Sunday, September 18, 2011

Windows Server 8 Developer Preview, and why you should care.

This article is based on the big Private Cloud picture, and what changes this will bring.
I will be focusing on the virtualization layer at this point, and what you need to prepare for to take advantage of the technology.

First of all, there are some new nice features that let you administer and manage your Windows Server more easily. Not only one single server at the time, but many. A so called multiserver management lets you manage both virtual and physical server from the same single pane of glass.
The deployment of server roles and features are also made much more simple, with scenario based deployment. This will also include both physical, virtual, local, and remote. Use your existing skills to make quicker and more reliable setups in your environment with this new upgrade.
But let`s move over to the important features, related to virtualization and Hyper-V.

First of all, you can now explode your current cluster restrictions, and have as many as 63 nodes and 4,000 VMs per cluster. Along with improved performance (they say), cluster-aware patching (we have this already in SCVMM 2012, with an orchestrated routine that updates every node in the cluster in an automated and optimized way) we also get data deduplication and live storage migration. Speaking of live migration, we are now able to live migrate VMs – not only one at a time, but many, and we can also schedule this. And if you have more important VMs than the other (I bet you have), you can now define priorities on the VM level.
One of the most common question I`ve seen in the Hyper-V forum, is questions related to Virtual Networks. What is a virtual network in Hyper-V, and how does it works? Especially myself and Brian Ehlert uses the word “switch” when we`re explaining this. And this has finally changed now in the next version of Windows Server. We call it Virtual Switch now, because that`s what it is.
And add native NIC teaming to it, and you can see that we`re moving further toward the cloud.
Hyper-V Replica will also be a business saver for the small and medium businesses, allowing you to implement a cheap disaster recovery plan. It only requires disk and networking.
Now, this was just some of the new features. I will suggest that you should take a closer look at Aidan Finn`s blog at to get more details. He played around at the Build-conference, and is a subject matter expert in Hyper-V.
Let`s focus on the virtualization layer a bit more.

Ok – so we have some serious changes in Hyper-V. What should be our focus?

High availability and continuously available systems.

There will be some new “best practices” I guess, but some of the best practices we already know from Hyper-V 2008 R2 will still apply. It will still be files on a disk, and these files will require the disk storage subsystem to handle the IOPS. No easy way out to place your VMs on an old file server, and expect fantastic performance.
However, all these major upgrades will be transmitted to the System Center-portfolio.
System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 will have to understand the virtualization layer in detail, and Fabric Management must be aware of how you have defined your clusters, what kind of storage solution you are using, and the new enhanced networking features. I guess we`re talking SCVMM 2012 SP1 when we will be playing with this in production.
DPM 2012 must also know this layer, to understand what and where to initiate the backup.
System Center Orchestrator 2012 will most likely give us some interesting and fun integration packs to support complex tasks to be automated, and System Center Operation Manager 2012 will monitor every new feature in detail.

I`m really looking forward to 2012. Stay sharp, and download the Windows Server 8 Developer preview today!

1 comment:

blade server said...

My name is Matt and I work for Dell. I like your thoughts about windows server 8. As per my opinion one of the most important and future-looking technologies in Windows Server 2008 isn't even available in the initial shipping version of the product.