- Site-to-site network connections using private IP address:
- Simplified guest IP management: Support for setting guest IP address configuration through VMM and support for dynamic IP addresses, primarily to enable guest clusters.
- Site-to-site NVGRE gateway: Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview delivers new functionality for site to site gateways for Hyper-V network virtualization. This enables hosters of virtualized networks to achieve higher capacity, better reliability and offer options for the tenants of these networks using all Microsoft software. System Center 2012 R2 provides this functionality by having inbox support for this site to site gateway solution and by expanding the current set of options for virtualized networks to take advantage of these new capabilities.
Enhancements to connectivity options of virtual machines networks to enable most tenant scenarios. This includes multiple site-to-site tunnels, and direct internet access through a network address translation (NAT) firewall. These capabilities are available by using the inbox Windows and System Center components.
- Cisco NVGRE (Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation): This release allows the VMM provider API surface to be more flexible to address a variety of network services, and simplify the user experience at the same time. For example, network services such as load balancers are able to function as network virtualization gateways, and switch extensions have access to network virtualization policy to determine who owns the packets that are being sent.
- IP Address Management (IPAM) integration
- Top of rack switch integration
- Forwarding extensions for Hyper-V extensible switch work with Hyper-V network virtualization (Cisco 1KV and NVGRE)
Virtual Machines and Cloud
- Differencing disks: Optimized support for differencing disks (both .vhd and vhdx file formats) to improve the performance and reduce costs of virtual machine provisioning. Differencing disks also reduce storage requirements by allowing a large percentage of disk data to be shared among multiple virtual disks, optimizing both storage and migration costs. This can be critical in hosting scenarios in which large numbers of virtual machines are created from a small set of initial virtual disks.
- Live Cloning of virtual machines: Support for a new Hyper-V feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview. With live cloning, virtual machines are exported without downtime, allowing users to avoid creating and configuring new virtual machines to match existing virtual machines.
- Online VHDX resize: For Hyper-V hosts running Windows 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, support for online resizing of VHDx disks while the disks are in use. This supports the Online Resizing feature of Hyper-V.
- Enhanced support for Windows Server 2012 Dynamic Memory Features: Dynamic memory settings can be changed and applied to on a running or paused virtual machine.
- Grant permissions to users for each cloud: Administrators can easily customize the scope of permitted actions that users and user roles can perform on a per-cloud basis. This eliminates the need to create a new user role for every combination of action/user/cloud.
- Support for file-based virtual machine customization process. Ability to inject a file into a specific path in the virtual machine drive or file path prior to the first boot. Also, arbitrary file retrieval, and symbol search and replace.
- Leverage of the new Hyper_V file transfer API in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview to transfer files into guest operating systems. This is supported when both the host’s and the guest’s operating system is Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, the guest is running virtualization guest services and is not connected to any networks which has access to VMM library servers. When a virtual machine is running on a Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview host and has no connection to a network with access to VMM library servers, file transfers during service servicing take advantage of these new hyper-v APIs.
- Ability to create Windows and Linux-based virtual machines and multi-VM Services, from a gallery of templates.
- Faster live migration, and support for migration of Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview operating system.
- Virtual Fibre Channel support: Support management of Fibre Channel fabrics and the automated provisioning of virtual machines with connectivity to storage over Fibre Channels fabrics.
- Management of zones
- Support for Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX): Enhanced support for high availability scenarios, providing continuous availability of the VMM management server service during planned and unplanned downtime. This is critical in a hoster/service provider environment.
- Shared VHDX support: Support for SQL failover clustering and high availability VMM with shared VHDX storage to provide a highly available SQL farm. This supports guest clustering by allowing users to deploy in-guest high availability applications.
- Provision scale-out file server cluster from bare metal.
- Integration of storage with differencing disks optimizations.
- Storage spaces File: File server management encompasses the full lifecycle of a file server from provisioning to steady-state management which frees a cloud administrator from having to build or integrate different tools for storage management. Management of the file server supports the Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview integrated experience for storage, computing, and networking, from initial provisioning to on-going monitoring. This integrated experience incorporates management at scale across multiple racks and thousands of managed devices.
- Services on Xen: Support for deploying VMM in System Center 2012 SP1 services to XenServer Hosts.
- Allow the script that runs on the first deployed virtual machine to be different than the script that runs on the other virtual machines in the tier.
- Allow for an auto-task to resume after virtual machine failover.
- Expanded computer scope for VMM update management.
- Management packs are updated with new metrics for chargeback purposes that are based both on allocation and utilization. This provides better integration with chargeback and reporting, and enables monitoring of tenant-based utilization of resources that allows chargeback and billing.
- Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview and Windows 8.1 Preview, in various roles such as the VMM management server, the VMM library server and Hyper-V host.
- Enhancements to replication and recovery: Added support for the new disk based replication technology in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview. With this improvement, VMM is enhanced to provide the infrastructure that is required by SRS to enable cloud based replication.
- In Setup, addition of direct links to missing pre-requisites.