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Familiarize yourself with Microsoft SCVMM features and uses

With Microsoft SCVMM, you can leverage templates and profiles, deploy a Hyper-V cluster and create a database backup plan, among many other virtual environment management tasks.

Microsoft SCVMM provides administrators with a functional and flexible way to manage virtual environments. To get...

started, familiarize yourself with some SCVMM basics, including templates and profiles, Hyper-V cluster deployment and the ever-essential database backup plan. Also, get a feel for what features are included in Microsoft SCVMM 2016. With these five quick links, you'll have a better understanding of the product and its uses.

Get to know Microsoft SCVMM templates and profiles

With Microsoft SCVMM, you have the ability to easily create templates and profiles, which ensure consistency and eliminate the need for manual configuration. The main difference between the two is the objects to which they apply. For example, templates apply to VMs, while profiles apply to hardware allocation and applications. Templates and profiles are typically used together, but each type has a specific use case. Types of templates include Service Deployment Configurations, Service Templates and VM Templates; types of profiles include application profiles, capability profiles, guest OS profiles, hardware profiles, physical computer profiles and SQL Server profiles.

Deploy a Hyper-V cluster through SCVMM

If you need to deploy a Hyper-V cluster, Microsoft SCVMM should be your first choice, as it offers great functionality and ease-of-use. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the requirements for doing so beforehand, though. For instance, Hyper-V nodes will only run on a supported Windows OS, and they should be available in the same host group. Also, you need to enable multipath I/O so each Hyper-V node is allowed access to Fibre Channel and iSCSI storage devices. Once you have the correct conditions, classify storage and then create and allocate logical units, which will allow you to display shared storage disks from the Create Cluster Wizard. Then you can define network and failover settings.

Create an SCVMM database backup plan

To start, back up the SQL Server Database, since Microsoft SCVMM uses it to store its configuration information. You can do so by using either SCVMM Console or SCVMM PowerShell. Next, use the Windows Server Backup tool to take a system state backup of Windows OS when the SCVMM Server is installed. Library servers that hold file data aren't backed up as part of the SCVMM database process, so you'll need to identify them and use production backup methods. Finally, export vital configuration information from the SCVMM Server using PowerShell cmdlets. It's also recommended that you back up virtualization hosts, VMs deployed on the virtualization hosts, VM VHD and VHDX files and VM configuration files.

New features in Microsoft SCVMM 2016

There are substantial improvements to computing, storage and networking in SCVMM 2016, but the release also includes new features that eliminate service interruption for minor VM operational tasks. You will now have the ability to increase or decrease static memory, to enable Dynamic Memory and to hot add or remove virtual network interface cards for running VMs without any downtime. Before you perform any of these operations -- which are carried out using PowerShell cmdlets -- make sure VMs are running on Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V host. Also, it's important to note that Dynamic Memory-enabled VMs can't be used for dynamic memory management.

Features Microsoft SCVMM 2016 doesn't include

Despite the fact that that App Controller is a user-friendly component for managing virtualized workloads in private and cloud environments, it isn't included in SCVMM 2016. A potential reason behind this decision is that App Controller only provides infrastructure as a service (IaaS), while Windows Azure Pack (WAP) provides platform as a service and software as a service in addition to IaaS. For customers, this might be a tough pill to swallow, as WAP installation takes a lot of work and managing the environment requires more IT resources. Although not as significant a change, Microsoft has also removed Server App-V via VMM from SCVMM 2016.

Next Steps

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This was last published in December 2016

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