One of the problems associated with virtualisation is “virtual sprawl” – the proliferation of virtual machines (which can totally negate the idea of “server consolidation” if not carefully controlled. Management becomes critical – and a key part of that management is patching virtual machines to keep the operating system and applications up to date.
But what about the virtual machines that exist as offline images (templates, test and development machines, etc.)?
I’ve written previously about the beta of Microsoft’s offline servicing tool for virtual machine images and last week it was completed and released to the web.
The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool works with System Center Virtual Machine Manager and, according to Microsoft, it “combines the Windows Workflow programming model with the Windows PowerShell interface to bring groups of virtual machines online just long enough for them to receive updates from either System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Windows Server Update Services. As soon as the virtual machines are up-to-date, the tool returns them to the offline state in the Virtual Machine Manager library”.
There’s an executive overview on the Microsoft TechNet site and the tool can be downloaded from the Microsoft website.