Microsoft recently released System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 to partners, and as New Signature has already been testing the beta bits for sometime, we’ve gathered information about the new changes to each of the products in the System Center suite. Today we’ll review the changes SP1 makes possible for Microsoft’s flagship virtualization management software: SCVMM.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) is a management solution for the virtualized datacenter, enabling you to configure and manage your virtualization host, networking, and storage resources in order to create and deploy virtual machines and services to private clouds that you have created.

Networking enhancements in SCVMM RTM make it easier to connect virtual machines to a network that serves a particular function in your environment, for example, the “Backend,” “Frontend,” or “Backup” network. To do this, you associate IP subnets and, if needed, virtual local area networks (VLANs) together into named units called logical networks.

Networking in SCVMM in SP1 adds more options for greater flexibility. Network virtualization, which extends the concept of server virtualization to allow you to deploy multiple virtual networks on the same physical network, is just one example. Another example is switch extensions, which give added capabilities with your networks, such as the ability to monitor network traffic, enhance the level of security on your networks, or provide quality of service (QoS) to let you control how your network bandwidth is used.

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 allows each VM to have its own IP address as well as a provider assigned IP address, in effect virtualizing the underlying network.  Each VM essentially believes it is running on a network it owns and controls.  The net effect is that you can have multiple VMs on the same host with the same IP address, as long as they are on separate networks.

The most significant overhaul in SP1 is the “integrate with SAN storage” software stack that was built for SCVMM 2012 RTM is being ported to Windows Server 2012. This means that the underlying OS will have the capability to work with iSCSI and Fibre Channel SANs in a way that has never been possible. Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V now supports running VMs off of file shares over the new SMB 3.0 protocol, something SP1 will support.  With Live Storage Migration built into Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, SCVMM SP1 will enable all types of Live Migration, including within a cluster, between clusters, in and out of a cluster and between stand-alone hosts. Anti-affinity, the ability to say that “these two VMs should not be on the same host in a cluster” is offered in Windows Server 2012; VMM SP1 supports this and also adds the capability to define this for stand-alone hosts.
SP1 New Feature Summary:
  • Support for Windows Server 2012 including
    • Network Virtualization and Isolation
    • New logical switch concept for managing Hyper-V extensible switch
    • Standards-Based Storage Management Service support for thin provisioning and storage discovery
  • Support for User Interface add-ins
  • Support for file shares that use Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 protocol
  • Support for VHDX with ability to convert VHD and rapid provisioning of SAN-Copy capable templates
  • Live migration enhancements that result in virtually no downtime
    • Live VM and Storage Migration – State and Storage are both transferred

Looking to implement System Center Virtual Machine Manager? These new updates through service pack 1 bring some significant enhancements. Reach out to New Signature to learn how you can take advantage of them today!