Archive for category Microsoft System Center

Talk TechNet Webcast: Virtualization Q & A

imageI was recently invited to be a guest in a TechNet Webcast.  The Webcast is scheduled for Friday, June 10th at 11:00am Central time.  You can see more details and register to attend at the following page:

TechNet Webcast: Talk TechNet with Keith Combs and Matt Hester – Episode 36: Virtualization with Anil Desai (Level 200)

Here’s a brief overview of the topic description:

Want to talk about Virtualization?  This is the show for you.  Anil Desai is a Microsoft Windows Server Virtualization MVP so bring your Hyper-V questions. I’m sure Anil will be happy to takes questions on some of the other products like System Center Virtual Machine manager.  Tune in and listen, call in, or send us questions on the web via Live Meeting.  Take advantage of this great opportunity to get your questions answered.

Keith Combs, Sr. Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation, Matt Hester, Sr. IT Pro Evangelist, Microsoft Corporation, and Anil Desai, Independent Consultant, Microsoft Windows Server Virtualization MVP

I look forward to answering questions from attendees!

Using System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)

It’s clear that many organizations are looking for solutions to managing their virtualization environments.  Numerous vendors have entered this market, and leading enterprise management vendors have added virtualization support to their products.  Microsoft’s entry – System Center Virtual Machine Manager – helps to address some of the most common problems related to deploying and managing VMs.  While there are certainly limitations in the first version of the product, Microsoft will soon be adding supporting for VMware. 

I recently wrote an article on SCVMM for  From the introduction:

Is it really possible to have too much of a good thing? When it comes to virtual machines (VMs), that often seems to be the case. More is not necessarily better from the standpoint of systems administration. The issue of VM sprawl – the rapid proliferation of virtual machines in a production environment – can present a challenge. Apart from the larger number of operating systems and application stacks to manage, the entire process of IT systems management can be upended.

For most IT departments, automation is a necessity for managing more than a few systems, whether physical or virtual. In this tip, I will offer a solution: Microsoft’s System Center application suite. While this software package is only one option, I’ll use it to illustrate how automation can help resolve real issues.

You can access the entire article, Managing virtual machines with Microsoft System Center for free online.

Managing Virtualization with System Center Virtual Machine Manager

If you have used the Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 platform, there’s a good chance that you find its default web-based management tools to be lacking.  If you’re running one or a few virtualization host servers, the admin tools can certainly get the job done.  But what if you’re deploying dozens or hundreds of VMs every month.  In order to manage these systems, you’ll need to invest in some virtualization-aware software.  Microsoft’s System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) is one such product.

If you have even heard of the product, you might be wondering about its capabilities, its architecture, and how you can get started with it.  The January, 2008 issue of Microsoft TechNet Magazine includes an article titled Real Control with Virtual Machine Manager 2007.   From the article’s introduction:

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 is a new solution that provides a consolidated interface for managing your entire virtual infrastructure. Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) can manage existing Microsoft® Virtual Server 2005 installations, and it can also install Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 on new virtual machine (VM) hosts. With VMM, the traditional Virtual Server 2005 administrative tasks can now be performed far more efficiently through a centralized interface, with management access across multiple Virtual Server installations.

In addition, VMM brings new capabilities to Virtual Server, including Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) conversions, Virtual-to-Virtual (V2V) conversion of VMware Virtual Machine Disk Format (VMDK) disks to Virtual Server Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs), and rapid VM deployments from templates and pre-configured VHDs via a centralized library of virtual infrastructure objects.

In the following pages, I’ll explore VMM and the powerful set of features it provides to IT administrators. I will then look at the requirements and steps for creating a VMM installation. Finally, I’ll take a deeper dive into a handful of the more exciting features of VMM and leave you with some helpful tips on getting started.

Microsoft is fairly ambitious with the SCVMM product.  In addition to its current features, future updates will be able to manage VMware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V technology (the new virtualization layer that will be included with Windows Server 2008).  See the article and Microsoft’s site for more details.