Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Right Hyper-V Tools

Microsoft Hyper-V may be popular because it comes for free as part of the Windows Server license, but that doesn’t mean IT managers should ignore best practices when managing a virtual environment. This is especially true as the hypervisor market becomes more commoditized.

Vendors today offer the actual virtualization layer for free and make their profit on management. Therefore it’s essential to examine each vendor’s suite of management tools and to choose what’s best for your enterprise’s infrastructure.

There are Hyper-V tools for small, midsized and large organizations and they can benefit each environment.

Managing Hyper-V installations
Virtualization isn’t just for large IT shops anymore. In fact, it has led to major savings for smaller businesses with just a few servers. Using Hyper-V’s integrated tools makes sense in these scenarios. For instance, the built-in Hyper-V Manager is the obvious no-cost choice when managing only one or two servers since IT managers can create and manage them on a single system easily.

This seems to be the best option for small installations, especially if there is no need for clustering. In addition, small companies can manage any server with the free Remote Server Administration Tools and create a remote connection with a tried and true Remote Desktop session.

Midsized enterprises need more management
IT shops that must keep tabs on dozens or even hundreds of virtual machines can’t get away with relying on Hyper-V Manager to manage that new virtual layer. Organizations that seek new capabilities without making significant additions to the staff should consider tools that introduce good monitoring and automation features without worrying about building something from scratch.

Enterprise flexibility with Microsoft Hyper-V
Large IT shops have the challenge of integrating virtual machines with existing IT management systems that are often ingrained into an enterprise. In this case, flexibility is key. To formulate a proper solution, IT managers need to find a good combination of management tools.

Beyond a single tool
There is a variety of toolsets for sale that support Hyper-V, which is a nice change from only a couple of years ago when support was meager. From hardware integration to monitoring and management, these add-ons are useful once there are more than a few servers in the mix and the enterprise requires features such as Live Migration.

But don’t forget about single-function tools that are typical in a system administrator toolbox. These include virtual hard disk format converters, processor detection and monitoring gadgets. These will always be needed in a virtual server environment.

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