Comparing Generation 1 and Generation 2 virtual machines

One of the cool new features in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 was the addition of Generation 1 and Generation 2 virtual machines. Benefits I’ve seen listed for Generation 2 virtual machines include a faster boot time, fewer devices, and boot from SCSI virtual drive. The idea is interesting, but I was curious to see what the impact would be on the user experience so that’s the focus of this blog post. This blog posts the process to create a Generation 2 virtual machine in VMM 2012 R2 and how Generation 2 virtual machines experiences differ with Generation 1 virtual machines.

 

Creation process in VMM 2012 R2:

The creation process was simple through the standard create virtual machine wizard shown below:

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Select a source and then name the virtual machine and choose whether it’s a “Generation 1” or “Generation 2” virtual machine.

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My hosts were shown as valid options to place the VM on as specified.

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As a cool side note, In VMM 2012 R2 I can now specify my SMB3 file share for the disk storage. In VMM 2012 this would display as an option but would not work in my lab environment.

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The rest of the properties show as expected.

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How do Generation 2 virtual machines act differently?

Bootup on a Windows 2012 R2 Generation 2 machine looks different…

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When compared with the same Windows 2012 R2 machine…

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How about the device manager?

Now this is what I was looking for! Device manager on the Generation 2 system is much cleaner than the device manager for a Generation 1 system (running the same Operating System).

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The device manager configuration for a Generation 1 virtual with the same Operating System is shown below.

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Summary: The Generation 2 VM integration works intuitively in VMM and it does appear to cleanup the number of devices in device manager.

 

Good resources on this topic include:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn440675.aspx

http://www.serverwatch.com/server-tutorials/hyper-v-2012-r2-pros-and-cons-of-generation-1-vs.-generation-2-vms.html

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