Does your hardware support Hyper-V?

Microsoft says that you have to be using either Intel VT or AMD-V hardware in order to run Hyper-V. Elsewhere in the Hyper-V documentation, you can read that the required support is "...either AMD64 or Intel IA-32e/EM64T (x64) processors with hardware-assisted virtualization support." (Itanium processors are not supported.) Interestingly, it isn't all that easy to discover whether a given machine meets the prerequisite.

Thinking it was time to buy a new laptop to use for experimenting with Hyper-V, I went to Dell's website and typed in "Intel VT" to the search engine. Sorry, no results were found. AMD-V? Same result. Thanks Dell! OK, I'll try the Intel site. Lots of hits - this is more auspicious. After a little scanning, I found the Intel Virtualization Technology page. Yesss! But...no link to processors that support Intel-VT. There's a whitepaper that looks promising... until I open it and find it was written in 2005. More white papers, some old and some super old, but no details on which processors support Intel VT. Come on - I'm at the Intel VT home page, fuhpetessake, and there's no link to a list of supported processors? I know that you can't just assume that all Core 2 Duo processors support Hyper-V, because there was a stink over in China recently about a delivery of Core 2 Duo systems that didn't.

Time for Wikipedia. At least here I get some data: "The Core 2 branded processors featured the Virtualization Technology (except T52x0, T5300, T54x0, T55x0 with stepping B2, E2xx0, E4x00 and E8190 models)...". That's at least a starting point. Of course, I still won't know whether the virtualization feature is fully supported by any given system's BIOS. Note to manufacturers like Intel and Dell: Think about telling your customers which of your systems will support Hyper-V. And save them an hour or two playing Sherlock Holmes. We've all got better things to do! 

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey: The results are in