In case you missed the news, I wanted to make sure you heard that VMRCplus version 1.5 is available internally and will soon be available publicly in TechNet magazine and as part of the Virtual Server Resource Kit. VMRCplus is an alternate UI as opposed to the Virtual Server web interface. VMRCplus uses the documented Virtual Server COM interface and is a great example of what can be accomplished.
VMRCplus will soon be available publicly here:
· Virtual Server 2005 R2 Resource Kit by Robert Larson, MSPress (targeted for August)
· Utility Spotlight, TechNet Magazine (October issue)
Major Kudos. VMRCplus is possible due to the hard work of Paul Despe and Matthijs ten Seldam. However, Paul is crazy busy in virtualization test and didn’t have the cycles to complete VMRCplus. (Honestly, I don’t know Paul found the cycles to accomplish as much as he did. Awesome work Paul!)
Enter Matthijs. Matthijs picked up where Paul left off and added some minor features that were missing and then went on to add some killer new features building on Paul’s solid foundation. Matthijs then went the extra mile and decided to go through the process of making VMRCplus publicly available which means going through our rigorous release process.
Why this is big news. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about Virtual Server hasn’t been its feature set or performance, but the Web UI. Users really want a local Windows application. VMRCplus provides this.
Key VMRCplus Features:
1. Direct control of local or remote instances of the Virtual Server service. IIS and IE browser are no longer required!
2. Tabbed interface. You can quickly jump between Virtual Server hosts and guest VMRC sessions.
3. Reusable saved states. This feature allows users to preserve a particular saved state and return to that state at any time.
4. Multiple guest selection. You can now startup/shutdown/save/display multiple vms at the same time.
5. Browse button. Easy navigation for media, hard disk images, ISO images, .VMC files, etc.
6. Drag and Drop support. Ease of use enhancements for .VMC files, ISOs images, VHD and VFD files.
7. Resizable desktop support for guests running Virtual Machine Additions. You (maximize VMRC window supported).
8. Cut and paste of text. Want to copy text from host to guest, now you can!
9. Screen capture. A built-in utility to take JPG screenshots of running guests. Useful when filing bugs.
10. Multiple guest creation. Create multiple guests at once.
11. Toolbars. More ease of use enhancements for both Guest and Console Manager.
12. VM sorting. You can now sort virtual machines based on status and use multi-selections.
13. …and much more.
And let me state again, VMRCplus is a Windows application and not a web application. Working with Virtual Server is so much easier now.
Screen shots. Main VMRCplus window (Guest Manager).
Remote control sessions through the Console Manager. Note the tabbed UI.
So does VMRCplus replace the Virtual Server Administration Website in all scenarios? Not totally. In workgroup scenarios, you must use the Administration Website. VMRCplus works for local management of Virtual Server and requires a domain for remote management.
Q: How does VMRCplus compare to our new System Center Virtual Machine Manager? Aren’t we giving away something that will compete against Virtual Machine Manager?
A: Great question, but absolutely not. As much I think VMRCplus is the bees knees, there are numerous differences and Virtual Machine Manager provides numerous capabilities that VMRCplus doesn’t, such as:
1. SCVMM has full production level support. VMRCplus is part of the Virtual Server Resource kit with “best effort” support.
2. SCVMM provides views of virtual machines across multiple servers simultaneously. VMRCplus can manage multiple Virtual Servers, but only one at a time. SCVMM can show multiple virtual machines across multiple servers in the same view.
3. Physical machine to virtual machine conversion, P2V.
4. VMware to Microsoft virtualization conversion, V2V.
5. Library management.
6. Self-service provisioning.
7. Storage integration.
8. Intelligent placement.
9. PowerShell integration from the ground up.
10. Integration with Operations Manager.
11. And more…
· If you’re going to be building out a large production level virtualization infrastructure, Virtual Machine Manager is the way to go.
· If you’re interested in an easier to use local UI for Virtual Server, use VMRCPlus.
Q: If you want to use VMRCplus solely to manage remote Virtual Servers, do you need to install Virtual Server locally and VMRCplus for this scenario?
A: No. VMRCplus installs the necessary Virtual Server files for remote management so you only need to install VMRCplus for remote management.
Q: Does VMRCplus support Virtual Server on x64 platform?
A: Yes. VMRCplus comes in both an x86 and an x64 version.
Q: Does VMRCplus require Virtual Server require Virtual Server R2 SP1?
A: No. VMRCplus can manage any version of Virtual Server. However it supports features introduced with Virtual Server R2 SP1 which are not available in previous versions. There are numerous reasons to upgrade to SP1 so using VMRCplus offers management of specific SP1 features.
Q: Can I manage multiple Virtual Server hosts with VMRCplus?
A: Yes. VMRCplus supports up to 32 Virtual Server hosts.