July 24, 2013, 6:14 AM — Hyper-V 3.0 was perhaps the shiniest of the shining-star features of Windows Server 2012. A number of new capabilities, plus enhancements to existing ones, promise to make Windows Server 2012 R2 an even stronger candidate for the majority of virtualization tasks most organizations need to support. Windows Server 2012 R2 also brings a number of new features to the table specifically aimed at integration with cloud-based services and building out hybrid cloud scenarios.
For larger Hyper-V environments, Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) is the management tool of choice. Managing more than a few virtual machines (VMs) using Hyper-V Manager will quickly become untenable, and almost impossible at any scale. However, it's worth noting that SCVMM 2012 R2 can't perform all tasks supported by Hyper-V Manager at this point in time. This list includes some new R2 features, such as exporting a running VM. Whether these features make it into the final release of SCVMM 2012 R2 remains to be seen.
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At least one change to terminology makes function naming more consistent. In the world of Hyper-V, the term "snapshot" has meant a point-in-time image of a system for later use, should it be necessary to roll back to a previous version. SCVMM has used the term "checkpoint" for the same functionality. Now, whereas Hyper-V Manager in Windows Server 2012 still called it a "snapshot," Hyper-V Manager in the R2 release calls it a "checkpoint." The only remaining exception is the PowerShell command Export-VMSnapshot. You'll also find a Checkpoint-VM cmdlet that will take a snapshot of the specified VM. For all intents and purposes, a checkpoint is the same as a snapshot from previous releases.
A number of features fall into the "new" category in Hyper-V 2012 R2. We'll look at them individually with an eye toward how each makes things easier or faster.