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Microsoft Bows Self-Service Virtual Machine Tool

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Microsoft announced that it is shipping version 2.0 of a tool that lets corporate service providers set up and manage their own virtual infrastructure on a self-service basis.

New release of Microsoft’s self-service portal aims to improve data center administrators’ ability to quickly provision virtual machines for internal customers.

The new product’s name — Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 Release 2 (R2) Self-Service Portal (SSP) 2.0 — is quite a mouthful.

“VMMSSP (also referred to as the self-service portal) is a fully supported, partner-extensible solution built on top of Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and System Center VMM,” said a post announcing the release on the VMMSSP Team Blog.

“You can use it to pool, allocate, and manage resources to offer infrastructure as a service and to deliver the foundation for a private cloud platform inside your datacenter,” the blog post, by a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) spokesperson, continued. VMMSSP is targeted for use by both data center managers as well as by business unit users.

The blog notes the new version is significantly different from the pre-existing VMMSSP. For instance, virtual machine actions are “extensible.”

“Datacenter administrators [can] work with hardware vendors and partners to customize [VMMSSP 2.0’s] actions to match their own capabilities or requirements,” the post said.

Additionally, the new self-service portal aims to cut the time required for provisioning infrastructure components as well as aiding in maintaining consistency among infrastructures.

Despite its numbering scheme, though, version 2 is not an upgrade from 1.0. Instead, system administrators can deploy either or both of the self-service portals, the post said.

VMMSSP lets administrators pool infrastructure assets including network, storage, load balancers, virtual machine templates, and domains, for use by business units. It also provides tools to simplify validation and provisioning of virtual infrastructure for datacenter administrators responding to business unit IT managers’ requests.

Running VMMSSP 2.0 requires Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise or Datacenter edition, Windows Server Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0, and VMM 2008 R2, as well as SQL Server 2008 Enterprise or Standard edition. Other requirements include the .NET Framework 3.51 Service Pack 1 (SP1), Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ), and Windows PowerShell 2.0.

VMMSSP 2.0 is available for download here.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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