Starting with Folsom, Hyper-V can be used as a compute node within OpenStack deployments.

The Hyper-V versions that are currently supported are:

  • (deprecated) Windows / Hyper-V Server 2012
  • Windows / Hyper-V Server 2012 R2
  • Windows / Hyper-V Server 2016

Newer Hyper-V versions come with an extended list of features, and can offer better overall performance. Thus, Windows / Hyper-V Server 2016 is recommended for the best experience.

Hardware requirements

Although this document does not provide a complete list of Hyper-V compatible hardware, the following items are necessary:

  • 64-bit processor with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT).
  • CPU support for VM Monitor Mode Extension (VT-c on Intel CPU’s).
  • Minimum of 4 GB memory. As virtual machines share memory with the Hyper-V host, you will need to provide enough memory to handle the expected virtual workload.
  • Minimum 16-20 GB of disk space for the OS itself and updates.
  • At least one NIC, but optimally two NICs: one connected to the management network, and one connected to the guest data network. If a single NIC is used, when creating the Hyper-V vSwitch, make sure the -AllowManagementOS option is set to True, otherwise you will lose connectivity to the host.

The following items will need to be enabled in the system BIOS:

  • Virtualization Technology - may have a different label depending on motherboard manufacturer.
  • Hardware Enforced Data Execution Prevention.

To check a host’s Hyper-V compatibility, open up cmd or Powershell and run:


The output will include the Hyper-V requirements and if the host meets them or not. If all the requirements are met, the host is Hyper-V capable.

Storage considerations

Instance files

Nova will use a pre-configured directory for storing instance files such as:

  • instance boot images and ephemeral disk images
  • instance config files (config drive image and Hyper-V files)
  • instance console log
  • cached Glance images
  • snapshot files

The following options are available for the instance directory:

  • Local disk.
  • SMB shares. Make sure that they are persistent.
  • Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV)
    • Storage Spaces
    • Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)
    • SAN LUNs as underlying CSV storage


Ample storage may be required when using Nova “local” storage for the instance virtual disk images (as opposed to booting from Cinder volumes).

Compute nodes can be configured to use the same storage option. Doing so will result in faster cold / live migration operations to other compute nodes using the same storage, but there’s a risk of disk overcommitment. Nova is not aware of compute nodes sharing the same storage and because of this, the Nova scheduler might pick a host it normally wouldn’t.

For example, hosts A and B are configured to use a 100 GB SMB share. Both compute nodes will report as having 100 GB storage available. Nova has to spawn 2 instances requiring 80 GB storage each. Normally, Nova would be able to spawn only one instance, but both will spawn on different hosts, overcommiting the disk by 60 GB.

Cinder volumes

The Nova Hyper-V driver can attach Cinder volumes exposed through the following protocols:

  • iSCSI
  • Fibre Channel
  • SMB - the volumes are stored as virtual disk images (e.g. VHD / VHDX)


The Nova Hyper-V Cluster driver only supports SMB backed volumes. The reason is that the volumes need to be available on the destination host side during an unexpected instance failover.

Before configuring Nova, you should ensure that the Hyper-V compute nodes can properly access the storage backend used by Cinder.

The MSI installer can enable the Microsoft Software iSCSI initiator for you. When using hardware iSCSI initiators or Fibre Channel, make sure that the HBAs are properly configured and the drivers are up to date.

Please consult your storage vendor documentation to see if there are any other special requirements (e.g. additional software to be installed, such as iSCSI DSMs - Device Specific Modules).

Some Cinder backends require pre-configured information (specified via volume types or Cinder Volume config file) about the hosts that are going to consume the volumes (e.g. the operating system type), based on which the LUNs will be created/exposed. The reason is that the supported SCSI command set may differ based on the operating system. An incorrect LUN type may prevent Windows nodes from accessing the volumes (although generic LUN types should be fine in most cases).

Multipath IO

You may setup multiple paths between your Windows hosts and the storage backends in order to provide increased throughput and fault tolerance.

When using iSCSI or Fibre Channel, make sure to enable and configure the MPIO service. MPIO is a service that manages available disk paths, performing failover and load balancing based on pre-configured policies. It’s extendable, in the sense that Device Specific Modules may be imported.

The MPIO service will ensure that LUNs accessible through multiple paths are exposed by the OS as a single disk drive.


If multiple disk paths are available and the MPIO service is not configured properly, the same LUN can be exposed as multiple disk drives (one per available path). This must be addressed urgently as it can potentially lead to data corruption.

Run the following to enable the MPIO service:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature –Online –FeatureName MultiPathIO

# Ensure that the "mpio" service is running
Get-Service mpio

Once you have enabled MPIO, make sure to configure it to automatically claim volumes exposed by the desired storage backend. If needed, import vendor provided DSMs.

For more details about Windows MPIO, check the following page.

SMB 3.0 and later also supports using multiple paths to a share (the UNC path can be the same), leveraging SMB Direct and SMB Multichannel.

By default, all available paths will be used when accessing SMB shares. You can configure constraints in order to choose which adapters should be used when connecting to SMB shares (for example, to avoid using a management network for SMB traffic).


SMB does not require or interact in any way with the MPIO service.

For best performance, SMB Direct (RDMA) should also be used, if your network cards support it.

For more details about SMB Multichannel, check the following blog post.

NTP configuration

Network time services must be configured to ensure proper operation of the OpenStack nodes. To set network time on your Windows host you must run the following commands:

net stop w32time
w32tm /config /,0x8 /syncfromflags:MANUAL
net start w32time

Keep in mind that the node will have to be time synchronized with the other nodes of your OpenStack environment, so it is important to use the same NTP server. Note that in case of an Active Directory environment, you may do this only for the AD Domain Controller.

Live migration configuration

In order for the live migration feature to work on the Hyper-V compute nodes, the following items are required:

  • A Windows domain controller with the Hyper-V compute nodes as domain members.
  • The nova-compute service must run with domain credentials. You can set the service credentials with:
sc.exe config openstack-compute obj="DOMAIN\username" password="password"

This guide contains information on how to setup and configure live migration on your Hyper-V compute nodes (authentication options, constrained delegation, migration performance options, etc), and a few troubleshooting tips.

Hyper-V Cluster configuration

compute-hyperv also offers a driver for Hyper-V Cluster nodes, which will be able to create and manage highly available virtual machines. For the Hyper-V Cluster Driver to be usable, the Hyper-V Cluster nodes will have to be joined to an Active Directory and a Microsoft Failover Cluster. The nodes in a Hyper-V Cluster must be identical.

Guarded Host configuration (Shielded VMs)

Shielded VMs is a new feature introduced in Windows / Hyper-V Server 2016 and can be used in order to have highly secure virtual machines that cannot be read from, tampered with, or inspected by malware, or even malicious administrators.

In order for a Hyper-V compute node to be able to spawn such VMs, it must be configured as a Guarded Host.

For more information on how to configure your Active Directory, Host Guardian Service, and compute node as a Guarded Host, you can read this article.

NUMA spanning configuration

Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) is a computer system architecture that groups processors and memory in NUMA nodes. Processor threads accessing data in the same NUMA cell have lower memory access latencies and better overall performance. Some applications are NUMA-aware, taking advantage of NUMA performance optimizations.

Windows / Hyper-V Server 2012 introduced support for Virtual NUMA (vNUMA), which can be exposed to the VMs, allowing them to benefit from the NUMA performance optimizations.

By default, when Hyper-V starts a VM, it will try to fit all of its memory in a single NUMA node, but it doesn’t fit in only one, it will be spanned across multiple NUMA nodes. This is called NUMA spanning, and it is enabled by default. This allows Hyper-V to easily utilize the host’s memory for VMs.

NUMA spanning can be disabled and VMs can be configured to span a specific number of NUMA nodes (including 1), and have that NUMA topology exposed to the guest. Keep in mind that if a VM’s vNUMA topology doesn’t fit in the host’s available NUMA topology, it won’t be able to start, and as a side effect, less memory can be utilized for VMs.

If a compute node only has 1 NUMA node, disabling NUMA spanning will have no effect. To check how many NUMA node a host has, run the following powershell command:


The output will contain a list of NUMA nodes, their processors, total memory, and used memory.

To disable NUMA spanning, run the following powershell commands:

Set-VMHost -NumaSpanningEnabled $false
Restart-Service vmms

In order for the changes to take effect, the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management service (vmms) and the Hyper-V VMs have to be restarted.

For more details on vNUMA, you can read the following documentation.

PCI passthrough host configuration

Starting with Windows / Hyper-V Server 2016, PCI devices can be directly assigned to Hyper-V VMs.

In order to benefit from this feature, the host must support SR-IOV and have assignable PCI devices. This can easily be checked by running the following in powershell:


The script above will output if the host supports SR-IOV, a detailed list of PCI devices and if they’re assignable or not.

If all the conditions are met, the desired devices will have to be prepared to be assigned to VMs. The following article contains a step-by-step guide on how to prepare them and how to restore the configurations if needed.

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