Richard Preston, Technical Alliance Manager
With System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self Service Portal 2.0 (“SSP”) released this week at TechEd Europe, Microsoft is offering customers a first class ticket for the journey to the private cloud. SSP enables customers to use the flexible and familiar platform and tools from Microsoft and Microsoft partners for their private cloud infrastructure. As covered in the latest Microsoft blog on SSP, these components include Windows Server/Hyper-V, the System Center family of products, and the partner products that integrate with them.
NetApp’s integration with SSP, delivered as part of ApplianceWatch™ PRO 2.1.1 upgrades that ticket to the cloud from Microsoft to an express journey. This new release of ApplianceWatch PRO increases the agility of SSP by accelerating virtual machine provisioning, and increasing storage efficiencies with integration scripts that plug into SSP and call NetApp PowerShell Cmdlets that rapidly provision space-efficient VMs. This integration enhances the way SSP provisions VMs from SCVMM templates by leveraging NetApp FlexClone™ and Snapshot™ technologies to create virtual copies (“FlexClones”) of the VHD file(s) of VM templates. NetApp storage systems can create these FlexClones in just a few seconds, regardless of the size of a VHD file. What’s more, FlexClones initially don’t take up any additional disk space; only when their content diverges from the original VHD file do the deltas take up space on disk.
Without this NetApp integration, provisioning VMs in SSP involves physically copying VHD files, which takes several minutes for a typically sized VHD file, up to a few hours for a 2 TB VHD file (the maximum size supported by Hyper-V).
The beauty of this integration is that the resulting FlexCloned VHD appears to SSP as a “regular” VHD file. Once the FlexClone has been created and presented to SSP, SCVMM initializes and customizes the new VM as it would with any new VM provisioned from an SCVMM template.
An added benefit of NetApp rapid VM provisioning is that it offloads the burden of physically copying VHD files from the SCVMM server. Instead, the storage controller takes on this task, and since it only involves pointer manipulation rather than copying of data, it’s a minimal burden at that.
If you’re attending TechEd in Berlin this week, we’d love to talk with you about your plans for your journey to the private cloud. Please visit us in booth G2 in the Partner Expo when you have a chance.