Home > All Posts > Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool – Beta

Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool – Beta

May 9, 2008

I just got the below in the mail.  Anyone playing with MS virtualisation might be interested in this new beta:

The Solution Accelerators Communication and Collaboration group is pleased to announce the availability of the Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool for download on Connect.

The increasing use of virtual machines creates new challenges for IT.
Virtual machines that are left offline for extended periods of time do not automatically receive operating system, anti-virus, or application updates that would keep them compliant with current IT policy. An out-of-date virtual machine poses a risk to the IT environment. If deployed and started, the out-of-date virtual machine may be vulnerable to attack or may be capable of attacking other network resources.

The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool provides a way to automate the process of updating virtual machines with the latest OS patches.

 

Solution Accelerator Components

The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool is built on Windows Workflow Foundation and PowerShell. It works with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 to manage a library of offline VMs and with either Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Microsoft Windows Server Update Services.

  • The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool consists of the following software components:
  • A configuration user interface
  • A .NET based workflow execution infrastructure

This Solution Accelerator is supplied with the following guidance:

  • Getting Started Guide
  • Help file
  • Release Notes
  • Executive Overview on TechNet

Overview of the Tool

The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool manages the workflow of updating large numbers of offline virtual machines according to their individual needs. To do this, the tool works with Microsoft® System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 (VMM) and with software update management systems (at present, either Microsoft Windows Server® Update Services 3.0 (WSUS) or Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007). See the following figure for how information flows between the tool and other system components

The tool uses "servicing jobs" to manage the update operations based on lists of existing virtual machines stored in VMM. Using Windows Workflow Foundation technology, a servicing job runs snippets of PowerShell scripts to work with virtual machines. For each virtual machine, the servicing job:

. "Wakes" the virtual machine (deploys it to a host and starts it).
. Triggers the appropriate software update cycle (Configuration Manager or WSUS).
. Shuts down the updated virtual machine and returns it to the library.

The tool works with Windows Task Scheduler to determine when to run the servicing job.

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