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Whilst the concept of self-service users existed in SCVMM 2008 it’s been expanded in this new version. Self-service users can now use either the web based self-service interface (for backward compatibility) or a locked down version of the SCVMM console.
Self-service empowerment in SCVMM 2012 ^
They can create VMs across all three hypervisors through SCVMM and they deploy their VMs to private clouds. Administrators create self-service user roles and assign these to clouds with each user role having specific quotas for their resources. There’s a simple network diagram that self-service users see when they deploy their VM(s) to a cloud. Unlike SCVMM 2008 self-service users can create their own templates and profiles if given permission to do so and they can now also create VMs from building blocks such as VHDs, rather than being limited to administrator provided templates.
Self-service users cannot see hosts, host groups, library servers and shares or network / storage configuration, they only see available capacity and quota usage within their cloud. Another improvement from earlier versions is that self-service users can now share files through a special area of the library provided they have permissions to do so.
Services deployment in SCVMM 2012 ^
Another new concept in SCVMM 2012 is a service. A service template contains all the settings for a group of VMs that work together in one or more tiers and can also contain load balancers. The whole service can then be deployed in one fell swoop and if the load increases in the future a service can be scaled out with additional VMs automatically. If changes need to be made a service can be serviced, either in image mode where each VM is updated with a new image or in conventional mode where only the applicable changes are applied. There’s the notion of upgrade domains that controls which VMs are shut down during upgrades to minimize the impact on the availability of the service. The new VMM Service Template Designer makes the task of creating a service easy.
VM and service templates can be exported to XML files based on Open Virtualization Format (OVF), these can then be imported on other SCVMM machines and remapped to VHDs and other resources. Exported settings can optionally include sensitive data such as passwords which are then encrypted.
There are lots of other smaller enhancements that I haven’t mentioned in this article; custom properties can now be named and their value pairs matched in scripts (only put these VMs on hosts where brand equals “HP”). Intelligent placement from the earlier versions has been enhanced and there are now capability profiles that allow you to specify properties (RemoteFX capable for instance) and match these at VM deployment time.
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If the rest of this article hasn’t convinced you of the big changes in SCVMM 2012 consider the fact that the number of available PowerShell cmdlets have gone from about 182 to 432. SCVMM 2012 is a huge leap forward in managing virtualized datacentre environments and together with Dynamic Memory in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 brings a serious challenge to VMware’s dominance. It will be interesting to see what happens in technology for server virtualization and private clouds over the next year or two.