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Managing Virtual Machines on Different Virtualization Software

Updated: October 21, 2008

Applies To: Virtual Machine Manager 2008, Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 SP1

System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) provides a unified management interface across multiple virtualization software environments. VMM abstracts the differences between hypervisor APIs and allows you to run an action, for example, Stop-VM, without worrying about the virtualization software on which the virtual machine is running.

Virtualization Software Considerations

This section describes some considerations specific to Hyper-V, Virtual Server, and VMware.

Supported Operating Systems

One key difference between Hyper-V, Virtual Server, and VMware, is the operating systems that each supports. For more information, see Supported Operating Systems for Virtual Machines.

Hyper-V

Hyper-V is a hypervisor-based technology that is a key feature of Windows Server 2008. Key features include: x64 host and guest support, ability to run guest machines in a multi-processor environment, large memory allocation per virtual machine, integrated virtual switch support, and the ability to migrate virtual machines across hosts with minimal downtime.

Hyper-V considerations include:

  • When you add a Windows Server 2008 host that does not have Hyper-V already enabled, VMM will automatically enable Hyper-V for you, which causes the host to restart.

  • If you specify a custom remote connection port when adding a Hyper-V host using the Add Host Wizard, the port you specify is not saved. You can update the remote connection port after you have added the host.

  • Hyper-V virtual machine names cannot contain colons (:).

  • Do not edit the Notes field in the Hyper-V Manager UI. VMM uses the Notes field to track virtual machines.

For more information about Hyper-V, visit the TechNet Forum on Hyper-V at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=127700.

Virtual Server

Virtual Server 2005 provides a virtualization platform that runs most major x86 operating systems in a guest environment, and is supported by Microsoft as a host for Windows Server operating systems and Windows Server System applications.

Virtual Server considerations include:

  • Creating checkpoints on a Virtual Server virtual hard disk shared across two virtual machines is not supported.

  • Hyper-V VHDs cannot be loaded in Virtual Server.

For more information about Virtual Server, visit the TechNet Forum on Virtual Server at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=127726.

Considerations when Migrating from Virtual Server to Hyper-V

  • If you want to manage existing Virtual Server virtual machines, you have two choices:

    • You can add the Virtual Server 2005 host to VMM as a managed host and then manage any existing virtual machines.

    • You can migrate the Virtual Server virtual machines to a Hyper-V host. For more information, see How to Migrate a Virtual Machine.

  • Virtual Server and Hyper-V use the same virtual hard disk (VHD) format.

  • You will need to uninstall Virtual Machine Additions.

  • Migrating to Hyper-V will provide additional hardware capabilities. For example, the available RAM will increase from 3.7 GB to 64 GB. For more information, see Supported Hardware Capabilities.

  • Instead of using Virtual Machine Remote Control (VMRC) to control virtual machines on a Hyper-V host by remote control, VMM uses either VMConnect or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) depending on the operating system that is running on the computer that the VMM Administrator Console is installed on. For all supported versions of Windows Server 2008 and for Windows Vista with SP1, VMM uses VMConnect with the default port of 2179. For information about changing the global default port, see How to Change Remote Connections to Virtual Machines on a Host.

  • VMCheckpoint objects are for Virtual Server checkpoints and VMSnapshot objects are for Hyper-V and VMware snapshots. All of the checkpoint-related cmdlets work for both.

VMware

Virtual Machine Manager provides full support for VMware-based virtual machines. For more information, see Managing a VMware Infrastructure in VMM.

Virtual Machine Actions

The available actions depends on whether a virtual machine is on Hyper-V, Virtual Server, or VMware.

Create and Clone Actions

The following illustration depicts the possible New Virtual Machine, New Template, and Clone actions on Hyper-V, Virtual Server, and VMware:

Diagram of the possible Create and Clone actions.

For more information, see the following:

 

Action More information

New Virtual Machine

New Template

Clone

Deploy and Store Actions

The following illustration depicts the possible Store and Deploy actions on Hyper-V, Virtual Server, and VMware:

Diagram of the possible Store and Deploy actions.

For more information, see the following:

 

Action More information

Store

How to Store a Virtual Machine in the Library

Deploy

How to Deploy a Virtual Machine

Convert (P2V and V2V) and Migrate Actions

The following illustration depicts the possible Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) conversion, Virtual-to-Virtual (V2V) conversion, and Migrate actions on Hyper-V, Virtual Server, and VMware:

Diagram of the possible P2V and V2V paths.

For more information, see the following:

 

Action More information

P2V

P2V: Converting Physical Computers to Virtual Machines in VMM

V2V

V2V: Converting Virtual Machines in VMM

Migrate

How to Migrate a Virtual Machine

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