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Microsoft Announcing Virtualization Solution Accelerators for Upcoming Windows Server 2008 Launch

Daniel Petri


Published on the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Team Blog, Microsoft has announced the upcoming release of several Virtualization Solution Accelerators aimed at helping IT professionals and consultants accelerate adoption and deployment of Microsoft virtualization technologies including Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Virtual Server 2005 R2, Terminal Services, Microsoft Application Virtualization (formerly SoftGrid), System Center Virtual Machine Manager and more.
The Virtualization Solution Accelerators is a collection of automated tools and technical guidance scheduled to be released next month as part of the Windows Server 2008 Launch. It will offer automated assessment and deployment as well as planning and design guidance to securely deploy various virtualization technologies.

From the ASSESS phase, to the subsequent phases (PLAN, SECURE, DEPLOY, and OPERATE), the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Team has been developing several accelerators to assist customers in every stage of their Virtualization IT lifecycle including:

Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP)

Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Solution Accelerator is an integrated tool that makes it easier for IT professionals and consultants to conduct network-wide readiness assessments for migration to Microsoft technologies from servers, to desktops and applications. With the help of its agent-less inventory, performance data gathering, and auto-generated proposal and report generation capabilities, Microsoft customers and partners can now more quickly and efficiently determine the right candidates for Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Windows Vista and more. This tool is the expanded version of the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment tool.

You can Download the MAP tool at this link.
The Microsoft Assessment and Planning tool provides secure, agent-less and network-wide inventory for up to 100,000 computers. It collects and organizes system resource and device information from a single networked computer. Assessment tools often require users to first deploy software agents on all computers to be inventoried but this tool does not.
MAP is capable of discovering and assessing computers and devices on a network that supports Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and those that run on the following operating systems:
Windows Vista Windows XP Professional Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 R2 Windows 2000 Professional or Windows 2000 Server Non-Windows (SNMP-enabled)
To use the MAP tool to determine if your physical servers can be consolidated using Windows Server Virtualization technologies, you need to follow the procedures below:

  1. Capture performance metrics of your selected target of physical servers across your network (if you do not have a list of servers, you may use the Windows Server 2008 hardware assessment of this tool to create a server network inventory first).
  2. Prepare a server consolidation recommendation report using MAP’s virtualization placement routine.
  3. View the reports and proposals.
  4. Go back to STEP 2 and reiterate if you want to change the physical host model in which the workloads will be virtualized.

Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD)

The Infrastructure Planning and Design guides describe the architectural considerations and streamline the design processes for planning and implementing Microsoft infrastructure technologies. Each guide addresses a unique infrastructure technology or scenario including server virtualization, application virtualization, terminal services implementation and more.
Each guide leads the reader through critical infrastructure design decisions, in the appropriate order, evaluating the available options for each decision against its impact on critical characteristics of the infrastructure. The IPD Series highlights when service and infrastructure goals should be validated with the organization and provides additional questions that should be asked of service stakeholders and decision makers.
IPD consists of the following downloadable packages:

  • Infrastructure Planning and Design Series Introduction
  • Selecting the Right Virtualization Technology
  • SoftGrid Application Virtualization
  • Windows Server Virtualization (for Windows Server 2008 virtualization and Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1)

For more information, download the IPD guides at this URL.

Windows Server 2008 Security Guide

The Windows Server 2008 Security Guide provides IT professionals with best practices and automated tools to help strengthen the security of servers running Windows Server 2008.  The guide also provides prescriptive guidance for hardening Terminal Services on servers running Windows Server 2008. Based on extensive experience from customers, government agencies, and Microsoft Corp. security experts, this guide describes how customers can choose from two pre-configured security baselines. Customers can easily tailor the configuration they choose, modifying any security setting to accommodate the unique needs of their organization.
The Windows Server 2008 Security Guide is designed to further enhance the security of the servers in your organization by taking full advantage of the new and improved security technologies and features in Windows Server 2008. Use the guidance to deploy your security baseline quickly and reliably, harden your server workloads, and evaluate security setting recommendations to meet the requirements of your environment.
Download Windows Server 2008 Security Guide at this link.

Microsoft Deployment

Microsoft Deployment decreases the time and cost of client and server deployments through unifying the tools and processes into a common console and collection of guidance. Microsoft Deployment supports the deployment of Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, the 2007 Microsoft Office system and other applications. It also facilitates the deployment of the virtualization role on Windows Server 2008. For fully automated Zero Touch deployments, System Center Configuration Manager is used as the common console for Microsoft Deployment. For organizations without a management infrastructure, Microsoft Deployment provides a Microsoft Management Console snap-in as the common console to manage manually initiated Lite Touch deployments. You can download the Microsoft Deployment Tool at this URL.
For more virtualization articles, please see the Petri Virtualization knowledgebase.

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