- Hyper-V Integration Services improve virtual machine performance
- Integration services are included in Windows Server 2016, Windows 10, and later, and provide VSS, data exchange, heartbeats, guest shutdown, and more.
- Installing or upgrading Integration Services is important for optimal performance of virtual machines running on Hyper-V hosts.
- Even if Hyper-V integrated services run on guest virtual machines, you still need to keep an eye on your data. Backups play a key role in the overall Hyper-V data protection strategy
There are many best practices for managing, administering, and configuring Microsoft Hyper-V environments.
Windows Server Hyper-V is an enterprise-class virtualization platform that lets you host mission-critical workloads on a highly available, resilient platform. Hyper-V administrators should pay due attention to Hyper-V Integration Services when evaluating key Hyper-V components to ensure guest virtual machines perform as expected.
In this article we analyze:
- What are Hyper-V Integration Services guest services?
- How do I install and update Hyper-V Integration Services?
table of Contents
- What are Hyper-V Integration Services?
- Install integration services
- Install Integration Services in earlier versions
- Updating Hyper-V Embedded Components
- Manage Hyper-V Integration Services Settings
- Manage integration services with PowerShell
- Manage Hyper-V Integration Services from the Guest OS Service Console
- Manage Hyper-V Integration Services from the guest operating system PowerShell console
What are Hyper-V Integration Services?
Hyper-V Integration Services is a component that runs on a Hyper-V virtual machine and enhances the capacity of the virtual machine to deliver optimal virtual machine performance.
It also provides guest services from the Hyper-V host to the guest virtual machines, extending the functionality and features available to the Hyper-V guest virtual machines. Some of these features include the ability to copy guest files.
More importantly, Hyper-V Integration Services provide synthetic device drivers for guest virtual machines. Hyper-V Integration Services install a set of services called integration components.
Each associated service includes the following:
Volume Shadow Copy RequesterIntegration Services – Allows the Volume Shadow Copy service to back up virtual machines without shutting them down. The Volume Shadow Copy Service requires Hyper-V Integration Services.
- The VSS service captures and replicates images for backup to a running system with minimal impact on performance and stability. The processes are coordinated between the virtual machine and the host's supporting processes.
- Windows – vmicvss, Linux – hv_vss_daemon
- Cannot back up virtual machines while the VSS process is running on the host when this service is not running
data sharingIntegration Services – Provides a way to exchange basic metadata between Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines.
- Using key-value pairs, Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines share various computing information with each other. Data exchange services allow information to be stored in virtual machines to share and transfer interactive data.
- Windows – vmickvpexchange, Linux – hv_kvp_daemon
- Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 and earlier will not receive updates for Hyper-V Integration Services when the service is not running. This can also affect monitoring and diagnostics on the host side.
heartbeatIntegration Services - Reports that the virtual machine starts and runs correctly
- Windows – vmicheartbeat, Linux – hv_utils
- If this service is not enabled, the virtual machine cannot report the status of the operating system running on the guest virtual machine and whether it is working properly. Monitoring and diagnostics on the host side can be affected if the service is not running
- Check the status of the Heartbeat service – Get-VM -VMName $VMName | select name, state, state
guest service interfaceIntegration Services – Provides an interface to the Hyper-V host to copy files to and from the virtual machine.
- Windows – interfaz vmicguest, Linux – hv_fcopy_daemon
- When this service is not running, the host cannot copy files between virtual machines using the Copy-VMFile cmdlet
close visitorIntegration Services – Allows the host to trigger a virtual machine shutdown. This is not the same as shutdown, because a shutdown request is the same as "turn on power switch". Guest shutdown is a graceful shutdown of the guest operating system.
- Windows – vmictimesync, Linux – hv_utils
- If this service is not enabled, the host will not be able to gracefully shut down the guest operating system on demand. Any shutdown without this service will be a hard shutdown which can cause data corruption issues.
time synchronizationIntegration Services – Enables synchronization of virtual machine clocks with the Hyper-V host.
- Windows – vmictimesync, Linux – hv_utils
- If this service is not enabled, the guest virtual machine's clock will be extremely unstable and even significantly off.
PowerShell Direct ServiceIntegration Services – This service allows you to manage virtual machines using PowerShell through a virtual machine session without a virtual network. Administrators can perform management, automation, and configuration tasks on guest virtual machines regardless of the network settings or remote management settings on the Hyper-V host or guest virtual machines.
- Windows - vmicvmsession, Linux - Nvt
- Without this service, the host cannot connect to guest virtual machines using PowerShell Direct
Install integration services
Microsoft has made great strides in providing a better way to install Integration Services from a host server. In legacy Windows client/server and Hyper-V environments, Hyper-V Integration Services must be manually installed and maintained, resulting in significant Hyper-V management overhead.
previously linked to a specific version of Hyper-V
Additionally, Integration Services is tied to specific editions of Windows Server Hyper-V. When switching between versions, care must be taken to ensure that the Integration Services are updated between migrations between different hosts.
Integration services are now included in modern hypervisors
Microsoft introduces a paradigm shift in Hyper-V Integration Services, integrating everything
In addition to the Hyper-V interface for guest services, services integrated into modern client and server operating systems have been released in recent years.
This means that Hyper-V Integration Services are now automatically installed on Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 and higher.
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Additionally, updates for Hyper-V Integration Services are now included in updates downloaded from Windows Update. In Windows Server 2016, Integration Services releases are deployed with regular virtual machine updates and are not tied to the specific version of Hyper-V running on the host.
This happens by default for most Windows clients if they are configured to receive critical updates from Windows Update.
Integration services no longer appear as options in the Actions panel
As shown below, Install Integration Services is no longer a menu option. This is on Windows Server 2022 with the Hyper-V role installed:
Support for Linux integration services
Microsoft also supports integrated integration services with compatible Linux distributions. These are called LIS or (Linux Integration Services) packages.
In general, as with Windows releases, the latest supported Linux distributions have the LIS package built into the distribution, so there is no need to install it.
Full Linux Support List -
Download the latest Linux Integration Service Pack for Hyper-V:
Linux guests using the current kernel will receive the latest Linux integration services when kernel updates are applied.
Install Integration Services in earlier versions
What were the options like in earlier versions of Hyper-V? In earlier versions, you will see the option to insert the Integration Services installation disk.
Updating Hyper-V Embedded Components
As mentioned above, Hyper-V Integration Services are decoupled from Windows Client/Server editions of Windows 10/Server 2016 and updates for the guest operating system are obtained from Windows Update.
The procedures for upgrading Integration Services and for upgrading Guest Integration Services on Windows client/server versions prior to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 must be manually upgraded. This can easily be done using the Hyper-V Manager GUI interface as follows:
- Open Hyper-V Manager
- Click on the running virtual machine to update
- click connect
- Select the Actions menu option
- Select Insert Integration Services Installation Disk
- In the guest virtual machine, select the DVD drive that contains the installation files.
- Right click on the DVD drive and select Install Hyper-V Integration Services
- Installation/upgrade of Hyper-V Integration Services begins
- restart your client/server
- Verify the version of Hyper-V Integration Services in the VM summary information of Hyper-V Manager
When you run the installation disk, you see the following message that Hyper-V Integration Services is out of date and needs to be updated.
The Integration Services update started.
After installing the Hyper-V Integration Services update, you will be prompted to reboot.
A note about updated integration services in modern versions of Windows Server
as note. Starting with Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10, Integration Services updates no longer require an Integration Services installation disc. Data Exchange Integration Services are required for Windows Server 2012 and earlier. If the Data Exchange Integration Service cannot be enabled, the Integration Service for the Guest Services Interface is available from the Microsoft Download Center.
If you are already using the latest version
When you try to install the Hyper-V Integration Services updates and they are up to date, you will see the following message:
Manage Hyper-V Integration Services Settings
Microsoft offers several ways to manage Hyper-V Integration Services using Hyper-V Manager, PowerShell, or even the Windows Services Console.
Manage Hyper-V Integration Services from Hyper-V Manager
Navigate to Administration >> Integrated Services and you will see a list of services provided to the guest operating system. You can enable or disable them if you want to change the services that communicate with the guest operating system.
Hyper-V Integration Services can be managed through virtual machine properties
Manage integration services with PowerShell
Check the status and version of Integration Services using PowerShell
One of the fastest and easiest ways to check the status of the Guest OS Integration Service is to use PowerShell.
With PowerShell, you can query a virtual machine about the status of various integration services and their status.
Use the command – Get-VMIntegrationService -VMName ""
Use PowerShell to get the status of integration services presented in a virtual machine
- To check the version of Integration Services installed on the guest operating system, you can check the registry on the guest operating system from PowerShell
- Consulta de registro "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Virtual Machine\Auto" /v IntegrationServicesVersion
Query Integration Services Versions Using PowerShell and Reg Query
If you want to enable or disable a guest integration service with a specific name, you can use PowerShell to do so.
- Enable-VMIntegrationService -VMName "" -Name "Visitor Service Interface"
- disable -VMIntegrationService -VMName "" -Name "Guest Service Interface"
Manage Hyper-V Integration Services from the Guest OS Service Console
While managing Hyper-V Integration Services is arguably more efficient from the Hyper-V host side, you can also start and stop Hyper-V Integration Services from the guest operating system. This can be done in a number of ways, including through the Windows Services Console and using PowerShell to manage the service.
Interact with Hyper-V Integration Services
Because Hyper-V Integration Services are literally Windows services, you can use and manage them from the guest operating system just like any other Windows service.
Windows service console
Let's see how to use the Windows Services Console. To manage Hyper-V Integration Services using the Windows Services Console:
- Starting the Windows Services Console – services.msc
- Scroll down to the list of built-in Hyper-V services that show names like "Hyper-V*"
- Right-click on the services and manage them via the context menu to select the desired action
As you can see in the screenshot below, the Hyper-V Integration Service appears as Hyper-V* in the display name. You can right click and manage the service as expected.
Manage Hyper-V Integration Services using the Windows Services Console
Manage Hyper-V Integration Services from the guest operating system PowerShell console
You can use PowerShell to have the same control over the Hyper-V Integration Services. Powershell is a faster and more powerful way to interact with Windows services than through the Windows Services Console.
PowerShell can be used to easily automate administrative tasks and bulk configuration of Windows services for virtual guest machines.
You can use the Get-Service cmdlet to get a list of all built-in Hyper-V services.
Interact with Windows services using PowerShell
You can start/stop the Hyper-V Integration Services through PowerShell using the following cmdlet syntax:
Start service: display name "Hyper-V*"
Why you should choose BDRSuite for Hyper-V backup
Running Hyper-V Integration Services smoothly in a Hyper-V environment is essential to ensure that Hyper-V guest virtual machines run smoothly, efficiently, and perform as expected.
Managing and updating Hyper-V Integration Services is a critical part of the overall process. Even if Hyper-V Integrated Services is running in a guest virtual machine, you still need to keep an eye on your data. Backup is a core process in the overall Hyper-V data protection strategy.
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Check out our beginner's guide to Microsoft Hyper-V
A Beginner's Guide to Microsoft Hyper-V: Hyper-V P2V Conversion - Part 55
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