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Managing a VMware Infrastructure in VMM

Updated: April 1, 2012

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

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This topic discusses how to manage your VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) using System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). VMM allows you to control heterogeneous virtualized environments through a single console and automate tasks by using one Windows PowerShell interface across multiple hypervisors.

VMM uses the API interface exposed by the VMware VirtualCenter server to manage VMware ESX Server hosts. For ESX Server-specific management, such as creating or removing resource pools and patching ESX Server computers, you will use VirtualCenter. For common tasks, such as managing, creating, placing, deploying, and removing virtual machines and adding or removing hosts, you can use VMM.

VMware Support

VMM 2008 and VMM 2008 R2 support VMware VirtualCenter 2.5 (VMware Infrastructure 3 [VI3]), with the following versions of VMware ESX Server:

  • VMware ESX Server 3.5

  • VMware ESX Server 3.0 or above

VMM 2008 R2 also supports VMware vSphere 4 (VI3 features only), with the following versions of ESX Server:

  • VMware ESX Server 4.0

  • ESX Server 3.5

  • ESX Server 3.0 or above

VMM does not support VMware Server.


VMware datacenters, folders, host clusters, and hosts are mapped to VMM as follows:


VMware V3 Represented in VMM as

Hosts and host clusters

All Hosts (root host group)


Host group


Host group


Host cluster

VirtualCenter Interoperability

VMM interoperates with VMware by connecting to the VirtualCenter server through Web service calls and does not require a VMM agent on the VirtualCenter server or on the ESX Server hosts. The VMM server refreshes all information of the VMware environment and maps it to VMM periodically. Any changes made to your VMware environment using VMM will be reflected in VirtualCenter, and any changes that are made to those same settings in VirtualCenter are reflected in VMM.

VirtualCenter server is required for VMM to manage ESX Server hosts. However, VMM contacts the ESX Server hosts directly using Secure FTP (SFTP) or HTTPS for transfers of data between ESX Server hosts and Windows Server computers. VMM uses VirtualCenter to access VMotion functionality.

VMM 2008 R2 surfaces the virtual switches and port groups that are configured in VirtualCenter for use with ESX Server hosts and virtual machines. You do not need to update network configurations for ESX Server hosts and virtual machines after you add a VirtualCenter server to VMM. During virtual machine deployment and migration, after selecting a virtual switch on an ESX Server host, the VMM administrator can select from existing port groups that are configured for the switch. Any changes that are made to the VMware port group configuration after a VirtualCenter server is added to VMM are refreshed in VMM. By contrast, VMM 2008 discovers virtual switches that are configured in VirtualCenter, but it does not discover the port groups on the virtual switches. During virtual machine deployment or migration, when the VMM administrator selects a virtual switch on an ESX Server host, VMM creates a new port group for the switch in VirtualCenter. The port group can be seen in VirtualCenter but not in the VMM Administrator Console.

VMM does not support VMware vNetwork Distributed Switches. Customers that want to manage their VMware environments with VMM should only use Standard Switches (formerly called vSwitches).

Supported Features

The following VMM and VMware features are supported when VMM manages ESX Server hosts through VMware VirtualCenter.

Placement of VMware Virtual Machines

VMM offers virtual machine placement based on host ratings during the creation, deployment, and migration of VMware virtual machines. For more information, see About Virtual Machine Placement (

Self-Service for VMware Virtual Machines

Self-service users can create and deploy virtual machines on VMware hosts by using the VMM Self-Service Portal. To enable this, the administrator must assign virtual machine templates for VMware virtual machines to the self-service user role. The only limitation to self-service within a managed VMware environment is that in the VMM Self-Service Portal, thumbnails are disabled for VMware virtual machines because the ActiveX control for VMware does not support scaling. However, other means of connecting to virtual machines are supported. For more information about virtual machine self-service, see Setting Up Virtual Machine Self-Service (

Operations Manager Integration and PRO

Monitoring and alerting is possible through VMM with the integration of System Center Operations Manager 2007 and Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO). For more information, see About PRO.

VMware Virtual Machines in the VMM Library

You can organize and store VMware virtual machines, VMDK files, and VMware templates in the VMM Library. VMM supports creating new virtual machines from templates and converting stored VMware virtual machines to Hyper-V. For more information about converting VMware virtual machines, see V2V: Converting Virtual Machines in VMM.

Template Support

After you add a VirtualCenter server to VMM, you can import your VMware virtual machine templates into the VMM library and use them to create virtual machines using VMM. Use the Import templates action, available in Administration view of the VMM Administrator Console when the Virtualization Managers node is displayed.

VMM supports the following types of templates for VMware virtual machines:

  • Customized templates. The most common VMM templates, these templates require an operating system profile to automate deployment.

  • Non-customized templates. These templates do not have an operating system profile attached and can be used for operating systems that you cannot customize.

VMM 2008 R2 supports customization of Windows Server 2008 operating systems on virtual machines that are deployed on ESX Server hosts managed by VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 4.

Windows PowerShell Automation in VirtualCenter

The cmdlets in the Windows PowerShell - Virtual Machine Manager command shell are agnostic to the underlying virtualization software, meaning the same cmdlets can be used from VMM on Hyper-V, VMware, or Virtual Server. This means that most daily administration tasks that you perform on VirtualCenter can be done through VMM PowerShell or through the VMM Administrator Console.

Examples include Start, Stop, Pause, Checkpoint, Migrate, VMotion, Add-remove properties, Add-remove hardware settings, View live console, and Expose through Self-Service. For more information, see Using the Windows PowerShell - VMM Command Shell.

VMware Support for Highly Available Virtual Machines

VMware clusters used for High Availability and Dynamic Resource Scheduler are exposed in VMM as host clusters.

  • HA (High Availability)—Used for fast recovery.

  • VMotion—VMM supports VMware VMotion through VMware VirtualCenter. The Migrate storage action in VMM 2008 R2 uses Storage vMotion when it moves virtual machine configuration files and virtual disk files on a running virtual machine from one independent storage location to another on an ESX Server host.

  • PRO—VMM uses PRO to enable dynamic load-balancing using VMotion.

VMware Hosts in Maintenance Mode

When you place an ESX Server host that is managed by Virtual Machine Manager in maintenance mode by using the VMware VirtualCenter console, VMM automatically makes that host unavailable for placement in VMM. On the Status tab of the Host Properties dialog box for the host, the This host is available for placement check box is cleared and becomes inactive. You cannot change the This host is available for placement check box or remove the host from maintenance mode in VMM. To make the ESX Server host available for placement in VMM, you must remove the host from maintenance mode by using the VMware VirtualCenter console. For more information about maintenance mode, refer to the VMware documentation.

Adding a VMware Infrastructure to VMM

The following sections outline the procedures for implementing VMware infrastructure integration in VMM.

Add the VirtualCenter Server

To integrate a VMware infrastructure into your VMM-managed virtualized environment, begin by adding your VMware VirtualCenter server to VMM. When you add a VirtualCenter server, VMM discovers all VMware ESX Server hosts and clusters that the VirtualCenter server is managing and adds the objects to VMM.

You cannot manage a VirtualCenter server using more than one VMM server. If you add the VirtualCenter server to more than one instance of VMM 2008, VMM creates a duplicate object for each VMware virtual machine, with the duplicate virtual machine permanently in a Missing state.

To add the VirtualCenter server, use the Add VMware VirtualCenter server action, which is available in all views of the VMM Administrator Console. You must provide VirtualCenter administrator's credentials. For more information, see How to Add a VMware VirtualCenter Server.

If you are managing a VMware environment in VMM, you can add new ESX Server hosts to a managed VirtualCenter server by using VMM. For more information, see How to Add an ESX Server Host to VMM. For information about scripting this operation through the Windows PowerShell – Virtual Machine Manager command shell, see How to Add an ESX Server Host Using a Script (

Configure Security Information for the ESX Server Hosts

All newly added ESX Server hosts initially have OK (Limited) status in VMM. To be able to perform all management tasks that VMM supports, you must enter credentials with appropriate authority in the host properties. If you are managing the VMware environment in secure mode, you also must retrieve and accept a security certificate and, in some cases, a public key. The security information for an ESX Server host is specified on the Security tab of the host properties.

When you manage a VMware environment in secure mode, VMM authenticates each ESX Server host on all protocols used for communication. In secure mode, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) over HTTPS (for embedded ESX Server—that is, VMware ESX Server 3i and later) requires certificate authentication, and SFTP over Secure Shell (SSH) (for non-embedded ESX Server—that is, VMware ESX Server 3.5, VMware ESX Server 3.0.2) requires host public key authentication. VMM retrieves and verifies both.

For non-embedded versions of ESX Server, you also will need to add the SSH public keys to the VMM database. For this task, you can either validate the public key when you configure security for individual hosts in VMM or use a script to update the VMM database with public keys for all of your non-embedded ESX Server hosts.

When you add a VirtualCenter server to VMM, VMM turns on secure mode by default. If your environment does not require that level of authentication, you can turn off secure mode.

To perform file transfer operations between hosts running non-embedded versions of ESX Server and Windows Server–based computers, VMM must have access to virtual machine files on the host. This type of file transfer is required for operations such as creating a virtual machine with a virtual hard disk stored on a VMM library server or storing a VMware virtual machine in the VMM library.

To perform this type of file transfer, VMM accesses ESX Server hosts directly. For non-embedded versions of ESX Server, VMM must have the credentials of the virtual machine delegate in ESX Server to gain the needed access to virtual machine files on the host. By default, ESX Server uses root credentials on the host for the delegate. In a VI3 environment, if you don’t want to use root credentials, you can configure a lower-privilege account as the virtual machine delegate. In vSphere 4, ESXi and ESX do not support virtual machine delegate functionality. Either choice requires additional configuration to give VMM the needed access to the shares.

For detailed information about these security requirements, see Configuring Security for a Managed VMware Environment in VMM ( For information about scripting this configuration task, see How to Add an ESX Server Host Using a Script (

Import VMware Templates

After you add a VirtualCenter server to VMM, use the Import templates action in Administration view of the VMM Administrator Console to import your VMware templates to the VMM library so that you can use them to create virtual machines in VMM. For more information, see How to Import VMware Templates.

VMM will not import a VMware template that has the same name as a VMware virtual machine that is managed by VMM. If the template has a duplicate name, the template does not appear in the Import Templates dialog box. To work around this issue, rename the template with a unique name, and then import it.

Converting VMware Virtual Machines to Hyper-V

There are three ways to convert a VMware virtual machine to a Hyper-V virtual machine:

  • Use the Convert Virtual Machine Wizard to perform a virtual-to-virtual conversion (V2V) on a virtual machine that is on an ESX Server host.

  • Turn off the VMware virtual machine, store it in the VMM library, and then use the Convert Virtual Machine Wizard to convert the virtual machine. VMware virtual machines can be stored in the library by copying the VMDK and VMX files into the library share. For more information, see V2V: Converting Virtual Machines in VMM. For information about adding disk and configuration files to the library, see How to Add Files to the Library.

  • Use the Convert Physical Server Wizard to perform a physical-to-virtual machine conversion (P2V) on the running guest operating system inside the VMware virtual machine. For more information, see P2V: Converting Physical Computers to Virtual Machines in VMM.

VMM does not support VMware virtual machines with virtual hard disks that are connected to an integrated drive electronics (IDE) bus. Therefore, you cannot perform a V2V conversion of a VMware virtual machine that is on an IDE bus.

Before you convert a VMware virtual machine to a Hyper-V or Virtual Server virtual machine, regardless of the method that you use, you must uninstall VMware Tools on the guest operating system of the virtual machine.

VMM transfers data to and from ESX Server 3.0 and ESX Server 3.5 using Secure FTP (SFTP).

See Also