What’s new in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012R2

Virtual Machine Manager 2012R2 offers key new features that include hypervisor creation and management, network management, storage management, private cloud creation, self-service usage and service creation. It features deep investments in server application virtualization, service design and service modeling all of which can be used to efficiently offer an on-premises private cloud.

Networking

  • Site-to-site Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) gateway. Windows Server® 2012 R2 delivers new functionality for site-to-site gateways for Hyper-V network virtualization, by using all Microsoft software. This functionality enables hosting providers of virtualized networks to achieve higher capacity and better reliability, and to enable the majority of tenant scenarios. Support includes multiple site-to-site tunnels and direct Internet access through a network address translation (NAT) firewall.
  • NVGRE support. Because the VMM APIs are more flexible, network services such as load balancers can function as network virtualization gateways, and switch extensions can use network virtualization policy to interpret all IP addressing information in packets that are sent. Communication between commonly used Cisco switch extensions and VMM is expanded through support for using these switch extensions with Hyper-V network virtualization.
  • IP Address Management (IPAM) integration with VMM.
  • Top-of-rack (TOR) switch integration with VMM.
  • IP address management for virtual machines. Hosting providers and enterprises can more easily manage IP addresses for virtual machines across the data center. After virtual machine deployment, you can view IP addresses for each virtual network adapter, and you can change or add IP addresses without logging on to the virtual machines. For virtual machine migration, you can assign new IP addresses from an IP pool in the destination subnet. In addition, virtual machines in a guest cluster can set their own IP addresses on networks that use Hyper-V network virtualization.

Virtual Machines and cloud

  • Support for generation 2 virtual machines. You can now create generation 2 virtual machines and virtual machine templates that are based on these virtual machines. Generation 2 virtual machines provide new functionality such as a Secure Boot and boot from SCSI virtual DVD.
  • Differencing disks. Optimized support for differencing disks (both .vhd and .vhdx file formats) improves the performance and reduces the costs of virtual machine provisioning. This support can be critical in hosting scenarios in which large numbers of virtual machines are created from a small set of initial virtual disks.
  • Live Cloning of virtual machines: Support for a new Hyper-V feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview. With live cloning, virtual machines are exported without downtime, allowing users to avoid creating and configuring new virtual machines to match existing virtual machines.
  • Online VHDX resize: For Hyper-V hosts running Windows 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, support for online resizing of VHDx disks while the disks are in use. This supports the Online Resizing feature of Hyper-V.
  • Enhanced support for Windows Server 2012 Dynamic Memory Features: Dynamic memory settings can be changed and applied to on a running or paused virtual machine.
  • Grant permissions to users for each cloud: Administrators can easily customize the scope of permitted actions that users and user roles can perform on a per-cloud basis. This eliminates the need to create a new user role for every combination of action/user/cloud.
  • Support for file-based virtual machine customization process. Ability to inject a file into a specific path in the virtual machine drive or file path prior to the first boot. Also, arbitrary file retrieval, and symbol search and replace.
  • Leverage of the new Hyper_V file transfer API in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview to transfer files into guest operating systems. This is supported when both the host’s and the guest’s operating system is Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, the guest is running virtualization guest services and is not connected to any networks which has access to VMM library servers. When a virtual machine is running on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview host and has no connection to a network with access to VMM library servers, file transfers during service servicing take advantage of these new hyper-v APIs.
  • Ability to create Windows and Linux-based virtual machines and multi-VM Services, from a gallery of templates.
  • Faster live migration, and support for migration of Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview operating system.

Fabric

    • Replacement of host profiles by physical computer profiles. You can use physical computer profiles in the same manner that you used host profiles to provision a bare-metal computer to a Hyper-V host. In addition, you can use physical computer profiles to provision a bare-metal computer as a Windows Scale-Out File Server cluster.

Storage

  • Virtual Fibre Channel support: Support management of Fibre Channel fabrics and the automated provisioning of virtual machines with connectivity to storage over Fibre Channels fabrics.
  • Management of zones
  • Support for Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX): Enhanced support for high availability scenarios, providing continuous availability of the VMM management server service during planned and unplanned downtime. This is critical in a hoster/service provider environment.
  • Shared VHDX support: Support for SQL failover clustering and high availability VMM with shared VHDX storage to provide a highly available SQL farm. This supports guest clustering by allowing users to deploy in-guest high availability applications.
  • Provision scale-out file server cluster from bare metal.
  • Integration of storage with differencing disks optimizations.
  • Storage spaces File: File server management encompasses the full lifecycle of a file server from provisioning to steady-state management which frees a cloud administrator from having to build or integrate different tools for storage management. Management of the file server supports the Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview integrated experience for storage, computing, and networking, from initial provisioning to on-going monitoring. This integrated experience incorporates management at scale across multiple racks and thousands of managed devices.

Services

  • Support for scripts that create a guest cluster. The script that runs on the first deployed virtual machine can be different from the script that runs on the other virtual machines in the tier.

Infrastructure

  • Allow for an auto-task to resume after virtual machine failover.
  • Expanded computer scope for VMM update management.
  • Management packs are updated with new metrics for chargeback purposes that are based both on allocation and utilization. This provides better integration with chargeback and reporting, and enables monitoring of tenant-based utilization of resources that allows chargeback and billing.

Additional enhancements

  • Discontinued support, in System Center 2012 R2, of the VMM feature that enabled conversion of existing physical computers into virtual machines through the physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion process. If you need to do P2V conversions, use the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC).
  • Removal of the preconfigured chargeback report.
  • Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 in various roles such as the VMM management server, the VMM library server, and the Hyper-V host.
  • Improved integration between VMM and Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager in Windows Server 2012 R2. VMM is enhanced to provide the infrastructure that Hyper-V Recovery Manager requires to enable cloud-based replication. This enhancement supports recovery scenarios of VMM-managed private clouds and data centers.
  • Addition of the Remote Console feature in VMM in Windows Server 2012 R2. This feature enables tenants to access the console of their virtual machines in an environment where it is usually not possible—for example, when the virtual machines are on an isolated network, or in an untrusted network.
  • In Setup, addition of direct links to missing prerequisites.
  • In Setup, automatic collation of language. Setup automatically configures collation according to the language of the server operating system.
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