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SCVMM R2 : New Features

New features in R2 include:

·         Support for Live Migration: 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.

·         Multiple VMs per LUN:  VMM 2008 didn’t allow placing multiple VMs per LUN even though Hyper-V allowed it and the reason was that the LUN ownership was on a per host basis. This meant that migrating any VM on that shared LUN would result in all other VMs being migrated as well which can result in a confusing user experience (I’ve blogged about this at length).  With CSV (Clustered Shared Volumes) in Windows 2008 R2, a single LUN is accessible by all hosts within a cluster. This enables a VM that’s on a shared LUN to be migrated without affecting other VMs on that LUN. As a result, with VMM R2, we’ll allow multiple VMs to be placed on the same LUN if CSV is enabled on the cluster.

·         SAN related enhancements:  We’ve done a number of SAN related enhancements in VMM R2.

o   SAN migration in and out of clusters: With VMM R2, you can migrate a VM from one cluster to another or from a standalone host into a cluster or vice versa. Especially useful when you are deploying a VM from a test cluster to a production one.

o   Multiple LUNs per single iSCSI target: VMM 2008 supported only initiator-based iSCSI target connection, which allows only one LUN per iSCSI target. VMM 2008 R2 adds support for masking-based target connections, which allows multiple LUNs per iSCSI target and expands VMM support for iSCSI SAN providers. This implies that we have better support for iSCSI products from Network Appliance and EMC for example.

·         Network related enhancements:

o   Network Optimization

§  Win2k8 R2 supports 2 types of network optimizations: VMQ & Chimney

§  During VM creation you can enable/disable network optimization

§  If enabled, VMM will configure the VM to use VMQ or Chimney, if available on the host

§  During placement, VMM R2 detects and shows availability of Network optimization on the host

o   Some workloads such as Network load balancers need to be able to spoof MACs: There’s a new setting that allows admin to enable/Disable MAC spoofing on a per VM basis

o   Ability to reuse port groups defined in VMWare VirtualCenter

§  In VMM 2008, port groups were always created even if the admin had already created them on the host.

§  In VMM R2, the admin is allowed to pick an available port group that’s already defined.

·         Maintenance mode

o   For servicing a host, VMM R2 allows host to be put in maintenance mode: When you do this,  all VMs on that host that are running are live migrated off the host to avoid downtime.

§  Admin can choose to save state VMs if host is not part of a cluster

o   During placement, a Host that’s in maintenance mode gets zero star ratings. This also p-prevents PRO from picking this host when migrating VMs.

o   Maintenance mode is supported for Hyper-V, VS and VMWare ESX hosts

·         Support for Disjoint domains:  When a host has different FQDN in AD and DNS, it’s said to be in a disjoint domain. For example: server name is foo and FQDN in AD is  foo.domain.contoso.com and FQDN in DNS is foo.contoso.com.  For Kerberos authentication to work, SPN needs to be created for DNS Name

o   VMM 2008 required custom SPN to be manually configured in AD

o   VMM 2008 R2 automatically creates custom SPN for DNS name. (AD needs to be configured to give permissions to VMM for SPN read/write permissions)

As  you can see, there are a number of enhancements we’ve introduced in R2 along with fixing some important issues reported by customers and partners. We are not done yet! In addition to responding to more feedback from beta testers, there are a few more features in the pipeline for post Beta so stay tuned.

Download the beta here and keep the feedback rolling in!

Categories: Virtualization
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