SIM211: Microsoft Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012: Intro

Wow! This was a really killer session on System Center VMM 2012. Frankly, since the shop I work in is 100% VMware for virtualization, I haven’t seriously looked at VMM before. Yes I knew it could interface with VMware, but eh, I just didn’t see much value in yet another product I need to learn and manage. VMM 2012 is really a game changer for private clouds, and I’m blown away by the capabilities. Unlike SCOM 2012 that seems like an incremental upgrade (personally I’d call it 2007 R3) , VMM 2012 is a radically different product in every way.

I talked to a MS guy yesterday, and all of the functionality in VMM 2012 will be available with VMware hypervisors minus the bare metal deployment of the hypervisor to the server. Same thing for XenServer as well. So get ready to build your private cloud on the hypervisor of your choice.

This was a high-level overview session, so here are some of the tidbits I learned:

  1. VMM 2012 will allow you easily build private clouds based on Hyper-V, VMware vSphere, and XenServer. It abstracts the hypervisor, storage, compute, and networking resources and lets you build a scalable, elastic, self-service, and metered use private cloud.
  2. Major investment areas include HA VMM server, deeper powershell integration, fabric management of hypervisors, networks, storage, power, and clusters. Delegation, quotas, application service templates, application deployment, image based servicing.
  3. Network management includes defining VLANs, subnets, address management for static IPs, load balancer VIPs, and MAC addresses.
  4. Automates provisioning of load balancers (F5, Citrix Netscaler, etc.). Adding a new web server to your SharePoint farm? No problem, VMM will automatically reconfigure your HLB.
  5. Storage management using SMI-S v1.4.  Discover disk arrays and pools, classifiy various storage types, discover and configure LUN, assign LUNs to clusters, configure LUN masking, and snap cloning of VMs.
  6. Integration with WSUS for automated no downtime patching of Hyper-V hosts (like VMware VUM)
  7. Dynamic optimization of VM workloads (like VMware DRS).
  8. Power Optimization (like VMware DPM).
  9. Enhanced VM placement via 100 checks/validations.
  10. Abstracts all of these resources into objects that a cloud user can comsume (capacity, capabilities, libraries, logical networks, load balancers, storage classifications, storage capacity).
  11. Fine-level delegation down to the user role, and ability to define quotas based on various resources like compute, memory, storage, and number of VMs.
  12. You can shape VM limits by specifying ranges for VMs (processor range, memory range, disk range, NIC range, etc.). For example, you can limit the ability of a user to provision a VM with 1-2 vCPUs, upto 4GB of ram, and only one NIC.
  13. Service templates to model multi-tier appplications, and automate their deployment. Support for Server App-V, SQL DAC, and web deploy. Have a multi-tiered application? Just model it, then click deploy, input some parameters, and voila..the VMs are created, configured, storage provisioned, network configured, and HLB setup.
  14. Image-based composition separates OS from the apps, and the combination is composed during deployment. Drastically reduce the number of required VM templates. Limit the need for AD templates, SQL templates, web server templates, etc.
  15. Change the template, then apply that change to deployed instances to ensure compliance. Roll-back changes as well. This ensures all production instances are based on your template and compliant.
  16. Application owners can author service templates, then share that template with others to ensure it is deployed correctly. IT operations can now deploy multi-tiered applicatins in a consistent, tested, and very elastic manner.

The speaker also did a number of demos, and covers a lot more information as well. Needless to say, the capabilities in VMM 2012 are really amazing. I’m even more stoked that it’s hypervisor independent, so most any shop can take advantage of all these private cloud features.

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