This week Microsoft has delivered a taste of the next stage in the evolution of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008. Tailored to Windows 7 Server (Windows Server 2008 R2), System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 has debuted into Beta and is available for download via Microsoft Connect. The Redmond company indicated that it had been working on introducing support for Windows Server 2008 R2 following the release of VMM 2008 in October of the past year. In this regard, the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 Beta is designed as an update that will allow customers to leverage the new features specific to Windows Server 2008 R2. By posting the bits to Connect, Microsoft is in fact opening up the Beta process for SCVMM 2008 R2 Beta, which was initially delivered to select company testers on Friday, March 13.
SCVMM 2008 R2 Beta features “support for Live Migration,” revealed Rakesh Malhotra, the principal group program manager for SCVMM. “With Windows 2008 R2 adding support for Live migration, it’s now added as a new migration option in VMM R2. Live migration requires the source and destination host to be part of a failover cluster and that the VM is on a shared storage. Live migration means that there is no user perceived downtime; since the VM’s memory pages are being transferred, the hosts’ processors need to be the same (manufacturer and processor architecture). Our competition claims that Vmotion doesn’t require clustering but this only works for planned downtime and not for unplanned downtime. By combining Live migration and clustering, Hyper-V addresses both planned and unplanned downtime.”
Another enhancement brought to the table by Windows Server 2008 R2 is CSV (Clustered Shared Volumes). CSV permits all hosts in a cluster to have access to the same LUN (logical unit number). SCVMM 2008 R2 Beta was developed to take advantage of this enhancement, by offering support for multiple VMs per LUN. Microsoft explained that this scenario was possible because Windows Server 2008 R2 no longer featured restrictions related to LUN ownership on a per-host basis. Essentially, the evolution permits SCVMM 2008 R2 Beta customers to migrate virtual machines on a shared LUN without impacting additional virtualized environments associated with that logical unit number.
SCVMM 2008 R2 Beta also adds “SAN related enhancements: We’ve done a number of SAN related enhancements in VMM R2: SAN migration in and out of clusters; Multiple LUNs per single iSCSI target; Network related enhancements; Maintenance mode; Support for Disjoint domains,” Malhotra explained.