Mitch Irsfeld


An agile it department can quickly deliver new servers anywhere in the network. System Center Virtual Machine Manager takes such agility to the next level, allowing IT administrators to deploy virtual machines in a fraction of the time it would take to deploy a physical server. With server virtualization rewriting the rules for how data is stored and accessed, IT professionals are quickly finding that the new challenge is managing all the virtual machines that can spring up for specific tasks.

In VMM 2008 R2 RC, Microsoft has provided an elegant solution for managing virtual machines in either Microsoft virtual-server or heterogeneous virtual-server environments. In his overview of VMM 2008 R2 RC, Paul Schnackenburg shows how VMM can help curtail "virtual-server sprawl" while migrating physical servers to virtual servers and managing the security of those virtual servers.

Meanwhile, downtime remains costly for businesses of any size, and you don't have to manage a huge enterprise to see the benefits of System Center. MVP Greg Shields recounts how specialty brewer New Belgium Brewing Co. put a cap on an expensive series of outages when it installed System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2. Up and monitoring in less than a day, the system flagged a problem and literally paid for itself in less than 24 hours.

Operations Manager is designed to scale to meet the needs of any size network, but regardless of size, tracking down the root causes of every problem can be nearly impossible. Shields describes how Operations Manager makes use of Management Packs, which filter through the raw data to alert administrators about only those behaviors likely to interest them.

Then Chris Adams, who focuses on System Center Configuration Manager and VMM as part of Microsoft's Management & Services Division, puts it all together with a look at how VMM 2008 can be used to dynamically provision Configuration Manager 2007 roles. That integration allows monitoring alerts in Operations Manager to take actions using VMM's Windows PowerShell interfaces. In describing how this was done for Microsoft's Configuration Manager infrastructure, Adams shows not only how to dynamically provision servers, but how to create an infrastructure that expands dynamically based upon your needs.

Enjoy our authors' deeper insight in these System Center products, which in turn are designed to provide deeper insight into both physical and virtual environments and to facilitate the migration from physical to virtual servers. From smaller environments to large enterprise infrastructures, the need to quickly respond to problems and dynamically satisfy changing needs is universal.

Mitch Irsfeld is managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter and TechNet Flash Feed, a daily news blog providing updates on the latest Microsoft engagements for IT pros.

—Mitch Irsfeld

Thanks to the following Microsoft technical experts: Justin Hall, Dustin Jones, Hector Linares, Sanjeev Nair, Kenon Owens and Scott Schnoll.