Single Pane of Glass — Hyper-V Edition

At a recent meeting with financial analysts, Bob Muglia made the following statement:

And what customers are saying is, they have these existing VMware systems, our product, System Center, actually manages VMware. We do a world-class job of managing VMware, so they can use one pane of glass to manage their legacy VMware environments together with their Hyper-V system.

World-class job of managing VMware? Not according to my investigation.  And Network World found much of the same.

One pane of glass to manage VMware and Hyper-V? Not so fast — in order to manage just a Hyper-V environment, you need a whole array of tools:

  • Hyper-V Manager
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 Console
  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 Console
  • System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Console
  • Third-party network interface teaming utility
  • Server Core console configuration tools
  • iSCSI configuration utility
  • Failover Cluster Manager
  • Perfmon
  • … the list goes on

And oh, by the way, you also still need the vSphere Client because SCVMM cannot configure ESX host settings — hardware, storage, networking, resources, etc.

The easiest way to get “single pane of glass” management for Hyper-V is to simply redefine the “pane” to be an LCD display:

The single pane of glass... is your LCD screen.

Presto!  Single pane of glass to manage VMware and Hyper-V.

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20 comments

  1. Ben Armstrong’s avatar

    Hi Eric,

    I certainly believe that making our management experience better is something we need to work on, and this is a drum that I have been beating here at Microsoft for a while now.

    However, I do have some objections with your list.

    You call out Server core / iSCSI / network teaming configuration – and this is definitely something we need to work on. Initial setup here is much more painful than it should be, especially once you add setup of the various management tools. But, I do question whether maybe you should have seperated “setup experience” from “day to day management experience” – as the latter is what Bob is talking about.

    Also – if you are using SCVMM you really do not need to use the Hyper-V Manager or Perfmon. SCVMM allows you to access all the functionality of these tools. From SCVMM you can deploy Hyper-V, configure virtual machines and get up and running without ever touching the Hyper-V manager. In fact this is our recommendation.

    Finally – even if you are using VMware, if you have a number of Windows Server virtual machines, you are highly likely to be using SCOM and SCCM to manage the operating systems in the virtual machines.

    So, if we remove setup (and trust me – if you post about how bad our setup experience is here – I will have no objections :-)) the list looks like this:

    Hyper-V management tools:
    – SCVMM
    – SCOM (for monitoring of physical hardware and guest OSes)
    – SCCM (for patching and deployment of physical hardware and guest OSes)
    – Failover cluster management

    VMware management tools:
    – vSphere client
    – SCOM (for monitoring of guest OSes, but not of the physical hardware)
    – SCCM (for patching and deployment of guest OSes, but not of the physical hardware).

    Cast in that light, I have a hard time buying the argument that Hyper-V has a worse story for day-to-day management of our environment.

    Cheers,
    Ben

    (Microsoft virtualization program manager)

    1. Eric Gray’s avatar

      Ben,

      That’s an interesting position — separating (day to day) virtualization management from install/configure tasks — but I’m not sure it is legitimate. You might be able to frame this in the context of front line NOC technicians vs. systems engineers. But that’s really not the point I am trying to make.

      Thanks for clarifying what Bob Muglia really meant. It’s really hard to decipher the ambiguity coming from Microsoft execs these days — I bet the analysts covering virtualization would appreciate small details like that. See also: Kevin “24%” Turner.

      And based on this Gardner study, SCOM in every environment is not yet “highly likely.”

      A few technical points:
      – The simple, real-time CPU chart in SCVMM does not replace perfmon functionality.
      – VMware shops do not need SCCM — Update Manager patches hosts as well as VMs.

      Thanks for your feedback, but I am standing by my assertions.

      Eric

    2. Rick Schlander’s avatar

      Great post Eric – The fact that you must have the vSphere client loaded on this “single pane of glass” workstation to make any changes to the ESX hosts is really funny…

      1. Eric Gray’s avatar

        Thanks, Rick, glad you enjoyed it.

      2. Edward Aldridge’s avatar

        Good Post…

        I feel the same way regarding your post and have similar feelings on MS Virtualization Products, I like to compare them to herpes.

        “Sure is fun getting them, but hell living with!” lol.

      3. Matt Workman’s avatar

        Great post Eric. In response to Ben’s comment SCCM and SCOM need to used with vSphere client as management tools I completely disagree.

        In our environment we use:

        vSphere client
        WhatsUp Gold 14 for monitoring
        Update Manager for Host patching
        WSUS for Guest patching

        Our environment consists of 16 ESX servers and around 150 VMs.

      4. Eric Gray’s avatar

        Matt, thanks for that affirmation regarding System Center.

      5. mhong’s avatar

        Ben states in his comment above that “if you are using SCVMM you really do not need to use the Hyper-V Manager or Perfmon. SCVMM allows you to access all the functionality of these tools. From SCVMM you can deploy Hyper-V, configure virtual machines and get up and running without ever touching the Hyper-V manager.”

        This isn’t the case if you’re using SCVMM to manage a hyper-v cluster and you want to provision a non-clustered VM. SCVMM won’t let you create non-clustered VMs on a Hyper-V node that’s part of a cluster, so you’ll still need to use Hyper-V Manager.

      6. Fernando’s avatar

        Beautiful re-definition of single pane of glass 🙂
        I can’t stop laughing on the picture !!!

      7. Connie’s avatar

        I am curious, what does mister Muglia have to say about your findings?

      8. Low cost with high SLA’s avatar

        Wow, clearly an exaggeration just to make a point for the author’s favorite team and a waste of our time.

        If I already own hundreds of copies of Windows Server 2008 R2 then I have hundreds of copies of a hypervisor at my disposal. Why should I continue to direct my shrinking budget on VMware when I can leverage what I already own and it is good enough to meet my needs?

        1. Eric Gray’s avatar

          Some people will choose Hyper-V. Looks like you are one of them.

        2. Jason Soled’s avatar

          If you want to use SCOM 2007 and do some management and monitoring of your VMware environment, ditch the SCVMM and go with the nWorks Management Pack for VMware (nWorks now part of Veeam Software). http://www.veeam.com/vmware-microsoft-esx-monitoring.html

        3. Marcel’s avatar

          Eric, don’t underestimate the power of the software bundle. If a company has SA in place (Microsoft Software Assurance), then the package of all the System Center products is pretty cheap. There’s a System Center Essentials bundle (small companies) as well as a System Center Enterprise option (large environments).

          It becomes a hard sell if you’re already paying for this and want to use or keep on using VMware products.

          I agree that the large set of tools required and the additional requirements (clustering, Windows domain membership for your hypervisor) can and will be a pain. It also requires some very good IT people to setup properly.

          But the decision makers don’t care about that, they only look at their spreadsheets. And the IT guy has to suffer. I recently talked to someone who hinted at this. He got some students for a SCOM course who have been going through this.

        4. Eiad Al-Aqqad’s avatar

          Hi Eric,

          Great post as usual. What I have really loved here how you made Microsoft shoot them self in the foot and admit that they have a horrible setup complication. one year after your post and they still suffer the same setup complexity. I see it every where that my company go to conduct a POC of both products. Our VMware team can close a POC in two days, where our Hyper-V team take a minimum of a week. This has been repeated and even when Microsoft is directly involved in the POC it does not shorten the gap much.

          Regards,
          Eiad Al-Aqqad
          http://www.VirtualizationTeam.com

          1. Eric Gray’s avatar

            Thanks, glad you liked it. I’m not surprised it takes your crew much longer to set up Hyper-V POC, it is just much more complex.

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