So as the title suggests, this post will outline some of the resources that are currently available to everyone who’s interested in learning something new, specifically System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Hyper-V. Let’s say that a VMware vSphere admin is interested in learning how Microsoft does it with Hyper-V and SCVMM or perhaps your company might have chosen to go with Hyper-V as a server virtualization solution. Regardless of the intention, I think it’s a good idea for someone who’s a virtualization admin to have knowledge of other products that are out there.
This post is not about comparing these virtualization solutions, God knows this topic has been discussed plethora of times and thus no need to keep talking about it any more. Most of you know that I am a heavy VMware vSphere and Horizon enthusiast and I felt like I need to take some time and learn what Microsoft (organization I respect a lot) has done with it’s virtualization platform.
Microsoft offers the Technet Virtual Labs, it’s the equivalent to the VMware’s Hands On Labs. Same concept as HOL, there are a lot of labs that are available for learning new Microsoft products such as Hyper-V, SCVMM, Exchange, Lync, etc. I started of my weekend by signing up for the Early Experts Virtualization Specialist Quest to learn more about the Cloud offering from Microsoft. As an Integrator/Architect who’s interest lies in datacenter virtualization technology, I believe it’s crucial to understand different virtualization offerings from different vendors, as there could be more than one solution that fits the client’s requirements. With that said, for those that are interested, you can enroll in this study group to learn more. What’s nice about the study group, is that you will actually get the ability to build the Hyper-V lab from the ground up and do all kinds of configurations to learn more about the product. If however you don’t have lab equipment at home, you can use the Microsoft Azure Cloud service to build your lab. They offer a 30 day free trial, however you’ll have to make sure to cancel by the end of your 30 days so that you don’t get charged. The study group also offers quite a few resource options, all outlined in the study group page I linked above.
Since I have a VMware vSphere lab at home, I didn’t really want to reinstall Hyper-V because I did not have that much time, instead, I opted for the Technet Virtual Labs where everything has already been deployed for me. I’ve also deployed Hyper-V and SCVMM in the past, so it’s not really new to me. My interest was more in the enterprise features which these two labs cover:
- Part 1 – Microsoft Virtualization with Windows Server 2012 R2 & System Center 2012 R2
- Part 2 – Microsoft Virtualization with Windows Server 2012 R2 & System Center 2012 R2
Below is a breakdown of what’s covered in the two labs. Part one of the lab covers Labs 1-4 and part two of the lab covers labs 5-11.
LAB 1: VIRTUAL MACHINE STORAGE
- EXERCISE 1.1: CONFIGURE A STORAGE POOL
- EXERCISE 1.2: CONFIGURE A STORAGE SPACE
- EXERCISE 1.3: MANAGE A FILE SERVER
- EXERCISE 1.4: MANAGE A STORAGE AREA NETWORK
LAB 2: VIRTUAL MACHINE NETWORKING
- EXERCISE 2.1: CONFIGURE A HOST NIC TEAM
- EXERCISE 2.2: MANAGE HYPER-V HOSTS
- EXERCISE 2.3: CREATING A VIRTUAL SWITCH
LAB 3: ADVANCED VIRTUAL MACHINE NETWORKING
- EXERCISE 3.1: CREATE A LOGICAL NETWORK
- EXERCISE 3.2: APPLY A LOGICAL NETWORKS
- EXERCISE 3.3: CREATE A PORT PROFILE & CLASSIFICATION
- EXERCISE 3.4: CREATE & APPLY A LOGICAL SWITCH
LAB 4: VIRTUAL MACHINE CLUSTERING & RESILIENCY
- EXERCISE 4.1: CREATE SHARED STORAGE OVER SMB
- EXERCISE 4.2: BUILD A HYPER-V CLUSTER
- EXERCISE 4.3: ASSIGN SHARED STORAGE USING ISCSI
- EXERCISE 4.4: OPTIMIZE A CLUSTER
- EXERCISE 4.5: CONFIGURE CLUSTER PATCHING
LAB 5: VIRTUAL MACHINE CONFIGURATION
- EXERCISE 5.1: CREATE A GENERATION 1 VM
- EXERCISE 5.2: CREATE A VM WITH POWERSHELL
- EXERCISE 5.3: CREATE A GENERATION 2 VM
LAB 6: VIRTUAL MACHINE MOBILITY
- EXERCISE 6.1: CONFIGURE HOSTS FOR MIGRATION
- EXERCISE 6.2: TEST A VM MIGRATION
- EXERCISE 6.3: TEST A STORAGE MIGRATION
- EXERCISE 6.4: TEST A SHARED NOTHING LIVE MIGRATION
LAB 7: VIRTUAL MACHINE REPLICATION & PROTECTION
- EXERCISE 7.1: CONFIGURE A HYPER-V REPLICA
- EXERCISE 7.2: CONFIGURE A HYPER-V REPLICA BROKER
- EXERCISE 7.3: REPLICATE A VM
LAB 8: NETWORK VIRTUALIZATION
- EXERCISE 8.1: CREATE A VM NETWORK
- EXERCISE 8.2: ASSIGN A VM NETWORK
LAB 9: VIRTUAL MACHINE TEMPLATES
- EXERCISE 9.1: CREATE A VM TEMPLATE
- EXERCISE 9.2: REVIEW A SQL SERVER PROFILE
- EXERCISE 9.3: REVIEW A WEB APPLICATION PROFILE
- EXERCISE 9.4: CREATE A VM FROM A TEMPLATE
LAB 10: SERVICE TEMPLATES
- EXERCISE 10.1: CREATE A SERVICE TEMPLATE
- EXERCISE 10.2: DEPLOY A SERVICE TEMPLATE
LAB 11: PRIVATE CLOUDS & USER ROLES
- EXERCISE 11.1: CREATE A USER ROLE
- EXERCISE 11.2: CREATE A PRIVATE CLOUD
- EXERCISE 11.3: DELEGATE ACCESS TO A CLOUD
As you can see from the content above, these labs are really detailed and lengthy and definitely cover a lot of ground that many organizations are often looking out for.
My whole intention for doing these labs was to get an insight into what Hyper-V and SCVMM have to offer. It’s no surprise that since Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V has matured quite a bit and became a great competitor to VMware vSphere. As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of articles out there that compare Hyper-V to vSphere and some of those articles claim that Hyper-V is superior product, same can be said about the articles that claim vSphere is a superior product. In every virtualization project, there are requirements that must be met, both technical and business. And just like there are requirements, there are solutions that can meet these requirements, and no one solution fits all, in other words, both of these products have advantages and disadvantages and the only thing that matters, is if the solution fits the bill.
I can honestly say, that if in the past pre Windows Server 2012, I would recommend VMware vSphere to most of the customers, today I can say that Hyper-V is a definite consideration, even for large environments (think Azure).