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SCVMM R2 : NEW Quick Storage Migration (QSM)

Quick Storage Migration (QSM) In Brief

As you may have seen, we recently released the Release Candidate for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. One of the most anticipated features of SCVMM 2008 R2 is Quick Storage Migration (QSM) which enables the migration of the storage of VM from one location to another. For example, suppose you have virtual machines on a leased SAN (SAN 1). The lease runs out and you decide to upgrade to a new SAN (SAN 2) with more capacity, better performance and additional capabilities. Quick Storage Migration allows you to move the virtual machine which resides on SAN 1 to SAN 2. I have had a number of request for more details on how this works so we’ve written this brief guide to QSM. (In addition, we wanted to make this technology broadly available, not just the biggest enterprises. More on that below.)

QSM relies on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). QSM can move the virtual disks of a running virtual machine independent of storage protocols (iSCSI, FC) or storage type (local, DAS, SAN), with minimal downtime.

QSM Is One of Many Migration Technologies Supported in Virtual Machine Manager’s Portfolio

VM Migration Type

Platforms available on

Technology used for transfer

Expected downtime for VM

Live Migration

  • Hyper-V
    (2008 R2)
  • ESX 3.0, 3.5
  • Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster
  • Hyper-V
  • vMotion for ESX

None

  • No service interruption while virtual machine is moved

Quick Migration

  • Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Failover Cluster
  • Hyper-V

Under 1 minute in most cases

  • VM is put into save-state while it is moved from one cluster node to another using the cluster failover mechanism

SAN Migration

  • Virtual Server
  • Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Virtual Disk Service (VDS) Hardware Providers
  • N-Port Identification Virtualization (NPIV) on Emulex and QLogic Fibre Channel HBAs
  • iSCSI on EMC, HP, Hitachi, NetApp, EquiLogic arrays

Under 1 minute in most cases

  • VM is put into save-state while it is moved from one virtual machine host to another using unmasking and masking operations at the SAN level

Network based migration

(aka LAN migration)

  • Virtual Server
  • Hyper-V
  • ESX
  • BITS for Virtual Server and Hyper-V
  • sFTP for ESX

Minutes to hours (W2K8, W2K3 hosts)

  • VM needs to be stopped or in saved state for the entire duration of transfer

Under 1 minute in most cases (W2K8 R2)

  • VM can remain running for the almost entire duration of the transfer of its virtual disks from once storage location to another
  • VM is put into save-state for a brief interval to migrate its memory state and associated differencing disks.

Storage Migration Type

Platforms available on

Technology used for transfer

Expected downtime

Storage vMotion

  • ESX 3.5
  • Storage vMotion

None

  • No perceived service interruption while the virtual disks associated with a virtual machine are moved from storage location to another

Quick Storage Migration

  • Hyper-V
    (2008 R2)
  • BITS and Hyper-V

Under 1 minute in most cases (W2K8 R2)

  • VM can remain running for the almost the entire duration of the transfer of its virtual disks from once storage location to another
  • VM is put into save-state for a brief interval to migrate its memory state and associated differencing disks.

Note on Processor Compatibility Mode:

To increase the mobility of a running virtual machine across hosts with different processor versions (with in the same processor family), Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V offers Processor Compatibility Mode. This feature masks processor feature differences between the source and destination hosts. With this enabled, you can migrate a virtual machine from a host with Pentium 4 VT processors to a host with Nehalem processors. Processor Compatibility Mode does not require advanced processor features like Intel VT Flex Migration or AMD-V Extended Migration. For more on Processor Compatibility Mode, check out Jeff’s Blog a few weeks ago where he goes into detail here.

 

How QSM Compares To VMware Storage VMotion

 

VMM 2008 R2 + Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V

VMware (vCenter 2.5 + ESX 3.5)

Migration of virtual machines across two hosts with independent storage

Supported

Not Supported

Migration of virtual machines with snapshots

Supported

Not Supported

Migration of Virtual machine with Virtual Disks

Supported

Supported (persistent mode)

Requires sufficient resources to support two instances of the virtual machines running concurrently

Not Required

Required

Additional Licensed Required

None

VMotion License

Number of concurrent storage Migrations allowed

10

4

Storage Migrations supported in the Administrator Console

Yes (QSM and Storage vMotion)

No

Storage Migrations supported in the CLI

Yes (QSM and Storage vMotion)

Yes

Protocol agnostic

Yes

Yes

Support for migrations of VMs and storage between hosts with different processors versions (same manufacturer)

Yes (use Hyper-V R2 Processor Compatibility Mode to increase the number of compatible hosts )

Not Applicable

 

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