

File Management

File management interface that provides the ability to perform the following basic operations: Copy, Move, Delete, Create, Open, Edit, Close.

Guest Management

Virtual machine guest management that provides the ability to perform the following operations:  Summary information, Create, Delete, Edit Configuration, Power On, Shutdown, Pause, Save, Reset, Turn Off, Import, Export, Snapshot.

Guest Remote Control

Virtual machine console redirection to interact and manage a virtual machine. Only a single virtual machine console can be viewed at a time.

Server Management

Server configuration management that provides the following operations: Summary Configuration Information, Settings, Roles, Security Settings, Event Logs.

Virtual Network Management

Virtual Network management interface that provides summary information on currently defined virtual networks: Create, Edit, Delete, Modify Configuration, VLAN, Select Physical Network Adapter, Modify Adapter Bindings.

Virtual Disk Management

Virtual Disk management that provides the following capabilities: Create Virtual Hard Disk, Create Virtual Floppy Disk, Edit-Inspect Disk, Compact, Convert, Expand, Merge, Reconnect.

New Virtual Machine Wizard

Step-by-step wizard that walks the user through creating a new virtual machine and gather the following settings: VM name, File Path, Memory, Processors, Networking, Storage Allocation, Summary View.

Performance Monitoring

Host and VM monitoring that provides selectable performance charts for processor, memory, network, storage, and health status information (normal, warning, critical).

Using 5nine Manager for Hyper-V

When you first launch 5nine Manager for Hyper-V, the interface displays the Guest List View as shown in Figure 2. This view presents all of the virtual machines defined on the server, the current health of the server, and the summary status view of the selected virtual machine.

 
Figure 2: Guest List View

There are standard pull-down menu options and a toolbar with shortcut icons that allow you to perform the following operations:

  1. File Menu - Allows you to exit the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V application.
  2. View Menu - Allows you to configure the panel views and define the information that is shown in the left and right panels.
  3. Actions Menu - Provides access to all of the wizards, managers, and server settings.
  4. Tools Menu - Provides access to the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V options.
  5. Help menu - Allows you to check for updates and get online help information.

As an example, in Figure 3, you can see all of the operations that are listed in the Actions menu.


Figure 3:
Action menu from Guest List View

Creating a New Virtual Machine

Using the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V to create a virtual machine is very simple. You can use the Actions menu to launch the Create New Virtual Machine wizard, or just press the F7 key. Upon launch, the wizard displays the Before You Begin page as shown in Figure 4.


Figure 4: Create New Virtual Machine Wizard

The next step to create a new virtual machine is to define the virtual machine display name and the location where the virtual machine will be stored. Figure 5 shows the option available on the Specify Name and Location page.


Figure 5: Specify Name and Location Page

Next, the wizard displays the Assign Memory page as shown in Figure 6. On this page, you can define the amount of memory that will be allocated to the virtual machine.


Figure 6: Assign Memory Page

The Configure Network page is then displayed as shown in Figure 7. This page allows you to define the networking configuration for the virtual machine.


Figure 7:
Configure Networking Page

The Connect Virtual Hard Disk page shown in Figure 8 allows you to define the virtual hard disk to attach to the virtual machine. You can define a new virtual hard disk to be created, use an existing virtual hard disk, or decide to attach a virtual hard disk at a later date if you are using direct access to LUNs.


Figure 8:
Connect Virtual Hard Disk Page

The Installation Options page shown in Figure 9 allows you to select the installation option for the guest operating system. You can install from media or ISO file, from a floppy drive, over the network via PXE, or decide to install the operating system at a later time.


Figure 9: Installation Options Page

On the Summary page shown in Figure 10, you can review all of the selected options for the virtual machine creation, go back and make changes, or select Finish to create the virtual machine using the current settings.


Figure 10: Virtual Machine Creation Options

After the virtual machine is created, the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V Console, shown in Figure 11, will display it in the virtual machines list along with summary information.


Figure 11:
Virtual Machine Summary View

After creating a new virtual machine, the Actions menu, shown in Figure 12, displays new options available to manage the virtual machine as well as the default options.


Figure 12: Actions Menu After Virtual Machine Creation

You can select to start the virtual machine through the Actions menu or by right-clicking the virtual machine name and selecting Start. After the virtual machine is started, you can open the VM Guest console window by right-clicking the VM name and selecting Open Guest Console.

From the guest console, as shown in Figure 13, you can start, turn-off, shutdown, save, pause, reset, and resume a virtual machine. You cannot snapshot a VM from the Guest Console, however you can using the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V user interface.


Figure 13:
Virtual Machine Guest Console

When you start the virtual machine, additional information and management options are available in the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V user interface. These are accessible through the five tabs at the top of the right-hand view as shown in Figure 14.


Figure 14: Virtual Machine Tabs

The Status tab, shown in Figure 15, provides a view of the current status, configuration, and basic resource information for the virtual machine.


Figure 15: Status Tab view

The Management tab, shown in Figure 16, provides details about the virtual machine configuration and options for managing the virtual machine.


Figure 16: Management Tab View

The Hardware tab, shown in Figure 17, provides the details on the current hardware configuration. You can manage the BIOS, CPU, Memory, Storage, Networking, Floppy disk, DVD, and COM ports.


Figure 17: Hardware Tab View

The Snapshots tab, shown in Figure 18, provides a view of the hierarchy of snapshots for the virtual machine and the current location in the snapshot tree. From this view, you can create new snapshots, delete snapshots, and apply snapshots to the virtual machine.


Figure 18: Snapshots Tab View

The Performance tab, shown in Figure 19, provides a view of the performance of the virtual machine. Performance information for the processor, network interfaces and storage is displayed. If more than one instance of a processor, network interface card, or disk drive exists, you must select an instance to see the associated details.


Figure 19: Performance Tab View

Managing Hyper-V Settings

In addition to Virtual Machine configuration settings, 5nine Manager for Hyper-V provides a management interface, shown in Figure 20, to manage the configuration settings for the Hyper-V host. To launch the Hyper-V settings page, you can use the Actions menu and select Hyper-V Server Settings.


Figure 20: Hyper-V Settings

The Hyper-V Server Settings will allow you to manage the default location for virtual hard disk files, virtual machine configuration files, and modify the MAC address pool that is assigned to the server.

Conclusion

In this article, you were provided with an overview of the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V that allows local management of Hyper-V and virtual machine resources on a Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 R2 server core installation with the Hyper-V role installed. The interface provides all the features of the Microsoft Hyper-V manager console. For Hyper-V server installations where you need to locally manage the virtual machine resources without installing Hyper-V with the Windows GUI, or for locations where it is not possible to manage the Hyper-V servers using a VMM installation, the 5nine Manager for Hyper-V is an ideal tool to consider.

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