Continuing our review of Hyper-V, the recently released Microsoft virtualization product for Windows Server 2008, we focus on the management aspect of the hypervisor. In two other recent blogs, I took a quick look at the Hyper-V Manager and the simple creation of a virtual machine. Also on SearchServerVirtualization.com, fellow contributor Anil Desai gave advice on using the Hyper-V Manager. Now we’ll take a closer look at System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
I installed the System Center Virtual Machine Manager, or VMM, for the management of virtual machines within Windows Server 2008. Installing the VMM is fairly straightforward, but it is worth noting the following pre-requisites:
- .NET framework 2.0 to start the install, which is automatically upgraded to version 3.0
- PowerShell from the Windows Server 2008 release environment
- A SQL Server database instance (can be a local SQL Server 2005 Express edition or hosted database)
- Domain membership
After some quick iterations of the VMM install, you will have the console application available. From there, you can add a host to the console as I have done below with the HYPERV-TEST-RWV host:
Inside of the VMM console, I added the single host to the same server that the console is installed and spent most of my time afterwards navigating the help file. Surprisingly, the VMM help file (C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007\help\Help.chm) is quite comprehensive and provides a good starting point for most configuration tasks in a single resource. One of the best initial observations of the VMM console is the Windows integration for delegated security and rights options. Within the VMM, this is referred to as a self-service policy. These policies offer one option above the competition in that you can assign users to be local administrators through the self-service policy. In other products, this is easily addressed by group policy. Below is the configuration of a self-service policy:
Like other virtualization platforms, the management layer is the key to an enterprise implementation. System Center VMM is no exception, and this initial release has support for migrating virtual machines and shared storage. However, this part of my evaluation of VMM will not focus on these components just yet, so stay tuned for my next entry on Hyper-V.
Microsoft resources for VMM
System Center is a comprehensive set of products that can manage components including Systems Management Server (SMS) and other pieces. VMM is a piece that can function as a stand alone or with the rest of the pieces in use. Microsoft has a nice video that showcases how VMM will fit into the management space for the virtual machines. If you are familiar with virtual machine management, this will be somewhat introductory. But towards the end of the video there are some quick tasks performed on-screen to give a feel for the process of managing the virtual machines in the VMM environment.