How to install Hyper-V Integration Services for Easy Cross-Hypervisor Migrations

Overview

I.T. organizations are constantly looking for efficiencies and cost savings in their organization. Migrating VMware VMs to Microsoft Hyper-V is one way that some organizations are looking to save money (by reducing VMware license fees). Other organizations may be looking at migrating AWS VMs to Azure, or even VMware to Azure. Regardless, this article isn’t about whether you will save money by changing platforms, but instead about documenting steps that you will need to take in order to move a Virtual Machine to a Microsoft hypervisor-based platform.

This article is focused on research done by me, for Zerto Virtual Replication customers. We have found that Windows 2012 R2 and 2016 operating systems are usually good to go (if you have problems these steps will work on 2012 as well). Mainly because those OS’s can download the latest integration services from Windows Update, but if you don’t have Windows update enabled use the steps below. Windows 2008 and 2008 R2, however, do NOT have the required drivers build in, and cannot get them from Windows Update. Therefore, these operating systems will need to have the steps from this article applied.

Don’t overcomplicate this procedure

To an operating system, a virtual machine is a real computer, consisting of various hardware components like a motherboard, PCI bus, network card, USB controller, SCSI controller, etc. All of these devices require drivers in order for an operating system to use them properly. Ideally, Microsoft and VMware would have presented the same virtual hardware to the OS… but they didn’t.

If you have ever built your own PC, or are older than 30, then you know that Windows doesn’t always come with all the drivers that you need and you have probably loaded drivers via a disk or some other media in the past. That is the same process that installing Hyper-V Integration Services does for a Hyper-V VM.

So at the end of the day… all we are doing is installing some drivers on a computer.

The goal

By the time you are done with the steps here, our goal is to have a Windows 2008R2 VMware virtual machine that can “wake up” on a Hyper-V cluster with little or no intervention. To be successful we need to assign a new IP address and configure the networking. Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR) is able to orchestrate this migration very easily assuming the Hyper-V integration tools are installed while the VM is on the VMware host. Once Zerto Virtual Replication’s Cardhu release is generally available this procedure should also work for moving AWS VM’s to Azure as well as back on-premises to Hyper-V.

Part 1 – Pre-Migration Steps

To get started I will assume that the Windows 2008R2 VM that you want to migrate is still on your VMware cluster. If you already have it protected with ZVR that is fine.

The next step is to download a specific build of the Hyper-V Integration Services, version 6.3 build 18080. You can search the web forever to find this, or you can download the version that I used from my file server by registering at the bottom of this article. I zipped the cab file up so that it would make it through most corporate filters. Make sure to unzip it, and work with the .cab file in the below steps.

To verify that you have the right version, open the “windows6.x-hypervintegrationservices-x64.cab” file with WinRAR and look at the files inside.

You will see that all files have “6.3.9600.18080” in the filename. If the version number is different, this process WILL NOT WORK.

Once you have the right file, copy it to your Windows 2008 R2 system, I would place it in an easy to get to path or directly on the C:\ drive.

Next, open an elevated command prompt (or powershell prompt) and cd to where ever you placed the cab file. Then execute the following command

dism /online /add-package /packagepath:"C:\windows6.x-hypervintegrationservices-x64.cab"

Then, at the reboot prompt answer “No”.

Expected output from the dism command

What we just did

The dism command is used to add things to a Windows image, for more info check out this MS Doc. So, in this case, we just inserted the required driver files for the Hyper-V “hardware” into our Windows image. When we use Zerto to move the VM from a non-Microsoft platform over to a Microsoft platform, the drivers required will already be included in the OS and it will recognize the new platform automatically.

Part 2 – Monitoring a migration

This part is much easier to explain with a video, so please check out the video below to see what a migration with Zerto from VMware to Hyper-V looks like, as well as what to look for and expect during a successful migration.

In this video, I used the following command on the Hyper-V host to monitor the Key-Value Pair Exchange

Get-VMIntegrationService -VMName "yourVMnameHere"

Takeaway

As you can see, migration from a VMware to Hyper-V couldn’t be easier than with Zerto. The only roadblock is when the guest operating system does not have the required device drivers for the platform you are migrating to. (Coming Soon!) I also have a blog post on how to install VMware Tools on a non-VMware virtual machine, so if you’re trying to migrate to VMware don’t worry I still have you covered! That is one of the greatest things about Zerto, we do not care what platform you have chosen… we want to give you the freedom to take your data to whatever platform you want.

Thanks for reading!

Download the version of Integration Services that works!

 

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