Virtualizing Windows Made Fast and Easy | SUSE Communities

Virtualizing Windows Made Fast and Easy


Shortly after our latest release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP1 at the end of last year, we also released the accompanying paravirtualized Windows drivers. They are bundled together in the SUSE Linux Enterprise Virtual Machine Driver Pack.

We have always worked with our partners to ensure that SUSE’s implementation of the KVM and Xen hypervisors operate as a perfect host for workloads running their offerings. For Microsoft Windows environments we do this by developing a bundle of paravirtualized network, bus and block device drivers for both KVM and Xen, called the “Virtual Machine Driver Pack” (VMDP). These drivers are fully WHQL-certified and are utilized during Microsoft’s SVVP testing to ensure their proper interoperability. These efforts guarantee that Microsoft will honor your support contracts when running Windows workloads as a virtual machine on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Enterprises using the SUSE Linux Enterprise Virtual Machine Driver Pack can run fully virtualized Windows workloads on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with near-native performance.

Let me dive into some of the enhancements and new features we offer in the latest release of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Virtual Machine Driver Pack 2.3. We improved and enabled support for the latest SUSE Linux Enterprise Server releases,12 SP1 and 11 SP4. Our long-standing relationship with Microsoft allows for top-notch support for the Windows Server releases, including 2008R2 and 2012R2. In addition, we added support for Microsoft Windows 10. Of course, we continue our joint effort and will enable the next Windows releases soon after they are released to the market.

The installation of the VMDP drivers is trivial and fast. It is also similar to the installation process for other Windows software and should be familiar to everyone who is used to Windows environments:

VMDP Installation

After installation, you can view the state of the optimized drivers through the Windows Device Manager (notably, paravirtualized drivers for block and network devices):

VMDP Device Drivers

In case an interaction between the guest operating system and hypervisor is needed (for instance, when advanced file system operations are required), a component called the “Guest Agent,” provides this functionality.. We have supported this feature for some time, and in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP1 it has been improved with additional features, such as support for named pipes.

VMDP Guest Agent

Other news worth mentioning includes the addition of memory statistics in the virtio balloon driver; a unified driver model which eases migration between hypervisors (such as Xen to KVM); and several bug fixes in such places as memory ballooning, hibernation, block and scsi drivers and the setup process.

Our continuous improvements in the VMDP drivers for Windows guests running on top of Linux demonstrates our strategy of ensuring interoperability with other operating systems and vendors and emphasizes our commitment to providing choice and flexibility to everyone running a data center. We hope you like this release and benefit from the enhancements offered in this new version.

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