Overview of Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager
System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager ConsultingSystem Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) allows you to configure and manage the compute, fabric, storage, services, and virtual machines (VMs) in a private cloud powered by Windows Server. SCVMM 2012, a component of Microsoft's System Center 2012 R2 management suite, addresses the key features of a private cloud including on-demand self-service, network access from anywhere, resource pooling for multiple tenants, the ability to provision or release capacity dynamically based on demand, and metering. Essentially, SCVMM 2012 allows organizations to become private service providers. SCVMM 2012 is tightly integrated with System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager (SCOM 2012) to provide enterprise-class monitoring and reporting on the health and performance of VM hosts and their virtual machines.

Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can provide online or onsite help to organizations of all sizes to assess the benefits of SCVMM 2012, plan and implement an optimal deployment, integrate SCVMM 2012 with Windows Server Hyper-V, VMware vSphere and/or Citrix XenServer hypervisors, and troubleshoot all aspects of a private cloud managed by SCVMM 2012. Progent can help you migrate efficiently to SCVMM 2012 from an earlier release of SCVMM or from other virtualization management solutions. Progent is available for short-term engagements to help you to resolve specific problems in configuring or maintaining SCVMM 2012 or Progent can provide comprehensive project management services to help you plan and implement a private cloud managed by SCVMM 2012 that maximizes the business value of your IT investment.

Components of SCVMM 2012
SCVMM 2012 is designed to take full advantage of Windows Server 2012 R2's advanced features including massive scale, support for creating high-availability Hyper-V clusters and generation 2 virtual machines, dynamic VHDX resize, and NVGRE functionality. Accordingly, Windows Server 2012 R2 can be considered a critical component of an advanced SCVMM 2012 ecosystem. Progent's Microsoft-certified Windows Server 2012 R2 consultants can provide the expertise needed for successfully integrating all components of SCVMM 2012 with Windows Server 2012 R2. SCVMM 2012 components include:

  • Management Server: This computer processes SCVMM commands and manages communications with the SCVMM database, the Library Server, and VM hosts.
  • Database: The SCVMM Database uses SQL Server to store SCVMM configuration data such as VM and service templates and profiles.
  • Console: The SCVMM Console provides a common GUI interface to a Management Server for monitoring and administering resources such as virtual machine hosts and their VMs, SCVMM services, and Library resources.
  • Library and Library Server: The library catalogs the resources needed to used to deploy VMs and services. These file-based resources include virtual machine and service templates, VHDs, iso images, scripts, and profiles. The library server is the host for the shared folders that hold the file-based resources within the Library.
  • Command Shell: This provides access to the Windows PowerShell cmdlets used to control the functions of SCVMM.
  • Self-Service Portal: Users who have been assigned a self-service role can utilize this website to deploy and manage their own VMs in private clouds.
Enhancements to SCVMM 2012
SCVMM 2012 offers major enhancements over previous versions of SCVMM in key areas such as scale, performance, hypervisor support, cloud readiness, fabric, physical and virtual storage, server management, availability and disaster recovery, and Windows Server 2012 R2 integration. Improvements include:
  • Enterprise Scale and Performance
    Thanks to integration with Windows Server 2012 R2 and with mission-critical Microsoft application platforms such as SQL Server, Exchange Server, and SharePoint, SCVMM 2012 offers significant improvements in scale and performance. A single SCVMM 2012 server can support up to 1,000 hosts and 25,000 virtual machines. With Dynamic Memory support for Linux, SCVMM 2012 radically expands VM density per Linux host. SCVMM 2012 also supports Windows Server 2012 R2 live migration and VHD and VHDX differencing disks for higher performance and lower VM provisioning expense.
  • Expanded VMware and Citrix Support
    SCVMM 2012's multi-hypervisor support includes Hyper-V, VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer. The SCVMM 2012 admin console allows you to add VMware vCenter Servers for managing VMware ESX hosts. SCVMM 2012 supports all virtual disk storage repositories that XenServer does, including Software iSCSI, Network File System (NFS) virtual hard disk, Hardware host bus adapters (HBAs), and Advanced StorageLink technology.
  • VHDX Resize
    SCVMM 2012 supports Windows Server 2012 R2's ability to resize VHDX disks associated with Hyper-V hosts. Dynamic VHDX resize lets you expand or reclaim virtualized storage dynamically while the disks are being used, reducing management overhead and improving resource utilization.
  • Deployment via Service Templates
    Service templates let you define standardized resources needed for critical applications and workloads so that you can deploy on demand a target application's infrastructure including contents, operations, dependencies, and intelligence. By allowing you to configure, deploy, and manage a collection of VMs as a single entity to provide the architecture for hosting a target application, SCVMM 2012 service templates streamline the management of private clouds and reduce provisioning errors. You can also delegate access to service templates to authorized application owners for self-provisioning, further reducing administrative costs.
  • Cloud-integrated Disaster Recovery
    SCVMM 2012 integrates with Hyper-V Replica and Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager (HRM) to provide a highly available and secure control plane to manage disaster recovery (DR) between geographically dispersed datacenters. SCVMM servers send metadata about protected VMs to the Azure-hosted service, and HRM uses this to orchestrate the protection and recovery of Hyper-V Virtual Machines in the private cloud. This solution can save the high cost of a SAN-based replication solution.

    Microsoft SCVMM Hyper-V Recovery Manager Consulting

    The Hyper-V Recovery Manager (HRM) service, built on top of SCVMM, offers cloud-integrated disaster recovery

  • NVGRE Gateway Network Virtualization
    SCVMM 2012 supports the NVGRE (Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation) capability of Windows Server 2012 R2, allowing you to combine your local infrastructure with a service provider's cloud via site-to-site gateways for Hyper-V network virtualization.
  • Generation 2 VM Support
    SCVMM 2012 supports generation 2 virtual machines on a compatible Hyper-V-supported guest OS including Windows Server 2012, 64-bit versions Windows 8.1 and later, and current distributions of Linux. Generation 2 features a simplified virtual hardware model and supports UEFI firmware rather than BIOS-based firmware. Generation 2 can boot the VM from either a SCSI device or a standard network adapter and helps prevent unauthorized firmware, operating systems, or UEFI drivers from running at boot time when Secure Boot is enabled.
  • Live Cloning of Virtual Machines
    For Hyper-V hosts running Windows Server 2012 R2, SCVMM 2012 allows you to export VMs while they are online, stopped, or in a saved state. You can create a new VM by cloning an existing one or create backups of existing virtual machines. Live cloning eliminates the complexity of creating and configuring new VMs based on existing ones and avoids downtime.
  • IP Address Management (IPAM)
    SCVMM 23012 allows you to add a Windows Server 2012 R2-based IP Address Management (IPAM) server to the resources in SCVMM. This makes it possible to view IP addresses for virtual network adapters and to change/add IP addresses without having to log on to VMs. You can also assign new IP addresses from an IP pool in the destination subnet for VM migration, and VMs within a guest cluster can set their own IP addresses on Hyper-V-based virtualized networks.
  • Differencing Disks
    SCVMM 2012 optimizes support for differencing disks, which contain all modifications to a base disk and allow you to isolate changes and reduce storage costs by sharing a large percentage of disk data among multiple virtual disks. Benefits include fast and economical storage migration, VM and service deployment, and VM cloning.
  • Fast File Copy
    SCVMM 2012 can take advantage of the ODX capability of Windows Server 2012 R2 to copy files quickly from the SCVMM Library to storage arrays, which can significantly reduce VM deployment and file transfer times.
  • Shared VHDX Support for Guest Clustering
    SCVMM 2012 allows a VHDX to be shared in a service tier by multiple virtual machines simultaneously. This allows you to utilize guest clustering to deploy in-guest HA applications. In addition, you can use SQL Server failover clustering along with SCVMM 2012's shared VHDX feature to maximize the availability of a SQL Server farm.
  • Fabric Monitoring
    A new dashboard included with System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager (SCOM) and closely integrated with SCVMM 2012 provides a comprehensive overview of the health of your private clouds and the fabric that supports them. The Fabric Health Dashboard displays a private cloud's infrastructure including hosting groups, compute resources, storage units and pools, network nodes, load balancers, virtual switches, and host clusters.

How Progent Can Help You with SCVMM 2012
System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager is a pivotal tool for deploying and managing private clouds, which are the heart of modern information networks. Practically every aspect of information technology is impacted by cloud computing, and to create an ecosystem that delivers maximum business value requires a broad range and depth of IT knowledge and experience. Progent's nationwide team of consultants can provide expertise in every facet of cloud computing including server and end-user hardware, application integration, software development, scripting, management reporting, virtualization, network infrastructure, security, and disaster recovery. This breadth of knowledge makes Progent well suited to be your go-to source of support for planning, implementing, and troubleshooting private clouds managed by SCVMM 2012.

Progent's Microsoft Gold-certified consulting team can provide online and onsite consulting services to help businesses of any size to create a private cloud management solution based on System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager. Progent is available for short-term engagements to provide as-needed expertise to resolve especially challenging issues you may encounter with SCVMM 2012, or Progent can provide comprehensive project management services to help you complete your SCVMM 2012 solution on schedule and within budget. Progent can help you assess the business value of SCVMM 2012, design and carry out an efficient deployment, integrate and test SCVMM 2012 with your critical applications and workloads, and provide ongoing consulting and troubleshooting support for your SCVMM 2012 environment.

Progent can help you integrate SCVMM 2012 with other key components of Microsoft's System Center 2012 R2 suite by providing services that include System Center Operations Manager consulting and System Center Data Protection Manager support. Progent can also provide the expertise of Windows Server 2012 R2 consultants to configure this recommended host OS for SCVMM 2012 and Progent offers the support of Microsoft SQL Server consultants to help you integrate the back end databases for SCVMM 2012. Progent also offers expert help for the various hypervisors supported by SCVMM 2012 and can provide Hyper-V integration, VMware vSphere support services, and Citrix XenServer consulting.

To assist you in planning and maintaining your cloud infrastructure Progent can provide the online and onsite services of Cisco-certified CCIE network consultants. Progent's certified network security consultants can help you design, implement and test an enterprise-wide security strategy to keep your physical and virtualized IT resources in compliance with your internal standards and with regulatory requirements. In addition, Progent's disaster recovery planning consultants and business continuity planning experts can help you follow industry best practices to build SCVMM-managed private clouds that maximize availability and minimize recovery time and data loss under any foreseeable scenario.

To learn more about Progent's consulting services for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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