Extending Microsoft Hyper-V with Advanced Automation and Management from Citrix

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1 Extending Microsoft Hyper-V with Advanced Automation and Management from Citrix August 2009

2 Table of Contents Introducing Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V 3 Challenges of Server Virtualization 3 Components of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V 4 StorageLink 5 Provisioning services 6 Automated lab management 8 Interoperability for heterogeneous environments 9 Summary 9 Page 2

3 Introducing Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V Citrix Essentials is a unique server virtualization product line that extends advanced virtualization automation and management capabilities to the two mostly widely adopted free virtualization platforms, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer. Citrix s heritage and experience with the XenServer virtualization platform has resulted in the availability of a rich set of advanced management capabilities equally applicable to users of Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V is also a direct result of Citrix s 20-year partnership with Microsoft. Citrix s track record in server virtualization combined with its history of embracing and extending the Microsoft Windows platform makes it uniquely qualified to help customers get more value from their Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager investments. Figure 1: Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V Challenges of server virtualization Server virtualization produces tremendous benefits for any organization: enhanced agility, higher availability, better responsiveness to the business, and cost savings through hardware consolidation and reduction of power consumption. Even as those tremendous benefits are realized, some new challenges can appear. A new layer of software, the hypervisor, is introduced and needs to be managed. Without the physical constraints on the creation of virtual servers and applications, it becomes all too easy for VM sprawl to appear, where virtual environments grow unchecked and consume more resources than originally envisioned. These resources can include physical storage and server resources, as well as human resources required to support the unanticipated maintenance burden from new applications and virtual machines that didn t previously exist. Page 3

4 Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V was designed to augment the capabilities of Hyper-V implementations, including: Easing the installation and ongoing management of the Hyper-V software Streamlining the configuration of SAN storage used by Hyper-V virtual machines Managing VM sprawl and the resulting increase in storage utilization and maintenance effort Managing the lifecycle of VM s due to the growth in applications, platforms, and configurations Leveraging the SAN storage investments including thin provisioning, snapshots, and cloning used for server virtualization deployments Components of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V consists of several components, which can be used as individual tools or collectively to extend the capabilities of Hyper-V deployments. StorageLink - optimizes and streamlines the usage of SAN storage by Hyper-V virtual machines. Especially where the SAN infrastructure and virtualization infrastructure are managed by different groups, StorageLink allows Hyper-V to achieve the agility benefits promised by the adoption of server virtualization. StorageLink also enables the virtualization administrator to leverage native SAN features when managing Hyper-V VM s including SAN-based snapshots, clones, and thin provisioning without having to depend on the storage administrator. Dynamic provisioning services - enables the base Hyper-V software to be maintained centrally instead of on each physical host. When security updates, patches, and service packs need to be applied to Hyper-V, all hosts can be updated from one master image and rolled out to all hosts by simply rebooting the hosts to the new image. Automated lab management - enables software applications to be delivered and maintained more quickly, costeffectively, and reliably through the creation of virtual lab environments. These virtual lab environments enable users to centrally manage and self-serve virtual infrastructure in the lab, and makes it easy for various software configurations to be tested. Interoperability for heterogeneous environments allows administrators to manage Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer environments with a common set of tools. The advanced management capabilities of Citrix Essentials are applicable to both Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer. Furthermore, Hyper-V and XenServer share a common virtual hard disk (VHD) format, allowing virtual machines to be moved from one platform to the other without requiring a conversion. Page 4

5 StorageLink For Hyper-V deployments leveraging SAN storage for virtual machines, the agility benefits promised by server virtualization may be hindered by the normal segregation of responsibilities within an IT department. When SAN storage is managed by one group and the Hyper-V virtualization environment is managed by another, this may result in inefficiencies during the process of creating and managing virtual machines. Specifically, the storage administrator may need to be closely involved in the creation of each new Hyper-V virtual machine. With Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V, the coordination between these two groups is simplified and leads to greater agility. The virtualization administrator asks the storage administrator to provision a block of storage for virtual machines on the SAN just once. StorageLink enables this block of storage to be rendered as a Storage Repository which can then be used by Hyper-V virtual machines. When new virtual machines are provisioned by the virtualization admin, StorageLink ensures that storage is automatically provisioned on the SAN--without having to depend on the storage administrator. In addition to provisioning benefits, StorageLink enables virtualization administrators to access native SAN features like snapshots and cloning, without having to be granted administrative privileges to SAN management tools. Figure 2: StorageLink integration with SAN Storage Page 5

6 Figure 3: StorageLink Console Dynamic provisioning services Delivering Hyper-V to Bare Metal Servers Dynamic provisioning services enable the base Hyper-V software to be maintained centrally instead of on each physical host. In large or growing Hyper-V environments, this feature is invaluable for managing the base Hyper-V software. Through the creation of a golden master virtual disk (vdisk), provisioning services streams the Hyper-V bits from a centralized server to the bare metal servers during the boot process. The vdisk encapsulates the entire Hyper-V installation, and the streaming process ensures that each host is configured with the required unique identifiers (i.e. host name and IP address). Take the example of a Hyper-V deployment of twenty host servers, where several hundred virtual machines are hosted on SAN storage. The base Hyper-V software on each of these host servers will be identical, except for minor differences such as the host name and IP address. In a deployment without Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V, the Hyper- V software on all twenty hosts will need to be managed independently. With Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V, the installation and ongoing management of the Hyper-V software becomes dramatically easier. Instead of having to install twenty different instances of Hyper-V, dynamic provisioning services allows administrators to manage one common virtual disk, or vdisk for all 20 Hyper-V hosts. The virtual disk Page 6

7 image, including the Hyper-V software itself, is streamed to each physical host server during the boot process, and certain identifiers (like host name and IP address) are applied to each host to maintain uniqueness. When a change to the base Hyper-V code is required, such as a hotfix or service pack, the base vdisk is updated and then all Hyper-V hosts are updated with a simple reboot. If an unexpected problem should occur with a Hyper-V update, hosts can easily be reverted back to a known good vdisk by simply rebooting. Streamlining Management of Virtual Machines Dynamic provisioning services can also be used to simplify management of virtual machines, particularly for workloads like web servers or Citrix XenApp servers with multiple, identical instances running across different hosts and virtual machines. For example, in a XenApp farm running twenty VM instances of SAPGUI across five hosts, each of these twenty virtual machines can be streamed from one common vdisk using provisioning services. This greatly reduces the amount of effort required to apply patches or updates, and provides peace of mind with the ability to roll back to a known good vdisk state if an unexpected issue should occur due occur during an update. Whether used for delivering Hyper-V to bare metal servers or workloads to Hyper-V VM s, provisioning services is unique and powerful technology that must be seen to be fully appreciated. Figure 4: Streaming the Hyper-V software image to multiple hosts Figure 5: Delivering workloads to virtual machines with provisioning services Page 7

8 Automated lab management Automated lab management enables software companies and enterprise IT organizations to leverage Hyper-V to consolidate and automate IT lab infrastructure so that applications can be delivered and maintained more quickly and cost-effectively. This capability can dramatically reduce the manual effort, time, and IT resources required to develop and maintain higher quality software applications. Automated lab management also addresses the problem of VM sprawl that can arise in Hyper-V deployments used for test & development. Because server virtualization enables VMs to be provisioned more easily and at much lower cost than physical server environments, the environment can grow unchecked. As a result, server and storage resources can be consumed needlessly. Automated lab management prevents this through the configuration expiration policies, which can automatically reclaim resources after specified (or mandated) periods of time. To illustrate the challenges addressed by automated lab management, consider a typical development scenario. The target application needs to be tested on multiple operating systems, and at all service pack levels of those operating systems. The QA organization consists of multiple testers who independently test the application under these supported configurations. Without the benefits of Citrix Lab Manager to ensure proper test sandboxes, each tester would need their own VM image library from which the desired test environment is deployed. As the matrix of test environments increases, and the pool of testers increases, so too does the storage requirement for the base images and the management overhead to keep the lab functioning efficiently. Citrix Lab Manager simplifies lab operations by providing lab users with one click deployment from a list of administrator approved configurations. Configurations consist of one or more VMs with specific behaviors including network isolation, installed software and machine configuration. When a user deploys a configuration, Lab Manager automatically clones the base images, applies the desired network isolation and installs and configures the software environment. Once the user has completed their work, all resources associated with the configuration are automatically released for other users. Through the use of configurations, automated lab management ensures that consistent virtualized environments can be easily deployed, and that multiple instances of the same configuration can be used by different testers. Figure 6: Automated lab management Page 8

9 Interoperability for heterogeneous environements The advanced management capabilities provided by Citrix Essentials are applicable to both the Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer platforms. In addition, Citrix and Microsoft have worked closely to ensure that the Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) formats for XenServer and Microsoft are compatible. This means that virtual machines can be moved from one platform to the other, without any requirement to convert them. For customers, the interoperability between Hyper-V and XenServer enabled by the Citrix-Microsoft partnership ensures that the choice of underlying virtualization platform does not limit the advanced management capabilities available to them. Summary The advanced management capabilities in Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V provide significant benefits to Hyper-V deployments. By using Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V, Microsoft Hyper-V customers are the beneficiary of Citrix s unique strength in server virtualization and its proven track record of augmenting and extending Microsoft s key platforms. For more information on Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V, please see Page 9

10 Citrix Worldwide Worldwide headquarters Citrix Systems, Inc. 851 West Cypress Creek Road Fort Lauderdale, FL USA T T Regional headquarters Americas Citrix Silicon Valley 4988 Great America Parkway Santa Clara, CA USA T Europe Citrix Systems International GmbH Rheinweg Schaffhausen Switzerland T Asia Pacific Citrix Systems Hong Kong Ltd. Suite 3201, 32nd Floor One International Finance Centre 1 Harbour View Street Central Hong Kong T Citrix Online division 5385 Hollister Avenue Santa Barbara, CA USA T About Citrix Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:CTXS) is the global leader and the most trusted name in application delivery infrastructure. More than 200,000 organizations worldwide rely on Citrix to deliver any application to users anywhere with the best performance, highest security and lowest cost. Citrix customers include 100% of the Fortune 100 companies and 98% of the Fortune Global 500, as well as hundreds of thousands of small businesses and prosumers. Citrix has approximately 6,200 channel and alliance partners in more than 100 countries. Annual revenue in 2008 was $1.6 billion Citrix Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Citrix, Citrix Presentation Server, Citrix XenServer are trademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc. and/or one or more of its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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