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IT administrators are likely to use a value-added reseller to deploy Hyper-V, but admins can also deploy Hyper-V with Admin Center, which is a browser-based app for managing servers, clusters, hyper-converged infrastructure and Windows 10 PCs.
Getting started with Hyper-V without a value-added reseller (VAR) isn't as daunting as it can be with other virtualization technologies. This is because Microsoft is present in most data centers and admins are accustomed to the technology. But as PowerShell and Azure increase in popularity, some of that familiarity is slipping.
Although VARs provide information and services to help with the deployment, admins still need some level of knowledge on the process. VARs won't know an admin's company, his customers or their challenges, but they still have value. Knowing when to engage VARs is essential to help admins craft a plan and validate Hyper-V configuration.
Understand value-added resellers
Many Microsoft VARs operate at an economy of scale for discounts and services. To take advantage of this, admins need to go in with an open mind. A VAR's main purpose is to help admins make a profit and provide assistance when required. Even so, admins would do well to explore a few safety checks as a fail-safe for their businesses.
Unlike other VARs and vendor combinations with Microsoft, admins have additional sway in how they package their systems and applications. Most admins include other Microsoft products, such as Office and Windows, into VAR and purchasing contracts to help gain additional support or discounts.
Obtain and deploy Hyper-V without VARs
Deploying Hyper-V has gotten both easier and harder for admins who forgo VARs. Microsoft introduced Admin Center in 2017, which was a welcome addition for managing VMs, hosts, hyper-converged infrastructure and guests, such as Windows 10 desktops. Admin Center is a stand-alone application that combines many of the Microsoft Management Console functions into a single application, including Hyper-V Manager.
Admin Center can be the ideal platform for those not able to obtain -- or don't have the need for -- Microsoft's System Center. Admin Center won't have the same monitoring or scalability as System Center does, but for the right admin, it can be the ideal fit and should be the first step when moving to Hyper-V. However, admins should keep an eye on the scale of their environments and understand when it makes sense to move from Admin Center to System Center.
Downsides of Hyper-V without VARs
When admins acquire Admin Center, Microsoft will most likely encourage them to deploy it to the cloud -- more specifically, to Azure. Modern Microsoft products are generally built to assume that an admin's environments are already cloud bound. Much of the information, technical documents and feature lists provided by Microsoft all reference the cloud.
Because of this, admins have to dig to find information for strictly on-premises installations. Though this information does exist, finding it can be both difficult and time-consuming for admins who deploy Hyper-V without a VAR.
But will this get any better? Not likely. Not only will the cloud push continue, but admins can expect a push toward PowerShell as well. By default, the Windows Server 2019 installation is a core install that doesn't contain a GUI. That is, unless admins manually select a desktop experience.
Advantages of Admin Center for Hyper-V
Though this can be frustrating to some admins, this is where Admin Center can make things much easier. The ability to remotely manage the server and Hyper-V installations enables admins to take the sting out of the PowerShell default install. This is why Admin Center should be an admin's first step to deploying Hyper-V.
Admin Center won't help with the onslaught of the Azure marketing machine, but if admins do place any workloads in Azure, they can add those resources in Admin Center, which also helps manage them. But admins should know that Windows Server 2008 and earlier OSes aren't compatible with Admin Center.