Hyper-V 2.0


Hyper-V 2.0 features are already being discussed. Microsoft’s already great Virtualization product is going to get even better!

The next version of Microsoft’s Hyper-V is going to include:

·         Live Migration (utilising a new Clustered Shared Volumes technology)

·         32 Logical Proc Support

·         Hot Add/Remove Storage

·         Second Level Address Translation – Leveraging new Virtualisation technology built into next generation of Intel/AMD chips

·         Dynamic Memory

·         Boot from VHD

·         Networking Improvements

·         Virtualised I/O

As I get more info, I’ll let you know..I saw the above over at VirtualBoy.

For me, the Live Migration will be a great addition as that’s one of the main differences between Hyper-V and ESX and I think it gives some people the impression that Hyper-V must be lacking elsewhere too (which isn’t the case). The addition of LIve Migration will certainly help increase the adoption rate of Hyper-V..

It looks like we’re quite close to the beta’s being available..

Cheers

Rich

Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 Released


Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 has been Released To Manufacturing (RTM’d)!

An evaluation version can be downloaded here.

Zane Adam, Senior Director of Virtualizatio Strategy over at MS Redmond said:

“They are seeing the many cost reduction and management simplification benefits of Hyper-V and the SCVMM 2008 integration with the rest of System Center.   Now that RTM is official, I fully expect the rate of Hyper-V deployments to further accelerate.  Through the SCVMM 2008 console, administrators can see the entirety of their data center infrastructure – physical or virtual. SCVMM 2008 facilitates key functions like P2V (physical to virtual) migration, Intelligent Placement (selecting the best virtual host for a VM), and managing Hyper-V host clusters, to name just a few.  SCVMM 2008 works closely with its siblings – particularly SC Ops Mgr – in identifying consolidation candidates and in Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO), a new feature in which SCVMM 2008 can alert and recommend solutions to administrators about failing virtual machines or hardware.  As I mentioned above, this comprehensive view extends throughout the data center as SCVMM 2008 is capable of seeing and managing VMware ESX infrastructure through Virtual Center.”

The full transcript is here.

This is really great. SCVMM is always an integral part of conversation I have with customers artound Hyper-V and once the new version is available (1st of November 2008) I agree that many projects will start moving and being implemented.

Watch a silverlight demo and see the features yourself.

I saw this via Clive Watson’s blog.

What will SCVMM 2008 do over SCVMM 2008?

Virtual Machine Manager can manage multiple VMWare ESX VirtualCenter licences from one place, something that even VMWare can’t do !VMWare are working on it but it will be just a web console and not as fully featured as Microsoft’s VMM.

Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO) is another key feature that puts VMM over ESX. Matt McSpirit explains it well:

“Take an example of a virtualised Exchange Server.  If a service crashes inside that VM, and that service is an Exchange related service, and that service crash results in a CPU spike.  The VM is still running, but now, it’s consuming more resource, so DRS chooses to move it.  It does the same on it’s new host, so DRS moves it again.  SC Operations Manager would identify the crash as being an Exchange issue, and fix the crash, rather than move the VM, even if that VM is running on a VMware infrastructure”

Virtualization-what is it and why bother?


Microsoft & VMWare are the two big names in Virtualization at the moment, and it’s a topic everyone is talking about. Manufacturers, resellers, consultants, analysts, end users, Jeff down the pub..they’ve all got something to say about Virtualisation. There are all kinds of facts and figures going around, some of which seem contradictory but as with most things it all depends on viewpoint..

You might be wondering why I think it’s time to add my voice to the crowd so let me tell you. At work I see a number of people, our sales guys and our customers, who know the should be thinking about virtualization and talking about virtualization, but they don’t know what they’re supposed to think and say..they know that people can virtualize..but they don’t know why, or how. They know it reduces costs but if someone asked them, the would have to hope that “Err, erm, well..” translates into something better in one of this world’s many languages!! ;-)

So in a nutshell, I hope this post/blog will become a safer, calmer haven for people to take a look at virtualization without the often deafening clamour of their colleagues, bosses and suppliers. I’ll say straight away that I’m a Microsoft Partner and supporter so I will lean towards Hyper-V but I will aim to keep everything well balanced and as neutral as possible :-)

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization has been around since the Mainframes of the 70’s but has only become a general topic relatively recently (around 2005 it really took off).

A very common, entry level example of Virtualization is hard drive partitioning. You have one physical drive, but you can divide it up into 2 or more virtual drives and that’s what the computer sees.

The big buzz around Virtualization is…

Server Consolidation.

These days, many companies suffer from “Server Sprawl”, where they have large numbers of servers, often performing just a single task (Exchange Server, File Server etc) and wasting a lot of internal resources such as RAM, storage space and processing power as well as external resources like floor space, cooling and power.

This is where Server Virtualization comes in. Tools such as Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare ESX, Citrix XEN and more all allow you to consolidate these various servers onto one physical server running multiple virtual instances or Virtual Machines (VM’s).

Each VM has it’s own Operating System (OS) and applications installed on it and is completely separate to the other VM’s, just like physical servers. (The “One Point of Failure” discussion is later..). It’s widely accepted that most physical servers are running at about 10% utilization, so each server is wasting 90% of it’s storage, RAM, processing power etc..all things that you’ve paid (and are still paying) for. This means you could put say 7 of those servers onto one box, and that machine would then run at around 80% utilization…immediately increasing your Return on Investment (ROI). If you can go from 7 to 1, you can go from 70 to 10 which all of a sudden is a huge difference…

Getting rid of all those servers will reduce the amount of cooling and power you use in your server room/data centre too. This leads us to..

Green IT:

Gartner say that the average company spends 4%-7% of their total IT budget on energy costs such as power and cooling. If your budget is £500,000 that’s £20,000-£35,000 a year, so if you can reclaim say 40% of that and add £8000-£14000 back into your budget straight away, that’s got to be a good thing. With the continued increase of energy prices at the moment, just this aspect on it’s own can be a compelling reason to move to a virtual environment.

A virtual infrastructure can be a lot easier to manage as well. It reduces the amount of time administrators spend on repetitive tasks such as provisioning & configuring servers. If you need a new server quickly, you can simply boot up a pre-configured Virtual template and you have a new machine up and running in minutes.

There are a number of management tools such as VMWare Virtual Center and Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager which make administration even easier.

Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008


 

What is Virtual Machine Manager?:

The clue is in the name, but Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is a management system for virtual machines (VM’s)..however, and this is the ace up Microsoft’s sleeve…it also manages physical servers-this is in contrast to VMWare’s VirtualCenter as that can only manage VM’s. That means IT Administrators only need to learn to use one console to manage ALL their servers and anything that makes an Admin’s job easier is a good thing yes? :-)

Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager delivers end to end support for consolidating physical servers onto virtual, fast Physical to Virtual (P2V) conversion “Intelligent Placement” of server workloads to balance performance and of course, the centralized console.

It also contains V2V conversion, making it easy to convert any existing VMWare VMDX/VMX files to Microsoft’s VHD format.

Further info on VMM’s features can be found here.

What’s new in VMM 2008?:

Good question! VMM 2008 is packed full of great new features including:

·         Allows for fault tolerant and cluster aware VM’s to be created

·         Integration with VMWare’s Virtual Center

·         Windows PowerShell scripts for automation etc supported across multiple platforms

·         Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO) is a feature of VMM that can dynamically respond to failure scenarios or poorly configured components identified in hardware, operating systems, or applications

·         Working through PRO-enabled Management Packs together  with System Center Operations Manager 2007’s, PRO can either alert an administrator of an unhealthy system or application state and its proposed recommended corrective action or it can respond by automatically creating a system that is responsive and self-healing. PRO features are available to ESX VM’s as well.

·         VMM 2008 is now fully cluster-aware, meaning that it can detect and manage Hyper-V host clusters as a single unit

·         New in this version of VMM is automatic detection of virtual hosts that are added or removed from the cluster—thus easing the burden on the administrator to manage this function

·         Creating a High Availability (HA) VM is a simple as selecting a tick box

·         VMM 2008 also supports VMware host clusters in which the nodes of the cluster are VMware ESX Servers

A great White Paper on VMM 2008 can be found here

Microsoft Exchange in Virtual Environments


Microsoft Exchange on a Virtual Server: The official line was always “No-it’s not supported”, but the release of Hyper-V has brought some changes.

Hyper-V now lets you run the Exchange 2007 SP1 64 bit versions of Mailbox, Hub Transport and Client Access Server Roles  without losing support, however Unified Messaging is still only supported on physical hardware.

Here’s a link to the support policy and recommendations paper for Exchange 2007 on Microsoft Virtualization technology:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc794548(EXCHG.80).aspx

“What about us non Hyper-V users?” I hear you cry..

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=897615

is a link to the “support policy for Microsoft software running in non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software”. As you can see, your Hypervisor needs to have been validated to be supported and so far the only on is VMWare ESX 3.5u2.

Also, here’s a link that shows all the MS Server software that is supported when running on a validated Hypervisor:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957006

To see what Microsoft have got to say about the world of Unified Communications, head over to the Microsoft UK UC Blog at:

http://blogs.technet.com/msukucc/

Cheers

Rich