System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is generally described as a tool for managing Hyper-V hosts. However, VMM also can deploy Hyper-V on to bare-metal systems. This article provides an overview of how this process works.
Deploying Hyper-V to bare-metal hosts: Before I begin
Before I get started, I need to point out that this article will provide a high-level overview of how to prepare VMM to deploy Hyper-V to bare-metal hosts. However, there is an entire laundry list of prerequisites that need to be put in place before beginning the configuration process. You can find these prerequisites here.
Step 1: Add a PXE Server to VMM
The first step in the configuration process is to set up a PXE Server and configure VMM to use it. Configuring VMM to recognize your PXE Server is a relatively easy process. Open the Virtual Machine Manager console, and then navigate to the Fabric workspace. Now, navigate through the console tree to Servers | Infrastructure | PXE Servers. Right-click on the PXE Servers container, and select the Add PXE Server command from the shortcut menu, as shown in the figure below.
At this point, VMM will open the Add PXE Server window, which you can see in the figure below. Enter your PXE server’s name into the Computer Name field, and then choose the Run As account that you want to associate with the PXE Server. Click Add to add the PXE Server. After a few minutes, your PXE server should show up on the PXE Server list, and the Agent Status column should indicate a status of Responding.
Step 2: Create a physical computer profile
The next step in the process is to create a physical computer profile. To do so, go to the Library workspace, right-click on the Physical Computer Profiles container, and select the Create Physical Computer Profile command shown in the figure below. When you do, Windows will launch the Physical Computer Profile Wizard.
Begin the configuration process by entering a profile name and description in the space provided. Click Next, and you will be prompted to select a virtual hard disk containing a bootable Windows Server image (this image must be generalized will need to have been created ahead of time).
Click Next and the wizard will display its Hardware Configuration screen. Here you will need to select a network adapter that can be used to communicate with VMM. You will also need to specify whether you want to use a static IP address or to use an address assigned by a DHCP server.
While you are on this screen, be sure to click on the Disk option and then select the partition scheme that is used by the image that you selected.
You can also configure VMM to provision target hosts with custom drivers. The trick to doing so is to add the drivers to the library, and then apply a tag to the drivers to identify their purpose. From there, you can go to the Driver Options portion of the Hardware Configuration screen, and then enter the tags that are associated with the drivers that you want to use when provisioning a bare-metal system.
When you are done, click Next and you will be taken to the OS Configuration screen. Here you can add operating system specific settings such as an administrative password, a product key, a domain name, and the time zone.
Click Next and the wizard will display the Hist Settings screen. This screen requires you to enter the path at which you want to store virtual machines on provisioned hosts. Enter a placement path that points to a location other than the C: drive. On my servers, for example, I use F:\VMs as the placement path. If you leave this option blank then VMM will come up with a placement path on its own.
Click Next, and you will be taken to the Updates screen. Choose the updates baseline that you wish to use. When you are done, click Next one more time. This will cause VMM to display a summary of the options that you have chosen. Take a moment to review the settings, and then click Finish to create the profile.
Step 3: Make VMM aware of the bare-metal server
The last step in the process is to make VMM aware of the physical server that you want to provision. This process works differently depending on whether you want to deploy a single server or an entire cluster. Assuming that you are setting up an individual server, you would go back to the Fabric workspace and click on the Add Resources button on the toolbar. Choose the Hyper-V Hosts and Clusters option from the drop-down menu shown in the figure below. This will cause VMM to launch the Add Resource Wizard.
The wizard’s initial screen asks what type of computer you want to add. Choose the Physical Computers to be Provisioned as Virtual Machine Hosts option, shown in the screenshot below.
Click Next, and you will be taken to the Credentials and Protocol screen. Because the new server doesn’t contain an operating system, it will have to be discovered using out of band management. That being the case, you will need to select a Run As account and choose the out of band management protocol that you want to use.
Click Next to go to the Discovery Scope screen. Here you simply need to enter the IP address or IP address range of the servers that you want to discover. Click Next. If you entered a single IP address then you can skip the Target Resources screen. Otherwise, review the list of systems that have been discovered and select the ones that you want to provision.
Click Next, and you will be taken to the Provisioning Options screen. Here you need to select the host group within which you wish to place the newly provisioned hosts. You will also need to select the physical computer profile that you created earlier.
Click Next and you will be taken to the Deployment Customization screen. Here you can provide computer names, and select network adapters. The options that you configure on this screen are going to vary based on your own needs.
Click Next one more time, and you will be taken to the Summary screen. Take a moment and review the summary items. If everything appears to be correct, click Finish to begin the deployment process.
As previously noted, this article is designed to be a high-level overview of the provisioning process to deploy Hyper-V to bare-metal hosts. I highly recommend that you review the Microsoft documentation for prerequisites and additional customization options.
Featured image: Pixabay