My Experiences with HyperV and Linux

I thought I would post a few tidbits about my recent experience with HyperV and various Linux distributions.  As some of you know, I self host my websites on my Windows 2008 R2 server at my house.  In the past 6 months or so, I have rotated through many different linux distributions to host my websites, but each attempt ended with abject failure.

I have tried the following combinations of distributions and HyperV extensions:

  • Ubuntu 9.04 using the Microsoft HyperV extensions
  • Ubuntu 9.10 using the 2.6.32 kernel modules
  • Ubuntu 10.04 using the 2.6.32 kernel modules
  • Debian Lenny using the 2.6.32 kernel modules
  • CentOS 5.4 using the Microsoft HyperV extension v2
  • CentOS 5.4 using the Microsoft HyperV extension v2.1
  • Debian Lenny without using any extensions
  • CentOS 5.4 without using any extensions
  • Ubuntu 9.04 without using any extensions
All of these were running the 64-bit version of the operating system, but I also tried a 32-bit version to the same avail.  Each attempt ended with a system failure (kernel_hung_task) usually after about 2~3 days.  This is running on hardware that can handle a full Windows 2008 R2 load or an individual Linux install with no hiccups.  I allocated each VM 100 GB hard drive partition, the synthetic NIC device (on those running extensions, otherwise the legacy NIC was used), and 3 GB of RAM.  The systems that did not exhibit the kernel_hung_task error just stopped functioning in a hung state without any logging of any type.

Running VMWare, Virtual PC, or VirtualBox works just fine - other than the inconvenience of having to use an application type of virtualization versus a hypervisor-based system.

So where does that leave me?  I no longer use HyperV for running Linux boxen.  HyperV works wonderfully for Windows-based systems and (much) earlier Linux builds (i.e., I’m running a Fedora Core 9 box at work for spam filtering that has no hiccups, but running a Fedora 12 box causes the system hang issues).