System Center Virtual Machine Manager

I was at a big meeting today and Virtual Machine Manager was mentioned as a product that get great feedback but is not widely known. So here is a bit of info about it:

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For IT professionals responsible for managing virtual infrastructure, Microsoft® System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 — a member the System Center family of system management products — provides a solution for unified management of physical and virtual machines, consolidation of underutilized physical servers, and rapid provisioning of new virtual machines by leveraging the expertise and investments in Microsoft Windows Server technology.

Maximized Datacenter Resources. System Center Virtual Machine Manager delivers end-to-end support for consolidating physical servers onto a virtual infrastructure; fast and reliable physical-to-virtual machine conversions; Intelligent Placement of virtual workloads on physical host servers that match workload requirements and a centralized console for resource management and optimization.

Rapid Provisioning and Agility. System Center Virtual Machine Manager enables rapid deployment of virtual machines, centralized control of the “building blocks” of the virtual datacenter, and delegated self-provisioning by authorized end users.

Leverage Datacenter Expertise. System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 utilizes IT’s existing Windows expertise while minimizing the need for extensive retraining of administrators and helpdesk personnel.

Features at a glance:

Maximize Datacenter Resources

Feature Description

Easy Identification of Consolidation Candidates

The first step in migrating from a physical data center, where every workload exists on its own physical server, is to identify the appropriate physical workloads for consolidation onto virtual machines. System Center Virtual Machine Manager leverages historical performance data in the Operations Manager 2007 database to identify and list underutilized physical servers that are good candidates for consolidation.

Fast and Reliable Physical-to-Virtual-Machine Conversion (P2V)

Converting a physical machine to a virtual machine can be unnecessarily slow and error prone. Virtual Machine Manager improves the Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) experience by integrating the conversion process and by using the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) of Windows Server 2003 to create the virtual machine faster and without having to interrupt the source physical server.


Fast and Reliable Virtual-to-Virtual-Machine Conversion (V2V)

To help ease the migration from VMware to Virtual Server, Virtual Machine Manager converts VMware VMDK/VMX virtual machines to the Microsoft VHD format. If the guest OS runs Windows, Virtual Machine Manager will perform fixes during the conversion process, to ensure a working converted virtual machine.


Intelligent Placement

Selecting the appropriate virtual machine host for a given workload is the key to maximizing the utilization of physical assets, whether the organization’s goal is to balance loads among existing hosts or to maximize resource usage on each host. In Virtual Machine Manager, this process is called “Intelligent Placement.”

When a virtual machine is deployed, Virtual Machine Manager analyzes performance data and resource requirements for both the workload and the host. This allows an IT administrator to fine-tune placement algorithms to get the best matched deployment recommendations. First, historical performance data is used to understand actual resource requirements of the workload. Next, minimum CPU, disk, RAM, and network capacity requirements in the virtual machine’s configuration are checked. After determining the virtual machine’s requirements, performance data is gathered for candidate virtual machine hosts. Finally, pre-selected business rules are factored in to optimize placement recommendations either for resource maximization or for load balancing, and to weight the importance of different resource types for the workload.

Centralized Resource Optimization

 The IT administrator has three ways to optimize resource utilization within a virtual infrastructure: tune resource settings for individual virtual machines, migrate virtual machines from one host to another, or do a little of both. The Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console provides a central work area for performing these tasks. Resource settings can be changed on virtual machines without interrupting workloads and virtual machines can be migrated from one host to another to optimize physical resources.

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