Posted by: kurtsh | May 24, 2006

NEWS: WinHEC part 2 – “Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager”

Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager: Formerly code-named “Carmine,” this technology is a centralized, enterprise management solution for the virtualized data center. System Center Virtual Machine Manager is part of the System Center family of products and is due for beta release within the next 90 days. Microsoft anticipates release to manufacturing (RTM) in the second half of 2007.
Q. What are the business benefits of System Center Virtual Machine Manager? What does SC VMM do?
A: System Center Virtual Machine Manager enables increased physical server utilization by making possible simple and fast consolidation on virtual infrastructure. This is supported by consolidation candidate identification, fast Physical-2-Virtual (P2V) migration and intelligent workload placement based on performance data and user defined business policies.  VMM enables rapid provisioning of new virtual machines by the administrator and end users using a self-service provisioning tool. Finally, VMM provides the central management console to manage all the building blocks of a virtualized data center.
Q. What is the target market for the SC VMM?
A: SC VMM will work and provide value in customers of any size as long as they are using Microsoft Virtual Server.
Q:  Will it work with Windows Server virtualization (hypervisor)?
A: Yes. When Windows Server virtualization is released, System Center Virtual Machine Manager will have the capabilities to manage it.  In the meantime, customers can use System Center Virtual Machine Manager to manage Virtual Server 2005 R2 environments.
Q: When will the System Center Virtual Machine Manager be available to customers?
A: We will be delivering a public beta 1 within 60 days, a public beta 2 in H1 of 2007 and will RTM the product in H2 of 2007.
Q: What is the difference between Beta 1 and Beta 2? Is Beta 1 full featured?
A: Beta 1 will be a full functioning version but still plan to add more for Beta 2.  The following are features that will not arrive until beta 2: General fit, finish and polish. Distributed library topology. 64 bit support for VMM server. Fine grained controls on self service provisioning. Full integration with clustered physical host support. Physical-2-Virtual conversion. Carmine MOM Pack. Agent Management. More complete set of controls on the self service provisioning feature.
Q: How does this product integrate with System Center Operations Manager?
A: First, Operations Manager is used to identify what we call consolidation candidates.  To identify the appropriate workloads for virtualization it is not as simple as listing all of the servers which are currently requiring low CPU.  There are issues of “spiky” or high variance workloads and high I/O workloads which must be taken into consideration.  The performance data stored in Operations Manager is used to create a consolidation candidates report that takes all of these issues under consideration.
Second, placement of workloads onto physical servers in resource pools is at the crux of maximizing physical resource utilization.  Operations Manager is integrated into the placement algorithm by incorporating historical performance data for the workload either from a physical or virtual environment as well as the current the performance data of the physical resource pools.
Third, Operations Manager is the enterprise monitoring solution for both physical and virtual machine infrastructure.  VMM doesn’t create an additional, parallel monitoring system to be configured and supported.
Q: How does this product integrate with System Center Configuration Manager?
A: No integration at this point but we see some interesting patch management solutions in the future.
Q: How does this product integrate with the System Center Data Protection Manager?
A: VMM doesn’t integrate with DPM directly.  Instead, application consistent backups can be taken using any backup application that is configured to use the VSS writer provided by Virtual Server R2 Beta 1.
Q: Aren’t you late to market, entering an established market dominated by other players with more mature products?
A: I would characterize the state of the market very differently.  Looking at the latest IDC server shipment data the total number of physical servers that will be used for virtualization is still a rounding error on the total market. More importantly, when we talk to customers who are virtualizing their data centers they don’t say “there is no more work to be done”.  They say just the opposite.  We hear continually that the solutions on the market are entirely too complex and costly. For these reasons we are confident we have a great deal of value to bring to customers which is currently not being delivered by others.
Q: How is this product better than VMware Virtual Center?
A: Customers have told us they don’t want a separate, essentially duplicate set of tools to manage their virtual environments versus their physical environments.  Customers have also asked us to deliver virtual machine management functionality that leverages their investments in Microsoft products and technologies.  For this reason, we are very focused on extending our current management solutions to address virtual environments.  Virtual Machine Manager is part of the System Center family of products. The System Center product family and Windows server virtualization will provide the most integrated, cost-effective virtualization solution, giving customers the capability to manage virtualization as a part of the overall IT environment, rather than as an additional set of technologies requiring specialized skills.
Q: In the past you mentioned close partners in the virtual machine management area, does this mean you are going to be putting them out of business?
A: We are working closely with our partners to help them understand where we are making technology investments and how they can help extend and enhance the solutions we deliver in this space. 
Q: How much will System Center Virtual Machine Manager cost?
A: We are not disclosing our pricing at this early stage of product development but we will ensure that our product delivers great value and is cost effective.
Q. How will System Center Virtual Machine Manager be licensed?
A: We are not disclosing our licensing terms at this early stage of product development but we will ensure that our product delivers great value and is cost effective.


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