Q. What is System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008?

A. SCVMM 2008 is the second version of Microsoft's virtual machine (VM) management solution. It allows you to manage Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, Hyper-V and VMware ESX virtual servers. SCVMM’s management goes beyond creating and configuring VMs from a central management console, though these are powerful features. It also provides the following features:

· Wizard-based physical to virtual (P2V) migrations: SCVMM can scan an existing physical server’s requirements and hardware configuration and determine the most suitable virtualization host. It can then capture the content of the physical server’s disks and create a VM that matches the physical server. At the time of the capture, the physical server’s disks can be online if you use a Volume Shadow Copy Service-enabled OS. The disks can also be offline if VSS isn’t supported. In this case, the P2V process installs a Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) onto the server, modifies the server’s boot information, and boots into the PE to copy the physical disk content to a VHD file.

· Wizard-based virtual to virtual (V2V) migrations: Virtual Server 2005 R2 and VMware ESX VMs can be migrated to Hyper-V.

· A library: The library makes it easy to access template Virtual Hard Disks and configurations, hardware profiles that contain the hardware settings for a VM, OS profiles that allow you to configure the OS of a VM, and ISO images. This blog entry describes what the library can do and how it works.

· Host groups: Host groups let you group hosts with similar hosts, which makes managing them easier. Each host can only be a member of one host group, but you can organize host groups in hierarchies.

· Intelligent Placement: With Intelligent Placement, SCVMM uses an algorithm to rate possible host targets for how well they can host a virtual machine. The most suitable host gets the highest rating. The wizard bases its rating on the hosts’ processors, memory, disk space, disk I/O per second, and networking requirements. You can configure Intelligent Placement to maximize resource usage on each host. With this configuration, all VMs are placed on one host until it’s full, then SCVMM moves on to the next host. You can also configure intelligent placement to load balance, which means it spreads VMs across all possible hosts, giving you even utilization.

· Self service portal: Users can provision VMs (within self-service policy settings) without administrator actions.

·PowerShell cmdlets: You can manage SCVMM via PowerShell

·High availability integration: SCVMM has full clustering knowledge and management capabilities.
SCVMM 2008 uses jobs. A job is a series of steps that performs a certain action. For example, when you perform a P2V migration, a job is created that installs an agent on the physical server to gather information, captures disk content, creates a new VM, and so on. This type of job is shown in the following screen:

SCVMM 2008 consists of the following components:

· VMM Server is the main component of SCVMM. It communicates with the other components and the SQL Server database that holds information about SCVMM, such as VMs and hosts.

· VMM Administrator Console is the main interface used to interact with the VMM Server. It allows you to perform administrator actions. You can install Administrator Console on the VMM Server and other machines, such as an administrator’s workstation.

· The VMM library server stores the information in the library. You can install the library server on the VMM Server, additional servers, or both.

· VMM Self-Service Portal is the web-based component of SCVMM. It lets users provision new VMs.

· The VMM agent is installed on all hosts that SCVMM manages, including VMM library servers. The agent is installed automatically to hosts in a trusted domain of the VMM Server. You need to manually install the VMM agent and transfer over a security file for hosts in non-trusted domains or no domain.

· Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO) is an optional component. It’s available if you’ve deployed System Center Operations Manager 2007 SP1 with the SCVMM 2008 and PRO management packs. With PRO, you get more detailed analysis on the virtualization infrastructure, guidance on performance tuning, alerts on performance issues, information about the best target servers to host VMs, and suggestions for when hardware may need to be replaced

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