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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Who’s Carmine again?

Who’s Carmine again?

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System Center Virtual Machine Manager

Now you may or may not have just read a post I wrote about Window Server Virtualisation, which detailed what is on the horizon in the Virtualisation space from Microsoft, what this crazy term ‘Hypervisor' means, and what the benefits it can bring to your business.  Well, say you are using it, or you are using Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, and you have a load of Virtual Machines happily working away.  How do you manage these VM's?  That's where Carmine comes in - and no, its not the name of the new IT Administrator you will hire to look after your Virtual Infrastructure.

Carmine was, and is no longer, the codename for Microsoft's roll-off-the-tongue virtual infrastructure management tool; System Center Virtual Machine Manager, or, if acronym's float your boat, SCVMM.

So, what is it, and what are the benefits it can bring to your business?

  • Enables increased physical server utilisation by enabling simple and fast consolidation on virtual infrastructure.
  • Consolidation candidate identification, fast Physical-2-Virtual (P2V) migration.
  • Intelligent workload placement based on performance data and user defined business policies.
  • Rapid provisioning of new virtual machines by the administrator and end users using a self-service provisioning tool.
  • Provides the central management console to manage all the building blocks of a virtualised datacenter.

Now the cool thing about SCVMM, is not only does it work with VS 2005 R2 (& SP1), but it being designed with Windows Server Virtualisation in mind, so essentially, by using it now, you are getting benefits now, and future proofing your organisation.

So, I hear you cry, when is it released?  Well, like I said, its in Beta  at the moment, and you can download and test it here and as it currently stands, Beta 2 is due in H1 of 2007 and, all being well, it should hit the market in H2 of 2007.  The Beta 1, before you ask, will be the full del-monte, but we do intend adding more features for the Beta 2, such as:

  • General fit, finish and polish.
  • Distributed library topology.
  • 64-bit support for VMM server.
  • Fine grained controls on self service provisioning.
  • Full integration with clustered physical host support.
  • Physical-2-Virtual conversion.
  • SCVMM MOM Pack. (Double Acronym alert!)
  • Agent Management.
  • More complete set of controls on the self service provisioning feature.

Now some of you are probably wondering how this product, SCVMM, differs to MOM, Microsoft Operations Manager 2005, and the Management Packs that can be installed for the various products, i.e. Virtual Server.  Well, first, Operations Manager is used to identify what we call consolidation candidates.  To identify the appropriate workloads for virtualisation it is not as simple as listing all of the servers which are currently requiring low CPU.  There are issues of "spiky" or high variance workloads and high I/O workloads which must be taken into consideration.  The performance data stored in Operations Manager is used to create a consolidation candidates report that takes all of these issues under consideration.  Second, placement of workloads onto physical servers in resource pools is at the crux of maximising physical resource utilisation.  Operations Manager is integrated into the placement algorithm by incorporating historical performance data for the workload either from a physical or virtual environment as well as the current the performance data of the physical resource pools.  Third, Operations Manager is the enterprise monitoring solution for both physical and virtual machine infrastructure.  VMM doesn't create an additional, parallel monitoring system to be configured and supported.

So, there you have it, a quick rundown on SCVMM, so, if you think it fits your needs, both now and in the future, head over here and download the Beta and see what you think!

Do you want to learn more about System Center Virtual Machine manager? What about the Virtualisation roadmap?  Or, are you just curious about Virtual Server?  Well, you can find a wealth of information over at the Events webpage.

If you want to see System Center Virtual Machine Manager in action, stream the WinHEC demo.

  • Now we all know one of the key benefits of virtualisation is the consolidation of hardware, or, put another

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