Microsoft and VMware aren’t the best of friends. Rarely, if ever, do any VMware tools recognize Hyper-V. It is possible for System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) to manage VMware vSphere (but you probably wouldn’t want to do it as they say that you just get the bare essentials).
Just this month, VMware announced a new free vCenter plugin that will allow vCenter to manage Hyper-V servers, just as it manages ESX and ESXi servers. This plugin is available from the VMware Labs website where VMware demonstrates their engineers’ pet projects. This new plugin is called the “vCenter XVP Manager and Converter”. I know, the name of the plugin doesn’t hint that it can be used to manage Hyper-V but it does.
Not only can the plugin enable management of Hyper-V servers, it also allows vCenter to convert virtual machines from Hyper-V to vCenter. As you can guess, it’s likely that VMware created this tool for other reasons than to just help out shops with mixed hypervisors. With the one-way conversion from Hyper-V to vCenter, this tool allows companies (and Admins) to make the jump from Hyper-V to vCenter, all within the familiar vCenter interface.
Here are the critical specs on XVP:
- Management of the following Microsoft Hyper-V platforms:
- Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (64-bit) with Hyper-V role enabled
- Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V role enabled
- Familiar vCenter Server graphical user interface for navigating through and managing non-vSphere inventory
- Ease of virtual machine migrations from non-vSphere hosts to vSphere inventory
- Compatible with VMware vCenter Server 4.0 & 4.1
- Scalable up to management of 50 non-vSphere hosts
Downloading vCenter XVP Manager and Converter
You can download vCenter XVP Manager and Converter from VMware Labs. Like all other flings from VMware Labs, XVP is totally free (but unsupported).
To download XVP, all you have to do is to accept the technical preview agreement and click Download. The 25MB file downloaded quickly and I was looking at the contents of the ZIP file in no time. Inside the downloaded ZIP file, you’ll find an install guide, release notes, and the XVP application executable.
Installing vCenter XVP Manager
I ran the executable that I downloaded and went through the typical Windows install without trouble.
As part of the install, I had to enter my vCenter server hostname and administrative credentials.
Also during the install, I had to give the XVP server a name.
Once installed, I went to my vSphere Client then up to the Plug-ins drop down menu.
Now, I had to install the newly available VMware vCenter XVP Manager plugin, made available by the XVP Manager install. I clicked Download and Install on the new plugin and went through the quick install which, as you can see, ended in Figure 7.
Once the XVP Manager plugin was installed, I could go to my vSphere Client home screen and, under inventory, see the new Third-Part Hosts icon that you see in Figure 8.
After clicking on Third-Party Hosts, this brings you to the Getting Started tab for the new XVP Manager. Notice how, from here, you are prompted to Add a Third-Party Host or Import a Third-Party Virtual Machine (VM).
I chose to Add a Third-Party Host, as you see in Figure 10. I entered my Hyper-V server IP address and administrative credentials to allow my vCenter server to manage my Hyper-V Server.
As you can see in Figure 11, the Hyper-V server is now being managed by vCenter along with the virtual machine running in Hyper-V.
If we go to the Summary tab we can see the manufacturer and model of the Hyper-V server as well as stats about the number of CPUs, amount of RAM, CPU utilization, and disk capacity. We can also opt to shutdown or reboot the Hyper-V server here.
On the Configuration tab, we can see more info on the server hardware, memory, and networking configuration of the Hyper-V server. However, you’ll find that you can’t make configuration changes to any of these areas.
By right-clicking on the VM notice that you have power control over it, can access the console or edit its settings.
Finally, notice how you can access the console of the Hyper-V VM, directly from the vSphere Client, once XVP Manager is up and running.
In summary, you have some control over the Hyper-V server and VM but not as much control as you have over ESX/ESXi servers and their VMs. Remember that the real goal of XVP Manager isn’t to keep the Hyper-V server and VMs around forever, it is to convert these VMs to vSphere and shutdown the Hyper-V server. If you do want to convert the VMs, you’ll likely want to install VMware Converter on the vCenter server to help you make those conversions as quickly and easily as you can.
No matter VMware’s intentions in releasing the XVP Manager, I applaud them for releasing a free tool for vSphere that helps to build the bridge between Hyper-V and vSphere servers in the datacenter.