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Microsoft Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0 benefits

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This topic is about a Microsoft Virtual Machine Servicing Tool (VMST) for System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

VMST 3.0 helps you more effectively—and safely—manage the workflow of updating you offline virtualization environment. Using VMST 3.0, you can now service:

  • Offline virtual machines in a SCVMM library.
  • Stopped and saved state virtual machines on a host.
  • Virtual machine templates.
  • Offline virtual hard disks in a SCVMM library by injecting update packages.

The Virtual Machine Servicing Tool manages the workflow of updating large numbers of virtual machines according to their individual needs. You can use the tool to automatically update offline virtual machines in a library, stopped virtual machines on a
host, virtual machine templates, and apply updates directly to virtual hard disks (VHDs). The tool is designed to work with Microsoft® System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 or VMM 2008 R2, and with either of the following software update management systems:

  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 SP1 or WSUS 3.0 SP2.
  • System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1, Configuration Manager 2007 R2, or Configuration Manager 2007 SP2.

Note   The tool also provides the option to manually copy updates to service offline VHDs. The tool works with Windows Task Scheduler to determine when to run the servicing job.

Servicing Offline Virtual Machines in a VMM Library

This feature provides a workflow to automatically update virtual machines stored offline in a System Center Virtual Machine
Manager (VMM) library. While stored, the virtual machines do not receive software updates. The tool enables you to keep offline virtual machines up-to-date so that when you are ready to bring them online, they cannot introduce vulnerabilities into your organization’s IT infrastructure.

You can keep offline virtual machines in the VMM library up-to-date automatically by scheduling and running servicing jobs on
selected virtual machines, and applying operating system and application packages to virtual machines. The following figure illustrates the workflow to service offline virtual machines in the VMM library.

The tool uses a servicing job to manage the update operations. For each virtual machine, the servicing job for this feature:

  1. “Wakes” the virtual machine from the VMM library by deploying it to a maintenance host and starting it.
  2. Invokes either Configuration Manager or WSUS to update the virtual machine.
  3. Shuts down the updated virtual machine and stores it in the VMM library.

The Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0 is straightforward to use. To use the tool:

  1. Install the tool in your environment. A configuration wizard guides you through the process of connecting the tool to VMM and your software update management system.

  • Configure virtual machines, templates, and virtual hard disks groups. You have the option to group your virtual machines, templates, and virtual hard disks to simplify the process of creating servicing jobs.
  • Create and schedule servicing jobs. A servicing job specifies which virtual machines, templates, and virtual hard disks to update, what resources to use for the update process, and when to start the servicing job. You can schedule jobs to run immediately, or to run during low-traffic maintenance windows. You can also schedule servicing jobs to recur at regular intervals to keep your virtual machines up-to-date in the long term.

You can download VMST 3.0 from the Microsoft download site.

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Author: James van den Berg

I'm Microsoft Architect and ICT Specialist and Microsoft MVP System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management

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