Looking for a cost effective way to manage Hyper-V? Introducing 5nine Manager 5.0 for Hyper-V

For managing Hyper-V servers, virtual networks, storage and virtual machines customers are required to buy the complete Microsoft System Center Suite. System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM), which is used for management of Hyper-V, is not available as a separate product. Customers have to buy the complete suite including backup, monitoring and deployment tools.

For small organizations the costs of System Center can be unattractive especially because they get functionality they probably either already have or will not need. Not every organization needs Configuration Manager or Operations Manager.

5nine Manager 5.0 for Hyper-V is a nice alternative to buying the full blown System Center suite . Version 5 has been released end of June. Even if Hyper-V is not used this product is usefull. If Windows Server Core (no GUI) is used 5nine Manager offers a GUI to manage those servers.

The product has some unique features like the ability to manage the Hyper-V role installed on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 which Microsoft Hyper-V Manager nor SCVMM is able to.

5nine-hyperv-5-2

Another very nice feature is the ability to manage the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server. This software once installed does not come with a graphical userinterface. Basic configuration can be done in a command prompt. Advanced configuration needs to be performed using tools like PowerShell.  5nine Manager offers a graphical userinterface for Hyper-V installs without a GUI.

It is available in three editions:

  1. 5nine Manager free edition
  2. 5nine Manager
  3. 5nine Manager with antivirus.

The free edition only allows to do basic management. Actions like performing a Live Migration or a Storage Migration are not enabled in the free edition. However it offers some features not available in Microsoft Hyper-V manager console.
5nine Manager commercial edition has all features you want as an administrator.
5nine Manager with antivirus has all features of 5nine Manager including agentless antivirus for virtual machines.

A feature compare can be seen here.

What’s new in 5nine Manager 5.0 for Hyper-V

  • Automated virtual machine (VM) provisioning
  • Enhanced cluster management
  • VMs Guest connection views through FreeRDP or Microsoft controls
  • Support in the GUI for configuration of Hyper-V Replica which enables failover of production workloads to a secondary site for disaster recovery
  • Group operations for multiple VMs
  • Applications Logs

Additionally, 5nine Manager for Hyper-V performs the following features that are absent in the
standard MS Hyper-V management tool:

  • Own graphical user-friendly interface – file manager with built-in transfer virtual hard drive with a capacity up to 127 Gb for exploring files and network shares, even on Windows Core and Free Hyper-V.
  • Quality of Service management – setting of minimum and maximum Input Output operations per second (IOPS) throttling for the virtual hard disk attached to a virtual machine (applies for hosts with Windows Server 2012 R2)
  • System Status Report presented in the intuitive graphical form. Available in the full version of 5nine Manager for Hyper-V.
  • Failover cluster manager function, such as VM migration between nodes. Available in the full version of 5nine Manager for Hyper-V.

qualityofservice

5nine Manager 5.0 for Hyper-V is available immediately. It is priced per host, and pricing begins at $199

The administrators guide (for version 4.2) can be found here.

Recorded MMS 2013 sessions available and how to download for offline viewing

Microsoft Management Summit 2013 is being held at Las Vegas. MMS brings together the brightest IT professionals from around the world to increase their technical expertise through an intensive week of training led by experts in desktop, device management, datacenter, and cloud technologies.

A large selection of the breakout sessions presented live in Las Vegas will be available as recording free on Internet. For an overview see Channel 9. 

It is possible to download the video recordings so you can watch them offline.

Stefan Roth wrote a nice script. See his site for a detailed description on how to download.

See for another download script the Infoworks.tv site.

Update April 17: Phil Pritchett made some adjustments to the script of Stefan Roth. This script downloads also the Powerpoint presentations and makes the filename the name of the the breakout session instead of a name like AM-B301.

MyITforum has a posting about this script.

Download the scripts  here.

download MMS2013 sessions

download MMS2013 sessions

System Center Universe 2013 presentations available

System Center Universe is a one-day globally available technical event featuring Microsoft        product gurus and community experts who will highlight the interaction of the Microsoft System Center 2012 suite and other Microsoft-based products and solutions.

System Center Universe was held at January 31, 2013. It was possilbe to attend in person and watch live over the internet.

The session agenda for 2013 is listed below. The Q&A session at the end of the day was interesting. The panel discussed for example the use of Microsoft Silverlight in the System Center portals. Other Microsoft portals are built on HTML5. Surface RT does not support Silverlight.

If you already use  or are interesting in using System Center these sessions are very much recommended! Good technical stuff and you will learn a lot from insiders!

The agenda is listed in chronological order. Makes searching the videos a bit easier!

  • Service Pack 1 (SP1) Presentation and Demos•Presented by Wally Mead
  • Mobile Device Management with Windows InTune•Presented by Dan Andersen
  • Advanced System Center Reporting•Presented by Travis Wright
  • Rocking VMware and Hyper-V Data Protection with Veeam Backup and Replication•Presented by Chris Henley
  • Manage Your Virtual Environment with System Center and Veeam Management Pack for VMware•Presented by Chris Henley
  • Exploring the Dark Side of the Moon with OpsMgr•Presented by Maarten Goet
  • Super-charge your Service Manager with the Cireson Total Management Suite•Presented by Paul Sutton, Shaun Ericson, and Travis Wright
  • Introduction to Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service•Presented by Joey Snow
  • An Orchestration Odyssey•Presented by Pete Zerger
  • Q&A with Panel of Experts
    Live and Virtual attendees will have the opportunity to ask the panel of experts questions live and via twitter

The video recordings are available here. The day has been split into 4 different recordings. So you might have to search a bit into the video for the start of a particlar session you are interested in.

7 of the presentations given at System Center Universe are available in Powerpoint. Download from here.

MMS 2012 sessions online

Recorded sessions held at Microsoft Management Summit 2012 can viewed by everyone for free. Recordings are added daily.

MMS is all about Microsoft System Center solutions, deployment tools and other management of a Microsoft infrastructure.  It offers over 175 breakout sessions across 5 technical tracks. That is a lot of content to take in! If you are unable to attend the event, or even if you will be there in person, you’ll be able to view any sessions, including keynotes, you may have missed within 24 hours of the live presentation on the Digital MMS site. Access is easy – just log in with your preferred social credentials, find the session you want, and click the Play icon.

To see the sessions go to http://www.mms-2012.com/digitalmms

If you like to download recorded sessions (.wmv format) for offline viewing see this PowerShell script by Stefan Roth.
If you like to download the PowerPoint presentations, see this download for a ZIP file containing all PPT files.

Mind not all sessions presented at MMS are listed in sessions.txt file. See for more sessions www.mms-2012.com/topic/list

Some examples of sessions presented at MMS2012:

Hyper-V Storage and Networking in Windows Server  8
Windows Server “8” Hyper-V revolutionizes the way your IT will use networking and storage. In this session, we cover the changes to the Windows Server “8” Hyper-V storage and networking stack. We dive into the enhancements around the new virtual disk format, integrating new storage industry innovations around offloaded data transfer and large sector disks, and detail the new storage options for Hyper-V including Storage spaces and SMB file storage. We also overview Networking Virtualization, and new networking enhancements including NIC teaming, Quality of Service and the new Hyper-V Extensible Switch.

Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 to 2012: Things You Need to Know

Using Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and want to get to know all the new features of System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager? Then this session is for you. This session provides a technical overview of Virtual Machine Manager 2012 to kick start your understanding of all new features and take your virtualization management to whole new levels. Relate the major capabilities of Virtual Machine Manager 2012 with your technical pain points in your environment, and learn about the full power that the System Center 2012 can now provide your virtualized environment.

Veeam Introduces Free System Center 2012 Management Pack 10-Pack for VMware Monitoring

Veeam has a nice offer for Microsoft System Center 2012 and VMware vSphere users which are currently not using Veeam MP.

Veeam Management Pack allows to forward VMware vCenter alerts and performance health to Microsoft System Center Operations Manager. The advantage is that a single console can be used to manage both Windows and VMware infrastructures.

New Veeam MP customers can use a 10-pack for free. This 10-pack can monitor 10 CPU sockets (5 host which each 2 CPU’s for example)

  • Veeam Software, innovative provider of backup, replication and virtualization management solutions for Windows Server Hyper-V and VMware vSphere, introduces the Veeam Management Pack ™1 (MP) 10-Pack, a free System Center 2012 monitoring solution for VMware. This offer is for new Veeam MP customers worldwide who use System Center 2012. Veeam also announces broad support for System Center 2012 to help customers manage and protect private clouds that include Windows Server Hyper-V, VMware or both.
  • The Veeam Management Pack 10-Pack is a fully functioning version of the MP that enables companies to:
    • Protect investments in System Center with integrated VMware monitoring.
    • Manage physical and virtual infrastructure from one console.
    • Eliminate the cost of additional monitoring frameworks.
  • New MP customers using System Center 2012 can register for a free perpetual 10-socket license that includes one full year of maintenance and support. To learn more and register for this offer, visit: http://www.veeam.com/SC2012.

More on this offer here.

VMware vCenter CapacityIQ end of life

VMware announced that vCenter CapacityIQ is end of life. It is not sold anymore as an individual product but is integrated in the new  vCenter Operations Management Suite.

Press release is shown here:

As dynamic virtual and cloud infrastructure requires an analytics-based, holistic approach to performance, capacity and configuration management, we have completely integrated functionality previously found in vCenter CapacityIQ in our new vCenter Operations Management Suite. The vCenter Operations Suite incorporates the capacity management features of vCenter CapacityIQ and offers many additional capabilities and enhancements over the standalone product.

In an effort to simplify and streamline our product portfolio, the vCenter Operations Suite replaces vCenter CapacityIQ and we have decided to discontinue sales of vCenter CapacityIQ as a standalone product effective January 24, 2012.

As a customer of vCenter CapacityIQ with an active support and subscription (SnS) contract, you are entitled to upgrade to the vCenter Operations Management Suite Advanced edition free of charge. By taking advantage of this entitlement, you’ll be able to access not only an enhanced set of capacity management features, you’ll also benefit from analytics-based performance management capabilities and a new operations management dashboard only available in vCenter Operations.

We will continue to provide technical support for vCenter CapacityIQ in line with our General Support Policy through December 1, 2012.

For more information about the vCenter Operations Management Suite, please visit http://www.vmware.com/products/vcenter-operations.

For more information about the availability of vCenter CapacityIQ, please visit http://www.vmware.com/products/vcenter-capacityiq/overview.html or contact your VMware or VMware reseller partner representative.

Monitoring VMware with SCOM using Veeam

Marnix Wolf of thoughtsonopsmgr.blogspot.com wrote a good overview of Veeam nWorks Management Pack for VMware. This software enables the monitoring of a VMware infrastructure using SCOM. The article also explains how to demonstrate the Veeam product without having a VMware infrastructure available.

Read more here

VMware vSphere Client for Ipad now available

At March 18 2011 VMware released the long awaited vSphere Client for the Apple iPad app. The app enables administrators to manage a VMware vSphere infrastructrure from any location using the iPad. Mind the app does not deliver all the functionality the vSphere Client does.

Lots of posting in the internet already about the release.

v-consult.be VMware vSphere Client for Ipad now avaible

Eric Sloof of ntpro.nl VMware vSphere Client for iPad – Control your datacenter from the couch

Gabe’s Virtual World http://www.gabesvirtualworld.com/vmware-vsphere-client-for-ipad-released-too-early/

download vCenter Operations

As of March 15 2011 VMware vCenter Operations can be downloaded. A 60-day trial version is available here.

More on vCenter Operations can be found here.

Customers who have purchased vCenter Operations Standard, Advanced or Enterprise can retrieve product license keys from the license portal and download product components below (authentication required). Please make sure that you download the appropriate installation package(s) based on the edition that you purchased.





VMware vCenter Operations

In February 2011 during Partner Exchange in Orlando VMware announced a new product aimed at managing a virtual datacenter called VMware vCenter Operations.

vCenter Operations is a new member of the vSphere product line that integrates availability, resource utilization, capacity management, and configuration management with self-learning analytics from the Integrien acquisition thrown in for good measure.

In the beginning of March 2011  a lot of information about the new product has been posted on various sites. This posting is  just a small overview of those postings.

vCenter Operations is available for download since March 15. Read here more . It is the new name of VMware Alive Enterprise which is based on the product ‘Integrien Alive Enterprise’  originally made by Integrien. VMware acquired Integrien in August 2010. VMware also used the name ‘VMware Alive VM’ which is based on ‘ Integrien Alive VM’

According to VMware, vCenter Operations comes in the following flavors. An overview of features per edition can be seen here.

•A standard edition offers performance management with capacity and change tracking for VMware vSphere environments.
•An advanced version adds capacity analytics and planning. This flavor is also focused on vSphere shops.
•The enterprise addition of vCenter Operations will offer performance, capacity and configuration management for both virtual and physical environments. This version also has connectors to other monitoring tools like Microsoft SCOM.

Costs are around $50 per virtual machine for vCenter Operations standard edition.

Documentation (Installation and Administration guide) can be found here.

The best and most comprehensive article on vCenter Operations is titled:
‘vCenter Operations – vSphere Performance, Capacity and Configuration Management with Self Learning Analytics’ and written by  Bernd Harzog posted on virtualizationpractice.com. The article has a good comparison of various other tooling offering the same sort of functionality.

Eric Sloof of ntpro.nl posted a good overview including a  nice video showing the features of vCenter Operations. See it here. 

VMware site on vCenter Operations: VMware vCenter Operations website

Kendrick Coleman posting titled  vCenter Operations And The Hype

VMblog.com  VMware Launches vCenter Operations  

ZDnet VMware launches vCenter Operation, eyes bigger piece of data center pie

Informationweek.com VMware Moves Into Hybrid Cloud Management

Managing Hyper-V hosts from vCenter

Organizations using both VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V hosts for running virtual machines could either be using two management tools or they could manage both ESX and Hyper-V from System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008. Not anymore. VMware made available a tool which enables management of ESX and Hyper-V from the same vSphere client.

VMware has a very interesting concept called VMware Labs. On the VMware Labs website small applications can be found which are called flings. A fling is a short-term thing, not a serious relationship but a fun one.  Likewise, the tools that are offered here are intended to be played with and explored.

Eric Sloof of ntpro.nl reports on a very interesting fling called XVP Manager and Converter. Using this vCenter plugin Hyper-V hosts and the virtual machines running on it can be managed using the vSphere client. Also virtual machines running on Hyper-V can be converted to vSphere virtual machines.

VMware vCenter XVP Manager and Converter provides basic virtualization management capabilities for non-vSphere hypervisor platforms towards enabling centralized visibility and control across heterogeneous virtual infrastructures. It also simplifies and enables easy migrations of virtual machines from non-vSphere virtualization platforms to VMware vSphere.

Features

  • Management of the following Microsoft Hyper-V platforms:
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (64-bit) with Hyper-V role enabled
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V role enabled
  • Familiar vCenter Server graphical user interface for navigating through and managing non-vSphere inventory
  • Ease of virtual machine migrations from non-vSphere hosts to vSphere inventory
  • Compatible with VMware vCenter Server 4.0 & 4.1
  • Scalable up to management of 50 non-vSphere hosts

More information including video’s and download can be found on the VMware Labs site.

iDatacenter (vCenter management on iPad) Released as Open Source

iDatacenter, a App for the iPad which can connect to vCenter of a ESX host to manage your virtual infrastructure has been released as open source  as per February 12. Also the price has been reduced to Euro 1,59

Read more on the site of the developer of iDatacenter.

iDatacenter : manage your VMware infrastructure using the iPad

While VMware is still working on an app to manage VMware hosts from the iPad (to be released early 2011), there is already an iPad app available for administering the virtual datacenter from everywhere using the iPad. It is called iDatacenter and is developed by a Swedish company called Nym Networks. The current version is 1.1.1. The first version of the product was released mid 2010.

The application is available at the Apple App Store and costs Euro 11,99 

The following features are supported in the current version of iDatacenter:

•Aggregate statistics per datacenter.
•Individual statistics and status for each physical host, virtual machine.
•Search/filter to find the host or virtual machine you are looking for.
•Use Storage vMotion to migrate a virtual machine from one datastore to another.
•Suspend and power on/off virtual machines.
•Soft reboot and soft shutdown of virtual machine with VMWare Tools installed.
•Enter and exit maintenance mode, disconnect and reconnect, reboot or shutdown hosts.
•Data cache for fast startup and navigation.

More information including a video can be found on the website of Nym Networks, the creator of iDatacenter.

A review can be read  at vinf.net here

VMware apps for the Apple iPad

In 2011 VMware will release several apps for the Apple iPad. One will be able to manage the virtual infrastructure (hosts, virtual machines) and will have similar functionality as the vSphere Client. Another soon the be released app will be the VMware View client. Users can access virtual desktops from their iPad. A third app is for vCloud Request Manager.

A video showing demos of all three apps recorded at VMworld Europe in October 2010 can be seen here.

A demo of the VMware View client for iPad here:

More information on VMware applications running on mobile devices can be found here.

Managing vSphere 4.1 cost effective in remote offices and branch offices (ROBO)

This article will give information on deploying vSphere 4.1 cost effective to remote offices and branch offices needing a max of 3 hosts.

If a company is having several branch offices /remote offices which are small enough to have a maximum of three hosts and 6 CPU’s and the need to manage those offices from a single vCenter Server running in the central datacenter, several editions of vSphere are available. Most people are aware of the 4 editions of vSphere 4.1 :
Standard, Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus editions which are targeted at Enterprises.

vSphere Essentials and Essentials Plus Editions can only be managed using the vCenter Server for Essentials and not from a central vCenter Server Standard!

For a small office a vSphere Standard Edition will deliver sufficient features. vSphere 4.1 has vMotion, HA and VMware Data Recovery. However, there are two less know editions available which are a cost effective alternative to the Standard Edition.
Released in January 2010 are two vSphere editions named:
vSphere Essentials for Retail and Branch Offices
vSphere Essentials Plus for Retail and Branch Offices

These software bundles comes with features which are equal to Essentials and Essentials Plus.  Essentials Plus for Retail and Branch Offices delivers HA, vMotion and Data Recovery. vSphere hosts licensed by the Essential for Retail and Branch Offices can be managed using vCenter Server Standard edition instance which is running in a central location, for example the enterprise datacenter. The Essentials and Essentials Plus editions are limited to be being managed only from the vCenter Server for Essentials (limited to management of up to 3 hosts)

Pricing
There is a quite a difference in pricing. For a remote office with a max. of three hosts and 6 CPU’s the vSphere Essentials Plus for Retail and Branch Offices  Starter Kit including 1 year of basic support costs $ 12040,-. This enables the buyer to install 3 hosts with max 6 CPU in 10 different Retail Offices. At total of 60 CPU’s. The offices need to be in a different building. For each additional office an Add-on needs to be purchased which costs $ 1204,-

Per CPU this costs $12040 / (10 x 6) = $200,-

Compare this to the per CPU price of vSphere Standard Edition which is $ 1268,- including 1 year Basic suport.

For Essentials for Retail and Branch offices support and subscription (Sns) for minimal 1 year  is required. Initial purchase of 10 packages is also required. One package consist of the the right to install three hosts having 2 CPU’s .  Limit 1 package per physical building – No splitting licenses from 1 package across multiple buildings.

As said, to centrally manage ESX hosts placed in remote offices, Essentials and Essentials Plus is not an alternative. Those cannot be managed from another vCenter Server instance than the once that was purchased with the Essentials or Essentials Plus package. See the VMware ESX/ESXi EULA:

c) VMware vSphere Essentials and VMware vSphere Essentials Plus

If you have licensed VMware vSphere Essentials or VMware vSphere Essentials Plus, the following additional license terms apply:

VMware licenses VMware vSphere Essentials or VMware vSphere Essentials Plus editions (collectively “Editions”) to you solely for managing up to three (3) server hosts and your use of these Editions is limited to servers with up to two processors. For these Editions, the server hosts must be managed by the VMware vCenter Server that is provided with these Editions, and that same VMware vCenter Server cannot be used to manage other server hosts not included with these Editions.

An interesting whitepaper called “Simplifying Remote and Branch Office Management with VMware” can be found here:
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/ROBO_wp.pdf
It has several scenario’s for deployment of vSphere in branch offices.

http://it-services.netlogix.de/fileadmin/user_upload/IT-Services/PDF/VMware/VMware_vSphere_4.1_Pricing_Whitepaper_-__A4.pdf
Links

solutions Brief
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/RemoteBranchMgmt_SB.pdf

VMware Solutions for Remote and Branch Offices
http://www.vmware.com/go/ROBO

Application Virtualization White Paper
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/thinapp_intro_whitepaper.pdf

VMware vSphere Essentials Data Sheet
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_essentials_datasheet.pdf

VMware vSphere Product Brochure
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_enterprise_datasheet.pdf

VMware vSphere Pricing & Packaging White Paper
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf
Managing Remote ESX Hosts over WAN with VMware vCenter
Server
http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-11492;jsessionid=BC69C36C00311BDEA8016EBFC60CAA94

Update Manager host tasks might fail in slow networks
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1021050

Virtualize Branch Offices with VMware and Riverbed|
http://www.vmware.com/a/webcasts/details/99

Compliance 101: Considerations for Virtualized Environments
http://www.vmware.com/a/webcasts/details/139
ROBO ESX Implementation in Kroger Stores (TA2222)
http://www.vmworld2009.com/docs/DOC-3801
Leveraging VMware View and Cisco WAAS in a ROBO
deployment (DV1460)
http://www.vmworld.com/docs/DOC-3524
Beyond the Datacenter: Virtualizing Your Remote and
Distributed IT Workloads (TA4020)
http://www.vmworld.com/docs/DOC-3866
Architecting Remote and Branch Offices for HA and DR
(PO2647)
http://www.vmworld.com/docs/DOC-2320
New Trends in Remote Office / Branch Office with VMware
(PO3400)
http://www.vmworld.com/docs/DOC-2336
Remote Office Data Protection and De-Duplication for
VMware (TA3089)
http://www.vmworld.com/docs/DOC-2401
Virtualization of Remote Sites (IP29)
http://www.vmworld.com/docs/DOC-2055dfd

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