Today Microsoft ushered in a new era of virtualization management. Want to know more? Take a 15 minute video tour with me as we take a look at System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2007, System Center Operation Manager (SCOM) 2007 and the Virtual Machine Management pack.
Over the past few weeks I created and tested a demonstration environment on my machines using the RTM bits of Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2, Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, SQL Server 2005, SQL Reporting Services, PowerShell, WinRM, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007, System Center Operations Manager 2007, and capturing tools to record all of this. I built this from scratch and although it takes some time, you can save your time by downloading a pre-built image. Details below. But consider this, all of the products listed above are now shipping. None of it is beta. That means you can build this yourself and start learning right away.
So what's the big deal?
Have you tried to manage a bunch of virtual machines with the Virtual Server 2005 administrative website? It doesn't scale very well and there's no real collection of performance data. The new management capabilities provided by SCVMM will really help you get a grip on consolidation of underutilized servers via physical to virtual migrations, efficient management of the VM's after they are there, and excellent analysis and reporting. The tour I recorded touches on most of these subjects but obviously I can't go super deep in fifteen minutes. So lets talk about a few areas.
The VMM Console
Simple to use. I like it. It's very well thought out and has nice visualization of the servers in your org, the virtual machines executing on those servers, access to properties and settings, etc. As with many of our management tools, the actions pane is present and is context sensitive. For those of you using UNDO disk files in Virtual Server 2005, you'll notice right away this console doesn't like that. We'll talk about why in a minute and do a deep dive into that area on the next blog post and screencast this morning.
You'll find some cool new features in the console. As you'll see in the screencast, we can tag virtual machines. After tagging, we can change the view to group by tag. This will come in very handy if you want to tag VM's by customer, project, cost center, geography, etc. Partners and hosters will love this.
The VMM Console also includes nice little thumb nail views of the VM when it's selected. This will come in handy for installs or other type of activity you just want to see at a glance. If needed, double click the thumbnail to launch a VMRC session with the VM. Easy. Secure.
Got Your Library Card?
When was the last time you went down to the public library to check out a book? Or a book on tape or CD? Did they have it? Unless it was super popular most likely what you were looking for was there. SCVMM has a library. Use it to store virtual machines, hardware profiles, virtual hard disk files, etc. Think of all of the building blocks you use to build virtual machines with. When you go to start building a virtual machine, take advantage of your internal building blocks and standards stored on the Library. I think you are going to find this to be invaluable especially in a large environment with many potential virtual machines.
PowerShell is Everywhere
Much like Exchange Server 2007, nearly all of the tasks are executed via PowerShell commandlets. When you are using the VMM Console, and do something like a virtual machine migration (move from one host to another), PowerShell is doing the work behind the scenes. You can go to the jobs area in the console and see this progress. If you are a command line commando, then fire up a PowerShell console and take advantage of tons and tons of script and commandlets to do chores in the SCVMM environment. You'll see me demo moving a VM with a simple script file in the screencast. We have a commandlet reference guide that will be published today or very soon and as soon as I get the link, I'll make sure to provide it.
You'll love using PowerShell for automation of creates, moves, etc.
Checkpoints and State Management
Now that UNDO disk files aren't supported in SCVMM, what do you use? Checkpoints to the rescue. You'll quickly fall in love with the new checkpointing mechanism and forget all about UNDO before you know it. I have recorded a screencast on this topic and will be posting detailed information in another blog post in few minutes.
See http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/archive/2007/09/06/system-center-virtual-machine-manager-2007-screencast-checkpoints.aspx for more information on that subject.
How do your users manage and use virtual machines? The new SCVMM Self Service Portal of course! Check out the screencast (right at the end) or get more detail from Tony Soper in his blog post at http://blogs.technet.com/tonyso/archive/2007/08/20/drive-through-vms-scvmm-self-service-portal.aspx.
Monitoring and Reporting
If you already have a bunch of virtual machines, what do you really know about them? What do you know about the host running them? Now you'll be able to answer those questions and much more. System Center Operations Manager 2007, also known as SCOM, with the combined management packs will allow for the most comprehensive VM monitoring you've ever seen. Monitor and report against the host running the workloads,the virtual machine, and the applications inside the virtual machine. End to end reporting rocks and you won't get a better solution from anyone else right now.
Take a look at the screencast and go on a tour of SCVMM and SCOM 2007. The video is a little over fifteen minutes in length and I tried to hit most of the key areas of the product mix so you can get a quick technical overview of the products. If you want to save this local and review it offline, please right mouse click the second link and "SAVE AS".
A number of websites are going live through the course of today. Here are a few of my favorites. The TechNet area will have a SCVMM virtual machine you can download. This will save you the time and trouble of setting everything up from scratch (although I recommend the "from scratch" approach for training).
Outside Sources and Reviews