At this year’s Microsoft Management Summit 2013, Sean Deuby, technical director for Windows IT Pro, and I met with Jeff Woolsey, Principal Program Manager, Windows Server and System Center, and Michael Schutz, General Manager, Server and Tools Marketing with Microsoft. We discussed the significant maturation of Windows Server 2012 and the System Center management infrastructure. There are so many significant changes in Windows Server 2012 that it’s easy to overlook some of the more important ones.
Jeff pointed out that one great example of this is network virtualization. Network virtualization takes up where server virtualization leaves off by allowing you to abstract the logical network from the physical one. This is a key technology for enabling multi-tenancy as well as bridging the gap between on-premises infrastructure and the cloud. Network virtualization allows multiple VMs running on the same Hyper-V host to possess the same IP address as might be the case when you host server applications from different customers.
Network virtualization also allows you to move VMs from on-premises Hyper-V systems to the Windows Azure cloud without requiring any changes to the VM's networking -- even though the network characteristics of the cloud are completely different from your on-premises network. Network virtualization does this by rewriting the IP address sent across the network and it works with all of your existing network equipment.
Jeff Woolsey did caution that there is no built-in Windows Server GUI for managing Windows Server 2012’s network virtualization. Instead, you need to use either PowerShell or VMM 2012. VMM 2012 is the best tool for serious management of Windows Server 2012 network virtualization.
Michael Schutz followed this up by pointing out that one of the most important future IT trends is converged infrastructure. He noted that converged infrastructure really helps speed up the deployment of technologies like the private cloud. A great example of that kind of technology is the Serverquarium that Microsoft and HP are running in the MMS 2013 Expo.
The Serverquarium is essentially a private cloud built using an HP VirtualServer VS3 system. The Serverquarium is running all of the MMS labs and it can spin up 1,200 VMs in under eight minutes and it does this about every 1.5 hours. The Serverquarium is built using ProLiant Gen 8 servers, 3PAR 10800 storage, and HP Networking with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and managed by System Center 2012 SP1 integrated with HP Insight Control.