It never ceases to amaze me how fast our world can change
around us. The quote "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look
around once in a while, you could miss it." from the classic 1980's movie Ferris
Bueller's Day Off has never been more true. I really believe that
virtualization is one of those technologies that have recently caused
our world of Information Technology to accelerate at rates that have never been
seen before. If we don't take some time to stop and look around us, we might
just be missing some awesome new things. I want to take a few moments today to
take Ferris's advice and stop to look at the world of virtualization and
what it means to those of us in IT.
Let me preface my statements by openly admitting that when
virtualization first came onto the scene a number of years ago, I thought
it was an overhyped non-issue, particularly for those of us working for
mid-sized or small businesses. Let's face it; with the lack of scalability
available from Microsoft's Virtual Server product line and the high cost of
other virtual server solutions, I was right. These frustrations caused
most of us to give up on the failed promises of virtualization and to go back
to running our networks in the real physical world.
All that being said, I am thrilled to be able to say that Microsoft's
release of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, combined with the System Center product line, truly does bring
virtualization to all IT organizations in a way that is both cost-effective and
easily managed. Let's touch on some of the more important features that Microsoft's
recent product releases have brought to the table, as well as some very
exciting new capabilities that soon to be released products will be making
Here are the high points of these game changers on a
product by product basis.
Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2
Microsoft touts 5 areas of improvement in Hyper-V R2 from
the original Hyper-V RTM, but I really want to concentrate on 2:
System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
Like Hyper-V, Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 has
undergone many improvements in the areas of performance and compatibility. The
cross platform capabilities of VMM 2008 R2 have also been improved, allowing
for even better control of VMware hosts that might exist in your environment.
The biggest addition to VMM 2008 R2 however, is the
ability to control and queue Live Migrations between Hyper-V hosts. Combining
the monitoring capabilities of System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 with
Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 makes it possible to monitor the resources of
physical host servers and move virtual machines to the most appropriate host
based on performance and availability, all with no effect on your end users.
While we are discussing the updates to VMM2008 R2 I want
to be sure to include 2 products that I feel do not get enough recognition by
those working in the small and mid-size markets.
System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008
The Workgroup edition of Virtual Machine Manager gives you
all the same capabilities of VMM 2008 with the one limitation that it will only
manage up to 5 physical host servers. This allows for the management of up to
20 virtual servers using 5 Windows Server Enterprise licenses, which will make
virtualizing a large part of any mid-sized business an extremely cost-effective
possibility. In the event that a company outgrows the Workgroup Edition, making
the upgrade to the full version of VMM 2008 R2 is a simple process.
System Center Essentials 2007/2010
System Center Essentials 2007 has been around for over 2
years and is a very good management product for small and mid-sized businesses.
SCE allows administrators to more proactively manage their networks by making
it possible to monitor, update, and install software to both client and server
systems all from one console. With the release of Systems Center Essentials
2010 in early 2010, SCE will soon include virtual machine management
capabilities built into the management console. Organizations with fewer than
50 servers will be able to deploy, manage and move virtual servers in their
environments all from one window. The combination of virtual machine management
with machine administration all within one central application also brings
forward the ability to deploy and move virtual machines based on resource
utilization of the available physical host servers while at the same time
tending to the administration of the operating systems on both the physical
hosts and virtual guests of your network. As with the Workgroup Edition of
Virtual Machine Manager, if an organization outgrows System Center Essentials,
they will be able to upgrade to Operations Manager.
I hope that this helps to highlight some of the great new
advances that Microsoft is making in the world of virtualization. Whether we
are deploying a single server or building out a whole new domain; what once took
months, now takes days or even hours; what once took 10 power supplies to run,
now takes 2; what took 30 fans to cool, now needs only 6. With the obvious cost
savings that are there to be had, and the minimal investment that is required
to get started, let's all stop looking around and get busy building our virtual
I am Chris Avis and I
have been working as an IT Evangelist for Microsoft for the last 6 years. I
started out in this role in Southern California then moved to Redmond, WA about
4 years ago. I love speaking to ANYONE about the cool products and technologies
that we have to offer. Some of my favorite products and technologies are
Windows Server/Client, networking, and Exchange. I have been a somewhat active
blogger for the past few years at http://blogs.technet.com/chrisavis
and I use Twitter - @chrisavis. I am also on Facebook so feel free
to reach out to me through these avenues.
I am excited about
participating in the Because It's Everybody's Business
because.....well.....the name says it all - It is Everybody's Business! We
all use a wide array of technologies in our everyday work and lives and I enjoy
helping make sense of it all. I hope to contribute in the areas I noted above
as well as other areas that I am familiar with.
Outside of work I have
a tendency to still geek out by helping friends and family keep their systems
up and running. But I do enjoy shutting it all down now and then by going
hiking, camping and Letterboxing. When
I have to be indoor and usually rocking out to Guitar Hero or hunting down the
Horde in World of Warcraft.
I have worked in the IT industry for the past 15 years;
working as both an IT Professional, and an IT Manager, over that span of time.
I have spent those years building network infrastucture using the many
different products that Microsoft makes available. I started with Microsoft
business products such as Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, Windows Server 3.50 and
Exchange 4.0 from their initial releases and have worked with them up to their
current versions; Window 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange 2010.
What I have found through the years is that the trick to
building a really effective business network is not a lack of great products
from Microsoft; rather, the problem usually is finding the right combination of
products to use to build the best business solutions to specific business
problems. This is where my role in the BIEB program comes in. I plan to
show how the whole Microsoft puzzle fits together when the "Cool" of the new
products wears off and the "Why?" of the business world sets in. I will be
helping to fit all the pieces together as a total solution.
I have been active in the IT Pro community for over 10 years
leading a number of different user groups in the U.S. as well as being involved
in many different online communities and forums. I am very proud to have been
named as an MVP by Microsoft in 2007 for my work with System Center Operations
Manager 2007 and System Center Essentials 2007. I am also currently
serving as the Chairman of the Board for Culminis North
America; a volunteer organization helping to support IT Pro user groups
around the world. Serving in this position I am in regular contact with IT
Professional experts throughout the United States and Canada and I will work to
bring their joint point of view, as well as opinions and solutions, to the BIEB
In my free time, I love to spend my time with my family
and friends (usually showing them the wonders of the latest and greatest
Windows Mobile phoneJ). I also really enjoy singing and playing keyboards as
well as cooking, especially barbeque and Cajun cuisine. If it's hot, it's good!
I keep up regularly through FaceBook,
LinkedIn and Twitter, although I tend to only use
Twitter when I am at events so that keeping up with my every move may actually
be of some value.
I am really looking forward to spending the coming months
with you building new solutions with all the great new products that Microsoft
is releasing this year; because it IS everybody's business!