Engineering: Install Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 onto a USB Drive

Summary

A short guide on creating bootable USB media for Hyper-V 2012 R2

Hyper-V Server 2012 vs Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V – Backround information on Hyper-V 2012 and support impact of using flash memory to host Hyper-V on USB.

Requirements – Highlights the requirements for creating and installing the media

Set up technician client – Preparing client to perform installation to USB

Installing Hyper-V 2012 R2 – Installation of Hyper-V 2012 R2

Hyper-V Server 2012 vs Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V

I think first we should clarify what product line we are referring to in this article.

This guide refers to Hyper-V Server 2012 (the free hypervisor) not Windows Server 2012 (full blown windows server you will generally run on your VM’s) with the Hyper-V role installed.

These are 2 different products with very different footprints.

In fact while it is entirely possible to install Windows Server 2012 on a USB device it is not a supported practice by Microsoft and you will find it is not mentioned in any official Microsoft documentation.

Furthermore Microsoft also only supports installations performed by OEM manufacturers, the official wording is:

“This section is intended to give guidance for OEM partners as to the optimal hardware design for a boot from flash solution with Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2”

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee731893(WS.10).aspx

While open to interpretation you may invalidate your support, this is something you need to check with your licensing compliance organisation as to the impact to your business for your production environment.

As such i would recommend only use this implementation in a development/engineering environment only.

While not part of this article another consideration to take into account is that if you invest in a Datacenter edition license of Windows Server 2012 R2 and install the Hyper-V role you are able to spin up an unlimited number of Server 2012 instances at no extra cost.

Brian Posey created a nice article of the differences when using either product in the enterprise space, it can be found here:
http://www.virtualizationadmin.com/articles-tutorials/microsoft-hyper-v-articles/general/it-better-run-hyper-v-windows-server-or-standalone-hypervisor.html

Requirements

Minimum Hyper-V 2012 R2 Requirement
Memory 512MB
Processors 2
Processor Technologies Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI

Please note the above is obviously only for the Hypervisor itself, it is unlikely to be enough to run virtual machines.

Minimum flash drive size: 16Gb (32Gb recommended)

A client running Windows 8 or Server 2012 R2 is required to act as a technician machine.

Deployment tools from the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (previously WAIK)

A full list of requirements can be found in this TechNet article

Set up technician client

  1. Download and install Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit
    This will download the deployment tools to your chosen folder
  2. Install Windows Deployment Tools-x86_en-us.msi from your download directory
  3. Download Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2

Installing Hyper-V 2012 R2

Unfortunately installing hyper-v is not quite as straight forward as VMWare ESXi, most of the setup is done using commands.

Rather than re-invent the wheel Terry Lau has a great step by step on how to create the boot media here:

http://terrytlslau.tls1.cc/2014/01/installing-hyper-v-server-2012-r2-to.html

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