Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Integration Services

by [Published on 7 March 2013 / Last Updated on 7 March 2013]

In this article, you learn about Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Integration Services and how they enhance virtual machine performance.

 

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Integration Services

In Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V Integration Services (IS) include six components that provide performance enhancements to a child partition (i.e., virtual machine or guest), and additional interoperability between child and parent partitions. Integrations Services are available in a child partition only after they are installed in a supported guest operating systems. It is also possible to update Integration Services after the initial installation, and this is usually recommended when migrating a virtual machine from an older to a newer version of Hyper-V (e.g., Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012), or as new versions of the Integrations Services are released.

Integration Services are installed as user mode components in the guest operating system, and are implemented in the following services:

  • Hyper-V Heartbeat Service (vmicheartbeat)
  • Hyper-V Guest Shutdown Service (vmicshutdown)
  • Hyper-V Data Exchange Service (vmickvpexchange)
  • Hyper-V Time Synchronization Service (vmictimesync)
  • Hyper-V Remote Desktop Virtualization Service (vmicrdv)
  • Hyper-V Volume Shadow-Copy Requestor Service (vmicvss)

Integration Services in a child partition communicate over a Virtual Machine Bus (VMBus) with components in the parent partition virtualization stack that are implemented as virtual devices (VDev). The VMBus supports high-speed, point-to-point channels for secure inter-partition communication between child and parent partitions. A dedicated VDev manages each of the parent partition Integration Services function, just as each dedicated service manages the different Integration Services functions in a child partition. Through this architecture, Integration Services components provide enhanced functionality and performance for mouse, keyboard, display, network, and storage devices installed in a virtual machine.

Hyper-V Heartbeat Service

The hyper-V Heartbeat Service provides a method for the parent partition to verify if a guest operating system running in a child partition becomes unresponsive. The parent partition sends regular heartbeat requests to a child partition and logs an event if a response is not received within a defined time boundary. If a heartbeat response is not received within the expected timeframe, the parent partition will continue to send heartbeat requests and generate events for missing replies.

Hyper-V Guest Shutdown Service

In order to cleanly shutdown a virtual machine without needing to interact directly with the guest operating system through a virtual machine connection or remote desktop protocol (RDP) session, the Hyper-V Guest Shutdown Service provides a virtual machine shutdown function. The shutdown request is initiated from the parent partition to the child partition using a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) call.

Hyper-V Data Exchange Service

The purpose of the Hyper-V Data Exchange Service is to provide a method to set, delete, and enumerate specific information about the virtual machine and guest operating system configuration running in a child partition. This allows the parent partition to set specific data values in the guest operating system and retrieve data for internal use or to provide to third-party management or other tools. Some examples of the information available through the data exchange component include:

  • The major version number of the guest operating system
  • The minor version number of the guest operating system
  • The build number of the guest operating system
  • The version of the guest operating system
  • The processor architecture identifier (e.g., Intel, AMD)
  • The fully qualified DNS name that uniquely identifies the guest operating system

Hyper-V Time Synchronization Service

The Hyper-V Time Synchronization Service provides a method to ensure that a virtual machine running in a child partition can use the parent partition as a consistent and reliable time synchronization source. In particular, this Integration Services component addresses two specific situations:

  • Keeping time synchronized in the guest operating system to account for time-drift in the virtual machine.
  • Restoring a virtual machine from a snapshot or saved state where a significant period has passed since the guest operating system last synched time.

In the last case, a standard network-based protocol could fail to successfully synchronize as the maximum time difference allowed could commonly be exceeded for virtual machine snapshots or even after a saved state.

Hyper-V Remote Desktop Virtualization Service

The Hyper-V Remote Desktop Virtualization Service communicates with the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RDVH) component of Remote Desktop Services to provide a method to manage virtual machines that belong to a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) collection.

Hyper-V Volume Shadow-Copy Requestor Service

For guest operating systems that support Volume Shadow Copy (VSS), the Hyper-V Volume Shadow-Copy Requestor Service allows the parent partition to request the synchronization and quiescence of a virtual machine running in a child partition.

Hyper-V Integration Services Support

Integration Services support a specific set of Windows server and client operating systems, as well as some Linux operating systems. In addition, only a subset of Integration Services components may be supported for some legacy Windows operating systems and Linux distributions. Tables 1 and 2 contain the Integration Services support matrix for supported server operating systems and client operating systems, respectively.

 

Details

Operating System

 

Windows Server 2012

  • Integration Services are built-in to the operating system, and do not require a separate installation.

Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

  • Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, and Web editions are supported.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows Server 2008 R2

  • Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, and Web editions are supported.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows Server 2008 with SP2

  • Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, and Web editions are supported, both 32-bit and 64-bit.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows Home Server 2011

  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows Small

Business Server 2011

  • Essentials and Standard editions are supported.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows Server 2003 R2 with SP2

  • Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, and Web editions are supported.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows Server 2003 SP2

  • Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, and Web editions are supported.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

CentOS 5.7 and 5.8

CentOS 6.0 to 6.3

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 and 5.8

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 to 6.3

Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2

  • Integration Services are built-in to the operating system, and do not require a separate installation.

Open SUSE 12.1

  • Integration Services are built-in to the operating system, and do not require a separate installation.

Ubuntu 12.04

  • Integration Services are built-in to the operating system, and do not require a separate installation.

Table 1: Integration Services Support Matrix for Server Guest Operating Systems

When Linux Integration Services Version 3.4 is installed for supported Linux guest operating systems, the following functionality is available:

  • Time synchronization
  • Guest shutdown
  • Heartbeat
  • Data exchange
  • Optimized network, IDE, and SCSI controllers
  • Symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)
  • Mouse support
  • Live migration
  • Jumbo frames
  • VLAN tagging and trunking

Features that are not supported in Linux Integration Services Version 3.4 include the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Requestor since VSS is not supported in Linux, and also TCP offload. For supported Linux guest operating systems, the data exchange component allows a virtual machine to communicate the following information to Hyper-V:

  • Fully qualified domain name of the virtual machine
  • Linux Integration Services version that is installed
  • IPv4 and IPv6 addresses for all virtual Ethernet adapters
  • Operating system information, including distribution and kernel versions
  • Processor architecture

 

Details

Operating System

 

Windows 8

  • Integration Services are built-in to the operating system, and do not require a separate installation.

Windows 7 with SP1

  • Ultimate, Enterprise, and Professional editions are supported, both 32-bit and 64-bit.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows 7

  • Ultimate, Enterprise, and Professional editions are supported, both 32-bit and 64-bit.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows Vista with SP2

  • Ultimate, Enterprise, and Business editions, including KN and N are supported.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows XP with SP3

  • Professional edition is supported.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Windows XP x64 with SP2

  • Professional edition is supported.
  • Integration Services must be installed after the guest operating system installation in the virtual machine.

Table 2: Integration Services Support Matrix for Client Guest Operating Systems

Hyper-V Integration Services Installation

The installation of Integration Services should be performed after the guest operating system loads for the first time. From the Hyper-V Manager console, launch the Virtual Machine Connection tool to connect to the guest operating system, and then log in with an account that has administrative privileges. After you are logged in, you can select the Insert Integration Services Setup Disk option from the Action menu in the Virtual Machine Connection window. This step will attach an ISO image named vmguest.iso to the virtual machine DVD drive. The installation of Integration Services may begin automatically, or you may have to start the installation manually depending on the virtual machine guest operating system. After the installation is complete, you should restart the virtual machine. You can verify that the Integration Services are installed in the guest operating system by browsing for the Hyper-V services in the Services administration tool,

Conclusion

Hyper-V Integration Services provide a set of components that support important functionality and integration between the Hyper-V parent and child partitions, as well as performance enhancements to core virtual machine devices. You should install the Integration Services to ensure the availability of these services in virtual machine deployments. It is also important to install new versions of the Integration Services when updates are released.

Advertisement

Featured Links