System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 beta has arrived

Hi – this is Hector Linares, I am a Program Manager on the team that built System Center Virtual Machine Manager. I’m happy to report that we released the feature complete public beta of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (formerly known as vNext) today!

We’ve heard a lot of great feedback from customers and partners since SCVMM 2007 was released last September which we took into account for this beta release. Let’s just say, the product has come a long way.

With this release, Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 supports managing Virtual Server 2005 R2, Hyper-V and VMware ESX from a single console. Rakesh hit on a few other features and key themes for VMM 2008 here.

Along with Hyper-V and Windows Server 2008 Cluster support, management of VMware ESX environments is an important theme in VMM 2008. VMM enables administrators to manage their virtual environment from a single GUI console and PowerShell interface, including multiple Virtual Center instances and/or multiple hypervisors including ESX, Hyper-V, and Virtual Server. To provide VMware support directly in the console, VMM connects to Virtual Center’s public web service APIs to provide support for most day-to-day administrative tasks on VMware, including VMotion. Certain tasks like creating a VMware cluster are still done through Virtual Center directly. Since VMM is designed to co-exist with Virtual Center, any changes performed on Virtual Center will get automatically propagated to VMM, and vice-versa.

Here are two photos sent to me from the Microsoft Management Summit exhibit floor:

But, upon closer inspection it really says…

One of my favorite features in the VMM 2008 release is Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO), which provides integration with System Center Operations Manager 2007 to address alerts from hardware, operating systems and applications allowing for dynamic rebalancing of virtual machine resources using knowledge-based policies and rules.

With deep knowledge of the environment including operating systems, applications and hardware, PRO Packs automatically identifies opportunities for more efficient physical and virtual resource allocation and generates tips within the Virtual Machine Manager 2008 console called PRO Tips.

PRO leverages the Operations Manager framework enabling partners to create products/solutions for our mutual customers by creating specific policies that Virtual Machine Manger, in concert with Operations Manager, is called to act upon, minimizing downtime and accelerating time to resolution.

Partners build a specific management pack that monitors thresholds pertinent to the health of VMs as they relate to their product. Should a threshold be exceeded then the agent reports an alert to Operations Manager. VMM polls Operations Manager for alerts specific to it and, should it find them, imports them as a TIP. Admin then has the option to implement the tip or ignore. In either case the action is sent back to Operations Manager so the console can update the alert.

Example: Operations Manager gets an alert that the CPU on an HP physical host is exceeding utilization threshold. The HP PRO Pack generates a PRO Tip based on that alert and sends it to VMM. Based on HP policies specified in the PRO Pack, the recommended action is to migrate VM workloads to another host to free up resources. The administrator implements the PRO Tip and VMM uses Intelligent Placement to determine the best destination for the virtual machines in the cluster. The VM is migrated to another host and Operations Manager is alerted of the fix and the status returns to green.


What’s even better is what customers can do in ESX with SCVMM 2008 that you can’t do with Virtual Center. Included with VMM is a Library that stores all the building blocks of a VM, including ISOs, Virtual Disk files, answer files for sysprep, virtual floppy files, PowerShell scripts, and VM templates. Unlike Virtual Center that requires users to pick a host first before defining the workload, VMM is not limited by the host chosen. VMM on the other hand, allows users to define the workload first (processor count, memory, virtual disks, high availability) and based on those characteristics and performance requirements uses Intelligent Placement to determine the host that is well suited to handle the workload. This feature works across all three supported hypervisors and can be used throughout the lifecycle of the VM, not just during initial placement.  Automation is critical for many administrators to reduce costs in their environments. The VMM GUI console is built completely on PowerShell. Everything a user can do in the UI can be done from the command line. In fact, users only have to know a single set of PowerShell commands for all three hypervisors managed by VMM. No need for pesky “if () else if ()” blocks of code.


One key thing to noteMicrosoft offers an incredible value proposition. For a third the cost of VMware, we provide a complete platform and management solution. The System Center suite that includes Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager and Virtual Machine Manager to provide a unified management solution for your infrastructure: physical, virtual and from desktop to datacenter.


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