1 Virtualization with Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition Microsoft Corporation Published: March 2006 Abstract Virtualization in the volume server market is starting to see rapid adoption based on the compelling business benefits that it provides. Technical advances in the areas of compatibility, reliability, and scalability of server virtualization solutions are resulting in reduced cost, increased flexibility, and continuity to sustain operations in the face of required server maintenance and even system failures. Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition delivers technical features and software licensing that are designed to help customers take advantage of the benefits of server virtualization technology in today s Information Technology (IT) environment. This paper will outline these features and focus on the scenarios that drive real business benefits. We will also discuss the drive toward dynamic systems, which combine the benefits of server virtualization and comprehensive management tools that allow the use of IT resources to be driven by business policy.
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3 Contents Introduction... 1 The Business Value of Virtualization... 2 Benefits of Virtualization... 2 Server Consolidation... 2 Legacy operating system and software support... 3 Creating a safe and economical testing environment... 3 Creating a more agile infrastructure... 4 Business Continuity... 4 An Example: Microsoft Virtual Labs... 6 The Drive to Dynamic Systems... 6 Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI)... 6 Microsoft Virtualization Technology... 7 Windows Server 2003 R Virtual Server 2005 R Microsoft Virtualization Licensing... 8 Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition Enhanced Virtualization Support... 8 Server Products Licensed by Running Instance... 8 Portable Software Instances... 9 Granular Per Processor Licensing... 9 Virtualization Benefits Today and Tomorrow Related Links... 11
4 Introduction Virtualization allows companies to run multiple operating systems concurrently on a single physical server, providing for much more effective utilization of the underlying hardware. Each Operating System (OS) is contained within a single virtual machine image, which can been be moved from one server to another, run alongside other images on the server, or placed in storage to support testing or backup and restore procedures. This enables IT to meet the goals of both reducing cost and risk by maximizing resource utilization, while at the same time increasing flexibility to respond to changing business demands and continue business operations in the face of outages or disaster. All these applications of virtualization will be discussed in this paper. Computer virtualization has a long history. The first virtual machine-based operating systems emerged in the late 1960s as an improvement over the Compatible Time Sharing System. IBM continued to develop virtualization technology to improve performance through the 1970s and 80s. The late 90s saw the increased use of virtualization for data storage which has driven down costs and increased flexibility for those systems. According to a recent study 1, industry analyst IDC estimates that more than threequarters of all companies with 500+ employees are deploying virtual servers. IDC also found that a little over half of these virtual servers are supporting what the customer considered production workloads. The primary purpose of this paper is to illustrate the business benefits of utilizing server virtualization, introduce new technology features and software licensing that are available in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition to aid Microsoft customers in getting the most out of server virtualization, and outline the long-term vision Microsoft has for Self-Managing Dynamic Systems. 1 Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 1
5 The Business Value of Virtualization Businesses today face the challenge of getting the most out of their hardware investments, while increasing their flexibility to respond to changing business demands, even in the face of disaster. A virtualization strategy can help you achieve both of these goals, by running your virtualization software, such as Microsoft Virtual Server R2, on a reliable and scalable server platform that is designed and licensed to maximize the benefits of server virtualization like Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition. We will now describe several virtualization scenarios, how they are supported by Microsoft technology and licensing, and their ability to help you reduce costs and risk, increase flexibility and provide business continuity to critical applications Benefits of Virtualization In this section, we will describe in detail many of the scenarios that drive the benefits listed above. We will focus first on the scenarios and their benefits, and later go into more detail about specific technologies and licensing changes that make them possible. Server Consolidation Server consolidation is the process of moving multiple applications onto a single physical server, which saves both hardware and ongoing management costs. Microsoft provides a wealth of guidance (see Related Links at the end of this paper) to help customers consolidate both the applications and the Operating Systems onto a single system. For applications that can t be run in the same OS, virtualization allows you to run multiple isolated servers on the same hardware. This benefit allows you to reduce hardware costs and increase average server utilization rates, while still providing an independent OS for each application, if necessary. Virtual Server 2005 R2 is ideal for server consolidation in both the datacenter and the branch office, allowing organizations to make more efficient use of their hardware resources. It also allows IT organizations to enhance their overall productivity and rapidly deploy new servers to address changing business needs. Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition gives customers the right to run up to four virtual instances of the OS with a license for the physical server, delivering the added benefits of increased scalability, headroom, and reliability through clustering. Virtual Server 2005 R2 is also designed to run on the x64 editions of Windows Server 2003 R2 for increased performance, allowing you to run more virtual machines on a single server. National City has experienced tremendous growth over the past three years. With nearly 100 new discretionary line-of-business projects each year each effort requiring at least three servers, for test, quality verification, and production the bank needed to address hardware acquisition, server management, and data center costs. To curb server proliferation, National City piloted Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, running in conjunction with Microsoft Windows Server Based on the results, National City expects to reduce server purchases by at least 90 servers, saving the company a significant amount of money over the next three years. The time required to roll out new servers has shrunk dramatically from 20 hours to 15 minutes per server boosting Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 2
6 the productivity of the information technology (IT) staff and making it possible to speed business-critical applications toward production. 2 Legacy operating system and software support Many corporations run a diverse set of legacy applications, hosted on an array of older operating systems. Virtualization technology allows legacy applications that need an older OS to be isolated in a virtual machine. This virtual machine can run on a server with newer hardware and a newer OS. The technology enables greater application availability, without application upgrades or violating ISV support policies. Virtual Server 2005 R2 enables re-hosting of legacy operating systems (Windows NT Server 4.0 and Windows 2000 Server) and their associated custom applications from older hardware to new hardware running Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition. You can also create virtual images to run non- Microsoft operating systems, facilitating migration. Additionally, Microsoft provides the Virtual Server Migration Toolkit (VSMT) to automatically migrate these legacy systems, including the OS and applications to a virtual machine image, commonly called a P2V (physical to virtual) migration. Creating a safe and economical testing environment Many IT professionals are wary of testing out new products or configurations in a production environment and for good reason. New installations and configurations may adversely affect your IT infrastructure. Virtualization allows you to test out a new solution in a virtual sandbox, keeping your production environment safe. Additionally, virtual machines allow rolling back the complete system image, including OS and application settings, to a known state instantly, drastically reducing testing time. Finally, virtual machines can be used to create a lab which reflects the production environment, without exactly duplicating every physical server configuration, allowing for a drastic reduction in the cost of testing and deploying new software configurations. With virtual machine technology, administrators can quickly recreate a clean operating system environment or system configuration. A virtual image can be set up to simulate a testing or training scenario, and a save state can be created using Virtual Server 2005 R2. This saved state can be copied and easily moved so that the training scenario can be repeated by multiple users or students. Virtual Server 2005 R2 enables businesses to consolidate their test and development server farm and automate the provisioning of virtual machines. A snapshot of a system configuration can be created using save states, and differencing files can be made to illustrate various configurations based on the same initial state. Automation features in Virtual Server 2005 R2 allow unused development and test systems to be saved and spun down when not in use, saving on costs to power and cool a data center or lab. 2 Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 3
7 CIGNA, a major provider of employee insurance benefits, is constantly developing new information technology (IT) applications to efficiently deliver and support those benefits. These development efforts led to an inventory of more than 860 servers in its Testing and Quality Control (TQC) lab by January Typically, only 5 to 10 percent of each server s processing capacity was used. CIGNA wanted to reduce the server count, while still providing a robust development environment. By deploying Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, CIGNA was able to install multiple virtual machines on a single physical server, thus avoiding hardware acquisition costs and increasing server utilization. With this solution, CIGNA will consolidate servers in the TQC lab by at least 25 percent, increase server utilization by 45 percent, create a more consistent test environment, and support more flexible resource allocation. 3 Creating a more agile infrastructure With a hardware based server, it can be difficult to move a server from one piece of hardware to another. Virtual servers can be more easily moved between dissimilar pieces of hardware and backed up and restored as a single unit. Multiple configurations of the same virtual machine can be stored offline. Additionally, virtual servers can be easily saved and stored offline when not in use, further reducing hardware costs and saving on hardware usage and heat in the data center. This agility will allow you to provide different workloads at different times on the same hardware resources. Purchasing, provisioning, and deploying a new physical server to support a new or expanding business application can take weeks or even months. Companies are using virtualization today to more rapidly provision and deploy virtual servers to respond to business demand, cutting the deployment time to days instead of weeks and capitalizing on the hardware savings of having to deploy fewer physical servers to meet application demands. Finally, because virtual machines consist of a single image, applications and the OS that supports them can move from development to test, to staging, and finally into production without concern about the limitations of the underlying hardware being used. Additionally, a snapshot of the machine image can be taken before applying software patches or configuration changes. If the patch or change needs to be rolled back for any reason, the existing snapshot image can be restored to operation immediately, returning the application to service and drastically shortening maintenance windows. Business Continuity Business continuity describes the ability to provide continuous access to critical business applications and communications networks during system failures, outages, and disasters. By leveraging the failover clustering technology in Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition, virtualization can now play a part 3 Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 4
8 in a company s business continuity strategy. By clustering either the physical hosts supporting virtualization or the virtual servers themselves, reliability of the overall system can be improved. First, virtual servers can be paused and moved to another host within a cluster of servers. This mobility allows the host system to be brought down for configuration changes, patching, or other system maintenance. Pausing and moving virtual servers using Virtual Server 2005 R2 can take place in as little as a few seconds, reducing maintenance windows from several hours to undetectable from an end user's point of view. Secondly, failover clustering prevents hardware failures and other outages from drastically affecting application availability. Virtual servers can be configured to fail over to one or more physical hosts, responding in a few seconds and restoring the virtual server state from transaction logs kept on external storage. Additionally, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), a tool for real-time monitoring of both physical and virtual servers, provides a Management Pack for Virtual Server (VSMP). This combination can be used to monitor virtual systems and provide alerts to administrators before minor problems result in major outages, and can also make automatic changes to the environment based on pre-set rules. The combination of the VSMP, Virtual Server and the clustering provided in Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition means that it s now possible to monitor physical hosts and proactively pause and move virtual servers between nodes in a clusters, balancing out the load based on changing conditions, such as month-end processing. Denver Health uses a mainframe application to track nearly every aspect of patient health care, from hospital records to billing information. Connections to the mainframe are routed over SNA (Systems Network Architecture) gateways in the data center. Most of the gateways were running on old, outdated hardware and were not able to support many concurrent connections. In addition, the network did not provide a sufficient degree of redundancy and failover for disaster recovery scenarios. By using Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, Denver Health consolidated the servers into virtual machines, maintaining and improving response time while building redundancy and failover capabilities into the network. Hardware costs were cut by $25,000 per year and network and SNA manageability was improved. We found that we were able to provide a new level of redundancy for disaster recovery. Overall, the Virtual Server solution will continue to replace the majority of our legacy platforms. -Michael Brown, Support Services Manager, Denver Health Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 5
9 An Example: Microsoft Virtual Labs A great example of using virtualization to build a safe an economic lab environment is right here at Microsoft. The Microsoft Virtual Lab team currently uses virtualization to introduce new products and provide training in basic operations for a variety of Microsoft solutions. Virtual Labs are built on virtual images using Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2. The virtual images are hosted online and made available to the general public. A user taking a virtual lab will launch a virtual machine, which will appear to be a machine running in a production environment. With virtual labs, the hardware is virtual, but the experience is real; lab documents take the user through a real-world scenario designed to introduce product features. You can see this innovative use of virtualization in action, and even take a Virtual Lab yourself, at either the Microsoft TechNet (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/traincert/virtuallab/default.mspx) or MSDN (http://msdn.microsoft.com/virtuallabs/default.aspx). Virtual Labs show how a massive implementation of virtual computers can be used by an equally massive customer base. Prior to virtualization, allowing multiple users to access hundreds of labs, many of which contain multiple computers, would be unthinkable. With virtualization, however, multiple instances of hundreds of labs can run on just a handful of servers. The Drive to Dynamic Systems Research 5 has shown that the average company spends as much as three quarters of their budget on maintaining existing systems. Microsoft believes that there is a tremendous amount of customer benefit by combining virtualization with comprehensive management tools throughout the software stack, from the hardware through to the applications. In 2003, Microsoft announced a long term vision called the Dynamic Systems Initiative or DSI, which outlines our strategy for developing, configuring, and managing software throughout its lifecycle. The ultimate goal is to help customers reduce the cost of the managing distributed systems, while at the same time increasing reliability of the solution and providing continuous improvement to the end-user experience. Dynamic Systems Initiative (DSI) DSI is a commitment from Microsoft and its partners to enable IT teams to capture and use knowledge to design more manageable systems and automate ongoing operations, resulting in reduced costs and more time to focus on what is most important to the organization. DSI combines virtualization, management tools that work across physical and virtual systems and applications architecture, and development tools that integrate the design, deployment, and ongoing management of applications, whether they are delivered by Microsoft, a third-party, or developed in house. Customers can take advantage of the benefits of DSI today with products from Microsoft such as Visual Studio, Windows Server, Microsoft Operations Manager and Microsoft Virtual Server. Additionally, DSI is built around open standards and has seen significant industry adoption, ensuring a healthy ecosystem and broad customer choice. 5 Accenture IT Spending Survey Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 6
10 Microsoft Virtualization Technology Microsoft delivers the tools you need to plan and deploy a successful virtualization strategy including a scalable and reliable server platform, powerful, yet easy to use virtualization software, and familiar management tools across physical and virtual servers. Microsoft has an integrated solution for server virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2 and Virtual Server 2005 R2 that delivers scalable and reliable virtual servers that are priced well below competitive offerings. Windows Server 2003 R2 Windows Server 2003 R2 is the most scalable and reliable Windows Server operating system ever offered by Microsoft. Windows Server 2003 R2 was designed to help customers get the most benefit out of recent technical advances in server virtualization. Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition supports the clustering features in Virtual Server 2003 R2 and the iscsi (Internet Small Computer System Interface) data networking protocol for efficient and economical storage integration. Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition also has a licensing model that makes server virtualization more economical. Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition has the scalability features that are particularly important to enable server virtualization. Since virtualization often has many virtual machines running simultaneously, you need headroom in both processing power and memory to power critical applications. Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition supports up to eight processors with Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) and 64 GB of memory in the 32-bit. R2 also supports the newest AMD and Intel x64 processors with record-setting performance and support for up to 1 TB to power the most demanding virtual server configurations. Virtual Server 2005 R2 In conjunction with Windows Server 2003 R2, Virtual Server 2005 R2 provides a virtualization platform that runs most major x86 operating systems in a guest environment, and is supported by Microsoft as a host for Windows Server operating systems and Windows Server System applications. Virtual Server 2005 R2 s comprehensive automation interface, in combination with the VHD format and support for virtual networking, provides administrators complete scripted control of portable, connected virtual machines and enables easy automation of deployment, and ongoing change and configuration. Virtual Server is the most cost effective server virtualization technology designed for the Windows Server System. Additionally, its integration with a wide variety of existing Microsoft and third-party management tools allows administrators to seamlessly manage a Virtual Server 2005 R2 environment with their existing physical server management tools. A wide array of complementary product and service offerings are available from Microsoft and its partners to help businesses plan for, deploy, and manage Virtual Server 2005 R2 in their environment. 6 Just one example of this is the Virtual Server Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager This Management Pack provides alerts for performance, health, and availability conditions for possible bottlenecks and points to solutions to those problems. As a result, this Management Pack can reduce the cost of ownership by enabling proactive management and reducing resolution times for identified issues. 6 See the Virtual Server Homepage at for more details. Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 7
11 In keeping with the integrated nature of the Windows Server System, Virtual Server 2005 R2 has been designed to compliment the features of Windows Server 2003 R2. The Standard Edition of Virtual Server runs on systems with 1-4 physical processors and the Enterprise Edition runs on systems with 4-32 physical processors. This new release of Virtual Server also runs natively within an x64 Windows host operating system, providing increased scalability and memory headroom. Virtual Server 2005 R2 supports the server cluster feature in Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition, so that you can consolidate servers without causing the host servers to become a single point of failure. Should the host system fail, the entire set of guest operating systems in virtual server images will fail over to another host. Additionally, with guest clustering, virtual machines can be clustered with one another. If either the guest operating system or the clustered application on the guest fails, the guest can fail over to another guest, either on the same host or on a different host. To take advantage of server clustering, Virtual Server 2005 R2 requires an iscsi target. Also supported by Windows Server 2003 R2, iscsi connects a server to storage. Because a guest in a guest cluster is a virtual machine, it must communicate with cluster storage through a storage protocol unified with a network protocol, that is, through iscsi. By allowing guest clustering across hosts, iscsi support in Virtual Server 2005 R2 provides the best of both worlds in terms of reliability for virtual servers. This clustering support in Virtual Server 2005 R2 combined with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition and managed with the Virtual Server Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 provides unprecedented reliability for virtual servers and the business applications that they support. Combined with the new virtualization licensing outlined in the next section, customers can take full advantage of the reduced cost, increased flexibility, and business continuity that virtualization has to offer. Microsoft Virtualization Licensing Microsoft is committed to providing the most cost effective licensing that supports the server deployment scenarios in use by our customers. The licensing outlined below, which was announced in October 2005, reflects our desire to create licensing policies that more precisely map how customers are actually using our technology in today s IT environments. This licensing has been implemented across the board for Microsoft s enterprise server products, enabling customers to have a clear and consistent licensing model that they can easily apply to their virtualization solutions. Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition Enhanced Virtualization Support Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition includes the use right for customers to run up to four additional virtual instances of Windows Server with one server license. The four virtual instances provide a cost effective way to virtualize and deliver significant value along with the scalability and reliability features of Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition. As the premier platform for business applications, Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition delivers server clustering for great reliability and increased headroom up to eight processors and up to 64 GB of memory for the 32-bit version and 1 TB for the x64 Edition. Server Products Licensed by Running Instance One common virtualization scenario is to create and store a number of different versions or images based on the same server. This supports testing and lab environments and also can provide the ability Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 8
12 to backup and restore an entire server image very quickly. The installation or instance of that software has been clearly defined in the licensing terms as separate from the license for the software which is associated with a particular physical server. Additionally, this new thought of a running instance has been added to Microsoft s licensing terms for server software. This means that customers can create and store a catalog of offline instances, while only paying for licenses for running instances. Portable Software Instances Additionally, new licensing terms allow customers to move a software installation, or instance, among licensed servers at will. This really allows customers to start taking advantage of the flexibility of virtualization. Granular Per Processor Licensing Windows Server System products that are licensed per processor, such BizTalk Server, SQL Server and ISA, are now licensed by the number of CPUs assigned to the virtual instance running the software, instead of the number of physical processors in the system. This allows customers to create multi-workload virtual servers to balance out I/O requirements while still paying only for what you use. Microsoft strongly believes in the benefits that virtualization provides to customers: flexibility, reduced costs, and the ability to reduce downtime. That is why Microsoft has taken a thoughtful approach to how it licenses server software, providing more value and reducing risk by clearly defining how software should be licensed in a virtual server environment. Microsoft has evolved its policies to reflect how customers are using software today and to enable them to take advantage of emerging technologies. Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 9
13 Virtualization Benefits Today and Tomorrow Whether you have 5 servers or 5000, server virtualization can help you reduce costs, easily respond to changing business demands, and improve the uptime and reliability of your critical software systems. Virtualization for volume servers is rapidly maturing and management products, such as Microsoft Operations Manager and Systems Management Server are increasingly aware of the needs of virtual instances. Virtualization cuts cost by consolidating underutilized servers and providing a much more efficient mechanism for developing and testing software. Virtualization also provides the flexibility today to rapidly provision new servers and to test and roll out (and, if necessary, roll back,) patches or other changes to business-critical applications. Additionally, Microsoft has made significant changes to its licensing model, which allows customers to take full advantage of virtualization solutions today, while reducing risk. As more and more components of the IT infrastructure such as storage, servers, and network become virtualized, the flexibility of the system grows substantially. By enabling business policy to be used as a driver for the systems and resources that are available, you can finally make the move from flexible systems to truly dynamic systems. The goal or end-state of DSI is Self-managing Dynamic Systems (SMDS) that take business policies as an input and use those criteria to manage the access of self-contained applications to the underlying hardware resources. This will solve the problems of high management cost, unresponsive infrastructure, and underutilized capacity. Traditional IT systems live within boundaries: operating systems are tied to hardware they are installed on; applications are fixed into the OS where they are installed; and resources, such as computing power in a server or network bandwidth, have to be allocated in large chunks to service these applications. With the advances in technologies such as virtualization, we see these boundaries beginning to break down. With SMDS, application workloads can take advantage of resources dynamically, consuming more as they need and releasing them when they are done. This selfregulation, which requires advanced management technology along with virtualization, hardware, and software solutions, will drastically reduce the high cost of management currently plaguing the IT industry, freeing resources for continued growth and development. Finally, additional capacity can be added in smaller increments, as demand grows, and immediately added to the pool of available resources. The reliable clustering features found in Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 and supported by clustering in Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition can help you use virtualization for many essential applications, without the worry of a single point of failure. By taking advantage of the four virtual instances included in the license for Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition, customers can build a cost-effective virtualization solution that is reliable and scalable. By combining these technologies with Microsoft Operations Manager and the Management Pack for Virtual Server, customers can start building toward the vision of Self-managing Dynamic Systems today. Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 10
14 Related Links See the following resources for further information: Dynamic Systems Initiative at Windows Virtualization at Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 at Microsoft Virtual Server Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 at FB7EF &displaylang=en Server Consolidation Guidance at For the latest information about Windows Server 2003 R2, see the Windows Server 2003 R2 Web site at Virtualization with Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition 11