Multi-hypervisor management with VMware vCenter
Shortly after the release of vCenter 5.1, VMware released “vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0”. With this product you as an administrator are able to manage third party hypervisors like Microsoft’s Hyper-V from within your vCenter installment.
This will give companies more flexibility over what hypervisors they are able to use and thus use the hypervisor they need for each specific situation.
Multi-Hypervisor manager can be installed on the server which also contains the vCenter installation or can be on a separate server. The installation process is pretty straightforward (depending on your installation and security profile, you may have to open up some extra ports). After the installation on the server you will only need to download and install the plugin for the vSphere client (installing the plugin). After the plugin is installed you can open a separate inventory from the vSphere client homepage that will show you all 3th party hosts and their virtual machines.
The inventory from the multi-hypervisor is pretty much identical to what you would see with the vSphere hosts.
(Screenshot taken from techtarget.com)
There are some tabs not present and not all the same features are present compared to “native” management services (vCenter for vSphere hosts and System center for Hyper-V hosts). Things like HA, DRS and vMotion aren’t available with the multi-hypervisor.
Some of the key capabilities that you get with the multi-hypervisor are:
- Adding, removing, connecting, disconnecting and viewing host configurations.
- Create new virtual machines and edit their settings.
- Connect / disconnect DVDs, CD-ROM or ISO images to the virtual machines.
- Perform power operations on both hosts and virtual machines.
- Rolls created within vCenter can also be applied to the 3th party hosts.
As the multi-hypervisor manager is still pretty new, there are some limitations. At the moment there is only support for Microsoft Hyper-V 2(Windows 2008). One might assume this will change in the future, but as Hyper-V is aspiring to become the next big hypervisor, it seems logical to start with this support.
There is also a limit of 200 third party hosts and 500 running virtual machines that can be managed. The limit of 200 hosts isn’t that big of a deal yet, but the limit of 500 running virtual machines might be reached a bit sooner in larger environments.
For companies that use vCenter server standard edition, the multi-hypervisor is free for use. It is not available for the vCenter server foundation or Essentials editions.
I think that the multi-hypervisor is a nice addition to the total suite of products that VMware is offering. So far I have not seen many companies that use two or more hypervisors. This leaves me to believe that it might not be used a lot for now. The add-on sure has potential. Updates will need to make the difference though.