After more than a year in development, Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 has been released to manufacturing. Along with the recent release of Hyper-V, the arrival of VMM2008 completes Microsoft's near-term virtualization strategy. VMware is undoubtedly ahead when it comes to a point-by-point comparison of virtualization features: Many of the IT pros we spoke with at VMworld 2008 pointed to the lack of a Microsoft equivalent to VMware's VMotion functionality—which allows virtual machines to be easily moved without stopping them--as a deal-breaker for them. Microsoft has indicated that similar functionality will arrive with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2, which is slated for a late 2009 or 2010 release.

So what can Microsoft do in the interim? That's where VMM2008 comes in. Microsoft knows that Windows Server has an installed base than VMware can only dream of, and millions of IT pros need to manage their physical environments alongside their virtual ones. VMM2008 not only manages physical machines and Hyper-V VMs, but can also manage VMs created by ESX Server and Microsoft Virtual Server. Zane Adam, Microsoft's Senior Director of Virtualization Strategy, writes in the Microsoft Windows Virtualization Product Group team blog that he believes VMM2008 will help Microsoft drive Hyper-V adoption:

"Now that RTM is official, I fully expect the rate of Hyper-V deployments to further accelerate. Through the SCVMM 2008 console, administrators can see the entirety of their data center infrastructure – physical or virtual. SCVMM 2008 facilitates key functions like P2V (physical to virtual) migration, Intelligent Placement (selecting the best virtual host for a VM), and managing Hyper-V host clusters, to name just a few. SCVMM 2008 works closely with its siblings – particularly SC Ops Mgr – in identifying consolidation candidates and in Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO), a new feature in which SCVMM 2008 can alert and recommend solutions to administrators about failing virtual machines or hardware. As I mentioned above, this comprehensive view extends throughout the data center as SCVMM 2008 is capable of seeing and managing VMware ESX infrastructure through Virtual Center."

Microsoft may still be a year or two behind VMware, but VMM2008 goes a long way towards making Microsoft a more competitive player in the virtualization market.

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Registering ESX Server VMs using the Console: After you copy a VM how do you get it into the Virtual Infrastructure Client?
by Michael Otey

During my last round of testing I wound up using Veeam FastSCP (www.veeam.com) to copy a set of VMs to the ESX Server 3.5 system I was testing. Veeam was free and also useful because unlike Windows Server and Hyper-V where you can just use Windows Explorer to copy VM around between servers, without VI3 ESX Server doesn’t have an easy way to copy VM between servers. Veeam really did the trick. However, after copying the servers over they didn’t appear in ESX Server’s Virtual Infrastructure Client, the management tool for ESX Server.

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