To date, Microsoft hasn't offered much in the way of management tools for its server virtualization software, and indeed, the company has lagged far behind its competitors in this regard.
But last week, IT shops that use Microsoft's server virtualization software and Microsoft Operations Manager 2005, received some help in the form of a free management pack download. The pack helps keep tabs on computers running the software and the virtual machines hosted by the software.
The Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 Management Pack can run on Virtual Server 2005 and on Virtual Server 2005 R2. Microsoft said the management pack provides monitoring and reporting capabilities for the following:
For Virtual Server, it monitors the service availability, detects configuration errors and critical error conditions and provides a graphical mapping of virtual machines to their virtual machine hosts.
For virtual machines, it checks their health based on their status in Virtual Server. And it detects start and restoration failures, save failures and critical error conditions. It also monitors processor, memory and disk usage.
The pack also identifies good candidates for conversion to virtual machines based on specific memory and CPU requirements. It lets administrators view performance history for a computer over a specified time period, check out a summary of virtual machine hosts and virtual machines, view details for a virtual machine and view CPU, memory or disk usage for a virtual machine.
Experts believe that manageability will be the key to keeping a successful virtual environment. "Soon the hypervisor layer will be free and companies will be competing based on their management capabilities," said John Humphreys, research manager at IDC, a Framingham, Mass., market research firm.
While Microsoft has been busy getting its base product together, VMware Inc. has forged a huge lead in the market. VMware sells Virtual Center, a console that provides a central point of control for all data center virtual computing resources.