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What's New in VMM in System Center 2012 R2


Applies To: System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager

The following sections summarize Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) enhancements and other changes in the System Center 2012 R2 release.

  • Site-to-site Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) gateway. Windows Server® 2012 R2 delivers new functionality for site-to-site gateways for Hyper-V network virtualization, by using all Microsoft software. This functionality enables hosting providers of virtualized networks to achieve higher capacity and better reliability, and to enable the majority of tenant scenarios. Support includes multiple site-to-site tunnels and direct Internet access through a network address translation (NAT) firewall. Tenants can use preferred IP addressing for all of their virtual machines, in multiple sites and in the cloud, all supported by Windows Server 2012 R2 and VMM. For more information, see:

  • NVGRE support. Because the VMM APIs are more flexible, network services such as load balancers can function as network virtualization gateways, and switch extensions can use network virtualization policy to interpret all IP addressing information in packets that are sent. Communication between commonly used Cisco switch extensions and VMM is expanded through support for using these switch extensions with Hyper-V network virtualization. For more information, see How to Add a Virtual Switch Extension or Network Manager in System Center 2012 R2.

  • IP Address Management (IPAM) integration with VMM. For more information, see How to Add an IPAM Server in VMM in System Center 2012 R2.

  • Top-of-rack (TOR) switch integration with VMM. For more information, see How to Add a Top-of-Rack Switch in VMM in System Center 2012 R2.

  • IP address management for virtual machines. Hosting providers and enterprises can more easily manage IP addresses for virtual machines across the data center. After virtual machine deployment, you can view IP addresses for each virtual network adapter, and you can change or add IP addresses without logging on to the virtual machines. For virtual machine migration, you can assign new IP addresses from an IP pool in the destination subnet. In addition, virtual machines in a guest cluster can set their own IP addresses on networks that use Hyper-V network virtualization.

    For more information, see How to View and Modify Properties of a Deployed Virtual Machine in VMM and How to Create a Guest Cluster by Using a Service Template in VMM.

  • Support for generation 2 virtual machines. You can now create generation 2 virtual machines and virtual machine templates that are based on these virtual machines. Generation 2 virtual machines provide new functionality such as a Secure Boot and boot from SCSI virtual DVD. For more information about generation 2 virtual machines, and a comparison with generation 1 virtual machines, see Understanding Generation 1 and Generation 2 Virtual Machines in VMM.

  • Differencing disks. Optimized support for differencing disks (both .vhd and .vhdx file formats) improves the performance and reduces the costs of virtual machine provisioning. This support can be critical in hosting scenarios in which large numbers of virtual machines are created from a small set of initial virtual disks. For more information, see Creating and Deploying Virtual Machines Overview.

  • Live cloning of virtual machines. The System Center 2012 R2 release of VMM supports a new Hyper-V feature in Windows Server 2012 R2. By using live cloning, you can export virtual machines without downtime. You can then avoid creating and configuring new virtual machines to match existing virtual machines. For more information, see How to Create and Deploy a Virtual Machine from an Existing Virtual Machine.

  • Online resizing of .vhdx files. For Hyper-V hosts that are running Windows Server 2012 R2, the System Center 2012 R2 release of VMM supports online resizing of .vhdx files that are on SCSI bus, while the disks are in use. This supports the Online Resizing feature of Hyper-V.

  • Enhanced support for Windows Server 2012 Dynamic Memory features. You can change and apply Dynamic Memory settings on a running or paused virtual machine.

  • Ability to grant permissions to users for each cloud. Administrators can easily customize the scope of permitted actions that users and user roles can perform on a per-cloud basis. This ability eliminates the need to create a new user role for every combination of action/user/cloud. For more information, see Creating User Roles in VMM.

  • Leverage of the new Hyper-V file transfer APIs in Windows Server 2012 R2 to transfer files to guest operating systems. This transfer is supported when both the host’s and the guest’s operating system is Windows Server 2012 R2, the guest is running virtualization guest services, and the guest is not connected to any network that has access to VMM library servers. When a virtual machine is running on a Windows Server 2012 R2 host and has no connection to a network that has access to VMM library servers, file transfers during servicing take advantage of these new Hyper-V APIs.

  • Ability to create Windows-based and Linux-based virtual machines and multi-VM Services, from a gallery of templates.

  • Faster live migration, and support for migration of the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system. For more information, see How to Run a Live Migration in VMM.

  • Support for Oracle Linux 5 (x86 and x64), Oracle Linux 6 (x86 and x64), and Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 (x86 and x64), as guest operating systems for deployment from templates to Hyper-V hosts.

  • Replacement of host profiles by physical computer profiles. You can use physical computer profiles in the same manner that you used host profiles to provision a bare-metal computer to a Hyper-V host. In addition, you can use physical computer profiles to provision a bare-metal computer as a Windows Scale-Out File Server cluster. For more information about using physical computer profiles, see Adding Physical Computers as Hyper-V Hosts or as Scale-Out File Servers in VMM Overview.

  • Support for virtual Fibre Channel. The System Center 2012 R2 release of VMM supports management of Fibre Channel fabrics and the automated provisioning of virtual machines with connectivity to storage over Fibre Channel fabrics. For more information about virtual Fibre Channel, see Managing Virtual Fibre Channel in VMM.

  • Management of zones.

  • Leverage of the Windows Server 2012 Offloaded Data Transfers (ODX) capability. Fast file copy in System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager greatly improves the time performance of file transfers and virtual machine deployments, mostly by leveraging the Windows ODX feature. For more information about fast file copy, see Creating and Deploying Virtual Machines Overview.

  • Shared .vhdx support. The System Center 2012 R2 release of VMM supports shared .vhdx storage in a service tier. You can therefore use guest clustering to deploy in-guest high-availability applications. You can also use Microsoft SQL Server failover clustering and high-availability VMM with shared .vhdx storage to provide a highly available SQL Server farm. For more information, see How to Create a Guest Cluster by Using a Service Template in VMM.

  • Provisioning of Scale-Out File Server clusters from bare-metal computers. By using physical computer profiles, you can provision bare-metal computers to be scale-out file servers, and you can choose to cluster the provisioned computers into a Scale-Out File Server cluster. You can use a single step to accomplish both provisioning and clustering. For more information, see How to Create a Host or a Physical Computer Profile to Provision a Hyper-V Host in VMM and How to Create a Scale-Out File Server in VMM.

  • Integration of storage with differencing disks. Differencing disks reduce storage requirements by allowing a large percentage of disk data to be shared among multiple virtual disks, optimizing storage costs.

  • Storage spaces File. File server management encompasses the full life cycle of a file server, from provisioning to steady-state management. This frees a cloud administrator from having to build or integrate different tools for storage management. Management of the file server supports the Windows Server 2012 R2 integrated experience for storage, computing, and networking, from initial provisioning to ongoing monitoring. This integrated experience incorporates management at scale across multiple racks and thousands of managed devices.

Support for scripts that create a guest cluster. The script that runs on the first deployed virtual machine can be different from the script that runs on the other virtual machines in the tier. For more information, see How to Create a Guest Cluster by Using a Service Template in VMM.

  • Ability of automatic tasks to resume after virtual machine failover.

  • Expanded computer scope for VMM update management. Due to added support for infrastructure servers, you can add servers such as Active Directory, Domain Name System (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), and other management servers that are not VMM host servers, as managed computers. You can then use a Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server to manage updates for these infrastructure servers in the same way that you manage updates for other computers in the VMM environment. For more information, see Using Infrastructure Servers in VMM.

  • Update of management packs with new metrics for chargeback purposes that are based on both allocation and utilization. This update provides better integration with chargeback and reporting, and it enables monitoring of tenant-based utilization of resources that allows chargeback and billing. For more information, see About VMM Monitored Data From Operations Manager.

  • Discontinued support, in System Center 2012 R2, of the VMM feature that enabled conversion of existing physical computers into virtual machines through the physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion process. If you need to do P2V conversions, use the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC). For more information, see Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0.

  • Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 in various roles such as the VMM management server, the VMM library server, and the Hyper-V host.

  • Removal of the preconfigured chargeback report. For information about other methods that you can use for creating chargeback reports, see Installing and Configuring Chargeback Reports in System Center 2012 - Service Manager and Chargeback: A scenario example.

  • Improved integration between VMM and Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager in Windows Server 2012 R2. VMM is enhanced to provide the infrastructure that Hyper-V Recovery Manager requires to enable cloud-based replication. This enhancement supports recovery scenarios of VMM-managed private clouds and data centers. For more information, see Deployment Guide for Hyper-V Recovery Manager on MSDN.

  • Addition of the Remote Console feature in VMM in Windows Server 2012 R2. This feature enables tenants to access the console of their virtual machines in an environment where it is usually not possible—for example, when the virtual machines are on an isolated network, or in an untrusted network. For more information, see Remote Console in System Center 2012 R2.

  • In Setup, addition of direct links to missing prerequisites.

  • In Setup, automatic collation of language. Setup automatically configures collation according to the language of the server operating system.

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