SIM361: System Center VMM 2012: VMware and XenServer Support Features

I’ve broken this SCVMM 2012 session into two blog posts, since half of the content wasn’t directly related to Microsoft’s session title so you might overlook this great info about VMware and XenServer support in VMM 2012.

It covered the enhanced integration of VMware and XenServer within VMM 2012 and the changes from the previous version (SCVMM 2008 R2 SP1). New to SCVMM 2012 is full support for ESX 4.1 and XenServer. The previous version has so little VMware support, that IMHO, it was practically useless. In fact the speaker asked the audience who uses VMM to manage their VMware environment and no one raised their hand. Ouch! No previous XenServer support.

VMM 2012 has a virtualization abstraction layer that allows VMM to use a common interface, yet interface with various hypervisors. For example, the same powershell command to live migrate a VM will work on Hyper-V, ESX 4.1, or XenServer. It is very likely datacenters will have more than one hypervisor, so this is a nice common point of administration for supported operations. VMM 2012 now has over 460 powershell commandlets, up from 160 in the previous release.

VMware support enhancements include:

  1. Import ESX hosts and clusters and put them into any folder structure in VMM 2012, unlike previous versions that did a one time static import of your datacenter object tree.
  2. Discovers standard and distributed port groups, and virtual switches.
  3. VM templates are also discovered, and it imports the metadata about the VM template but does not touch nor ever delete the VM template (unlike previous versions).
  4. VM workflow now uses vCenter to do the VM copy (which means it could leverage VAAI).
  5. Thin provisioned VM templates are supported.
  6. You can’t create FT VMs (but who really uses those anyway given all of the limitations).
  7. vMotion and Storage vMotion are supported.
  8. Utilizes the native VMware HTTPS interface to vCenter (seems like a no brainer but the previous version did NOT.)
  9. No requirement to enable root SSH on ESX servers (seriously, what was MS thinking when they required this?)

XenServer support includes:

  1. No dependency on XenCenter. VMM 2012 directly talks to each XenServer.
  2. Like VMware, you configure the XenServer host outside of VMM. When it’s fully configured, then you add it to VMM.
  3. It supports standalone and pooled hosts.
  4. Can enable maintenance mode (like it can with VMware), and shutdown, power on, and restart the server.
  5. Supports iSCSI, NFS, HBA, and StorageLink disk types, both shared and local.
  6. Supports ISO repositories, although they must be read-write (not read-only).
  7. Due to differences in how vSwitches work, VMM wrapps a single vSwitch around all of the XenServer vSwitches that get created when you use multiple VLANs.
  8. Full VM support, both paravirtual and hardware VMs. Does leverage checkpoints (snapshots) and gues console access.
  9. No Dynamic memory support.

It appears to me there are very few caveats regarding features not supporting in both hypervisors. That’s not to say VMM will replace vCenter. It was clearly stated it will not, and vCenter will still be used to manage your ESX servers. However, many of the very common daily tasks that you do in vCenter can now be done in VMM 2012. There’s no tie into VUM, for example, so any host patching and maintenance will still be vCenter only. But for the purposes of building and managing a private cloud, the level of support goes very deep. Bravo VMM team (just please rename it to something like Cloud Manager).

Now the million dollar question is, how soon will MS support vSphere 5.0 when it’s GA?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments