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TechEd 2009 Keynote and SCVMM 2008 R2 Release Candidate Info

TechEd 2009 Keynote and SCVMM 2008 R2 Release Candidate Info

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If you get some spare time today, or over the next few days, and you want to see some pretty cool demos, then I’d encourage you to take a look at the TechEd Keynote, which was originally delivered on Monday of this week.  In the Keynote, Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President of the Windows Business, and a number of others, including Mark Russinovich and Iain McDonald, take you through a number of key development areas in Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 Client, Exchange 2010, Office 2010 and more.  There’s even a bit of SCVMM 2008 R2 thrown in for good measure.  If you want to understand just a few of the key features and capabilities of the next wave of Microsoft technology, this could be a great starting point for you.  I watched it this morning and I was suitably impressed.

You can view the keynote here, but it’s a bit small, so you may want to use the download link on that page to get a slightly bigger version.

On the back of the TechEd kickoff, and actually within the keynote, Bill announced that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will ship before the holiday season.  Now, when I think Holiday season, I think Jingle Bells, which would be December, however The Register, seems to think it will be sooner than that, citing an August-ish release.  That would be nice!

In terms of specific new features and capabilities that were announced, the list includes up to 64 logical processor (cores) support for Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, which is a massive jump from both the 24-core limit in 2008 (with the hotfix), and the original proposal of 32 cores for R2.  This post, over at the Windows Server blog, not only highlights the increase in the number of cores’ support in R2 Hyper-V, but also highlights the improvements that have been made to Hyper-V to ensure Live Migrations are compatible between different CPUs of the same family.  This capability wasn’t in the beta, so the development team have been working hard to make this kind of feature a reality, in a short space of time.  This allows scenarios such as adding nodes to a cluster, that have slightly newer (same family, Intel or AMD) CPU’s than the other nodes in the cluster.  Can I not migrate my VMs to those nodes?  Yes, with this capability, you can, and it’s built in, out of the box.  AMD are the first to provide a real world example video of this in action, so you can read the details, or watch the video.

Again, on the back of TechEd, the SCVMM team took the opportunity to announce the key new features that will make it into the Release Candidate of SCVMM 2008 R2, that weren't in the Beta.  Before you ask, RC should be late May.  What are the extra features?

  • Storage Migration
  • Queuing of Live migrations
  • Rapid Provisioning
  • Host compatibility checks
  • Support for 3rd party CFS
  • Support for Veritas Volume Manager

Storage Migration is an interesting one.  This basically allows you to move a VHD of a running VM, from one place to another.  I guess, as Vishwa points on out the SCVMM blog, it will aid the migration from 1 VM per LUN scenarios on 2008 Hyper-V, to multiple VMs per LUN with CSV in 2008 R2.  The queuing of Live Migrations is a useful little tool.  Without SCVMM, if you try and migrate a VM from Node A to Node B, whilst a VM is already being migrated from A to B, the migration will fail, as only 1 Live Migration can take place at a time.  Not the end of the world, but a bit more manual than I’d like.  This doesn’t stop you performing multiple migrations between different sources and targets.  With VMM R2 however, it will form an orderly queue of Live Migrations and perform them 1 by 1.

Rapid provisioning is a nifty little feature, that really allows you to start taking advantage of the investments you’ve made in your storage backend.  Deploying a VM from SCVMM’s library takes time, as typically, it’s transferred via BITS, but what if you’ve already got a LUN replication capability within your SAN, which would allow you to quickly duplicate the contents of LUN A, to make a new LUN, B.  LUN B would subsequently contain the VHD file (much quicker than transferring with BITS from the library), so all you need from VMM is some sort of config file template type thing, to make it into a VM, rather than just a Virtual Hard Disk.  More details on this, and all the other improvements listed above, over on the SCVMM blog.

Bring on the end of May / Early June, when I can add SCVMM 2008 R2 to my Hyper-V R2 environment!  Happy days!

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