Some useful virtualization related tools

During my work and forum searching i found out below tools are more valuable for virtualization server admins and whoever interested in this technology.

1. VHD TOOL – Really cool piece of software which allows you to create VHD files very fast plus do repair on VHD files when things go wrong. It has many features and you can find the other users comments and how this tool save their life.

2. The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool – If you are managing a virtual environment then you should have virtual server templates power down for sometime and maybe even production servers you created for R&D. when you bring them online due to lack of critical patches you introduce new security breach condition to your network.

So here we have the answer from Microsoft itself for the issue, Microsoft’s Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool. Currently in Version 2.1, this solution accelerator integrates System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) with Windows Server Update Services or ConfigMgr patching infrastructure to automatically wake up dormant virtual machines, trigger a software-update cycle, shut down VMs and return them to a library.

3. StarWind V2V Converter – There are lot of tools to do the P2V, V2V and Microsoft also itself has software under SCVMM. But this software is is free of cost and do convert VMware and Citrix virtual images. StarWind company is very familiar for most of us as a provider of free ISCSI target software (http://www.starwindsoftware.com/free) . (Personally I prefer that piece of software)

4. HYPER-V  Performance monitoring – Virtualization is all about performance management and resource management for most of us. But one key issue is monitoring each virtula pc performance with given Microsoft tools are painful. Sometimes there are time we don’t get the accurate details real-time (though not relevant all the time 🙂 )

Anyway I found out Tim Managan’s HyperV_Mon is more useful on this job. This tool lines up the performance metrics across multiple virtual machines to provide a graphical representation of performance. The result is a single view of everything you need to keep tabs on a virtual environment.

PS: You’ll find more tools on the given web link above on his web site.

There will be more tools out apart from which I found useful and shared over here. I gladly welcome if others find more useful tools and share the information with the community.

User role customization in scvmm self service portal

One of my colleague brought a question for me which was interesting to consider and do some solution lookup. His requirement is to assign virtual pc’s to selected users and and only allow them to see the necessary virtual pc’s assigned to them. Of course this seems to be an easy task under the SCVMM but things didn’t went as smooth as I try to explain him when it comes to practical world 🙂

Below is the steps we carried out first,

1. Assign a user account certain rights under the SCVMM – Under this I have taken one domain user account and then assign the particular user with the relevant permissions.

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Select the actions user can carry out in the VPC. In this scenario I have kept him all the action which is possible under SCVMM console.

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2. In order to make this VPC visible in his Self User Portal I had to give ownership of this VPC to relevant user,

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Once that part is completed, our selected user can see the relevant VPC under his SCVMM.

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All are fine when we ran into next issue. What is this user is absent and we need to do some maintenance or overlook this VPC for a troubleshooting purpose? VPC ownership can be given for only one user at a time so another use won’t see this VPC under his Self Service Portal. Finally we managed to solve the problem by assigning the ownership of the VPC’s to a GROUP instead of user accounts. Funny this remind me the fundamentals of the Windows ACL. (Accounts into Groups and then provide Permission to that)

Same theory we managed to apply over here as follows,

First create a relevant service level groups in the Active Directory database, and then add the relevant user.

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Move to SCVMM server and under the Administration section add the Group and provide the same permission provided as above for a single user,

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next under the Virtual Machines section select each VPC and select the group we created as the owner.

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Once that completed and log in using one of the user account in that group we’ll be able to see the virtual Pc’s assigned to particular Group,

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In a scenario when the relevant users does not exist Administrator still have the privilege of logging in and do the necessary modifications to VPC’s. Even though it would be ideal if we can have the option of assigning permission for each VPC and still allow other users to access the same VPC though User Portal.