MMS 2008 Keynote: The Dynamic Datacenter

Bob Muglia presented today's keynote session, talking about the problems of the Dynamic Datacenter and solutions that are possible.  First up, Michael Kelley demonstrated how System Center Configuration Manager 2007 can be used to deploy an OS to servers in a datacenter.  As part of this, Michael showed the new Dell PowerEdge Server Deployment configuration pack to help with the hardware configuration: setting up RAID configuration, configuring BIOS settings for Hyper-V, etc.

That's the first announcement: The Dell PowerEdge Server Deployment configuration pack. This will be available in a few weeks for downloading from the Dell web site.

The next part of Michael's demo showed how to configure the operating system after it's been installed.  He used the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to install roles (Hyper-V, Active Directory Domain Services, etc.) and then took it the next step and used MDT to configure AD, automating the process of turning the server into a new domain controller.

No new announcement there - that functionality is already present in Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 :-)

Next, Michael showed how to configure the Configuration Manager 2007 R2 multicast capabilities, enabling scalable mass deployments of servers in the datacenter, while minimizing the overall impact on the datacenter's network.

That's another announcement, if you hadn't already heard: Configuration Manager 2007 R2 will add multicast capabilities for OS deployment, leveraging the capabilities provided in Windows Deployment Services in Windows Server 2008, when R2 releases later this year. It's available in beta now via the Connect web site.

Bob talked then talked about how the Microsoft TechNet and MSDN web sites are now completely virtualized, running with Hyper-V.  Performance is very good, and is very competitive with VMware ESX.

Maybe not an announcement, but a great public declaration: Microsoft is already using Hyper-V for large-scale production use.

To help with the management of Hyper-V and VMware ESX, Bob introduced Rakesh Malhotra to talk about managing virtual machines using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, the new version that fully supports Hyper-V and VMware ESX management.

Another announcement: The System Center Virtual Machine Manager beta is available today.

Rakesh also showed how Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is built on top of PowerShell, generating scripts to perform all the UI tasks.  Bob talked about how Hyper-V doesn't yet support "Live Migration" but will in the future.  (Right now, it supports "Quick Migration", which basically uses Windows clustering to save the state of a machine, move it to a new node, and start it up again.) VMM does support VMware's VMotion capabilities.

To help with the setup of "Quick Migration", VMM supports setting up high availability VMs using Windows clustering.  VMM also integrates with System Center Operations Manager 2007, helping with the monitoring and control of your virtual machine environment.  This SCOM integration implements "PRO tips", enabling SCOM to make suggestions for changes to your environment (e.g. add a new IIS server), with a single button "Implement" capabilities to make those changes using automatically-generated PowerShell scripting.

Bob then talked about application virtualization, using products like SoftGrid or using capabilities provided in IIS, SQL Server, and other applications that enable single operating systems to run multiple independent workloads.  This lead into the discussion of modeling: initially using something like SCOM to enable health modeling of your environment, but expanding well beyond that in the future.  Bob originally said five years ago that this was a 10-year vision, with five more years of work to fully implement the original vision.

Next up, Barry Shilmover demonstrated the cross platform extensions for System Center Operations Manager 2007, supporting various Unix and Linux environments.  This solution leverages OpenPegasus (a CIMOM implementation, similar to WMI), OpenWSMan (an open-source WS-Man framework), and some specific OpsMgr providers running on the Unix/Linux hosts to provide information back to the OpsMgr server for monitoring, reporting, etc. - all the standard OpsMgr functionality.  Barry also showed an Oracle management pack from Quest and a MySQL one from Xandros, a management pack for Apache and PHP from Xandros, and more.

Another announcement: The beta version of the Cross Platform Extensions for System Center Operations Manager 2007 is available today.

Bob also talked about new connectors for OpsMgr that enables integration with Tivoli and HP Openview.