Microsoft releases Virtual Machine Manager 2007 beta

Initially announcing it at WinHEC 2006 conference, Microsoft has finally made available beta bits of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2007, the tool aimed to satisfy virtualization management need in Virtual Server 2005 and upcoming Windows Server Virtualization infrastructures.

The tool also directly addresses competition with VMware VirtualCenter, able to perform highly complex tasks on ESX Server datacenters.

Virtual Machine Manager brings in its first beta several notable features:

  • Hosts management by groups (including resources reservetion, permissions assignment and tasks issuing)
  • Virtual machines scripts, templates and profile repository (Virtual Machine Manager library)
  • Virtual machines automated creation and management by advanced scripting (with Windows PowerShell)
  • Virtual machines assisted placement among available hosts (with automated rating system)
  • Virtual machines centralized backup managment (with checkpoints)
  • Virtual machines assisted provisioning by web interface and pre-defined policies (Self-Service Portal)
  • Fibre Channel (FC) Storage Area Networks (SANs) integration (including virtual machines host-to-host migration)

In this build some much wanted features are not available:

  • physical to virtual (P2V) migration
  • clustered hosts support
  • virtual machines automatic migration between hosts
  • command line management

All of these are expected for beta 2.

A note about security: Virtual Machine Manager, like most Microsoft back end servers, needs an Active Directory domain for itself and controlled host OSes, creating serious problems in all scenarios where Virtual Server 2005 has been deployed in DMZ with a hardened configuration.
Hopefully Microsoft will reconsider the choice proposing a version for untrusted networks (like it’s doing with Exchange Server 2007).

The beta program is public: register for it here.

The Virtualization Industry Roadmap has been updated accordingly.