There’s no doubt that Microsoft is making System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) a key component of the System Center suite. The scope of the product is being expanded so much that it could be renamed “System Center Virtual Datacenter Manager.” The new version of VMM is currently in beta and is scheduled for release in the second half of 2011.
VMM can now do bare-metal installations on fresh hardware, create Hyper-V clusters instead of just managing them, and communicate directly with your SAN arrays to provision storage for your virtual machines (VMs). The list of supported hypervisors has also grown—it includes not only Hyper-V and VMware vSphere Hypervisor, but also Citrix XenServer. The underlying hardware is part of the fabric in VMM 2012, which in turn supports the private cloud construct that lets certain users self-service their VM deployments.
There’s renewed focus on the applications running within VMs, with integrated support for Server App-V packages, SQL data acquisition, packages and others. There’s also a new service concept where you can deploy multiple VMs and associated settings as one unit. You can integrate Windows Server Update Services into VMM to allow for orchestrated cluster patching, and VMM now supports network load balancer appliances as objects. With all this centralized critical functionality, you can create a highly available VMM platform by running it on a separate cluster.
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