In my previous article on optimizing customers' Microsoft Hyper-V R2 performance, one of the best practices for solutions providers was to implement virtual monitoring software or services. Virtual monitoring goes far in ensuring that Hyper-V R2 virtual machines (VMs) get the highest levels of resource optimization. It also helps guarantee customers the greatest return on investment by allowing them to get more out of their available resources.
When managing Microsoft Hyper-V R2, solutions providers should be sure to use centralized management tools that span the multiple hosts in a cluster. One such tool is Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 R2. It was most recently updated with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 and brings much-needed administrative flexibility to a Hyper-V environment as the size of the environment increases.
SCVMM 2008 R2 operates as a layer over the top of each Hyper-V host, interacting with each host to provide a unified management experience for the solutions provider. Using SCVMM 2008 R2, it becomes easier to rapidly deploy new VMs from templates. Creating and managing those templates is also improved by using file- and database-based libraries of content, such as ISO files, hardware templates and other configurations.
While Microsoft Hyper-V R2 and Windows Failover Clustering can fully handle the live migration process on their own, the management decisions that go into the live migration of a VM are better handled through the SCVMM 2008 R2 interface. It monitors the environment and identifies the best target location for the VM. The integration of SCVMM 2008 R2 with Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) also enhances this process by adding performance-based intelligence.
When performing live migrations with SCVMM 2008 R2, solutions providers can also benefit from SCVMM's added logic for queuing migrations. This capability becomes incredibly useful when multiple migrations need to occur at once. Although only a single live migration can occur at a time, SCVMM 2008 R2 ensures that you've set up the queue of migrations properly, which is a great benefit for solutions providers.
Storage management and configurations are also improved through SCVMM 2008 R2. Using SCVMM, storage configurations across hosts are managed in a single location, which reduces the chance of a catastrophic mistake. VMs have the potential to live migrate to any cluster host. Therefore, having continuous access to storage everywhere becomes critically important.
With the updated SCVMM, solutions providers can also work with multiple hypervisors within a single platform. For your customers that have or are considering mixed virtual environments, centralization of management quickly becomes necessary as the size of each individual environment grows larger.
SCVMM 2008 R2 also has the ability to perform Quick Storage Migrations to VMs. Remember that the live migration process only relocates the processing of VMs and not the storage of its disk files. Therefore, environments sometimes need reconfiguring for storage from time to time. This reconfiguration can be challenging without the automated process that Quick Storage Migrations brings. With a Quick Storage Migration, VM disk files are automatically moved to new storage with minimal downtime for the virtual machine.
SCVMM 2008 R2 is available in different pricing configurations. Customers with smaller environments that have just a few hosts will pay less than customers with larger environments. Adding the necessary SCVMM 2008 R2 licensing to your Microsoft Hyper-V R2 services will not only increase the potential for new business deals, but it also goes far in ensuring overall customer satisfaction when setting up and monitoring their virtual environments.
About the expert Greg Shields, MVP, vExpert, is a partner with Concentrated Technology. Get more of Greg's tips and tricks at www.concentratedtech.com.