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Virtual Machine Manager Beta Released

The latest beta version of Virtual Machine Manager 2008 was released today. It's a feature-complete beta, according to this blog entry by Hector Linares, a program manager with the Windows Virtualization team. VMM 2008 is a very, very important product for Microsoft: Management, in my estimation, is more important than the hypervisor when it comes to virtual environments. Microsoft has put a ton of resources into this, and this is the first look the general public has seen with all the features in place. It needs to hit a home run here.

For my money, the key feature of VMM is its cross-platform management capabilities. By that I mean, specifically, the ability to manage ESX from the VMM console. Here's an interesting comment from the blog posting:

"To provide VMware support directly in the console, VMM connects to Virtual Center's public web service APIs to provide support for most day-to-day administrative tasks on VMware, including VMotion."

This particular comment is interesting to me because of the recent back-and-forth between VMware and Microsoft about LiveMigration (which VMotion offers) vs. Quick Migration (Microsoft's less-than-live offering). VMware is taking great pains to point out graphically that Quick Migration can result in dropped connections, and is, therefore, inferior to Live Migration, which migrates VMs with no downtime. Microsoft responded with a three-parter stating, basically, that "Yeah, connections are broken with Quick Migration, but it's no big deal because of how VMs are migrated in the real world."

That controversy aside, the big advantage of VMM 2008 over VirtualCenter, VMware's management tool, is the ability to manage both phyiscal and virtual machines. You can't get physical with VirtualCenter, meaning an extra management console. Is this a big deal for you admins out there? I'd be very interested in hearing if this is an issue that would make you consider using VMM over VirtualCenter. And, Microsoft no doubt hopes, as long as you're using VMM, you might as well fire up Hyper-V also and see what it can do...

Posted by Keith Ward on 04/29/2008 at 12:48 PM


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