Earlier in this Build Your Private Cloud in a Month article series, we defined Elasticity as an important property of a Private Cloud Fabric.  Elasticity allows us to manage our Private Cloud as a flexible pool of resources that we can leverage to rapidly grow our datacenter capacity to meet new resource demands within our organization or shrink our datacenter capacity when resource demands are lighter to save on datacenter power and cooling operating costs. 

In this article, we’ll get introduced an additional strategy in managing our Private Cloud fabric elastically: Dynamic Optimization and Power Optimization – both are capabilities provided by System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager.  In addition, we'll provided a Guided Hands-on Lab to allow you to step through the process of configuring these capabilities.

Transforming our Datacenter into an Elastic Private Cloud Fabric

Already in this series, we’ve seen a couple easy ways to introduce elasticity into our Private Cloud fabric:

  • Last week, we stepped through extending our Private Cloud network fabric to a Hybrid scenario using Virtual Networks in Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.  This provides us with the ability to spin-up / spin-down resources on-demand on the Windows Azure cloud platform as a secure, burstable extension of our Private Cloud fabric.
     
  • Yesterday, Matt Hester explained how Bare-Metal Provisioning of new virtualization hosts or clusters in our datacenter can be leveraged to provide a quick on-ramp for adding new compute capacity on-premise in just a few minutes when our Private Cloud fabric needs to rapidly expand to meet new levels of resource demands.

What is Dynamic Optimization and Power Optimization?

In today’s Guided Lab, we’ll be reviewing an additional strategy in managing our Private Cloud fabric elastically: Dynamic Optimization and Power Optimization – both are capabilities provided by System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager.

  • Dynamic Optimization – provides us the ability to automatically load balance running VMs across all available compute capacity, based on utilization thresholds we set for groups of virtualization hosts within clusters.  As we add new virtualization hosts or clusters to our Private Cloud fabric, perhaps through Bare-Metal provisioning as Matt explained yesterday, Dynamic Optimization is used to quickly redistribute VMs and applications to take advantage of the newly added capacity.  Dynamic Optimization uses Live Migration to move running VMs between virtualization hosts, so there’s absolutely zero network downtime for any running applications.  
     
    Be sure to enable Dynamic Optimization to leverage this “powerful” capability in your Private Cloud fabric!
     
  • Power Optimization – as we dynamically optimize our VM and application placement, Power Optimization can be enabled as an added capability for Hyper-V virtualization hosts in clusters within our Private Cloud fabric.  When System Center 2012 SP1 VMM finds that it can safely consolidate running VMs and applications on a smaller number of physical virtualization hosts, while still preserving enough spare capacity for high availability in the event of an unexpected host outage, Power Optimization can be leveraged to safely shutdown and power-off unneeded virtualization hosts during periods of low activity.  When that extra capacity is needed again, Power Optimization can then wake-up those hosts to bring them back online.  Host power and cooling costs represent a large percentage of the ongoing operating costs within on-premise datacenters and leveraging Power Optimization allows us to run our active datacenter capacity at much more cost-effective utilization levels to improve our Power Usage Effectiveness ( PUE ).  Power Optimization is one of the techniques we use inside our own cloud datacenters to achieve a very effective PUE rating of 1.125 – the industry PUE average for datacenters is 1.8 – translating into much lower ongoing costs and a much greener environment.
     
    What a “cool” datacenter capability for a Private Cloud Fabric!

Guided Lab Exercises

In this Guided Lab, you’ll complete the following tasks using System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager:

  • Enable Dynamic Optimization to automatically distribute the load of VMs and applications across Host Groups within the VMM management console.
  • Set available resource thresholds for CPU, Memory, Disk and Network to customize Dynamic Optimization for your environment.
  • Enable Power Optimization to automatically manage power consumption across Hosts Groups within the VMM management console.
  • Set available resource thresholds for CPU, Memory, Disk and Network to customize Power Optimization for your environment.
  • Define a custom Power Optimization schedule to control when Power Optimization should be running for your Host Groups.

Estimated Time to Complete: 10 minutes

Let’s Get Started!

To launch this Guided Lab Scenario, click the Play button in the window below.

Guided Lab Scenario: SCVMM 2012 SP1 Dynamic Optimization and Power Optimization

Guided Lab Tips:

  • After launching the lab in the window above, you may wish to also click the Show Full Screen button in the lower right portion of the window for best viewing.
  • The lab captions can be moved by clicking/dragging if they obscure a portion of your Guided Lab window, particularly when using lower screen resolutions.

Completed! Where can I learn more?

Leverage these additional resources to continue building your Private Cloud with System Center 2012 SP1:

Let’s Start Building Our Cloud!

Get started building your Private Cloud with the rest of the articles in our series and the “Early Experts” Cloud Quest …