Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 at a glance

Colin Steele, Executive Editor

Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 will move beyond virtualization to focus on private cloud management.

With support for heterogeneous virtual infrastructures and role-based administrative options, System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 aims to enable the key aspects of private cloud computing: automation, scalability and self-service provisioning. Microsoft is also stressing how SCVMM 2012 can deliver and manage applications and interact with storage.

Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 is expected to release to manufacturing by the end of the year. While you wait for that day to come, get caught up on the major SCVMM 2012 features with the following resources.

Microsoft challenges VMware vCloud Director with SCVMM 2012

Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 will boast more centralized management features, bringing the product into direct competition with VMware vCloud Director. The improvements include more granular administrative roles, allowing for different levels of control over private clouds. There will also be a self-service portal that lets end users create their own virtual machines -- a key tenet of Infrastructure as a Service.

In addition, SCVMM 2012 will support Citrix Systems XenServer. (SCVMM 2008 only supports Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere.)

Virtualization market eyes SCVMM 2012 beta

The Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 beta came out in March, giving admins their first taste of the new release. Microsoft highlighted SCVMM 2012’s ability to deliver applications as a service and manage those applications directly -- a differentiating move, given VMware’s focus on the infrastructure level.

The product took another step closer to general availability in September, when Microsoft unveiled the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Release Candidate. Along with the release of Hyper-V R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1) earlier this year, SCVMM 2012 will mark a turning point for Microsoft’s virtualization strategy.

Microsoft leaves storage options open with SCVMM 2012

Microsoft initially chose the Storage Management Initiative-Specification (SMI-S) for connecting SCVMM 2012 to third-party storage arrays. SMI-S lets clients interact with different kinds of arrays from different vendors, without the need for specific APIs, which can take a lot of time to develop. But it turns out that Microsoft is taking other approaches to SCVMM 2012 storage integration as well. To connect to the NetApp Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track storage array, for example, SCVMM 2012 will instead use a highly customized Opalis-based workflow management system.

View the next item in this Essential Guide: Microsoft Hyper-V and Virtual Machine Manager 2012 enhancements or view the full guide: The evolution of Microsoft System Center

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