Hyper-V in Windows 8.1 – I might be a convert

I’ve been using VMWare Workstation for all of my professional life, and have never really entertained the notion of moving to another platform.

However, last month I received my new Dell Precision laptop and decided that I would give Hyper-V a try, a chance to shine.

I run Windows 8.1 as my primary OS, but regularly use a number of VM’s running Server 2008 > 2012 R2, and the odd TurnKey LAMP Stack.

Setting it up
As you’d expect from a built in Feature, getting it up and running wasn’t too difficult. I’ve used some Servers running Hyper-V before, so have some experience with the Hyper-V manager, which made getting my first VM’s up and running

Converting an Existing VMWare Disk
Although most of the VM’s I’m building for my laptop are new, there is one that I wanted to copy from my desktop (as its a real pain to reconfigure)

After some quick research I found that the easiest way to do this would likely be to use a conversion tool to convert the VHD and then attach that to a new VM.

I found the Starwind V2V Image Converter (free) was more than up to this task and converted my VHD perfectly first time round, making the whole process quite easy.

Performance
I have only been using Hyper-V for a few weeks now on my laptop, but what shows instantly is that the Disk Performance is very good compared to VMWare. This will be partly due to the fact the VM’s are on an SSD on my laptop as opposed to a SATA 3 drive in RAID 10 on my desktop, but I do think that some of this is down to Hyper-V too.

Conclusion
I don’t think I’m going to be ditching VMWare any time soon, but will definately considering Hyper-V as a platform for the future. I want to do some testing with VM’s running multiple Montiors and the graphics performance as I use 2/3 monitors in my VMWare Machines regularly, and love the flexibility of switching between them.

I also want to do some testing around the Virtual Networking as I use multiple set up’s currently and want to make sure I can get them all to work as I need them.

I’m not completely sold, but the disk performance is a huge plus. I’m definitely a lot less sceptical than I was a month ago.

Time will tell.

Accessing your Access Web App’s Data

Maybe you’ve been using Access Web Apps for a while now and have got to the point as I have where i want to do something more with the information. I want to be able to report on it, export it, play with etc.

Immediately there’s a bit of an issue, where are all my export options, my reporting options? They aren’t there.

Access Web App’s has been built, unfortunately, with no native reporting, which means I need another method for getting to my data.

Where is my data
Firstly, we need to consider where the data is actually stored. When you add your Access App in SharePoint, and new, dedicated Azure SQL Database is created for it.

If you open your Web App in access on your desktop and go to the ‘info’ tab, you’ll be able to see where the database is stored.

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Accessing the data
In the ‘info’ tab, you’ll also notice that there are 2 other options

Report on my Data
This option will create local access database which links to the table in the web app’s Azure database.

This will also you to use the full power of the Access Reporting services on your data.

Connections
This option will allow you to manage how your web app’s data can be accessed. There are a number of options here, so you need to carefully consider what is best for your app and the integrity of the data inside it.

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Accessing my Data from outside of Access
I’m only looking to report on my data and don’t need manipulate it in anyway, so I’ve opened connected and enabled the ‘Enable read-only connection’.

Once this is enabled, the option ‘view read-only connection information becomes available to be viewed, which will give you the Server name, database name and the credentials needed to connect other software to this database.

Accessing your Data from SQL Management Studio
Now you have enabled the connection, you can access the data from lots of differnet places, including SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio)

To this you need to specify the server and credentials as you would normally, but as this is server we don’t own or have any control over, you also need to specify the exact database you wish to work with from the ‘Connection Properties’ tab.

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Once you are connected, you have access the Database as you would normally and can work with it.

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Note: As the whole web app is stored in the SQL database you need to be very careful not to mess with any of the tables that don’t look like your data.

Accessing your data from Excel
Similarly, you can use Excel to access this information using the ‘From Data Connection Wizard’

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