Today Microsoft released the Beta 2 of
Carmine System Center Virtual Machine Manager. This Beta 2 release adds long-awaited functionality, like P2V and V2V migration, among others. From the release notes:
- Completely new look-and-feel (same as System Center Operations Manager 2007, Service Desk and System Center Essentials)
- Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) Conversions
- Virtual-to-Virtual (V2V) Conversions
- 64-bit VMM server support
- EveryVMM component is now remotely installable
- Full Windows PowerShell support
- Better overall performance and scalability
- Every feature from Beta 1 with more functionality and enhancements
I am currently downloading it, and will post back once I get a chance to play with it a little bit. One of the features that I’m dying to try out is the Powershell support – as powerful as vbscript is, I’m not particularly fond of it, and replacing its use on yet another MS product is another step in the right direction.
You can download Beta 2 from https://connect.microsoft.com/vmm. Remember you have to register first!
Last week it seemed that the Paris
events were going to be the last ones in the Virtualization for Developers lab series. Well, due to popular demand, there's a new lab scheduled for Singapore, on May 16-18
. Click the link to sign up, or check out the series at the Virtualization for Developers Lab Series
In a couple of weeks we’ll have the last of the scheduled Virtualization for Developers Labs. The two labs will take place on the same week – one in Zaragoza, Spain, on May 8–10, and the other one in Paris, France on May 9–11.
If you are interested in Virtual Server, the upcoming Windows Server Virtualization, or Virtualization in general, I suggest you check them out. So far we’ve had some great reviews of the labs, and it is a great opportunity to get hands-on training with Virtual Server and its APIs.
You can now download the Release Candidate for Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 from https://connect.microsoft.com. Remember that you need to be registered in the beta program to be able to download the files.
This release contains bug fixes from Beta 2 – other than that, it doesn’t have any additional functionality.
I just saw over at the Virtual PC Guy’s Blog that a new tool is available that allows you resize existing VHDs. You can check it out at the vmToolkit website.
According to the announcement, with this tool, you can resize VHDs (both increase and decrease their size), and can also be used to convert between Fixed and Dynamic disks.
Today I saw an article over at ComputerWorld that talks about Virtualization's downsides. It brings out some interesting points, but I think you can easily overcome them. Here are my comments on some of the points they criticize.
(Since I am more familiar with Virtual Server than with competing products, I will concentrate on Virtual Server’s features)
- Increased uptime requirements: This is something that has been on my mind since I started working with Virtual Server. Recently I had the change to setup a Virtual Server host cluster, and I think that is the way to go to minimize this concern. With Windows’ clustering capabilities, you can take out a node in the cluster, and another node will continue running the virtual machines. The virtual machines will only be unavailable for a few seconds while the resource group changes from one node to the other.
- Bandwith problems: One of the recommended scenarios for running Virtual Server is to remove everything from a NIC on the host server except for the virtualization driver. You can extend this recommendation, and use several NICs on the host, each NIC associated with just one VM. Still, if you have something like a very high-traffic website, you’ll probably be better of running it on a physical server instead.
- Cost accounting - license compliance: Microsoft has released new licenses for their server products that make them virtualization-friendly. You can review it here, and see how many licenses you need for your planned configuration. Licenses for other application may be messy, though.
- Vendor support: This is something that the industry will have to sort out. Something similar happened with the move to multi-core systems. Some vendors treated dual-core CPUs as two processors (thus requiring two licenses), while other adapted a “per-socket” approach. Other even adapted even stranger policies (dual-core = 1.75 licenses ???). Again, the market will have to adapt to the new virtualization paradigm.
- Management Complexity: Managing virtual machines as opposed to physical machines is definitely more complex – you basically have to perform all the management tasks that you normally do for physical boxes, PLUS the overhead of managing virtual machines. Management tools are still in their infancy, but with the eventual release of
CarmineSystem Center Virtual Machine Manager plus a fully WMI-based API, the management effort should be reduced significantly.
Then again, there are some workloads that don’t work well when virtualized. Database servers are a classical example of this – IMHO it is a better idea to have one large database server and hosts several database in that SQL Server instance (for example), than to have several virtual machines each one with a separate SQL Server instance hosting different databases.
In a couple of weeks we will be teaching two Virtualization for Developer Labs in Europe. The first one will be in Munich, on March 13–15, and the second one will be the following week in Reading, on March 20–23.
In this labs we show you in great detail how to leverage Virtual Server’s COM API and WMI methods in you own management applications. You will also learn how to create scripts to automate the management of Virtual Server installations, and you’ll also get to use the betas for the System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
For more information, don’t forget to check out the Virtualizacion Events website.
For some reason, several people have told me that they are not getting the link to download the Virtual Machine Additions for Linux on Microsoft Connect anymore. If that happens to you, try the direct link: https://connect.microsoft.com/content/content.aspx?ContentID=1475&SiteID=154 . You will still need to enter your
Passport Live ID in order to access the Connect website, but that link should take you directly to the Linux Additions page.
Today Microsoft released the final version of Virtual PC 2007. You can download it here. This version fully supports Vista, both as a Host and a Guest, supports AMD and Intel hardware virtualization, and also supports 64–bit Host operating systems.
You can get some more information at the Virtual PC Guy’s WebLog, or directly on the VPC 2007 homepage.
All of you are probably aware that you can download MSDN Pre-Configured Virtual Machine Images and of configurations you can get with the VHD Test Drive. There is another option, though, if you want to evaluate a Windows 2003 R2 installation by itself on a virtual machine or as a host for Virtual Server 2005 R2. You can get a 180–day evaluation of Windows 2003 Server R2 at the trial software page over at Microsoft. This makes it easier to evaluate the performance of the server product, for virtualization, or for any other tasks that you may be considering it.
Link: Windows Server 2003 R2: How to Get Trial Software