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Hybrid Cloud Blog

Hi, I’m Larry Orecklin, general manager of System Center product management and virtualization marketing.

I’m in San Francisco this morning at a virtualization conference hosted by Bernstein Research, who provides investment research to institutional investors. It’s been interesting for me to see the investment community awaken this summer to the impact of virtualization software.  The investment community is quickly realizing that the customer benefits of virtualization are very real and that customers will turn to established vendors with proven solutions. To that point, I’m happy to tell the audience this morning that we’ve released a public beta of Hyper-V within Windows Server 2008. You can read about it at the Windows Server Division blog. And be sure you register for a webcast with Mike Neil on Dec. 18 at 12:30pm PST [3:30pm EST] where he’ll discuss technical information and answer your questions about Hyper-V beta.
But my job isn’t only about talking to investors, but rather working with partners and customers to optimize their investments in infrastructure software. My role of systems management and virtualization reflects the symbiotic nature between the two.  It reflects the importance of systems management to customers’ adoption and deployment of virtualization to consolidate servers, implement business continuity/disaster recovery, and to make IT systems more responsive to business needs. As customers move to embrace new hypervisor-based software, like Hyper-V, the need has grown exponentially for management tools that fully unlock the transformative nature of this technology. Whereas management tools might have been seen as an important asset, today management tools have become an absolute necessity as more layers of the computing stack become virtualized at large companies and mid-sized companies.
As you start thinking about the world becoming a blend of logical and physical, what becomes apparent is the need for a management toolset that understands those differences. And therein lies a real differentiation from Microsoft and a strategy that is going to help you be more effective. It’s important to remember that systems management does not end with the virtualization layer.  In order to be successful, you need to be able to manage the workload regardless of whether it is a physical or virtualized environment.
System Center is your toolset to manage physical and virtual environments from one pane of glass.  Why should you have to have one toolset to manage a virtual environment and another to manage a physical environment?  That parallel infrastructure increases complexity for you.  Therefore, we have been focusing on building one toolset that manages physical and virtual through operations, configuration management and so on.
With the combination of System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Operations Manager, you’re able to manage both the physical and virtual workload from the very top down to the specific workload running inside.  One of the most commonly asked questions is whether customers can quickly migrate a virtual machine from one physical computer to another.  For a dynamic IT environment, this is very important.  The answer is yes, absolutely, using Quick Migration.  Quick Migration can not only move a virtual machine from one physical computer to another, but it can do it over long distances using stretch clustering services that are included with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and Datacenter.
We also know that you have heterogeneous environments.  Therefore, we’re working on the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager will be able to manage VMware’s ESX server. We demo’d this last month at TechEd:IT Forum in Barcelona. We demo’d three separate virtualization platforms, two from Microsoft, one from VMware, all being centrally managed from System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
Determining how to optimize virtualization deployments—and figuring out which are best for your enterprise—can be a challenge. Part of my job is to help make it as easy as possible to plan and implement a holistic virtualization strategy, from the desktop to the data center. That’s why we’re releasing new Microsoft Virtualization Solution Accelerators.  Solution accelerators are free automated tools and technical guidance that empower you to more quickly deploy Microsoft technologies, including Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Virtual Server 2005 R2, Terminal Services, and Microsoft Application Virtualization.
Next week, Microsoft will release the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator Beta, a network-wide inventory and report-generation tool that offers readiness assessments in a matter of hours. This can be used for server consolidation with Hyper-V or Virtual Server 2005 R2, Windows Server 2008 hardware compatibility, Microsoft Application Virtualization and more.  The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator is amongst a family of virtualization solution accelerators including the Infrastructure Planning and Design Guide Series. The final version is expected at the end of Q1 2008.
Microsoft’s broad portfolio of virtualization solutions are being mixed into Microsoft’s high volume, low-priced, multi-tiered business model. This strategy allows you and many peers to adopt virtualization technology for the first time.
Larry Orecklin