Guest post: virtualization requires the proper perspective

Hi, I’m Doug de Werd, technical marketing manager for Windows Virtualization at Hewlett-Packard.

In the past few weeks following the Microsoft virtualization launch event in Bellevue the virtualization buzz keeps growing louder and louder.  We keep hearing more and more from customers that virtualization is a key component of their IT infrastructure strategy.  IT organizations fall across a wide spectrum of virtualization implementation and sophistication. Some have been doing it for quite some time, while others are just starting or even just starting to think about it.

One thing that keeps coming up over and over, however, is the notion of using virtualization as an enabling technology, rather than an end in itself. This means aligning your IT strategies to your business strategies.  Ultimately it’s not about how many virtual guests you can run on a physical host, or how cool your underlying infrastructure is – it’s about using these technologies to achieve better business outcomes. Whether the specific goal is to use virtualization to save money, reduce data center footprint, gain competitive edge, drive business continuity and availability, or go green by reducing power and cooling, it all comes down to using virtualization as a means to reach these goals.

OK, so that makes sense – so how do I do that?  One of the key things that HP and Microsoft recognize is that it is the management tools that really enable you to take advantage of the underlying virtualization technologies. Microsoft System Center, especially with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, will provide easy to use tools that will allow you to manage your physical and virtual environments from a single pane of glass. This means customers won’t have to use one set of tools to manage their physical infrastructure and another set to manage their virtual environment.

HP has also recognized that management of virtual environments is quickly becoming a customer top priority, and is working to integrate HP management tools to both extend and complement the functionality of System Center.

HP is taking a two-fold approach to this. First, our HP ProLiant and BladeSystem servers are management enabled for System Center. HP provides Management Packs that integrate with System Center Operations Manager and Configuration Manager, as well as an upcoming HP PRO Pack for Virtual Machine Manager.  These HP Management Packs enhance the customer experience by providing detailed HP-specific information to System Center.  The PRO Pack will enable dynamic allocation of virtualized compute resources based on predefined set of rules and policies.  This means that predictive hardware alerts can be used to migrate virtual machines to alternate hosts before a failure causes downtime.


The second is that HP Insight Software complements Microsoft System Center to provide comprehensive physical and virtual systems management.  HP management tools such as Systems Insight Manager and Insight Control Environment will comprehend virtualized environments using Hyper-V in the same manner and console as non-virtualized physical host environments. HP Insight Dynamics – VSE enables administrators to manage physical and virtual resources in the same way and includes a foundation for management of virtual machines, capacity planning, virtual machine migration, and remote control.


Microsoft and HP are also working closely with Citrix in the area of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.  VDI is a flexible desktop replacement solution that increases security, decreases cost and delivers higher availability for the desktop while continuing to provide end-users with the functionality of a standalone desktop.  The VDI stack incorporates Microsoft components such as Vista and Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, along with Citrix XenDesktop, all running on Hyper-V and managed by System Center. HP Consulting and Integration Services provides the end-to-end solution, including servers, storage, access devices, networking devices and printers as well as the software and services to bring it all together.


HP and Microsoft have been closely collaborating for over 20 years as part of the HP-Microsoft Frontline Partnership.  The strength of this work is evident in the strong management tool integration that both extends and complements Microsoft System Center.  Working together, HP and Microsoft can help customers realize the tangible benefits of virtualization today.


Doug de Werd


Oct. 16, 2008 update: Here’s Doug’s response to JRedmond’s comment/queston.

There’s really 2 parts to the HP integration with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.  The first is that HP will be providing support for Hyper-V in the HP management tools that address virtualization. So things like Insight Dynamics – VSE, HP Insight Control Environment, HP Server Migration Pack, and HP Virtual Machine Manager will all support Hyper-V hosts and guests.  For example, in HP Systems Insight Manager, you will be able to see physical Hyper-V hosts as well as the virtual machines running on them.

From the System Center side, HP already provides management packs that integrate with SC Operations Manager and SC Configuration Manager. These management packs push HP ProLiant and BladeSystem specific information into SCOM and SCCM to provide more detail about what is being managed. To further extend the functionality of System Center Virtual Machine Manager, HP will provide a PRO Pack. This works in conjunction with the HP management packs to send HP server management agent information to SCOM. The PRO Pack provides additional HP information and suggestions, allowing SCOM to make recommendations via SCVMM. As an example, a server could experience a high rate of correctable memory errors. Once a threshold has been reached, an alert is sent through the HP management pack to SCOM. OM then works with the HP PRO Pack and SCVMM to make a recommendation as to where to proactively move the virtual machines from the affected system.  Using SCVMM and Quick Migration, you can then quickly move the affected VMs to other servers and diagnose and fix the original server, preventing downtime.