What's new in System Center Virtual Machine Manager

This article details the new features supported in System Center 1807 - Virtual Machine Manager (VMM).

What's new in System Center 1807 - Virtual Machine Manager

See the following sections for information about the new features supported in VMM 1807.

Note

To view the bugs fixed and the installation instructions for VMM 1807, see KB article 4135364.

Storage

Supports selection of CSV for placing a new VHD

VMM 1807 allows you to select a cluster shared volumes (CSV) for placing a new virtual hard disc (VHD).

In earlier versions of VMM, a new VHD on a virtual machine (VM), by default, is placed on the same CSV where the earlier VHDs associated with the VM are placed, there was no option to choose a different CSV/ folder. In case of any issues related to the CSV, such as storage full or over commitment, users had to migrate the VHD, only after deploying the VHD.

With VMM 1807, you can now choose any location to place the new disc. You can manage this disc easily, based on the storage availability of CSVs. Learn more.

Networking

Display of LLDP information for networking devices

VMM 1807 supports Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP). You can now view network device properties and capabilities information of the hosts from VMM. Host operating system must be Windows 2016 or higher.

DataCenterBridging and DataCenterBridging-LLDP-Tools features have been enabled on hosts to fetch the LLDP properties. Learn more.

Convert SET switch to logical switch

VMM 1807 allows you to convert a switch embedded teaming (SET) switch to logical switch by using the VMM console. In earlier versions, this feature was supported only through PowerShell script. Learn more.

VMware host management

VMM 1807 supports VMware ESXi v6.5 servers in VMM fabric. This support facilitates the administrators with additional flexibility in managing multiple hypervisors in use. Learn more about the additional details of supported vmware server versions.

Support for S2D cluster update

VMM 1807 supports update of an S2D host or a cluster. You can update individual S2D hosts or clusters against the baselines configured in windows server update services (WSUS). Learn more.

Others

Support for SQL 2017

VMM 1807 supports SQL 2017. You can upgrade SQL 2016 to 2017.

This article details the new features supported in System Center 1801 - Virtual Machine Manager (VMM).

This article details the new features supported in System Center 2016 - Virtual Machine Manager (VMM).

What's new in System Center 1801 - Virtual Machine Manager

See the following sections for detailed information about the new features supported in VMM 1801.

Compute

Nested virtualization

VMM supports Nested Virtualization feature that allows you to run Hyper-V inside a Hyper-V virtual machine. In other words, with nested virtualization, a Hyper-V host itself can be virtualized. Nested virtualization can be enabled out-of-band by using PowerShell and Hyper-V host configuration.

You can leverage this functionality to reduce your infrastructure expense for development, test, demo, and training scenarios. This feature also allows you to use third- party virtualization management products with Microsoft hypervisor.

You can enable or disable the nested virtualization feature using SCVMM 1801. You can configure the VM as a Host in VMM and perform host operations from VMM on this VM. For example, VMM dynamic optimization considers a nested VM host for placement. Learn more.

Migration of VMware VM (EFI firmware-based VM) to Hyper-V VM

The current VMM migration for VMware VMs to Hyper-V only supports migration of BIOS-based VMs.

VMM 1801 release enables migration of EFI based VMware VMs to Hyper-V generation 2 VMs. VMware VMs that you migrate to Microsoft Hyper-V platform can take advantage of the Hyper-V generation 2 features.

As part of this release, the Convert Virtual machine wizard enables the VM migration based on the firmware type (BIOS or EFI), selects and defaults the Hyper-V VM generation appropriately: Learn more.

  1. BIOS-based VMs are migrated to Hyper-V VM generation 1.
  2. EFI-based VMs are migrated to Hyper-V VM generation 2.

We have also made improvements in the VMWare VM conversion process that makes the conversion up to 50% faster.

Performance improvement in host refresher

The VMM 1801 host refresher has undergone certain updates for performance improvement.

With these updates, in scenarios where the organization is managing large number of hosts and VMs with checkpoints – you would be able to observe significant and noticeable improvements in the performance of the job.

In our lab with VMM instances managing 20 hosts - each host managing 45-100 VMs, we have measured up to 10X performance improvement.

Enhanced console session in VMM

Console connect in VMM provides an alternative way to remote desktop to connect to the VM. This is most useful when the VM does not have any network connectivity or want to change network configuration that could break the network connectivity. Currently, the current console connect in VMM supports only basic session where clipboard text can only be pasted through Type Clipboard Text menu option.

VMM 1801 supports enhanced console session that enables Cut (Ctrl + X), Copy (Ctrl + C) and Paste (Ctrl + V) operations on the ANSI text and files available on the clipboard, thereby copy/paste commands for text and files are possible from and to the VM. Learn more.

Storage

Improvement in VMM storage QoS

Storage Quality of Service (SQoS) provides a way to centrally monitor and manage storage performance for virtual machines using Hyper-V and the Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) roles. The feature automatically improves storage resource fairness between multiple VMs using the same cluster and allows policy-based performance goals.

VMM 1801 supports the following improvements in SQoS:

  • Extension of SQoS support beyond S2D - You can now assign storage QoS policies to storage area networks (SAN). Learn more.
  • Support for VMM private cloud - storage QoS policies can now be consumed by the VMM cloud tenants. Learn more.
  • Availability of storage QoS policies as templates - You can set storage QoS policies through VM templates. Learn more.

Networking

Configuration of guest clusters in SDN through VMM

With the advent of the software defined network (SDN), in Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, the configuration of guest clusters has undergone some change.

With the introduction of the SDN, VMs which are connected to the virtual network using SDN are only permitted to use the IP address that the network controller assigns for communication. The SDN design is inspired by Azure networking design, supports the floating IP functionality through the Software Load Balancer (SLB), like Azure networking.

VMM 1801 release also supports the floating IP functionality through the Software Load Balancer (SLB) in the SDN scenarios. VMM 1801 supports guest clustering through an Internal Load Balancer (ILB) VIP. The ILB uses probe ports, which are created on the guest cluster VMs to identify the active node. At any given time, the probe port of only the active node responds to the ILB and all the traffic directed to the VIP is routed to the active node. . Learn more.

Configuration of SLB VIPs through VMM service templates

SDN in Windows 2016 can use Software Load Balancing (SLB) to evenly distribute network traffic among workloads managed by service provider and tenants. VMM 2016 currently supports deployment of SLB Virtual IPs (VIPs) using power shell.

With VMM 1801, VMM supports configuration of SLB VIPs while deploying multi-tier application by using the service templates. Learn more.

Configuration of encrypted VM networks through VMM

VMM 1801 supports encryption of VM networks. Using the new encrypted networks feature, end-to-end encryption can be easily configured on VM networks by using the Network Controller (NC). This encryption prevents traffic between two VMs on the same network and same subnet, from being read and manipulated.

The control of encryption is at the subnet level and encryption can be enabled/disabled for each subnet of the VM network. Learn more.

Security

Support to Linux shielded VM

Windows Server 2016 introduced the concept of a shielded VM for Windows OS-based VMs. Shielded VMs provide protection against malicious administrator actions both when VM’s data is at rest or an untrusted software is running on Hyper-V hosts.

With Windows Server 1709, Hyper-V introduces support for provisioning Linux shielded VMs and the same has been extended to VMM 1801. Learn more.

Configuration of fallback HGS

Being at the heart of providing attestation and key protection services to run shielded VMs on Hyper-V hosts, the host guardian service (HGS) should operate even in situations of disaster. Windows Server 1709 added support for fallback HGS.

Using VMM 1801, a guarded host can be configured with a primary and a secondary pair of HGS URLS (an attestation and key protection URI). This capability enables scenarios such as guarded fabric deployments spanning two data centers for disaster recovery purposes, HGS running as shielded VMs etc.

The primary HGS URLs will always be used in favor of the secondary. If the primary HGS fails to respond after the appropriate timeout and retry count, the operation will be reattempted against the secondary. Subsequent operations will always favor the primary; the secondary will only be used when the primary fails. Learn more.

Azure Integration

Management of Azure Resource Manager-based and region-specific Azure subscriptions

Currently, the VMM Azure plugin supports only classic virtual machines (VMs) and public Azure regions.

VMM 1801 supports management of Azure Resource Manager based VMs, Azure Active Directory (AD) based authentication that is created by using the new Azure portal and region-specific Azure subscriptions (namely, Germany, China, US Government Azure regions). Learn more.

What's new in VMM 2016

See the following sections for detailed information about the new features supported in VMM 2016.

Compute

Full lifecycle management of Nano Server-based hosts and VMs

You can provision and manage Nano Server-based hosts and virtual machines in the VMM fabric. Learn more.

Rolling upgrade of a Windows Server 2012 R2 host clusters

You can now upgrade Hyper-V and scale-out file server (SOFS) clusters in the VMM fabric from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016, with no downtime for the host workloads. VMM orchestrates the entire workflow. It drains the node, removes it from the cluster, reinstalls the operating system, and adds it back into the cluster. Learn more about performing rolling upgrades for Hyper-V clusters, and SOFS clusters.

Creating Hyper-V & SOFS clusters

There's a streamlined workflow for creating Hyper-V and SOFS clusters:

  • Bare metal deployment of Hyper-V host clusters: Deploying a Hyper-V host cluster from bare metal machines is now a single step. Learn more

  • Adding a bare-metal node to an existing Hyper-V host cluster or an SOFS Cluster: You can now directly add a bare-metal computer to an existing Hyper-V or SOFS cluster.

New operations for running VMs

You can now increase/decrease static memory and add/remove virtual network adapter for virtual machines that are running. Learn more.

Production checkpoints

You can now create production checkpoints for VMs. These checkpoints are based on Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and are application-consistent (compared to standard checkpoints based on saved state technology that aren't. Learn more.

Server App-V

The Server App-V application in service templates is no longer available in VMM 2016. You can't create new templates or deploy new services with the Server App-V app. If you upgrade from VMM 2012 R2 and have a service with the Server App-V application, the existing deployment will continue to work. However, after the upgrade you can't scale out the tier with Server App-V application. You can scale out other tiers.

Storage

Deploy and manage storage clusters with Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)

Storage Spaces Direct in Windows Server 2016 enables you to build highly available storage systems on Windows Server. You can use VMM to create a Scale-Out File Server running Windows Server 2016, and configure it with Storage Spaces Direct. After it's configure you can create storage pools and file shares on it. Learn more.

Storage Replica

In VMM 2016 you can use Windows Storage Replica to protect data in a volume by synchronously replicating it between primary and secondary (recovery) volumes. You can deploy the primary and secondary volumes to a single cluster, to two different clusters, or to two standalone servers. You use PowerShell to set up Storage Replica and run failover. Learn more

Storage Quality of Service (QoS)

You can configure QoS for storage to ensure that disks, VMs, apps, and tenants don't drop below a certain resource quality when hosts and storage are handling heavy loads. You can configure QoS for storage in the VMM fabric.

Networking

Software Defined Networking (SDN)

In VMM 2016 you can deploy the entire SDN stack using VMM service templates.

  • You can deploy and manage a multi-node Network Controller in a subnet. After you deploy and onboard the Network Controller, you can specify that fabric components should be managed with SDN, to provide connectivity to tenant VMs and to define policies.
  • You can deploy and configure a software load balancer, to distribute traffic within networks managed by Network Controller. The software load balancer can be used for inbound and outbound NAT.
  • You can deploy and configure a Windows Server Gateway pool with M+N redundancy. After you deploy the gateway, you connect a tenant network to a hosting provider network, or to your own remote data center network using S2S GRE, S2S IPSec, or L3.

Network traffic isolation and filtering

You can limit and segregate network traffic by specifying port ACLs on VM networks, virtual subnets, network interfaces, or on an entire VMM stamp using Network Controller and PowerShell. Learn more.

Virtual network adapter naming

When you deploy a virtual machine, you might want to run a post-deployment script on the guest operating system to configure virtual network adapters. Previously, this was difficult because there wasn't an easy way to distinguish different virtual network adapters during deployment. Now, for generation 2 virtual machines deployed on Hyper-V hosts running Windows Server 2016, you can name the virtual network adapter in a virtual machine template. This is similar to using consistent device naming (CDN) for a physical network adapter.

Self-service SDN management using Windows Azure Pack (WAP)

You can provide self-service capabilities for fabric managed by Network Controller. These include creating and managing VM networks, configuring S2S IPSec connections, and configuring NAT options for tenant and infrastructure VMs in your data center.

Logical switch deployment across hosts

  • The interface for creating a logical switch has been streamlined to make it easier to select settings.
  • You can directly use Hyper-v to configure a standard virtual switch on a managed host, and then use VMM to convert the standard virtual switch to a VMM logical switch, which you later apply on additional hosts.
  • When apply a logical switch to a particular host, if the entire operation doesn't succeed, the operation is reverted and host settings are left unchanged. Improved logging makes it easier to diagnose failures.

Security

Guarded host deployment

You can provision and manage guarded hosts and shielded VMs in the VMM fabric, to help provide protection against malicious host administrators and malware.

  • You can manage guarded hosts in the VMM compute fabric. You configure guarded hosts to communicate with HGS servers, and you can specify code integrity policies that restrict software that can run in kernel mode on the host.
  • You can convert existing VMs to shielded VMs, and deploy new shielded VMs.

Next steps