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Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 RC on Connect

Posted by Mikael Nystrom on June 27, 2009

To be honest, I like SCVMM, I really like SCVMM and when the R2 version showed up in beta form it was even better than before, and trust me the RC is better again :-) That’s the way it should be. So if you have at least one Hyper-V host or Virtual Server or maybe a VMware ESX host you should definitely give this a try. The team has done a good job so far and there are a massive amount of new stuff in R2

 

Here is the list of improvements…

VMM 2008 R2 supports the following new features of Windows Server 2008 R2: (I Have tested all this, works nice)

  • Live migration between Windows Server 2008 R2 clustered hosts. With live migration, you can migrate a virtual machine from one node of a Windows Server 2008 R2 failover cluster to another node in the same cluster without any downtime. Because the virtual machine does not experience any downtime, the move is completely transparent to the users that are connected to the virtual machine.
  • Network optimization detection during virtual machine placement. VMM 2008 R2 supports both Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) and TCP Chimney, which are Windows Server 2008 R2 features that improve network performance for virtual machines.
  • Network adapters that support the VMQ feature are able to create a unique network queue for each virtual network adapter and then connect that queue directly to the virtual machine’s memory. This connection routes packets directly from the hypervisor to the virtual machine, bypassing much of the processing in the virtualization stack.
  • Network adapters that support the TCP Chimney feature are able to offload the processing of network traffic from the networking stack. Both of these features increase network performance and reduce CPU utilization.
  • Hot addition and removal of virtual hard disks (VHDs). In Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V allows users to add and remove VHDs from a virtual machine while it is running.

Clustered Shared Volume (CSV) Support (I have tested all this and use it in production, works great so far)
VMM 2008 R2 supports the Windows Server 2008 R2 clustered shared volume (CSV) feature. CSV enables all hosts on a Windows Server 2008 R2 failover cluster to concurrently access virtual machine files on a single shared logical unit number (LUN). Because all nodes on the cluster can access a single shared LUN, virtual machines have complete transparency with respect to which nodes actually own a LUN. This enables live migration of virtual machines within the cluster because all nodes in the cluster can access any LUN.

Support for Sanbolic Clustered File System (Not tested by me)
VMM 2008 R2 supports the Sanbolic Clustered File System (CFS), a third-party shared volume solution for quick migration on hosts running Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V, and live migration on hosts running Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V.

Support for Veritas Storage Foundation for Windows (Not tested by me)
VMM 2008 R2 supports Veritas Storage Foundation 5.1 for Windows (SFW), an online storage management solution for creating virtual storage devices from physical disks and arrays. Volumes created as part of a cluster resource group by using SFW are detected by VMM 2008 R2 and can be selected during virtual machine placement or migration. An SFW volume is limited to one virtual machine.

SAN Migration into and out of Clustered Hosts (I have tested this and this is a life saver, it is so cool…)
VMM 2008 R2 supports the use of SAN transfers to migrate virtual machines and highly available virtual machines into and out of a cluster. When you migrate a virtual machine into a cluster by using a SAN transfer, VMM checks all nodes in the cluster to ensure that each node can see the LUN and automatically creates a cluster disk resource for the LUN. Even though VMM automatically configures the cluster disk resource, it does not validate it. You must use the Validate a Configuration Wizard in Failover Cluster Management to validate the newly created cluster disk resource. To migrate a virtual machine out of a cluster, the virtual machine must be on a dedicated LUN that is not using CSV.

Expanded Support for iSCSI SANs (Not tested by me)
VMM 2008 supports SAN transfers of virtual machines that use initiator-based iSCSI target connections, which requires one iSCSI target for every LUN. VMM 2008 R2 adds support for LUN masking, which allows multiple LUNs per iSCSI target and expands VMM support for iSCSI SAN vendors.

Quick Storage Migration (Yeah, yeah it works…)
For a Windows Server 2008 R2 host or a Storage VMotion-capable host, you can migrate a running virtual machine’s files to a different storage location on the same host with minimal or no service outage. If you use a wizard to migrate a virtual machine to a host that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 and you use a network transfer, VMM 2008 R2 now gives you the option to specify separate storage locations for each virtual hard disk (.vhd) file for the virtual machine. 

Maintenance Mode for Hosts (I have tested this, really nice feature)
In VMM 2008 R2, you can start maintenance mode for a Windows-based host anytime you need to perform maintenance tasks on the host, such as applying updates or replacing a physical component.

Support for VMware Port Groups for Virtual Switches (Not tested by me)
VMM uses the network location and tag specified for the virtual network adapter in the hardware configuration to determine the network availability of a virtual machine on a host. In VMM 2008 R2, if you are deploying the virtual machine to a VMware ESX Server host, you can select from the VMware port groups that are available for virtual switches.

Support for Virtual Machine Permissions Assigned in Hyper-V (Not tested by me)
In VMM 2008 R2, VMM preserves changes made to role definitions or role memberships in the root scope of the Hyper-V authorization store. All changes to any other scope are overwritten every half hour by the VMM user role refresher. This differs from user role processing in VMM 2008. In VMM 2008, VMM determines access to virtual machines, hosts, and resources based solely on the rights and permissions associated with VMM user roles. VMM 2008 does not make any changes to Hyper-V role definitions and role memberships; it simply ignores the Hyper-V authorization store while the hosts and virtual machines are under its management. 

Mikael Nystrom
MCT, MVP

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