Virtualizing Your Data Center with Hyper-V and System Center

Free online event with live Q&A:

Wednesday, February 19th from 9am – 5pm PST

If you’re new to virtualization, or if you have some experience and want to see the latest R2 features of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V or Virtual Machine Manager, join us for a day of free online training with live Q&A to get all your questions answered. Learn how to build your infrastructure from the ground up on the Microsoft stack, using System Center to provide powerful management capabilities. Microsoft virtualization experts Symon Perriman and Matt McSpirit (who are also VMware Certified Professionals) demonstrate how you can help your business consolidate workloads and improve server utilization, while reducing costs. Learn the differences between the platforms, and explore how System Center can be used to manage a multi-hypervisor environment, looking at VMware vSphere 5.5 management, monitoring, automation, and migration. Even if you cannot attend the live event, register today anyway and you will get an email once we release the videos for on-demand replay! 

Topics include

Introduction to Microsoft Virtualization

Host Configuration

Virtual Machine Clustering and Resiliency

Virtual Machine Configuration

Virtual Machine Mobility

Virtual Machine Replication and Protection

Network Virtualization

Virtual Machine and Service Templates

Private Clouds and User Roles

System Center 2012 R2 Data Center

Virtualization with the Hybrid Cloud

VMware Management, Integration, and Migration

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How to plan your System Center Virtual Machine Manager Networks

For several times I have just ending up to explain how we should handle with networks on SCVMM in different scenarios. Here is the base that I use to planning SCVMM networks for all scenarios.

SCVMM provides many options when you plan to connect your virtual machines to a physical network. You can use these options on their own or in a mixed environment, depending on your needs.

  • VLAN-based configuration – You can use familiar virtual area network (VLAN) technology for network isolation. You can manage those networks as they are, using SCVMM to simplify the management process.
  • No isolation – You can get direct access to the logical network with a VM network. This is the simplest configuration, where the VM network is the same as the logical network on which it is configured. This configuration is appropriate for a network through which you will manage a host.
  • Network virtualization – You can support multiple tenants (also called clients or customers) with their own networks, isolated from the networks of others. With this isolation, your tenants can use any IP addresses that they want for their virtual machines, regardless of the IP addresses that are used on other VM networks. Also, you can allow your tenants to configure some aspects of their own networks, based on limits that you specify. Network virtualization abstracts the physical address space and presents a virtual address space of the tenants.
  • Use external networks – You can use a vendor network-management console that allows you to configure settings on your forwarding extension, for example, settings for logical networks, network sites, and VM networks. SCVMM will import those settings.
  • No virtual networking – Networks that don’t require access by VMs do not use VM networks. For example, storage networks.

Networking Level

How SCVMM networking can be used

Physical Fabric

Fabric administrators can maintain network hardware (such as network adapters and switches) without requiring other administrators or users to understand it. Fabric administrators can maintain a stable physical network configuration while still being able to provide flexibility to others who need specific IP address spaces for their virtual machines.

Logical Networks and Logical Switches

Fabric administrators can create logical networks and logical switches as an underlying configuration that is straightforward to maintain and is not visible to tenant administrators or users.

VM Networks

Tenant administrators can create VM network easily, making it easy to respond when users need additional or different IP address spaces. (Tenant administrators can also control resource usage through user role quotas.)
Self-service users can create virtual machines and connect them to VM networks without having to involve tenant administrators.


Marcos Nogueira
Twitter: @mdnoga

System Center 2012 R2 Infrastructure overview

The notion of infrastructure provisioning is about enabling enterprises and service providers to provision physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure that meets key requirements such as workload scale and performance, multi-tenancy, and chargeback.

Enterprise-class performance

When virtualizing top-tier applications, you need a virtualization platform and virtualization management solution that can provide the necessary scale and performance to meet your business requirements. Many virtualization efforts do not realize their full potential; in many instances, it is due to the lack of adequate datacenter management which can lead to uncontrolled VM sprawl. Simultaneously, the datacenter management solution has to be flexible enough so it builds on your existing infrastructure investments. For example, applications might be deployed on physical servers and consuming SAN-based storage. Also, most customers have to support a diverse datacenter infrastructure environment to deliver on the requirements of their application counterparts.

System Center 2012 R2 delivers best-in-class management for Windows Server environments by supporting the scale and performance delivered by Windows Server 2012 R2. In this context, customers should note that Microsoft is slated to deliver System Center 2012 R2 simultaneously with Windows Server 2012 R2 so that you can plan your infrastructure deployments with the confidence and knowledge that System Center will enable them to take maximum advantage of native platform capabilities. The Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) component of System Center 2012 R2 plays a critical role in enabling virtualization-management scale – for instance, a single VMM server can support up to 1,000 hosts and up to 25,000 virtual machines. As another example, VMM enables Dynamic Memory changes as well as snapshots of running VMs without downtime.


To enable maximum flexibility and operational efficiency for customers, VMM enables storage management across a variety of storage approaches across file and block storage. For who have invested in block-based storage like SAN, VMM supports VM connectivity to SANs through virtual fibre channel switches. This enables IT staff to virtualize the most demanding workloads and connect them directly to the highest tier storage platforms.

Microsoft developed System Center to provide robust support for heterogeneous datacenter management – Dynamic Memory support for Linux VMs being an example. In fact, approximately 25% of System Center instances deployed today also manage Linux operating environments.

Simplified provisioning and migration

As a next step, organizations should consider industry-standard server technologies as an alternative to specialty hardware technologies for big budget infrastructure spending like storage and disaster recovery. These technologies have advanced to the point where they offer many of the capabilities and the performance of specialty hardware, for a fraction of the price. To ensure that scarce IT staff can focus on strategic IT projects versus keeping the train running, they should continue to invest in automation technologies to ensure predictable deployments while mitigating chances of human error.

With Windows Server 2012, Microsoft delivered File and Storage Services (which included Storage Spaces), which is predicated on the use of industry-standard storage that’s completely managed by server software. These storage technologies are designed to provide availability, resiliency, and performance that would normally be expected from high-end hardware. With System Center 2012 R2, VMM supports at-scale management of these storage technologies – for instance, bare-metal provisioning of scale-out Windows File Server clusters, discovery of physical disks, and creation of virtualized storage pools.

To reduce time, effort and downtime required to upgrade from Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 is slated to offer the ability to automatically upgrade Hyper-V clusters (based on Windows Server 2012) to Windows Server 2012 R2 using System Center. The VMM component has a cross-version migration capability that enables Hyper-V Live Migration of workloads from Windows Server 2012 hosts to Windows Server 2012 R2 hosts. Microsoft is also enabling faster deployments of System Center by providing service templates and runbooks for multiple components such as Service Manager, Data Protection Manager, and Operations Manager.

SCVMM also simplifies cross-datacenter disaster recovery of VM-based infrastructure services by providing the private cloud abstraction layer in the source and destination datacenters. This is enabled by System Center working in conjunction with Hyper-V Replica (for VM replication) and Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager (for automated recovery orchestration). Without this capability, we would be looking at alternatives like expensive SAN-based replication.

Finally, the Orchestrator component of System Center 2012 R2 continues to enable general purpose datacenter automation thereby driving consistency and predictability in provisioning processes like server deployment, patching, and upgrades.

Multitenant cloud infrastructure

As cloud computing adoption increases, large enterprises and hosters are looking to take their datacenter infrastructure to the next level of scale and efficiency and scale, with requirements such as multi-tenancy, bring-your-own-IP flexibility, chargeback, and infrastructure standardization. Many enterprises are also exploring showback and chargeback solutions to incentivize the right infrastructure consumption behaviours by their internal customers.

With System Center 2012, Microsoft enabled multi-hypervisor private clouds for enterprise IT to deliver infrastructure as a pool of automated resources and carve out datacenter capacity for use by their LOB counterparts. Building on that, System Center 2012 SP1 delivered support for multitenant environments (for service providers and large enterprises) through support for virtual networks and the ability to aggregate multiple instances of System Center infrastructure with the Service Provider Foundation (SPF) API.

Building on this strong foundation, System Center 2012 R2 strengthens Microsoft’s software-defined networking solution by enabling provisioning of multitenant edge gateways to bridge physical and virtual datacenters – this will enable flexible workload mobility in hybrid cloud computing models. System Center 2012 R2 enables chargeback for multitenant environments with granular infrastructure metering combined with the ability to do analytics on business and operational metrics. Customers can also take advantage of Cloud Cruiser (ISV, who is part of the Microsoft partner alliance) cost analytics for a more fully featured chargeback solution.

Extend System Center to provision Windows Azure infrastructure

System Center 2012 R2 provides a unified tool to provision and manage virtual machines into on-premises and Windows Azure environments, including easy workload portability without a need for format conversion. The App Controller component of System Center 2012 R2 enables migration of on-premises Hyper-V VMs into Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Once in Windows Azure, the Virtual Machine can be managed (including operations like start, stop) through the App Controller user interface.

The Orchestrator component of System Center 2012 R2 provides a Windows Azure Integration Pack for at-scale provisioning and management of Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Windows Azure Storage in an automated manner.


Marcos Nogueira
Twitter: @mdnoga

What’s new in System Center 2012 R2 – Virtual Machine Manager?

During the last TechEd North America, Microsoft wraps off what will be the new System Center 2012 R2. The upgrade follows the impressive number of new features on Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as improvements to existing capabilities in Windows Server 2012.

Here are some of the new and improved features related to System Center 2012 R2 – Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM):

Infrastructure improvements

  • Guest and host support for Windows 2012 R2
  • Auto-task resume after VMM server failover
  • Expanded scope for update management
  • Updated management packs:
    • Better integration with chargeback and reporting
    • Additional dashboards

Networking improvements

  • Site-to-site networking
  • IP Address Management (IPAM) integration
  • Simplified guest IP management
  • Top of rack switch integration
  • Making forwarding extensions for Hyper-V extensible switch work with Hyper-V network virtualization (Cisco 1KV and NVGRE)

Storage improvements

  • Synthetic fibre channel support
  • Management of zones
  • Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) support
  • Shared VHDX support
  • Provision scale-out file server cluster from bare metal
  • Integration with differencing disks

Services improvements

  • Run scripts on first machine on a tier
  • Shared VHDx across members of a tier
  • Service Setting for Service Topology
  • Service deployments work for VMs on Xen

VM and cloud improvements

  • Differencing disks
  • Live cloning
  • Online VHDX resize
  • Grant permissions to users for each cloud
  • Ability to inject files into VM prior to the first boot

In my opinion one of the biggest news is the recommendation and best practices to have SCVMM on a VM on same virtualization platform that SCVMM is managing. This change a lot in your System Center design and infrastructure if you want to implement a High-Available and resilience System Center environment.


Marcos Nogueira
Twitter: @mdnoga