TechEd 2013: System Center 2012 R2–Virtual Machine Manager

Speaker: Vijay Tewari, VMM PM.

Boostrapping a repeatable architecture

VMM becomes the heart of the data centre.  You deploy everything from VMM console/library.  For example, MSFT will be supplying service templates for deploying the reset of System Center from VMM.

Network Architecture

A sample one:



Using SOFS service templates, SMB 3.0 management, SMI-S (including fiber channel support), VMM 2012 R2 can manage the entire storage stack from bare metal to zoning/permissioning.


Host Profiles has become Physical Computer Profiles.  You can create a file server profile for a SOFS bare metal deployment.  He reaches out to the BMC (DRAC, ILO, etc) to discover, power up, and deploy the OS of the cluster nodes.  If the process completed, a new SOFS would be running and managed by VMM.  Now you can use VMM to provision and permission file shares.  Once done, you can start to place/move VMs on the file share on the permitted hosts.

Note: you don’t touch the file servers, log into them, use Server Manager, use a PoSH cmdlet.  It’s all done from the VMM console.  Very sweet.

See Datacenter Abstraction Layer (DAL).

Synthetic Fiber Channel In The Guest

VMM 2012 R2 adds support for guest fiber channel in Hyper-V.  Uses SMI-S to talk to the SAN.  Involves 2 things:

  • Project a fiber channel virtual adapter in the guest
  • You need to be able to program the fiber channel network

Simplified zone management from the VMM console.


  • Offloaded data transfer is now supported in VMM 2012 R2 to provision resources from the library.
  • VMM supports WS2012 R2 Hyper-V to create guest clusters using a shared VHDX.  Remember the VHDX is stored on shared storage (CSV or SMB).  MSFT uses this kind of SQL cluster for testing SysCtr.  It’s a check box: Share this disk across the service tier … yes, you can deploy a guest cluster from a service template.

New in Service Templates: the first node online will initialize the cluster, and additional nodes join the cluster.  Service templates understand the need for different tasks on the first and subsequent nodes.  In the demo, he talks about how SQL can be installed on the guest cluster as part of the service template.

IP Address Management

You can create networks in VMM and IPAM will detect it.  Or you can use IPAM to model your networks and VMM will pull in the configuration.

Top of Rack Switches

More DAL.  This is where VMM can configure/manage physical switches using OMI.  In the demo, a host cannot respond to a ping.  In VMM, the host is non-compliant.  The reasoning is that the required VLAN is not piped through the switch port to the host NIC.  There is a “remediate” button – press it and VMM can reach out to an OMI switch to fix the issue …. assuming you have a RunAs account for the switch.  Otherwise you beat your network admin with some Cat5 cables until he relents.

Hybrid Networking

This builds on things like virtual switch extensions, NVGRE, etc.  The ability to move a VM from one network to another without changing the IP, and the VM stays online using HNV.

Windows Azure Pack is shown in the demo.  Vijay spins up a network in a hosting company public cloud.  He configures the IP stack of the new virtual subnet (a subset of a VM network).  A site-site tunnel (VPN) is configured.  Remember, WS2012 R2 RRAS will do this for us (NGVRE gateway too). 

He configures IBGP for routing, and then configures the VPN connection properties (IP, shared key, etc).  Now he has extended his on premise network into the hosting company.

Gateway Service Templates

An out of the box SCVMM 2012 R2 service template will automate the deployment of the WS2012 R2 NVGRE gateway. 

Hyper-V Recovery Manager

This is Hyper-V Replica management via a new SaaS product in the Azure cloud (Recovery Services).  It is in preview at the moment.  A provider (an agent) is installed in the VMM servers in production and DR sites – VMM must manage the production cloud and the DR cloud, with a VMM server in each site.  This only does management; all data replication goes directly from production to DR site, never going to Azure.

He configures cloud to cloud replication policies.  Now from in the VMM console, he can enable replication on a per-VM basis using Enable Recovery or Disable Recovery in the ribbon.  Replica VMs have a slightly different icon than production VMs.

HRM can be used to create recovery plans and be used to invoke them.

Operations Manager Dashboard Monitoring

A new OpsMgr MP, with rich dashboards.  Demo: Drive down into the fabric health.  Clicks on a network node and looks at the network vicinity dashboard to browse the health of the network.  Can diagnose networking issues in the VMM console. 


Built on features of WS2012 and added support for WS2012 R2 features.

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