Microsoft releases Release Candidate of Virtual Machine Manager 2012

After releasing a beta in March this year, Microsoft today announced the release of the Release Candidate (RC) of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 as publicly available. The Release Candidate will be upgradable to the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version when it will be released.

SCVMM will transform from a centralized Virtual Machine management tool, to a Service Management and Fabric Management tool, by providing lifecycle management of VMs and the applications inside them and by providing configuration management of computing, networking and storage.

SCVMM includes Server App-V, for which the first build was released in December last year, Server App-V which provides application virtualization technology for backend services, the technology will also become available as a complementary technology to Windows Azure, Microsoft’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering.

SCVMM provides the capability to abstract IP subnetting, VLANs and DNS domains creating logical networks. Communication with the storage will be supported through the Storage Management Initiative (SMI-S) providers, so that SCVMM will be able to provision LUNs at the cluster level, currently three providers are available NetApp FAS, EMC CX,VMAX and HP EVA (Built-in to HP StorageWorks CommandView EVA 10.0). Support for load balancers is provided from Citrix, F5 and Brocade.

The RC can be downloaded as a full install package, or as a preconfigured virtual machine in the VHD format.

The RC introduces the following new features:

  • Support for upgrade to RTM when released
  • Hyper-V and Cluster Lifecycle Management
    • ISO or CD-based OSD for environments with DHCP without WDS
    • OSD will now convert dynamic to fixed type of VHD destination
    • All network adapters on host can be configured during provisioning
    • Ability to bypass cluster validation during cluster creation
    • Run cluster validation reports on-demand
    • New Cluster status tab to view an aggregated status and a cluster validation report
    • Ability to see current CSV owner in the properties of the cluster
  • Network Management
    • Simplification of the logical networks in the Fabric workspace
    • Ability to see IP addresses that are in use from a IP pool
    • Added support for Microsoft Network Load Balancer
    • Gateway and DNS are no longer mandatory fields for logical networks
    • Load balancer can now support affinity to logical networks
  • Storage Management
    • Create persistent sessions to iSCSI array and logon initiator to array
    • Better scalability of storage operations – LUN create, snapshot, clone, masking, and unmasking
    • Option to create storage groups per cluster (BETA only supported creation of storage group per node in a cluster)
    • Enablement of MPIO feature when provisioning a new Hyper-V server
    • Automatic MPIO device claim
    • Support for arrays that implement OnePortPerView
  • Update Management
    • Share a WSUS root server between System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2/ System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta
    • Hyper-V Cluster Orchestration- Nodes put into VMM Maintenance Mode can be set to trigger Maintenance Mode in Operations Manager.
  • Power Optimization
    • Set Operations Manager Mode for powered down hosts
  • Performance & Resource Optimization (PRO)
    • Support added for System Center Operations Manager 2012 Beta
    • VMM will ship two sample PRO Packs: Cluster scale out and Service scale out MPs
  • Service Lifecycle Management
    • Service Designer and Specialization UI enhancements
    • Added ability to use Service Template Patterns
    • IP-based provisioning
    • New application instance view
    • Streamlined ability to enable OS VHD updates to a Service Template
    • Publish updated Service Templates in order to update Service Instances