System Center 2012 SP1 CTP1 is out and about (VMM)

It hasn’t been very long since Microsoft released the full System Center 2012 RTM product to the world. Already, however, the company is working on the first service pack for the product and with good reason. Microsoft is unleashing to the world a slew of new products that need to be managed by the various System Center components.

In order to be able to support these new products, which include Windows Server 2012 RC, SQL Server 2012, Hyper-V 3, Windows 8 and more, Microsoft has release the first community technology preview for System Center 2012. The Virtual Machine Manager component of this product has a number of new features that will allow it to manage new Microsoft products.

Network virtualization
Windows Server 2012 includes new network virtualization features, which enable teh ability to run multiple virtual network infrastructures with the potential for IP address spaces that overlap. This feature can have positive ramifications for companies that merge with others that might be using identical address spaces since it enables the them to use the same IP addressing scheme without conflict.

In the SP1 CTP VMM release, IP address mappings for virtual machines are created which can take advantage of the network virtualization capabilities in Windows Server 2012.

VHDX support
Hyper-V 3 adds support for a new virtual hard disk format that has a whole lot more expandibility (up to 64 TB) than the older VHD format. With the SP1 CTP release, VHDX becomes the default virtual disk format.

Support for file shares that use the Server Message Block (SMB) 3 protocol
SMB 3 in Windows Server 2012 brings major new functionality and improved performance to SMB. This new protocol and its features can be leveraged by the CTP.

Live migration enhancements
SP1 CTP adds new live migration enahncements that enable no downtime migrations to take place. I’m not going to cover all of the possible options that come with this improvement since they’re outlined in Microsoft’s System Center 2012 SP1 – Virtual Machine Manager Step-by-Step Guide.

System requirements
Another way that the SP1 CTP is different lies in the system requirements. Most of the VMM 2012 SP1 CTP roles require deployment on Windows Server 2012 servers. I’m not sure if this will be the case once SP1 hits RTM, but if it is, that means redeploying VMM 2012. The one exception here is the database; the database can be deployed to either Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

You are also not able to upgrade from a previous version of VMM to the CTP. You must perform a new installation.

Bear in mind that this is a CTP! There are limitations and it shouldn’t be run in a production environment.

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