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Layer-9 considerations are prompting a migration from Citrix XenServer to Hyper-V as our shop's virtualization platform of choice. This will require me to migrate our existing virtual machines from XenServer to Hyper-V. A hand full of these VMs are running Debian. Unfortunately, Debian does not seem to be on the list of approved/supported guest operating systems. In fact it seems that running Debian as a guest operating system is rather difficult, although apparently not impossible.

I have two interrelated questions:

  • Does anyone have any experience running a Debian guest on Hyper-V? Is it one of those things where it just will not work at all or is more along the lines of "it will probably work fine, but we won't support it"? Any experience here, positive or negative, would be helpful.
  • How much of a bad idea is it to deviate from Hyper-V's list of supported guest operating systems? Again, is it either basically asking for Bad Things (TM) to happen or is just another instance of "it will probably work fine, but we won't support it"? Or is it somewhere in the middle?

Thank you.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your satisfaction level for running unsupported virtual machines will have a lot to do with what your expectations are. If all you want is something that works in place of a physical machine, with no integration components and modest performance, you'll probably get what you want.

If, however, you want good I/O performance and good console integration, you'll want to install the Hyper-V integration components, which will probably be tougher with an unsupported Linux. Exactly how tough is very situation-dependent.

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Migrating the servers from Xen to Hyper-V is the primary goal, but it would be nice to have integration services. It appears that the 2.6.32 kernel line (which will be included in the upcoming version of Debian 6) includes Microsoft's synthetic Hyper-V drivers. The other option is to manually build the closed source drivers as described in one of the links. It looks like another version of Your Mileage May Vary. –  kce Jan 13 '11 at 18:30

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