Managing VMware ESX with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2

by [Published on 23 Dec. 2010 / Last Updated on 23 Dec. 2010]

This article is about how to use System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 to manage VMware ESX servers, and how to initiate vMotion from the Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 Administrator Console.

Overview

Many enterprise infrastructures support a mix of operating systems and applications, even virtualization platforms. While each virtualization solution satisfies a specific set of requirements, they do not share common management applications. In these heterogeneous environments, this can present an obstacle to the implementation of standard management processes and procedures.

With System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 (VMM 2008 R2), Microsoft provides a single management console to support multiple virtualization platforms including Hyper-V and Virtual Server 2005 R2, as well as VMware ESX and ESXi hypervisors. This allows you to define and implement standard processes and procedures for common management tasks, and initiate then from a single application across heterogeneous virtualization components. In particular, VMM 2008 R2 supports the following VMware components:

  • VMware vCenter 2.5 (VMware Infrastructure 3 – VI3)
    o  VMware ESX(i) Server 3.5
    o  VMware ESX Server 3.0 or above
  • VMware vSphere 4 (VI3 features only)
    o    VMware ESX(i) Server 4.0 (without vNetwork Distributed Switches)
    o    ESX(i) Server 3.5
    o    ESX Server 3.0 or above

It is important to note that VMM 2008 R2 does not support VMware Server.

VMM 2008 R2 Management Interface

VMM 2008 R2 allows you to perform and automate management tasks by using the Windows PowerShell interface and the VMware vCenter Application Programming Interface (API). For most tasks such as managing, creating, placing, deploying, and removing virtual machines and adding or removing hosts, you can use VMM 2008 R2. However, there are ESX-specific management tasks such as creating or removing resource pools and patching ESX Servers that require the use of VMware vCenter.

VMM 2008 R2 does not require an agent deployment to VMware vCenter or ESX (i) hosts. Through the VMware vCenter API, VMM 2008 R2 maps VMware component information periodically. When a change is made to a VMware component using VMM 2008 R2, it is reflected in vCenter. Conversely, any changes that are made to those components in vCenter are also reflected in VMM 2008 R2. VMM 2008 R2 also interfaces with vCenter to manage vMotion migrations. And although vCenter is required for VMM 2008 R2 to manage VMware ESX (i) hosts, VMM 2008 R2 can connect to VMware ESX hosts directly using Secure FTP (SFTP) or HTTPS to perform data transfers.

With the exception of vNetwork distributed switches that are not supported, VMM 2008 R2 maps virtual switches and port groups that are configured in vCenter for ESX (i) hosts and virtual machines. In VMM 2008 R2, you can select existing ESX (i) host virtual switches and port groups during virtual machine deployment and migration.

Configuring VMM 2008 R2 to Manage VMware ESX and ESXi Hosts

The first step to manage VMware ESX and ESXi hosts using VMM 2008 R2 is to add the VMware vCenter as a VMM component. After the VMware vCenter is added, VMM 2008 R2 can discover VMware ESX and ESXi hosts managed by vCenter and add the objects to VMM.

Adding a VMware vCenter to VMM 2008 R2

  1. Launch the VMM 2008 R2 Administrator Console and then select the Administration workspace.
  2. In the Administration pane, select Virtualization Managers (Figure 1).


Figure 1: VMM Administrator Console

  1. In the Actions pane, click Add VMware Virtual Center (Figure 2).


Figure 2: Add VMM Virtual Center Server Dialog Box

  1. Enter the VMware vCenter server name and the credentials that should be used to connect to it, leave the secure mode communication option enabled, and then click OK to add the server to VMM 2008 R2 (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Add VMM Virtual Center Server Options Settings

  1. After the connection to the VMware vCenter server is added, it will appear in the Virtualization Managers list, with a Responding agent status though a VMM 2008 R2 agent is not deployed (Figure 4).


Figure 4: Virtualization Managers View

Configuring VMware ESX and ESXi Hosts in VMM 2008 R2

Because of the differences in virtualization component hierarchy between the Microsoft and VMware platforms, VMM 2008 R2 maps VMware components as described in Table 1 below:

VMware Components

VMM 2008 R2 Components

Hosts and host clusters

All Hosts (root host group)

Datacenter

Host group

Folder

Host group

Cluster

Host cluster

Table 1: VMware vCenter Component Mapping in VMM 2008 R2

After a VMware vCenter server is added to VMM 2008 R2, you can configure VMware ESX and ESXi hosts as follows:

  1. In the VMM 2008 R2 Administrator Console, select the Hosts workspace.
  2. In the Hosts pane, you will see that each datacenter defined in vCenter is mapped to a new host group in VMM 2008 R2 (Figure 5).


Figure 5: All Hosts Group View

  1. VMware ESX and ESXi hosts are also grouped into the new host group that represents the corresponding vCenter datacenter. A VMware ESX or ESXi host status of OK (Limited) is displayed when the management configuration process is not complete.
  2. Select the VMware ESX or ESXi host in the Hosts pane, and then click Configure Security in the Actions pane.
  3. In the Host Properties dialog box, enter root credentials and then click the Retrieve button to obtain the certificate and public key information required to establish secure communications with the host (Figure 6).


Figure 6: Host Properties Dialog Box

  1. Select the Accept Both The Certificate And Public Key For This Host option, and then click OK (Figure 7).


Figure 7: Host Properties Option Selection

  1. After completing this process for each host, the host status will change to OK in VMM 2008 R2.

Connecting to VMware ESX and ESXi Hosts in VMM 2008 R2

  1. In the VMM 2008 R2 Administrator Console, select the Virtual Machines workspace.
  2. In the Virtual Machines pane, select the All Hosts group to see a list of all virtual machines running on VMware ESX and ESXi hosts managed by the added VMware vCenter server (Figure 8).


Figure 8: Virtual Machines View

  1. When selecting a virtual machine in the All Hosts pane, you will see a warning about installing the VI Client ActiveX control, if it is not already installed on the VMM server.
  2. Click on Install ActiveX Control in the virtual machine pane to install the VI Client ActiveX control on the VMM 2008 R2 server.
  3. After the VI Client ActiveX control is installed, a virtual machine thumbnail appears in the virtual machine pane (Figure 9).


Figure 9: Virtual Machine Pane after VI Client ActiveX Control Installation

Managing vMotion using VMM 2008 R2

VMM R2 supports the ability to manage a Live Migration of virtual machines running on Hyper-V and vMotion of virtual machines running on managed VMware ESX or ESXi hosts. In order to perform a migration of virtual machines running on VMware ESX or ESXi hosts using VMM 2008 R2, the following prerequisites must be met:

  • VMware ESX or ESXi hosts selected for a vMotion migration must be managed by the same VMware vCenter server
  • VMware ESX or ESXi hosts must be configured to share a common storage LUN as a datastore
  • Virtual machines selected for a vMotion migration must be stored on the common datastore
  • Virtual machines must have VMware tools installed

Initiating vMotion from the VMM 2008 R2 Administrator Console

  1. On the VMM 2008 R2 Server, launch the VMM 2008 R2 Administrator Console.
  2. In the VMM 2008 R2 Administrator Console, select the Virtual Machines workspace.
  3. In the Virtual Machines pane, expand the desired hosts group, and then select the virtual machine (Figure 10).


Figure 10: Virtual Machine Selection for vMotion

  1. Right-click the selected virtual machine and then select the Migrate option.
  2. In the Migrate Virtual Machine Wizard, on the Select Host page, select the VMware ESX or ESXi host to which you want to migrate the virtual machine.
  3. The Transfer Type should be Live, otherwise check the prerequisites listed above and correct any discrepancies (Figure 11).


Figure 11: Migrate Virtual Machine Wizard Select Host Page

  1. After you select the vMotion target host, click Next.
  2. On the Summary page, review the vMotion settings. You can also optionally view the PowerShell script that contains the actions to initiate the vMotion migration (Figure 12).


Figure 12: Migrate Virtual Machine Wizard Summary Page

  1. Click Move to initiate the vMotion migration.
  2. A Jobs window will display the migration progress. In the lower section of the Jobs windows, the major steps that are performed during the migration are displayed and tracked (Figure 13).


Figure 13: vMotion Jobs Windows

  1. When the migration is complete, close the Jobs window (Figure 14).


Figure 14: vMotion Job Completion

  1. In the Virtual Machines workspace, select the VMware ESX or ESXi host to which the virtual machine migrated and verify that it is running (Figure 15).


Figure 15: vMotion Job Completion

  1. If you want to initiate a vMotion of the virtual machine back to the original host, just repeat Steps 3 to 11, selecting the original host as the vMotion target host.

Conclusion

System Center VMM 2008 R2 provides the ability to manage virtualization environments that include both Microsoft and VMware virtualization components. Because System Center VMM 2008 R2 is built on Windows PowerShell, it is able to manage supported VMware components through the VMware vCenter API. Most daily administration tasks performed using vCenter can also be performed through the VMM 2008 R2 PowerShell cmdlets or using the VMM Administrator Console.

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