System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (Part 4) - Introduction to the Console - Segment B

by [Published on 19 July 2012 / Last Updated on 19 July 2012]

In the previous article in this series, we started to investigate all of the options that are available in the System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager console. In this part of the series, we’ll continue our tour.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Quick recap

Before we get started, let’s do a quick recap to gain our bearings. In Figure 1, you can see the main window that is seen when you start the VMM 2012 console. We’re working with the VMs and Services workspace and, in this article we’ll start looking at the items on the Folder tab. In Part 3 of this series, we fully covered the general console as well as the items available on the Folder tab.


Figure 1: The big picture

Folder

You’ll note that there are some options on the Folder menu that are repeated from the Home tab, which we covered in part 3 of this series. I won’t repeat the repeated items, but will explain the ones that we haven’t seen yet. Note that different options will become available when different selections are made in the console.


Figure 2: The Folder tab

Move

This option allows you to move a host group into a different host group. When you do this, understand that the host group will assume the properties assigned to the new parent group.


Figure 3: Move a host group

Optimize Hosts

This option allows an administrator to perform an on demand Dynamic Optimization process for the selected host cluster. Manually initiating a Dynamic Optimization procedure does not require that the administrator configure Dynamic Optimization first. Once the process is complete, VMM lists the virtual machines that will be migrated once the administrator approves.

Properties

When you click the Properties button, the properties page for the currently selected object is opened. In Figure 4, you can see a properties page for my test lab host.


Figure 4: A properties page for a host

Host

If you have a host selected, you’ll see the Host tab appear, as shown below in Figure 5. From here, you can perform host level activities.


Figure 5: The Host tab

Shut Down

You will probably find many of the items on the Host tab pretty self-explanatory. Case in point: Shut Down. When a host is powered up, you can shut it down remotely using this button. Before you shut down a host, you should place in into maintenance mode.

Restart

This option allows you to restart a host. Figure 6 gives you a look at the warning you might see when you choose to do this. A restart is a clean shut down and reboot.


Figure 6: VMM 2012 host restart warning

Reset

Unlike a restart, a reset is an immediate operation that simulates having pressed the reset button on a physical machine. It’s not a clean operation and shouldn’t be used except as a last resort since data loss can occur.

Power On

Powers up the selected host.

Power Off

Turns off the selected host. This is not the same as a shut down since it’s a hard power off, so, again, do this only as a last resort.

View Status

Click View Status to obtain information about how well a host is or isn’t operating. Green checkmarks are good. Red X’s are bad. In Figure 7, you can see that my host now has all green checkmarks since I’ve turned it back on.


Figure 7: Host status

Start Maintenance Mode

When you go into maintenance mode, you can perform regular maintenance, such as software updates and hardware maintenance on a host without affecting the running workloads. As you can see in Figure 8, you have two choices for how to handle any workloads that might be running on the host in question:

  • Move virtual machines to other hosts. This is not available to me right now since I don’t have any other hosts.
  • Place the virtual machines into a standby state.

By the way, while we’re here, take a look at Figure 8 and notice that there is a View Script button in the lower left hand corner of the window. When you click this button, a Notepad window will open and show you the PowerShell commands that will be executed to carry out this command. Look for this button throughout VMM to help you learn how to automate particular tasks.

In this case, the follow code is executed to place the host into maintenance mode.

$VMHost = Get-SCVMHost -ComputerName "hyperv2.globomantics.com"

Disable-SCVMHost -VMHost $VMHost -RunAsynchronously


Figure 8: Place the host into maintenance mode

Stop Maintenance Mode

On the flip side, once you’re done with the maintenance on your host, use the Stop Maintenance Mode option to place the host back into service.

Run Script Command

As you spend time building a library of scripts, you might want to run one of them against a host at some point. Or, you may just want to run a command on a host. That’s where Run Script Command comes into play, as shown in Figure 9. In Figure 10, you can see some advanced options that you have at your disposal when it comes to running script commands. These options help you recover from errors and help you in any troubleshooting efforts that you might undertake.


Figure 9: Specify the script that you've like to run


Figure 10:
Advanced scripting options

Remove Cluster Node

When you click this option, the selected host is removed from its cluster. You are prompted to verify that you do indeed wish to remove the host from the cluster. At the same time, when the host is removed, any shared storage on the host is also deregistered from VMM.

Connect via RDP

Although VMM can do a lot, it doesn’t fully replace connecting directly to a server to perform maintenance. VMM does make this process a bit easier by allowing you to select a host and click the Connect via RDP button to create a remote session.

However, this assumes that you’ve enabled this ability on the selected Hyper-V host. In Figure 11, you’ll note that I was unable to connect to my host because I had yet to configure Remote Desktop (Figure 12).


Figure 11: Couldn't connect to my host


Figure 12:
Enable Remote Desktop

View networking

Networking can sometimes be tricky in virtual environments and you may need a refresher on a how a particular host’s virtual machines actually get out to the Internet, particularly if you’re trying to troubleshoot a problem. The View networking button provides you with a way to do this quickly. In Figure 13, see a diagram for my very simply lab environment, which consists of a single host running one virtual machine.


Figure 13: A network diagram

Remove

There might come a time when you want to decommission a host permanently. It’s a pretty simple task. Simply select the host in question and click the Remove button. You will be asked to provide appropriate credentials, as shown in Figure 14.


Figure 14: Remove a host from management

Summary

In Part 5 of this series, we will look at the various options available for managing individual virtual machines and will move in to the next available workspace.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

The Author — Scott D. Lowe

Scott D. Lowe avatar

Scott has written thousands of articles and blog posts and has authored or coauthored three books, including Microsoft Press’ Exchange Server 2007 Administrators Companion and O’Reilly’s Home Networking: The Missing Manual. In 2012, Scott was also awarded VMware's prestigious vExpert designation for his contributions to the virtualization community.

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