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Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert Server 2012: Server Infrastructure


Passed my Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert Server 2012: Server Infrastructure cert today πŸ™‚


So not surprisingly I was OK with the Identity and Access Solutions bit (that’s my job after all), but I knew I needed to learn more about System Center 2012, particularly Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). I bought some new kit for my lab and have learned a lot about this stuff, it’s pretty cool actually. I think it’s even ready to start displacing VMware (assuming you can get over the “Microsoft virtualization? No chance!” cries from the enterprise architecture teams). SMB 3.0 is pretty cool too, just run your VMs off a network share now (cf ESX and NFS).

All in all this “New” MCSE is tougher to achieve than the “Old” MCSE, or the MCITP for that matter, which I assume was MSFT’s intention.

  1. Congratulations. I think you are the first person I’ve heard say that SCVMM may be ready to displace vCenter. As one of those guys you’d have to convince πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear what you liked about SCVMM.

  2. Hi Keith

    I’m not suggesting that it can compete on all levels, but certainly there are going to be compelling reasons for some shops to go Hyper-V/SCVMM. Chief among these is price; this mid-size client I am at now got quotes for System Center host licenses (all the SC components so SCOM, SCCM etc as well) for approx 1/3 of the price of vcenter. There are myriad ways to license these things, with an Enterprise Agreement it would deffo be cheaper still, and those quotes didn’t include vcloud director. Price is nothing if the system you buy doesn’t have the features though, which is what stopped most places looking at the last version.

    I think SCVMM is basically aiming at vcenter and vcloud director now (disclaimer: I don’t really know director, but I have seen it used), and a bunch of the stuff that was missing in the last version is now there to compete with vsphere (e.g. DRS, storage vmotion etc), although there are still more features in the vmware world. You know what MSFT are like; they try to get into something, first couple of versions are crap, then they generally nail it. I like the fact you can deploy hosts, VMs or whole services (vApp-ish I guess) easily (and offer this as multi-tenant self-service), that you can host the VM files on SMB (3.0) fileshares, that EVERYTHING is powershell-able and the fact that you can integrate tightly with the other SC components (e.g. do ‘DRS’ based on anything SCOM can monitor, create workflows with Orchestrator or patch all the hosts in a cluster automatically with no VM downtime). SC also provides endpoint protection so you could feasibly avoid paying for other AV solutions, although I haven’t bothered to investigate this. The familiar look and feel of MSFT stuff will be good for those small shops just getting into virtualisation too.

    For smaller shops where SAN was previously out of reach due to cost they could now conceivably buy a cheap direct attached storage array, connect two low-spec servers running 2012 and create highly available SMB 3.0 fileshares (the new ‘scale out file server’ cluster type) for 10% the price of a ‘proper’ SAN. This can then be a NAS system and VM storage location for a hyper-v cluster.

    Caveat; I haven’t tested these things under production load yet, so perhaps it will all fall to pieces and I’ll look dumb πŸ™‚

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