Automatic Virtual Machine Activation is a new Windows feature added in Windows Server 2012R2 that enables you to activate your Windows VMs without using a KMS server or even a network connection. As you spin up new virtual machines they will activate against the host Hyper-v server. This activation only lasts 7 days and then it needs to renew it’s activation. This is perfect for your Windows Datacenter Hyper-v hosts because you can
Two features of AVMA that no other activation method offers are:
- The ability to automatically activate virtual machines without a network connection
- Track virtual machine licenses from the host virtualization server, without requiring any access rights on the virtualized machine
(Other options for activation are: KMS server, MAK key, AD-based Activation)
How Does AVMA work?
Automatic Virtual Machine Activation requires a Hyper-v host server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter and it must be activated. The Virtual Machines must be 2012R2 or above to activate under AVMA. This includes 2012R2 Datacenter, Standard, and Essentials.
The guest VMs must have an AVMA product key configured on them. See the table blow for the key.
Windows Server 2012 R2 AVMA keys:
* Licenses above were taken from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn303421.aspx
These keys can be installed during the install or installed at a later time.
The last piece of this is how the virtual machine talks to it’s Hyper host to get activated. The channel it uses is the “Data Exchange” that the para-virtualization drivers provide. This is a per VM setting and is enabled by default. You can verify that it is enabled by going into a VMs settings and then selecting the Integration Services. Make sure “Data Exchange” is checked.
AVMA also provides real-time reporting on usage and historical data on the license state of the virtual machine. This data is stored and available on the virtualization host server. There is no need to have any access or rights to the VMs on that server to access this information.
Step by Step directions to implement AVMA:
To use AVMA is easy just follow these 4 steps to virtual bliss:
- Install Server 2012R2 Datacenter
- Activate the server
- Add the Hyper-v Role
- Install a 2012R2 Virtual Machine and assign an AVMA key
If your virtual machine needs a key or already has a different key and you would like to give it an AVMA key there are a couple ways to achieve that. Here are two:
Using the GUI – Start the File Manager and Right click on “This PC”. From that dropdown list select “Properties”.
You will then get the System Screen. From here you select the Change Product key at the bottom right of the window. Put in one of the keys in the above table.
Another way to change the product key is to do it from a command prompt or script. This will need to run with administrative privileges.
Steps to Set the Product key from a command Prompt:
- Click on the Start Button and type “CMD” — (Welcome back Start Button)
- Right click on the Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”
- In the command window run the command slmgr /ipk <AVMA_key>
Command in the example below:
slmgr /ipk Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW
Hope you found this fun and informative! –Brian
This post is part of a series of posts by the US IT Pro Evangelist team. In this series we cover, Why Windows Server 2012 R2 is important, how to deploy, manage, configure any number of components in Windows Server 2012 R2.
This series is deep technical content with lots of How To’s and Step-By-Step instructions. You will learn about storage, cloud integration, RDS, VDI, Hyper-V, virtualization, deduplication, Hyper-v replica, DNS, AD, DHCP, high availability, SMB, backup, PowerShell and much, much more! – See more at: http://itproguru.com/expert/2013/10/windows-server-2012-r2-launch-blog-series-why-win2012r2/