Private Cloud Management with VMM 2012 (Part 1): What's new with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

This article is cross posted from my original post on PTS Official Blog

I have been delivering a lot of sessions on the all-new VMM 2012 lately to both external and internal audiences, so I thought of sharing some information with our online community as well.

I am putting together a 3-part series of blog posts to cover all the aspects of VMM 2012 and how it enables Private Cloud Management. If you are new to Private Cloud concepts and its benefits, you may want to read some of my earlier posts on the same topic:

Private Cloud– Part 1

Private Cloud– Part 2

In March at the Microsoft Management Summit 2011 held in Las Vegas, we announced the public availability of VMM 2012 Beta. I know most of you are evaluating VMM 2012 in your environment and may need some guidance—hence this blog series.

When we talk about Private Cloud, we expect following benefits:

1. Reliability and predictability: We would want our application to be highly available and fault-tolerant, the remediation from failure should be simple, and it should be simple to re-start and re-deploy applications.

2. Highly automated: We want our infrastructure to be highly automated to complete tasks like provisioning new systems and configuring storage, networking, and applications on its own without any manual intervention.

3. Agility of speed: We would also expect better responsiveness and turnaround time to meet user needs. We want applications to be deployed faster, and changes to be made much easier and faster—not taking weeks to happen.

4. Focus of Applications and services: Let’s face it, at the end of the day the consumer only cares about applications and services, uptime, and quality of the service as a measure for success of your private cloud. So as a cloud consumer I would want to focus on the application rather than underlying infrastructure.

Today let’s go through a high-level overview of VMM 2012 and what kind of advanced management capabilities it brings to the table to for virtualized infrastructures and the Private Cloud.

Microsoft has made investments in 4 different areas in VMM 2012:

1. Deployment

  • HA VMM Server: VMM 2012 brings some enhanced deployment scenarios, where your VMM server itself is not cluster-aware, so now you can host VMM on a cluster and use the cluster name to connect your VMM console to the server.
  • Non-HA VMs on HA Host: Now you can create non-HA VMs on clustered hosts.
  • Cluster Creation: Now you can create Hyper-V® Host clusters directly from the VMM console itself, without having to go ahead and create clusters using Cluster Manager on the hosts. VMM Cluster creation also allows automated provisioning of storage and creation of CSV and virtual networks. You can even add or remove nodes, clusters, disks, and virtual network from existing clusters using VMM. You can also create clusters in untrusted domains.
    • MM now brings new custom properties not just for hosts, but also for components in VMM which can be really useful from a management perspective.
    • VMM also brings Windows PowerShell® 2.0 with new cmdlets to enable automation.

2. Fabric Management

  • Bare-metal provisioning: VMM now allows provisioning of bare-metal Hyper-V hosts. VMM can deploy the OS on the host, enable the Hyper-V role, and add it to the cluster and deploy VMs or Service—so the entire VM host lifecycle is now managed by the VMM itself… Isn't that cool? :)
  • Heterogeneous Virtualization Management: In addition to supporting VMware, VMM 2012 now also provides support to manage Citrix XenServer.
  • Logical Network: VMM now can help define Logical Networks using VLANs and Subnets by datacenter location, and also provides feature to manage static IPs, load-balancer VIPs, and MAC addresses. You can now automatically provision a load-balancer.
  • Storage Management: VMM now also connects and queries your storage boxes with SMI-S provided by storage vendors. It can discover storage arrays and pools, and discover capabilities and capacity of storage devices. It can now automatically configure and assign LUNs to hosts and clusters.
  • Updates Management: VMM now offers support for orchestrating the OS update process of clustered hosts. It integrates with WSUS and can now automatically update your cluster nodes without any service disruption to your VMs.
  • Dynamic Optimization: If you have worked with VMM 2008 R2, you know the PRO feature where you can move VMs around from one node to another within a cluster if there is any resource crunch on the host. It used to require Ops Manager integration, but VMM 2012 now provides built-in support for load optimization for Dynamic Optimization, and no longer requires Ops Manager. For other PRO capabilities, Ops Manager 2007 R2 and above are required.
  • Power Optimization: With Dynamic Optimization, VMM also offers Power Optimization. With this feature you can now consolidate VMs on fewer hosts and shut down the rest of the hosts in a cluster in order to save power—powering them up when the load on these VMs increases and requires spreading out.
  • Enhanced Placement: VMM now does over 100 placement checks before placing the VMs on the hosts. It also supports custom placement rules, e.g. when you want to deploy these VMs on the hosts with custom values of Server Room Third Floor. Now you can deploy multiple VMs as a part of a multi-tier service (e g: front-end web server, middle tier, and database tier).

3. Cloud Management: In VMM 2012, a private cloud provides the following benefits:

  • Self-service. Administrators can delegate management and usage of the cloud while retaining the opaque usage model. Cloud users do not need to ask the cloud provider for administrative changes beyond increasing capacity and quotas as their needs change.
  • Resource pooling. Through the cloud, administrators can collect and present an aggregate set of resources, such as storage and networking resources. Resource usage is limited by the capacity of the cloud and by user role quotas.
  • Opacity. Cloud users have no knowledge of the underlying physical resources.
  • Elasticity. Administrators can add resources to a cloud to increase the capacity.
  • Optimization. Usage of the underlying resources is continually optimized without affecting the overall cloud user experience.

4. Services Management: It’s not VM Management anymore. Now with VMM you can deploy and manage multi-tier applications across multiple servers as a single unit. Scale out the service with minimal effort based on demand.


We'll discuss some of these great details in my new few blog posts and will also see how to deploy some of these. Stay tuned!