Microsoft Virtualization Technology Types and Information

August 24, 2010 / Web Hosting

The Virtualization is a product by Microsoft Technologies, which consists of a wide range of options and alternatives for corporate clients, from which they can choose the right tool for their business. It’s often a complex process to decide upon Microsoft products as it has a wide range of products available for high as well as medium-sized businesses, which creates confusion in the selection.

Each technology and product have specific focuses, according to the scenario. So, if you are developing a project for Microsoft virtualization it is important that you have clearly defined the concept of each tool and in which conditions it should be used. Another issue is that it’s not very particular on what should be emphasized. Is any virtualization technology, that is higher than any other?

Why Use Virtualization?

Virtualization offers multiple benefits for the IT environment and it is not another wave of technological or fugitive things. Nowadays many companies that still do not have virtualization deployed are probably considering its deployment in the medium term.

Things that control the use of virtualization:

Consolidation Servers: Reducing the number of servers helps to drastically reduce consumption power.

Reduction cost allocation of physical space: Companies that make co-location data centers seek to reduce costs with physical space for servers.

Decrease electric power consumption for data center cooling: A large number of servers in a data center also requires a high cost to cool the environment where they are. There are two points of analysis of electric power consumption: power consumed by the server ( equipment) and power consumed by system cooling CPD / Datacenter to cool the servers.

Scenarios Disaster / Recovery: Easy migration of virtual machines between hosts makes it quite an attractive option.

Reduction of costs of maintenance contracts for servers: Critical servers require high maintenance contracts, according to the existing SLA.

The reduction in the number of servers brings the benefit of direct maintenance costs.

Migration Application: The ability to migrate applications to new operating systems quickly and dynamics are the major facilitators to maintaining an environment always updated and in a homogeneous network.

Environments test/development and approval: Many homologation tests are flawed because not always the gaps in production are identical to environmental approval. With virtualization, it’s possible to have a replica of the production servers. As faithful as possible in approval, dramatically increasing the reliability of the tests.

Independence of physical limits of the equipment: It is very common nowadays to find the following scenario: a server has an X application. And suddenly comes the need to increase memory and/or processor, but the hardware does not support it. It is not so simple to “clone” a disk and downloads the image on another server with totally different hardware.

Through virtualization, there’s a dependency on the hardware of a manufacturer.

Once these are clear, then it is time to understand different types of Virtualization Technology.

Virtualization Server Hardware

Through a Hypervisor or virtualizer layer, you can host multiple virtual machines. This technology requires support for instruction in the virtualization server processor (Intel -VT or AMD- V). Currently, this technology is available in Hyper-V, a component of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Also, there is a special version called Windows Server Hyper-V Server. Which basically consists of a Windows Server 2008 with a graphical interface reduced just doing the virtualization role and completely free.

The components of the Hyper -V are available in the following distributions of Windows Server: Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. Windows Server 2008 R2  Datacenter, and Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation does not have Hyper-V. In addition to that you can not virtualize a server running Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation, because its license is OEM.

Virtualization Server Software

This type of virtualization not used more intensively, since limits are on multiple virtual machine points (out of memory, logic processors, etc). This technology represents the next Microsoft product which is Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1.

The architecture of the product is like, that there is no benefit in new hardware because besides being the same old product does not support the new virtualization technologies and hardware that are available in Windows Server 2008 R2.

A virtualization software server is based on software that runs on a layer above the operating system. This means that the communication has not virtualizer directly with the hardware. Making it impossible to have some performance gains and scalability.

Virtualization Session and Presentation

Formerly known by the name Terminal Services (TS), the technology has assumed a new name in Windows Server 2008 R2, to called Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

In the virtualization Session, the application installed on the RDS server and made available to the client through a specific protocol (RDP – Remote Desktop Protocol). Only the application screen or the whole desktop of the server sent to the user’s machine. The traffic generated for updating the screen, keyboard, mouse, and sound when any.

All application processing and memory usage are the same in the RDS server. In case of a failure of the communication network between the server and the RDS client, Not possible to run the application until the link restored.

An ideal scenario for this type of Virtualization is the remote office. Very common to find companies that have remote offices, and most of the complaints just the access to applications. That is in the array and need to be implemented in the subsidiary. When installing a server in the array with the service RDS / TS.

It is possible just to install the application on this same server and permit access to branches via RDS / TS Client. The experience of access to the user’s remote location will be improved as if it were accessing the application of the matrix.

For larger scenarios, complexity and/or management are used for Citrix XenApp. A component that runs under the RDS (not possible to deploy the Citrix XenApp without RDS). Another very common in virtualization projects session is the use of thin clients, which make the role of the workstation.

Application Virtualization

Through Microsoft’s Application Virtualization (App-V) an application runs on the user’s desktop in an isolated environment independent of the registry and other operating system files. Unlike Remote Desktop Services, App-V uses memory and processing the user’s machine.

But it is possible to run the application even without network connectivity with the server App-V. App-V is available at Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). And the same acquired only by those customers holding Software Assurance agreements.

Desktop Virtualization

This technology is much similar to the model Virtualization of server hardware. Many developers and IT professionals need to have a virtual machine at their disposal. Without the complexity of having a Windows Server with Hyper-V.

The tool that allows create and manage virtual machines is Microsoft Virtual PC and it does not require more than the hardware that has support for virtualization (Intel-VT or AMD-V).

Another component of the Virtual PC that installed part of the XP mode, which consists of a virtual machine Windows XP. Through Mode XP, an application installed and published as a program item in the Start Menu physical machine.

Allowing only the application screen performed and displayed to the user of the machine physically. It mainly uses where there are applications that only work with Windows XP.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a feature that allows you to centralize the desktops of users in a virtualized server virtualization. It possibly works as follows:

a)Dedicated Virtual Machine – every user who accesses has their own virtual desktop (VM) with all the desktop customization details. Each virtual machine has its own user.

b)Virtual Desktops Pool – a pool of multiple virtual machines shared with a group of users. There is a specific virtual machine for each user. And desktop customization is made using techniques such as Folder Redirection and Profile Roaming.

Another important point is the process of sending the desktop screen of a virtual machine for the seasoned user. This process done together using the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Virtualization Management on the Server

The product line System Center refers to product management at Microsoft. One of its components is System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. The SCVMM allows you to manage Host virtualization and virtual machines and supports the following server virtualization systems:

  • Windows Server 2008 w / Hyper-V
  • Hyper-V Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 w / Hyper V
  • Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
  • Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1
  • VMWare ESX through VMware VirtualCenter

Important to note that managing a host with VMWare ESX is not done directly by SCVMM. Because you have Virtual Center for that. This means that SCVMM is VirtualCenter Manager that manages this with VMWare ESX hosts.

If you have a System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 in your network infrastructure. Then you can enable the integrated use of two tools, using the so-called PRO (Performance and Resource Optimization).

This feature allows SCVMM to move automatically (or manually) a virtual machine from one host to Another case detecting any choke-points in performance.

Virtualization Management on the Desktop

For those clients who wish to implement the use of a Virtual PC on a larger environment and/or require greater control of virtual machines then it possible through Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V). With MED-V it is actually possible to distribute the Virtual PC images and manage them from a central point.

Basically, the product is a part of the package of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).

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