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Highlighting Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1

Microsoft System Center 2012 is on the verge of getting its first service pack, traditionally a sign of maturity and stability in the software. In addition, SP1 introduces some new features. I want to examine some of the new ones being added to SP1 Virtual Machine Manager side of things. If we closely examine the Availability options, we will notice a few new additions:

Virtual Machine priority: This is a cool and welcome feature. For current VMware vSphere administrators, you'll notice it resembles the VM Restart Priority. In a nutshell, you are capable of assigning priorities on each VM -- Low, Medium or High. VMs with higher priority are guaranteed first access to resources and are also given restart priority. This is very helpful especially if a host in a cluster fails. The VMs are then powered on based on their importance and in the order you would want them to come up in. So, for instance, a domain controller should come up before a file server or a Web server, etc.

Preferred and possible owners of virtual machines: Here's another cool feature that allows you to assign a VM with a preferred host in the cluster. By default, VMs do not have a preferred host. Instead, they are simply placed on the most appropriate host in the cluster and all the nodes can be selected to host the VM. When you specify a preferred host or owner, the cluster will always attempt to start or keep the VM on that host. You might want that VM on a particular host because it has some special hardware, maybe a flash card for better performance, or something like that.

Availability sets: This feature resembles the Anti-Affinity rules in vSphere, in that VMs that are placed in an availability set that shall never exist on the same host at the same time, in order to increase availability and lower risk of host failure and its impact on the service. A good use case could be the member of a cluster, Web servers, etc.

Next time, we will discuss how to configure some of these features as I believe they will be of significant relevance to your environment, especially the VM priority and the Availability sets.

If you have downloaded SP1 and have some feedback for the community, please share in the comments section here.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 09/19/2012 at 12:49 PM


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