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Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack Guide

Overview of the Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack

The Microsoft® Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack enables you to monitor physical computers running the Virtual Server service, and the virtual machines that the service hosts, in Microsoft® Operations Manager 2005 (MOM). This Management Pack expands the monitoring and reporting capabilities of the Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 Management Pack. You can use the Management Pack to monitor servers running Microsoft® Virtual Server 2005 R2 or Virtual Server 2005.

With Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, customers can run multiple operating systems concurrently on a single physical server, enabling their organizations to use their hardware more efficiently. Virtual Server is optimized to provide this capability within a Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 operating system environment. Virtual Server addresses four key developer and server administrator scenarios: software testing and development, legacy application re-hosting, server consolidation, and testing of distributed server applications on a single server. For information about enhancements added in Virtual Server 2005 R2, see Virtual Server 2005 R2 Product Overview at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=63728.

By using views, tasks, and reports in the Virtual Server Management Pack, an administrator can centrally monitor the health and performance of virtual machines and Virtual Server, and can respond quickly to critical events and key performance indicators. As a result, the administrator can take action to prevent costly service outages or minimize their effects, and can reduce the resolution time for alert conditions.

An administrator can use reports in the Management Pack to analyze trends, tune performance, and balance the processing load among virtual machine hosts. Management Pack reports also can be used to identify physical computers that are good candidates for conversion to virtual machines and to identify the virtual machine hosts that best meet the resource requirements of a new virtual machine.

Because the administrator can respond quickly to critical events and service outages, use of the Management Pack can increase the overall availability and performance of Windows operating systems running within virtual machines. As a result, the Management Pack reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) by enabling proactive management and reducing resolution times for identified issues.

Note

In the "Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack Guide," the term virtual machine host is used to refer to the server running the Virtual Server service. The Management Pack monitors virtual machines that are hosted by the Virtual Server service.

Verifying the Management Pack Version

This guide documents features of version 05.0.4000.0000 of the Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack. After importing the Management Pack, verify the version to ensure that it is correct.

To view the version of the installed Management Pack
  1. In the Administrator console, expand Management Packs and then expand Rule Groups.

  2. Right-click Microsoft Virtual Server (enabled), and then click Properties.

  3. On the General tab in the Rule Group Properties dialog box, verify the version number displayed in the Version field.

For more information, and to download Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) Management Packs, visit the Management Pack and Utilities Catalog Web page (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=63714).

What’s New in the Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack?

The R2 release of the Virtual Server 2005 Management Pack contains the following new features.

  • Direct access from MOM to the Administration Website.  The new Open Virtual Server Administration Website task launches the Administration Website for a selected virtual machine host.

  • Alerts about the power state of all virtual machines.  Virtual machines are now discovered, and their power state is reflected in the virtual machine state, whether the virtual machine is running or not. The state of a running virtual machine still is assessed based on expected heartbeats. In addition, for a virtual machine that is not running, the following states are now reported:

    • Service Unavailable—The virtual machine is stopped or saved.

    • Warning—The virtual machine is paused.

  • Diagram view.  The new Diagram view provides a graphical view of the relationship between virtual machine hosts and virtual machines.

  • Two new reports.  Two reports have been added to the Management Pack:

    • Virtualization Candidates report—To help you identify physical computers that are good candidates for conversion to virtual machines, the Virtualization Candidates report displays average values for a set of commonly requested performance counters for CPU, memory, and disk usage, along with the computer's hardware configuration (processor speed, number of processors, and total RAM). You can limit the report to computers that meet specified CPU and RAM requirements. To view recent performance trends for a server, you can click the server to display a Performance History report.

    • Performance History report—Use the Performance History report to review trends in CPU usage, available memory, physical disk performance, and network traffic during a specified time period for one or more virtual machines.

  • A separate notification group for Virtual Server Management Pack alerts.  The Management Pack includes a dedicated notification group, the Virtualization Administrators group, which receives e-mail messages or page responses for Critical Error alerts and Service Unavailable alerts that are generated by the Virtual Server Management Pack only.

  • Identification of the host and guest operating system for a virtual machine.  The Management Pack can now identify the guest operating system and the virtual machine host for a virtual machine. An administrator can find out the computer name associated with a virtual machine in Computers and Groups view. This identification is achieved by adding four registry entries from the guest operating system to the computer attributes for the Microsoft Virtual Machines computer group—VirtualMachineName, VSHostName, VSPhysicalHostName, and VSPhysicalHostNameFullyQualified. This feature is available only for virtual machines that have both Virtual Machine Additions and a MOM agent installed on the guest operating system. For more information about these computer attributes, see “Computer Attributes" in the Technical Reference for the Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack.

  • Alerting when a virtual machine name does not match the computer name of the guest operating system.  To maintain consistency in how a virtual machine is identified in MOM, it is recommended that the virtual machine name by which Virtual Server refers to a virtual machine match the internal Domain Name System (DNS) host name assigned to the guest operating system. A new alert notifies the MOM administrator when the two names do not match. The alert is only generated when a virtual machine has both Virtual Machine Additions and a MOM agent installed on the guest operating system.

Note

Throughout this guide, features that are new in the Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack are labeled "(New in R2)."

Virtual Server Terminology

Before deploying and using the Virtual Server Management Pack, you should be familiar with the following terminology.

Virtual machine   Essentially a computer within a computer, implemented in software. A virtual machine emulates a complete hardware system, from processor to network card, in a self-contained, isolated software environment, enabling the simultaneous operation of otherwise incompatible operating systems. Each operating system runs in its own isolated software partition. The Virtual Server Management Pack monitors virtual machines hosted by the Virtual Server service (Vssrvc.exe).

Virtual machine name   The name assigned to a virtual machine in Virtual Server. For consistent labeling in Management Pack displays and reports, it is recommended that the virtual machine name match the computer name assigned to the guest operating system.

Virtual machine host   A physical computer that hosts multiple virtual machines. Virtual Server enables multiple server operating systems to run simultaneously as “guests” on a single physical computer, each in its own isolated software partition. The Virtual Server Management Pack is used to monitor virtual machine hosts that are running the Virtual Server service.

Virtual Server service   The Virtual Server service (Vssrvc.exe) creates virtual machines and provides all virtual machine functionality. The service projects the emulated hardware into the virtual machine environment. It provides each virtual machine with its own 32-bit address space. The Virtual Server service also includes the VMRC server, which uses the Virtual Machine Remote Control (VMRC) protocol to provide a mechanism by which remote VMRC clients can interact with virtual machines. Using VMRC, users can manage a virtual machine and interact with the guest operating system from a remote computer.

Virtual Machine Additions   A component of Virtual Server and Microsoft® Virtual PC, Virtual Machine Additions is a set of software drivers that maximize performance and provide a better user interface experience within a virtual machine. Virtual Machine Additions enables the Virtual Server Management Pack to monitor a virtual machine’s CPU usage, RAM usage, and disk spaced used on the host computer.

Heartbeat   A signal emitted at regular intervals by software to indicate that it is still running. To determine the state of a running virtual machine, the Virtual Server Management Pack monitors heartbeats that Virtual Machine Additions generates, among other health indicators.

Virtual machine “status” vs. virtual machine “state”   In Virtual Server, each virtual machine has one of four statuses: running, off, saved, or paused. In the Virtual Server Management Pack, state monitoring for virtual machines is based on the status of the virtual machine in Virtual Server and additional health factors such as the percentage of expected heartbeats that a running or paused virtual machine emits and unresolved errors for the virtual machine. For more information about the health indicators for a virtual machine’s state, see State Monitoring Definitions in the Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack.

Administration Website   The Administration Website is a browser-based tool for configuring and managing Virtual Server and its associated virtual machines and virtual networks. From the Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack, a MOM operator can open the Administration Website to manage a selected virtual machine host.

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