In early 2009, Microsoft IT had implemented virtualization in a lab environment for Configuration Manager pilot deployment and scenario validation. Based on the pilot results, Microsoft IT decided that four Configuration Manager site roles—Distribution Point, Management Point, and Software Update Point—would be virtualized worldwide, starting with one of the largest primary sites serving its corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington US. Also as part of phase 1, Microsoft IT started virtualization in regional branch offices, which helped the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 administrators to virtualized distribution points and secondary sites in the regions.
As of January 2010, the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 primary site that serves the Redmond campus, which manages ~50 percent of the clients at Microsoft, has been completely virtualized except for the Site Database role. In addition to the Redmond campus primary site, the Europe region primary site was migrated to a virtualized environment. The goal for calendar year 2010 is to continue to push forward with implementing virtualization for all three site roles in all regional locations.
Using virtualization in phase 1, Microsoft IT was able to reduce the total number of physical servers from 42 to 10, hosting the same number or more System Center Configuration Manager 2007 site roles. In addition, virtualization has provided the enhanced feature of server manageability through System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 as well as reduced operating and capital expenses for the data center.
Primary Sites in green circles have been virtualized (few in progress) for four site roles - Distribution Point, Management Point, Software Update Point, and Site Provider.
Primary Sites in blue circles are planned for virtualization in 2010 for four site roles - Distribution Point, Management Point, Software Update Point, and Site Provider.
Central Site in black circle is out of scope of virtualization
Disclaimer: Microsoft IT’s System Center Configuration Manager 2007 hierarchy has ~130,000 clients assigned at a primary site and 275,000 clients managed in a hierarchy due to unique business requirement. The supported System Center Configuration Manager 2007 limit is 100,000 per primary site and 200,000 per hierarchy without a custom support agreement with Microsoft Corporation.
Stay tuned for more details as we make progress for Configuration Manager Virtualization using Microsoft Windows Server® 2008 R2 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.