Most everything we get told at MVP Summit is under NDA, but this is an exception. In fact, Ben Armstrong asked a few of us to blog about this last night at the Summit party.
The new generation of Hyper-V Manager (Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1) can be used to manage Hyper-V of the most recent generation (Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8).
This is a first for Hyper-V. We’ve always needed to use a matching version of Hyper-V Manager on our PC. For example, you needed RSAT for Windows 7 to manage W2008 R2 Hyper-V from your PC. Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 introduced an anomaly; Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade from Windows 8 so it was expected that many administrators would upgrade their PCs. However, Windows server is not a free upgrade and businesses are often slower to upgrade servers OSs, even on hosts. This could lead to a situation where an IT department upgrades their PCs but could no longer use their shiny new 8.1 Hyper-V Manager to manage their recently new WS2012 hosts.
The new Hyper-V Manager won’t do anything noticeably different (with one tiny exception for the eagle-eyed) when you use it normally. The GUI calls either the 2012 or the 2012 R2 binaries depending on the generation of the host you are configuring. That teeny exception? Hyper-V snapshots will appear as “snapshots” in the UI for 2012 hosts, and they’ll appear as “checkpoints” (the new term to cause less confusion) for 2012 R2 hosts.
There is one thing to be careful of and this will affect very few people. A few people launch the connect tool by running the executable directly. I’ve only ever done this by accident when searching for “Hyper-V” on Windows 8/8.1. I normally launch connect from Hyper-V Manager or Failover Cluster Manager. If you do run this tool directly, then you need to run VMCONNECT.EXE for the older host versions and run VMCONNECT.6.2.EXE for VMs running on Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 hosts.
Note that everything I have said here for Hyper-V Manager also applies to Failover Cluster Manager. The clustering team used the same approach as the Hyper-V team.
And no, you cannot manage legacy versions such as W2008 R2. This is because of significant changes to the underlying WMI; WS2012 introduced WMIv2.
And before you ask: you need VMM 2012 R2 to manage WS2012 R2 Hyper-V from System Center.