One of the pillars of System Center is the new Virtual Machine Manager. Beta 1 has been out since last August, and at the Microsoft Management Summit last week, Microsoft announced the pending release of Beta 2. A lot of great coding and features have been coming out of the VMM team, and I can't wait to get my hands on the Beta 2 release. To get your name on the list to be notified when Beta 2 is released (any day now), head on over to https://connect.microsoft.com/vmm and sign in with your Passport.

So what is coming in Beta 2? The full list is located here: http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/scvmm/evaluation/overview/default.mspx

The highlights that I am excited by are as follows:

  • System Center will utilize historical performance data from Operations Manager 2007 to recommend which physical machines should be virtualized (based off of workloads). VMM will also recommend which physical box should be used to host the Virtual Machine, and recommend consolidating compatible workloads (based off of their characteristics). For example, different servers may experience heavy utilization at different times of the day.
  • P2V Conversion: With very few clicks, you are able to undergo a P2V conversion (Physical to Virtual) using Volume Shadow Copy. Without needing to take the server out of production, you are able to virtualize it.
  • Rapid Machine provisioning: You can utilize VM templates, and rapidly provision new Virtual Machines (as needed) using a wizard-based user interface.
  • Library: The library stores all of the bits you need to create Virtual Machines. .vhd files, cd/dvd ISO images, scripts, templates, etc.
  • SAN Awareness: Taking advantage of your existing investment in that super-fast Fiber SAN, VMM can rapidly move images between servers connected to the same SAN.
  • Fully scriptable with Powershell
  • Integration with Operations Manager 2007: This means that you can monitor the ENTIRE STACK. You can monitor the host OS, the Virtual Server instances, the Virtual Machines, the workloads ON the virtual machines… You can have an end-to-end view of all the software running on your Microsoft servers. Very nice…