FreeBSD Has Built-In Guest OS Support For Hyper-V – Please Note The Wording!

Microsoft’s Jeff Woolsey just tweeted about a new release of FreeBSD that has built-in support for running as a guest operating system in a Hyper-V virtual machine.

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The release notes for FreeBSD Release 10.0 say:

Major enhancements in virtualization, including the addition of bhyve(8), virtio(4), and native paravirtualized drivers providing support for FreeBSD as a guest operating system on Microsoft Hyper-V.

According to the FreeBSD Wiki, the following Hyper-V features are added to FreeBSD 10.0:

  • Support for integrated shutdown from Hyper-V console.
  • Support for keeping time synchronized between FreeBSD guest and Hyper-V host.
  • Support for Hyper-V specific IDE and SCSI storage devices.
  • Support for Hyper-V specific network adapter.
  • Live migration with and without static IP migration. Note that to enable static IP migration, administrators will need to include the KVP driver and daemon available in FreeBSD 10.0 ports for Hyper-V.

There are also some workarounds to a couple of issues:

  • The Hyper-V integration services are not activated in i386 release of FreeBSD 10.0 due to an oversight during the development process.
  • Device names may change once the Hyper-V storage integration service is installed on FreeBSD.

Now I know what’s going to happen here, because it happened before when the FreeBSD community said that this support was coming. NO ONE with authority has publicly said that Microsoft supports FreeBSD yet, as far as I know. Until then, please ignore any tweets or press reports that claim that Hyper-V supports FreeBSD. The way I read it is that FreeBSD is supporting being used on Hyper-V, and not the other way around. Look at the wording carefully.

What does that mean? FreeBSD probably works great as a guest OS installed into a Hyper-V VM. But if you have an issue with the guest OS’s stability or performance then take it up with the FreeBSD community because Hyper-V does not support FreeBSD.

That won’t change until there is an announcement on a formal Microsoft blog such as Ben Armstrong’s one, the Virtualization Team blog, the Openness Blog, or the Server & Cloud blog. Otherwise, please ignore any claims that Hyper-V supports FreeBSD, even if it says microsoft.com in the URL – I’m being serious about that. Some of the MSFT bloggers and DPEs got carried away with misinterpreting the previous development announcement. Until you see one of the aforementioned blogs clearly saying that “Hyper-V supports FreeBSD” (in that order, not FreeBSD supports Hyper-V) or it’s posted in the official list of supported guest OSs, then FreeBSD is not a supported guest OS on Hyper-V.

On a positive note, this development does open up some interesting possibilities. A number of appliances are based on FreeBSD, including NetApp (Data ONTAP) who I believe were one of the players behind this support. You’ll also see a number of security and networking solutions in the list. Wouldn’t it be nice to see some Hyper-V appliances appearing?!

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