Application virtualization layer

The application layer consists of operating systems and business applications that run in Hyper-V partitions. Again, not all software behaves well in a virtualized environment. However, Microsoft puts candidate applications and operating systems through a certification process. Applications that pass are listed at www.windowsservercatalog.com.


System Center Virtual Machine Manager
Once you select the right applications, you have to manage them. The traditional method of sliding an installation CD into the server’s CD/DVD drive is not a good practice for a virtualized environment. To take full advantage of the fast server build and process migration capabilities inherent in Microsoft’s virtualization strategy, you need to manage your VMs and hardware resources from a central console. Out-of-the-box management of your VM environment is possible with server manager. However, as the sophistication of your virtualization environment increases, management becomes more challenging. Managing more complex VM and host environments is the role of SystemCenter Virtual Machine Manager (VMM).

A simple VMM configuration components of VMM communicate with each other and with host systems via the VMM Server. The VMM Admin Console is an MMC snap-in that allows the performance of the following:

» Configuration of the VMM environment
» Creating, deleting, starting, and stopping VMs
» Conversion of physical servers to virtualized systems
» VM monitoring

The VMM Library contains the profiles used to create VMs, including templates, virtual disks, and CD/DVD ISO images. In addition to access by the VMM Server, the library is also accessed by the VMM Self-Service Portal (not shown in the diagram). The portal is used by IT staff to create and manage VMs using predefined profiles. Portal rights and permissions are configurable to control who can access and what they can do.

The VMM Agent resides on Hyper-V hosts. The VMM Server uses the agent to effect changes to the virtualization environment and to monitor its health.

Centralized management is not possible in a heterogeneous environment. For example, some datacenters might house both Microsoft and VMware VMs. To ensure a single management solution, Microsoft has designed VMM to support the following:

» MS Virtual Server
» Hyper-V
» VMware ESX

VMM also supports Powershell scripting. In fact, any operation you perform with VMM—including ESX operations––can be automated with Powershell scripts.

Other capabilities supported by VMM include:

» Analysis of which server is the best choice for a new VM
» Assessment of the impact of a workload migration
» Automation of workload migration
» Automation of VM cluster placement when high availability is specified

Finally, VMM integrates with SCOM.


System Center Operations Manager
SCOM allows the administrator to monitor physical and virtual environments from a single console, including:

» Overall performance
» Processor
» Memory
» I/O


System Center Data Protection Manager
Data Protection Manager (DPM) plays a key role in the dynamic datacenter by backing up critical systems. Using Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy (VSS), it is capable of performing block-level synchronization of VMs in as little as 2-3 min, with a repeat cycle as short as every 30 min. In addition to VMs, DPM also backs up nonvirtual machines.

To enable backups, a DPM agent is placed on each target device. The nature of the desired backup and restore determines where the agent is installed. Agent installation options include:

» In the VM—This allows backup of the virtual workload only. The administrator can restore the backups to the same VM or to another protected location.

» On the virtual host—Placing an agent on the virtual host enables backup of the VMs themselves, allowing an administrator to restore an entire VM if necessary.

Source of Information : Elsevier-Microsoft Virtualization Master Microsoft Server Desktop Application and Presentation

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