Introduction to System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager
System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM 2016) is a component of Microsoft's System Center 2016 family of IT infrastructure management tools and is designed to provide a centralized solution for configuring and managing virtualized fabric and services across hybrid networks that can include on-premises and hosted datacenters, private clouds, and Microsoft Azure. SCVMM 2016 supports the enhanced features of Windows Server 2016 for ease of migration, increased scale, high availability, low-cost storage, software defined networking, information assurance, performance tuning, and streamlined application deployment. (For a description of the new features of Windows Server 2016, see Windows Server 2016 integration consulting.) System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager also integrates directly with VMware vCenter so you can create, manage, store, place and convert virtual machines on VMware ESXi hosts from the same SCVMM 2016 user interface and command-line interface you use to manage Windows Hyper-V VMs.
SCVMM 2016 and other System Center tools let you deploy and manage heterogeneous environments
Progent can assist companies of all sizes to plan, implement, optimize and troubleshoot a deployment of SCVMM 2016 that delivers maximum business value. Progent can help you migrate live workloads from Windows 2012 clusters to Windows 2016 clusters using the new Rolling Upgrade feature. Progent can also help you reduce the cost of high-availability storage by using SCVMM 2016 to deploy and manage Storage Spaces Direct and Storage Replica. For cutting-edge data security, Progent can help you create Shielded VMs and configure guarded VMM fabric with Host Guardian Service. In addition, Progent can show you how to create and utilize custom scripts for automating application deployment. Progent's System Center 2016 consultants can show you how to integrate SCVMM 2016 seamlessly with other System Center management tools by providing services such as Operations Manager 2016 consulting for infrastructure monitoring and reporting, Configuration Manager 2016 planning and integration services for device deployment and updating, and Data Protection Manager 2016 consulting for backup and recovery.
Progent also offers the guidance of subject matter experts who have earned the industry's highest certifications to help you create a cohesive, centrally managed hybrid environment that incorporates the technology of leading IT vendors. Progent can provide the expertise of a VMware VCDX-certified system designer, a Cisco CCIE-certified infrastructure consultant, a NetApp NCIE-certified SAN storage integration expert, Linux consultants, Apple technology consultants, Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud integration consultants, Amazon Web Services (AWS) consultants, and Google Cloud integration experts. This depth and breadth of expertise allows Progent to be your go-to source for SCVMM 2016-related consulting services ranging from as-needed advice or troubleshooting to comprehensive project management outsourcing or co-sourcing.
Key Components of System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager
The primary components of a Virtual Machine Manager 2016 deployment are the VMM management server, the SQL Sever database, the VMM console, the VMM library, Hyper-V and VMware virtualization hosts, and additional fabric servers. Performance, availability, recoverability, and scale are key factors to consider when designing an architecture for SCVMM 2016, and building hybrid environments for SCVMM 2016 can be complex. To keep costs and effort at a minimum, it is important to get it right the first time. Progent can help you follow best practices for planning and implementing your SCVMM 2016 solution and can help you work with critical technologies like failover clustering, Always On availability, and Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to maximize the availability of your SCVMM 2016 ecosystem.
New Features of System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager
- VMM Management Server: This Windows 2016 server processes Virtual Machine Manager commands and manages communications with the SQL Server database, the VMM library server, and virtual machine hosts. The VMM management server can be installed on a physical or virtual host and can be deployed in a high availability cluster.
- SQL Server Database: This database, which requires SQL Server 2012 SP1 onwards, stores SCVMM configuration data such as VM and service templates and profiles.
- VMM Console: The VMM console offers a unified interface to a VMM management server for viewing and managing physical and virtual resources such as virtual machines and VM hosts, VMs, services, and library resources. The VMM console can be installed on Windows Server 2012 or later and on Windows 8 or later.
- VMM Library: The VMM library is a file share that stores resources for deploying VMs and services in the SCVMM 2016 fabric. Resources cataloged by the VMM library include VHDs, ISO images, scripts, driver files, SQL Server data-tier applications, plus VM and server templates. The library server hosts the shared folders that store file-based resources in the VMM library. For high availability, VMM library servers must be deployed on a file server failover cluster.
- Virtual Machine Hosts: Virtual machine hosts can be Hyper-V or VMware ESXi hosts as well as clusters that host VMs and services. You can monitor the health and availability of SCVMM 2016 virtual machine hosts with Operations Manager 2016. For reliable recovery, you can back up VM hosts by copying host and VM data to an offsite server share using SCDPM 2016 or other tools that uses VSS.
- Additional Fabric Servers: Servers in the VMM fabric can be Windows Server 2012 R2 or later, including Windows 2016 Nano Server, VMware ESX/ESXi 5.5 or later, or VMware vCenter. 5.1 or later.
SCVMM 2016 supports important capabilities introduced with Windows Server 2016. Many of these technologies were initially developed for and proven in Microsoft Azure and enhance Virtual Machine Manager's ability to lower the cost, streamline the management, and improve the availability and recoverability of hybrid deployments that combine private and public clouds. Areas covered by the new features in SCVMM 2016 include compute, storage, networking, and information assurance.
- Rolling Upgrade: When moving from Windows 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016, you can upgrade Hyper-V clusters and scale-out file server clusters within the Virtual Machine Manager fabric without bringing host workloads offline. SCVMM can automatically manage the live upgrade process, which takes advantage of the new ability of Windows Server 2016 to support a temporary down-level migration. For a more detailed description of this feature, see Windows Server 2016 rolling upgrade consulting.
- Storage Spaces Direct: Another Windows Server 2016 innovation is Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), which allows SCVMM 2016 to utilize multiple types of commodity storage, including drives locally attached to servers, to create and manage virtual storage that is highly available, scalable, and affordable. Deployment can be converged or hyper-converged and advanced features include caching, storage tiers, and erasure coding. For details, refer to Windows Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct consulting.
SCVMM 2016 allows you to configure low-cost, high-availability virtualized storage pools and file shares
- Storage Replica: Introduced in Windows Server 2016, Storage Replica is a disaster preparedness and recovery technology that allows synchronous replication of volumes between servers or clusters to support crash-consistent, zero-data-loss recovery at the file-system level. Using Storage Replica in Virtual Machine Manager 2016 avoids the expense and hassle of deploying and managing a traditional SAN storage solution. For a closer look, go to Windows Server 2016 Storage Replica consulting.
- Production Checkpoints: On a virtual machine running a Windows operating system, you can create checkpoints in which all of the VM's applications are in a consistent state. Unlike standard checkpoints, which are based on saved-state technology and are not application consistent, these point-in-time snapshots use Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) backup technology inside the guest. Production checkpoints can be restored in a way that is fully supported for all production workloads.
- Shielded VMs and Guarded Fabric: To protect generation 2 virtual machines from a malicious host administrator and from malware that has stolen administration rights, Shielded VMs use virtualized TPM technology and BitLocker encryption to allow shielded VMs to run only on healthy and approved hosts in the VMM fabric. VMM guarded fabric is built around the Host Guardian Service (HGS), which comprises a cluster of three nodes with at least one guarded host plus a set of shielded VMs. HGS supports TPM hardware attestation or administration-trusted software attestation based on Active Directory. To learn more, see Windows Server 2016 Shielded VM consulting.
- Nano Server Support: Virtual Machine Manager 2016 allows you to deploy and manage hosts and VMs running Nano Server, the tiny-footprint installation option for Windows Server 2016. You can set up bare metal machines as Nano Server-based hosts, configure compute clusters, and deploy disaggregated and hyper-converge storage clusters. For details about Nano Server, go to Windows Server 2016 Nano Server consulting.
- Storage Quality of Service: Storage Quality of Service (QoS) is a feature of Windows 2016 that helps you control the allocation of storage bandwidth for virtual machines that use the same file server cluster. Storage QoS allows you to specify policy-based min/max performance targets in terms of normalized operations per second (IOPS). This can eliminate the so-called "noisy neighbor" problem, where one virtual machine hogs all your storage bandwidth, and also allows you to make sure that business-critical workloads are allocated appropriate storage resources. SCVMM 2016 streamlines the management of storage QoS by allowing you to apply QoS policies across multiple storage clusters.
You can configure Quality of Service for storage in the VMM 20165 fabric
- Virtual Machine Load Balancing: You can use Virtual Machine Manager for quick deployment of the Software Load Balancer (SLB) component of Windows Server 2016 Network Controller by using pre-defined service templates. The SLB works with inbound and outbound network address translation (NAT). For information about Windows Server 2016 virtual machine load balancing, see Windows Server 2016 virtual machine load balancing consulting.
- Easy Creation of Hyper-V and SOFS Clusters: SCVMM 2016 allows you to deploy a Hyper-V host cluster from bare metal in a single step, and you can directly add a bare-metal computer to an existing Hyper-V or scale out file server (SOFS) cluster.
- SCOM 2016 Integration: SCVMM 2016 integrates seamlessly with System Center 2016 Operations Manager via the Operations Manager Connector for VMM. This allows you to monitor the health and availability of VMs and hosts as well as VMM management servers, VMM SQL database servers, and VMM library servers. For information about SCOM 2016, visit System Center 2016 Operations Manager consulting.
How Progent Can Help You with System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager
Progent can help businesses of any size with any aspect of building and maintaining a SCVMM 2016 solution. Progent can review your virtualization architecture, show you how to migrate smoothly from older versions of Virtual Machine Manager, develop efficient workflows for creating and deploying virtual machines and hosts, design high-availability compute and storage clusters, integrate your private cloud resources with public cloud services, configure virtual switches, write and debug PowerShell scripts, and help you assess the potential business benefits of new technologies such as Storage Replica, Storage Spaces Direct and Shielded VMs. Progent's certified hypervisor professionals can provide advanced Hyper-V consulting and VMware vSphere expertise.
Progent's SQL Server consultants can help you deploy the SQL Server database for SCVMM 2016 and configure AlwaysOn Availability Groups to eliminate avoidable downtime. Progent also offers advanced System Center 2016 Operations Manager consulting to help you integrate SCVMM 2016 with SCOM 2016 for enterprise-class monitoring and reporting. Progent's System Center Data Protection Manager consultants can integrate SCVMM 2016 with SCDPM 2016 so that VM protection continues automatically during live migration. Progent's System Center 2016 consultants can provide expertise for other tools in the System Center 2016 suite including Configuration Manager, Orchestrator, and Endpoint Protection.
Modern hybrid networks require physical network infrastructure to build private clouds, integrate with public clouds, and connect with remote users. Progent can provide remote and on-premises support from Cisco-certified CCIE network consultants who can help you plan, configure, tune and troubleshoot a cost-effective network architecture that delivers the performance, scale, availability, recoverability and security you need to optimize productivity and streamline IT management.
Microsoft's Shielded VM and Host Guardian Service (HGS) technologies are important new ways to protect VMM fabric. Progent's certified information assurance consultants can help you design, audit, validate and manage a hybrid IT infrastructure that takes full advantage of System Center Virtual Manager 2016 to meet your security and compliance requirements. Innovations such as Storage Spaces Direct and Storage Replica are major additions to Microsoft's arsenal of tools for disaster preparedness and recovery. Progent can help you incorporate SCVMM 2016 into a comprehensive DR/BC strategy by providing disaster recovery planning expertise and business continuity consulting.
For more information about Progent's consulting and troubleshooting services for System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.
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