Hyper-V monitoring: tools, metrics, and best practices
Developed by Microsoft, Hyper-V is a virtualization platform that enables organizations to create and manage virtual machines (VMs) on a Windows-based host operating system. Managing multiple virtual machines on a single physical machine allows each machine to run its own applications on its own respective operating system.
There are several reasons businesses may adopt Hyper-V infrastructure over physical machines, including scalability, OS flexibility, and remote workforce support. However, virtual environments come with their challenges, including performance limitations, reduced efficiency, and unique security risks.
As more organizations turn to virtual machine hardware, integrating virtualization monitoring into your remote monitoring and management strategy is more important than ever. Mastering Hyper-V monitoring can help you stay ahead of the evolving technology landscape and serve a larger, more diverse customer base.
Why Hyper-V requires advanced monitoring
While Hyper-V comes with many advantages, there are some nuances and added complexities when it comes to monitoring virtual environments. Some additional considerations MSPs should keep in mind include:
- Slow user experience. VMs may be slow to open applications or respond to commands due to insufficient hardware resources. This can be frustrating for both your team and your clients, causing delays that impact productivity.
- Unexpected downtime. VMs can stop responding or crash, or the host may not be able to start them. This can interrupt workflows and result in unnecessary downtime.
- Backups and recovery can fail or be unavailable. Crashes and unstable Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines can lead to the loss or corruption of important data. This might also result in noncompliance with industry or legal requirements for data security, integrity, and privacy.
- More time-consuming upkeep. While VMs offer easy accessibility, there are drawbacks behind the scenes, including additional configuration/maintenance and less efficient storage compared to conventional installations.
Without effective monitoring, these issues can have severe consequences on your clients’ operations, including lower productivity, missed deadlines, customer dissatisfaction, and even revenue impact. Proactively monitoring, managing, and addressing performance-related issues in Hyper-V environments can prevent or lessen these consequences.
While there are ways to monitor Hyper-V via native Windows tools, these may fall short of client monitoring needs when dealing with more complex virtual networks. Windows tools provide basic performance metrics, resource monitoring, and event logs, but may be unable to provide accurate real-time metrics for more advanced functions and security threats.
In addition, Windows Hyper-V monitoring tools do not offer the capacity to centralize monitoring across multiple environments in a single interface. For MSPs managing multiple client networks and projects, advanced RMM solutions can offer increased support, expanded capacity, and real-time reporting functionality required for monitoring physical and virtualized environments across multiple clients from a single interface.
Understanding the benefits and applications of RMM for Hyper-V monitoring will not only help you provide superior service to your clients, but it can also inform how you sell and market your monitoring services to clients leveraging virtual infrastructure.
How Hyper-V monitoring works
Knowing the basic metrics to monitor is critical to measuring the ongoing performance of your virtual environments. These key metrics provide insights that help you quickly address potential problems, improve Hyper-V performance, and provide reliable services to your clients:
- CPU usage
- Memory usage, including ready time, memory ballooning, and resource pools
- Disk space and read and write operations
- Storage of physical and virtual hard disks
- Disk latency and IOPS (input/output operations per second)
- Network latency and errors
- Uptime and downtime of VMs
- Availability of Hyper-V hosts
Integrating these metrics into a comprehensive and effective Hyper-V performance monitoring process requires several considerations, following this basic process.
- Identify your goals. Determine what you need to focus on with Hyper-V monitoring, whether it’s to help you allocate resources, optimize performance, add more clients and projects—or all of the above. This will also help you choose the key metrics you’ll use to measure the health of the VMs.
- Align monitoring with key metrics. Prioritizing the above metrics, configure your monitoring tool to collect the appropriate data. Advanced monitoring tools can be set up to detect whether Hyper-V server roles are installed in a host server, then collect and send data on guests, clusters, alerts, and storage to a separate dashboard.
- Configure alerts. Set up real-time alerts to notify you when specific conditions or limits are met, or when certain events occur at the physical host or virtual environment.
- Review event logs. Regularly review logs from Hyper-V, the host operating system, and the virtual machine for errors, warnings, or other signs of a problem.
- Analyze performance over time. Establish a baseline for Hyper-V performance and use reports and historical data to identify changes and trends over time. This can help you identify positive and negative patterns.
- Adjust resources and capacity as needed. Use insights from monitoring data to allocate resources more efficiently and scale the virtual environment to support your business growth.
Taking this structured and planned approach to monitoring will help you preserve and improve the performance, security, and stability of your virtual machines.
Setting your team up for success with Hyper-V monitoring
As with any process, establishing and following Hyper-V monitoring best practices will optimize performance for you and your clients in the short term, and over time. These are a few standards to follow:
- Invest in a dedicated monitoring tool. Monitoring virtual machines has more nuances than traditional servers. Make sure you are investing in a tool specifically designed for virtualized technologies and Hyper-V, in particular.
- Keep track of the full tech stack and network. Stay on top of all your Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines with consistent asset discovery. Don’t view Hyper-V as an isolated function—consider your entire IT infrastructure and how it might affect Hyper-V performance or vice versa.
- Incorporate automation and scripts. Manual monitoring is extremely time-consuming, especially if you are trying to monitor multiple VMs at once. Automation can help your team save time on routine tasks, collecting data, and generating reports.
- Document your strategy via a dedicated dashboard. The last thing that you want is unclear data from your Hyper-V environment. Make sure the solution you use has a single dedicated dashboard your team members can reference, observe, and use to generate reports to clients. Recording the details of metric definitions, alert settings, and other configurations supports consistency and improvement.
- Review, update, and revise. Regularly evaluating your Hyper-V performance monitoring strategy helps you keep up with changing client and business requirements as well as new technologies. You should also incorporate any feedback, lessons learned, and evolving industry best practices into your monitoring process.
Hyper-V monitoring solutions for MSPs
There are a variety of tools to help MSPs effectively monitor Hyper-V and other VM equipped environments, but one of particular importance is remote monitoring and management software.
RMM software can track the performance of Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines with real-time and historical data about CPU usage, memory utilization, disk input/output (I/O), network traffic, and more. And cloud-based services can help your team monitor Hyper-V performance and more complex security issues from anywhere, anytime.
Monitoring Hyper-V environments in real time with robust vendor support is critical to supporting your success—and the success of your clients. ConnectWise RMM was designed with a combination of customization and automation to help MSPs proactively monitor and detect issues on even the most complex virtual environments.
To see firsthand how RMM can help you scale and enhance your business while improving customer satisfaction, start your free trial today.