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Windows Server 2012 R2 – Generation 2 virtual machines

February 9, 2014

Windows Server 2012 R2 advances the Hyper-V virtualization platform characteristics :


1. – UEFI-based : Beginning with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, Microsoft Windows now supports the Secure Boot feature of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. 

  • This means that UEFI is now part of the Windows 8 and Windows (UEFI). This means that UEFI is now part of the Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 boot architecture, and it replaces the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface used by previous versions of Windows for initiating the boot process. Generation 2 virtual machines comply with the UEFI Secure Boot standard and enable virtual machines to use Secure Boot.

2. – Legacy free : In previous versions of Hyper-V, virtual machines used a standard set of emulated hardware devices to ensure compatibility running all versions of Windows. 

  • These emulated devices include an AMI BIOS, Intel 440BX chipset motherboard, S3 Trio graphics display adapter, Intel/DEC 21140 network adapter, and so on. 

3. – SCSI boot : Virtual machines in previous versions of Hyper-V needed to boot from integrated development environment (IDE) disks (virtual disks attached to the virtual machine using the IDE controller).

  • Beginning with Windows Server 2012 R2, however, Generation 2 virtual machines can now boot directly from SCSI disks (virtual disks attached to the virtual machine using the SCSI controller). In fact, Generation 2 virtual machines don’t even have an IDE controller! Generation 2 virtual machines can also boot from a SCSI virtual DVD.

4. – Faster deployment : Network-based installation of a guest operating system onto a Generation 2 virtual machine is significantly faster than for the previous generation of Hyper-V virtual machines for two reasons.

  • First, the Legacy Network Adapter device is no longer required (or even supported) by Generation 2 virtual machines. Instead, you can PXE-boot a Generation 2 virtual machine using a standard network adapter. 
  • Second, the SCSI controller performs much better than the legacy IDE controller in the previous generation of virtual machines. The result is that installing a supported guest operating system in a Generation 2 virtual machine takes only about half the time as installing the same guest operating system in a previous generation virtual machine.
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