System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (Part 5) - Introduction to the Console - Segment C

by [Published on 2 Aug. 2012 / Last Updated on 2 Aug. 2012]

In the previous few articles 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 Virtual Machines 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

Virtual Machine

The Virtual Machine tab becomes visible when you have selected a virtual machine object somewhere in the console. Remember, VMM is very context-driven; the options you’re presented with are dependent on the activity you’re attempting to perform. In Figure 2, you see the full Virtual Machine toolbar.


Figure 2: The Virtual Machine toolbar

Create

The first item on the Virtual Machine toolbar is the Create button. When you select it, you get the two options that you see in Figure 3. When you have a selected virtual machine, you can either clone that virtual machine to create a replica of it or you can choose to create a template using the selected virtual machine as the baseline.


Figure 3: The Create button

Shut Down

Sends a signal to the virtual machine to start a safe, controlled shut down.

Power On

Powers on the selected virtual machine.

Power Off

Powers off the selected virtual machine. This method is akin to simply pulling the power cord or hitting the power button. It does not properly shut down the virtual machine.

Pause

Pauses a running virtual machine.

Resume

Resumes a previously paused virtual machine.

Reset

Resets a running virtual machine.

Save State

When this option is selected, the state of the target virtual machine is saved and the virtual machine is paused. If you select this option, a temporary .vsv file is saved in the same location as the virtual machine. When the virtual machine is restored from the save state, It continues from the saved state. Note that you should never use this option on a domain controller as doing so can introduce significant inconsistencies in Active Directory.

Discard Saved State

Deletes the temporary .vsv file created when you save a virtual machine state. This leaves the virtual machine in an off state.

Migrate Storage

Allows an administrator to migrate a virtual machine’s files to another location.


Figure 4: Migrate virtual machine files to another location

Migrate Virtual Machine

A virtual machine can be migrated between hosts so that workloads can run on any host designated by the administrator. Use the Migrate Virtual Machine option to initiate the process. In Figure 5, note that this button kicks off the Migrate Virtual Machine Wizard. You’re provided with a list of available hosts and the ability of each host to support the intended workload. In the figure below, note that only one of the two potential target hosts is available, so one gets 5 stars and the other gets none.


Figure 5: Migrate a virtual machine to a new host

Note that the figure has a button marked “Expected Utilization.” Click this button to get a screen like the one in Figure 6. Here, you can provide VMM with some estimated figures about the virtual machines workload so that VMM can make a host recommendation that better matches workloads needs.


Figure 6: Provide estimated workload characteristics

Store in Library

Adds the selected virtual machine to the library as-is.

Create Checkpoint

When you create a checkpoint for a virtual machine, you gain the ability to revert the virtual machine to a previous state. It’s common to use checkpoints before performing an upgrade on a system or before applying updates. This way, if something goes wrong, the system can be reverted and you get a “do over.” You can create up to 64 checkpoints for a single virtual machine. Bear in mind that these checkpoints require disk space.

Don’t mistake checkpoints for a backup mechanism. While checkpoints do provide some recovery capability, they’re not intended to replace your traditional protection processes.


Figure 7: Create a new checkpoint

Manage Checkpoints

Once you’re created checkpoints, you need a way to manage them. This is done by clicking Manage Checkpoints, which opens a screen like the one shown in Figure 8.


Figure 8: Manage checkpoints for a virtual machine

Refresh

Refreshes the contents of the screen. This is useful if something has changed behind the scenes and the information on the screen has yet to reflect that reality.

Repair

Not every task that you initiate will be successful. Use the Repair button to restart a job, recover a virtual machine to a previous state or clear the current state of a virtual machine.


Figure 9: Repair a virtual machine

Install Virtual Guest Services

Virtual Guest Services in a virtual machine.

Connect or View

Remote administration of the operating system in a virtual machine running on a host is made a bit easier through the use of the Connect or View button VMM. From here, you can connect to a virtual machine’s physical console or you can connect via RDP if that service is available.


Figure 10: Connect to a virtual machine's console or OS

You’ll also note that there is a View networking option on this menu. When you click that, you get a look at the way that the virtual machine is connected to the rest of the environment. This is shown in Figure 11.


Figure 11: Virtual machine network diagram

Delete

When a virtual machine has outlived its usefulness, it’s time to decommission that machine. You can quickly delete a virtual machine using the Delete button. You are asked to verify your action.


Figure 12: Delete a virtual machine

Properties

The Properties page of a virtual machine provides you with a ton of information about that virtual machine and lets you make some configuration changes that you might find necessary. In Figure 13, you can see the General tab shows you general information about the virtual machine including its name and operating system.


Figure 13: Properties page, General tab

Next, you’re able to get information about the status of the selected virtual machine. In Figure 14, you can see what’s happening on the VM.


Figure 14: Virtual machine, Status tab

The hardware configuration of your virtual machine is probably the most important configuration item you manage. In Figure 15, take note that you can make hardware configuration changes to your virtual machine from the Hardware Configuration tab.


Figure 15: Virtual machine, Hardware Configuration tab

As you add virtual machines through VMM and as virtual machines begin to make use of resources that you’ve added to the VMM library, these resources become dependencies that are necessary in order for the virtual machine to operate. In Figure 16, note that the selected virtual machine has two dependencies—one is an ISO file that is assigned to an existing virtual machine and the other is a virtual hard disk that is loaded inside a virtual machine.


Figure 16: Virtual machine, Dependencies tab

In Part 6 of this series, we will continue our journey of discovery into VMM 2012.

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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