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Category: Virtual Machine Manager

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Technical Documentation for Getting Started with System Center 2012 R2

Marcel van den Berg just posted a blog post about the availability of the Technical Documentation for Getting Started with System Center 2012 R2 which was just released by Microsoft. The Technical Documentation covers the Support Matrix and Upgrade Sequence for System Center 2012 R2.

System Center 2012 R2 Requirements

You can download the documents on the Microsoft Download website.



Cisco Microsoft

Cisco and Microsoft Announce Sales and Go-to-Market Agreement

At the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 Cisco and Microsoft announced a multi-year sales and go-to-market agreement designed to modernize data centers through the delivery and acceleration of integrated solutions. This will focus on bringing a deeper integration between the datacenter technologies of both companies. This includes Cisco UCS and Nexus products as well as Microsoft’s CloudOS solutions based Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Center, SQL Server and Microsoft Azure.

Highlights:

Go-to-Market:

  • Cisco and Microsoft agree to a three-year go-to-market plan focused on transforming data centers through the delivery of integrated solutions for enterprise customers and service providers.
  • In year one, the companies will focus on six countries — the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia — with expansion to additional countries in the following years.
  • Cisco and Microsoft will align partner incentive programs to accelerate solutions selling via mutual channel partners.
  • Cisco and Microsoft sales teams will work together on cloud and data center opportunities, including an initial program focused on the migration of Windows 2003 customers to Windows 2012 R2 on the Cisco UCS platform.

Integrated Solutions:

  • Integrated solutions will focus on private cloud, server migration, service provider, and SQL Server 2014
  • Cisco technologies to include Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus switching, Cisco UCS Manager with System Center integration modules, and Cisco PowerTool.
  • Cisco-based integrated infrastructure solutions will include FlexPod with NetApp and Cisco Solutions for EMC VXPEX.
  • Microsoft technology includes Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, PowerShell, Microsoft Azure and SQL Server 2014
  • Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure and Cisco InterCloud Fabric to be integrated in the solutions in future releases

Source and More information: www.streetinsider.com

As you may know I am a Microsoft MVP and a Cisco Champion and I really like doing project with Cisco Hardware since they do a lot of integration with the Microsoft Stack especially System Center and PowerShell. In my opinion this could be a strong partnership and will make life of a lot of people a lot easier.



Hyper-V Share

Hyper-V is eating VMware’s lunch

During the WPC 2014 Keynote Microsoft COO Kevin Turner showed the following slide and commented it:

Hyper-V is eating VMware’s lunch

 

Hyper-V has now 30,6% market share in x86 Server Virtualization which means Microsoft won 4.6% since the release of Windows Server 2012. VMware is now at 46.4% market share which means they lost 5.1% market share since the release of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

And this because of good reasons, like great features and 4 times lower cost than VMware. So if you are still running VMware you should definitely have a look at Hyper-V now!



Azure Site Recovery

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Preview

Microsoft today announced the preview of Disaster Recovery to Azure called Microsoft Azure Site Recovery. This also replaces HRM (Hyper-V Recovery Manager). Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (ASR) allows you to orchestrate disaster recovery to a second site or directly to Azure.

Microsoft ASR

Both solutions use Microsoft on-prem technology like Windows Server Hyper-V Replica and System Center Virtual Machine Manager and you can start using them via the Microsoft Azure Management Portal.

In addition to enabling Microsoft Azure as a DR site in multiple geographies, this preview also includes an impressive list of features for enabling virtual machine replication to Azure:

  • At-Scale Configuration
    You can configure the protection and replication of VM settings in a private cloud and configure and connect on-prem networks with Azure Networks. Those VM’s are then only replicated to customer-owned and managed geo-redundant Azure Storage.
  • Variable Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
    This feature provides support for near-synchronous data replication with RPOs as low as 30 seconds. You can also retain consistent snapshots at desired frequency for a 24-hour window.
  • Data Encryption
    VM Virtual Hard Disks can be encrypted at rest using a secure, customer-managed encryption key that ensures best-in-class security and privacy for your application data when it is replicating to Azure. This encryption key is known only to the customer and it is needed for the failover of VM’s to Azure. Simply put: All of this service’s traffic within Azure is encrypted.
  • Self-Service Disaster Recovery
    With ASR you get full support for DR drills via test failover, planned failover with a zero-data loss, unplanned failover, and failback.
  • One-Click Orchestration
    ASR also provides easy-to-create, customizable Recovery Plans to ensure one-click failovers and failbacks that are always accurate, consistent, and help you achieve your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) goals.
  • Audit and Compliance Reporting with Reliable Recovery
    DR testing and drills can be performed without any impact to production workloads. This means you get risk-free, high-confidence testing that meets your compliance objectives. You can run these non-disruptive test failovers whenever you like, as often as you like. Also, with the ability to generate reports for every activity performed using the service, you can meet all your audit requirements.

ASR does not only help you in terms of Disaster Recovery, it also allows you to quickly and easily migrate your Virtual Machines to Azure or create a new dev environment.

Check out the ASR session at TechEd 2014 and Brad Andersons blog about the release of the Azure Site Recovery Preview.

Once you’re ready to see what ASR can do for you, you can check out pricing information, sign up for a free trial, or learn more about the product specs.

 

 



SMA Author RunBooks in Windows Azure Pack

Service Management Automation – The Next Step in Cloud and Datacenter Automation

With System Center Orchestrator Microsoft already had an datacenter automation engine in his portfolio. Microsoft acquired Opalis added it to the System Center Suite, after a while Microsoft renamed Opalis to System Center Orchestrator. As we have a look at modern datacenters and our cloud environment automation is a key part of it. With the latest release of System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack, Microsoft release a new automation engine based on PowerShell Workflows called Service Management Automation (SMA).

Windows Azure Pack Automation with SMA

SMA is integrated as one of the key Resource Provider in Windows Azure Pack, and allows you to manage your PowerShell Workflows in so called Runbooks. Service Management Automation enhances PowerShell Workflows in several different ways.

  • Centralized management
  • Centralized store for variables, credentials, certificates, connections, modules, workflows, checkpoints and schedules.
  • High availability workflow execution
  • Versioning
  • Odata web service (HTTP API)
  • Historical view of workflow jobs and their output

Architecture

SMA is build form several different components.

  • Web Service – HTTP/HTTPS API which distributes runbook jobs to runbook workers and builds the connection to Widnwos Azure Pack
  • Runbook worker – Executes Runbooks
  • PowerShell module – Enables SMA to be managed by Windows PowerShell
  • Windows Azure Pack - UI for administrators to create and manage runbooks
  • SQL database – Store for Runbooks and settings

SMA Architecture

  • The Automation web service communicates with Windows Azure Pack and authenticates users.
  • The SQL Server databases store and retrieve runbooks, runbook assets, activities, integration modules, and runbook job information.
  • Runbook workers run the runbooks, and they can be used for load balancing.
  • The management portal in Windows Azure Pack is where you author, debug, and start and stop runbooks.

Source: TechNet

One of the greats enhancements Service Management Automation together with Windows Azure Pack brings is the possibility to link runbooks to SPF and VMM activates used in the Virtual Machine Cloud. What does this mean? For example you link a runbook to a Create Virtual Machine activity, so every time a VM gets created the runbooks starts and also gets as input object the VM which was created. This is just one example what you can do with SMA and Windows Azure Pack VM Cloud, there are a lot of other possibilities as well.

If you compare System Center Orchestrator to Service Management Automation, SMA looks a little bit more complex if you have used a lot of Integrations Packs in SCORCH but if you have done a lot of work in PowerShell you will really like SMA and see the advantages of it.

Service Management Automation does not offer an user interface by itself, instead it is using the Windows Azure Pack portal, where admins can author, run, schedule and link runbooks.

SMA Author RunBooks in Windows Azure Pack



Cisco Champions

Cisco Champion 2014

I feel honored to be awarded by Cisco with the Cisco Champion title. Cisco does a lot of great products and I focused on the datacenter solutions which Cisco offers with their Cisco UCS platform and the Microsoft solutions, such as the System Center Integration and the Cisco UCS PowerShell Module.

 

Passionate Experts, Global Champions for Change

What makes a Cisco Champion? Passion, plus a desire to share their perspectives with the community. There are Cisco Champions all over the world. They represent a variety of segments across the IT industry. And they offer their time to help others learn about Cisco and connect with Cisco in unique ways.

In addition to sharing their insights and expertise, Cisco Champions make a difference by:

  • Supporting their peers in social communities, forums, and networks
  • Sharing their relevant experiences and thoughts on Cisco blogs
  • Providing valuable feedback directly to Cisco
  • And more

Cisco Champions have a unique opportunity to contribute to and enhance the way people use the latest technologies. They also receive:

  • Recognition for their contributions
  • Invitations to exclusive events
  • Opportunities to directly communicate with Cisco employees


Savision Whitepaper

On Demand Webinar: VMM Fabric and Cloud Management by MVP Thomas Maurer

Together with Savision I worked on a whitepaper about System Center Virtual Machine Manager Fabric Management and Resource Pooling. After the whitepaper was released I also did two webinars where I presented the information from the whitepaper about Fabric and Cloud Management with Virtual Machine Manager.

Now the webinar recording is available for an on demand online.

On Demand Webinar

On Demand Webinar: VMM Fabric Management and Resource Pooling by MVP Thomas Maurer