New features in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

At TechEd 2010 held in November 2010 in Berlin Microsoft announced lots of new solutions which are all targeted at cloud computing. We saw news on the Software As a Service (Saas)  side (Office 365) and Platform as a Service PaaS (Azure). Microsoft is putting A LOT of effort in private cloud computing of which Hyper-V and SCVMM is the foundation.

For more information on Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track see this article  Fast Track is a program similar to VMware, Cisco and EMC Vblock. It is a turn key solution with storage, serverhardware, networking, hypervisor, management based on proven technologies and best practices to enable customers a quick and riskless deployment of private cloud computing.

In Berlin new features of System Center Virtual Machine Manager  2012 (SCVMM) were presented. It will have a lot more features than the current version SCVMM 2008 R2.
SCVMM 2012 will be used to manage a private clouds. It will be able to do delegation of administration, quota’s, self service, capacity and capability management, deployment, network and storage management and a lot more.

SCVMM 2012 will add support for management of Citrix XenServer and ESX 4.1. This adds to the current hypervisor support of Hyper-v, ESX 3.x and ESX 4.0 and Virtual Server.

Also bare metal deployment of Hyper-V hosts will be added. A new server will boot from PXE, download a WinPE image, download a VHD, join a domain and install the Hyper-V role all automated and orchestrated from SCVMM 2012.

In this article I will focus on the resource optimization. At the moment SCVMM 2008 needs to be integrated with SCOM 2007  to be able to dynamically load balance virtual machines over Hyper-V hosts. Integration between SCOM and SCVMM is quite difficult to establish. Especially compared to VMware vCenter Server which offers DRS and is easy to configure.

Dynamic Optimization (DO) is the Microsoft feature equal to  VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS). What DO does is balance workloads over the Hyper-V nodes in a cluster based on resource needs and available resources (computing, storage and network). It does this automatic based on user defined policies controlling frequency and aggressiveness. It can also be manually used.
There will be no dependancy on Operations Manager (SCOM). That is good news as currently SCVMM is dependent on SCOM which is difficult to configure.

Enhanced Placement is a feature to determine on which host a workload will run. It has new placement algorithms. There are over 100 placement checks and validations. Also rules to determine placement can be customly made by administrators. It allows multiple VM’s placement such that multipleVM’s with dependencies are placed in such way communication between the VM’s is optimized. This is the same function as VMware’s DRS affinity rule.
SCVMM 2012 will have a Power Management feature, similar to the Distributed Power Management (DPM) feature offered by VMware. SCVMM will power down Hyper-V hosts during times of low utilization. It will use Dynamic Optimization and use Live Migration to balance workloads without distruption. Administrators can create policies to have control over placement and are able to schedule consolidations.

Continue reading about new storage and networking features of SCVMM here.

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