Building a Private Cloud With System Center 2012 (Part 2)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:


In the first article in this series, I introduced you to the concepts of host groups and storage classifications. Now that I have gotten that discussion out of the way, I want to begin the process of building the private cloud.

Building Host Groups

One of the mistakes that new Hyper-V administrators tend to make is that of forgetting to save resources for the host operating system. You can’t allocate 100% of a host server’s resources to virtual machines, because if you do then the host server will not have sufficient resources to run Hyper-V or the host operating system. Unfortunately, the Hyper-V Manager does not include a mechanism that can be used to reserve resources for the host operating system. Thankfully, System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) does. As such, the first thing that we are going to do is to create a host group and then reserve resources for the individual Hyper-V hosts within the group.

Begin by opening the Virtual Machine Manager console and then select the VMs and Services workspace, which is located in the lower, left corner of the screen. Now, right click on the All Hosts container, and select the Add Hyper-V Hosts and Clusters command from the shortcut menu, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A: 
Right click on the All Hosts container and select the Add Hyper-V Hosts and Clusters command.

At this point, Windows will launch the Add Resource Wizard. This wizard provides you with several different options for adding Hyper-V hosts. For the purposes of this article, I am assuming that all of the host servers are joined to an Active Directory domain. Therefore, select the Windows Server Computers in a Trusted Active Directory Domain option and click Next.

At this point, you will be asked to specify a set of credentials that can be used to access the computers that you are adding to System Center. Enter your credentials and click Next.

The following screen asks you to enter the names of the servers that you want to add. You can add servers by entering their names, fully qualified domain names, or IP addresses. After doing so, click Next.

The following screen will confirm that VMM was able to detect the computers that you entered. Select the check boxes for each computer that you want to add to VMM, as shown in Figure B, and then click Next.

Figure B: Select the check boxes for the computers that you want to add.

At this point, you will be prompted to specify the host group that you want to associate the computers with. At the moment there are no host groups because we haven’t created any yet. That being the case, make sure that the All Hosts option is selected and click Next.

The next dialog box asks you to specify some parameters for live migrations. It is extremely important to set these parameters correctly or you will have problems later on. It is OK to accept the default values for the number of simultaneous live migrations and storage migrations. However, you must select the Turn On Incoming and Outgoing Live Migrations check box. Furthermore, the Authentication Protocol option should be set to Kerberos, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C: You must enable live migrations and set the authentication protocol to Kerberos.

Click Next and you will see a summary of the configuration options that you have provided. Assuming that everything appears to be correct, click Finish. Doing so will add the VMM agent to the selected servers.

So far we have added some Hyper-V servers to the All Hosts group, but we need to create a new host group and move the Hyper-V servers into that group. The reason for doing so is that it is conceivable that the VMM server could be used to manage resources other than those that are dedicated to the private cloud. As such, it makes sense to go ahead and differentiate private cloud resources.

Click the Create Host Group icon and then enter a name for the new host group. For the sake of this article, I will be calling my host group Private Cloud. Now, simply drag your Hyper-V servers into the new host group, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D: Drag your Hyper-V servers into the host group.

Allocating Host Reserves

Now that we have set up a host group, we need to define some host reserves for the Hyper-V servers in the host group. To do so, right click on the host group and choose the Properties command. When the group’s properties sheet appears, select the Host Reserves tab. You can use the host reserves from the parent, or you can specify your own, as shown in Figure E. Click OK to complete the process.

Figure E: Specify the desired host reserves.

Classifying Storage

The next thing that we need to do is to classify our storage. As mentioned in the previous article, you can classify storage in any way that meets your needs, but I will be using the following classifications:

Gold Storage – Solid state storage

Silver storage – Fibre Channel connected SAS drives arranged in a RAID 5 architecture

Bronze – Mirrored iSCSI storage

To create a storage classification, click on the Fabric workspace and then navigate to Storage | Classifications and Pools, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F:
Select the Classifications and Pools container.

Now, click on the Create Classification icon, found in the upper left portion of the window. When prompted, enter a name and a description for the storage classification, as shown in Figure G.

Figure G: Enter a name and a description for your storage classification.

Click the Add button to create the storage classification. Now, repeat the process to create any additional storage classifications that might be required. When the process completes, you should see a listing for each of your storage pools, as shown in Figure H.

Figure H: You should see a listing for each of your storage pools.

Assigning Physical Storage

The next step in the process is to define your physical storage. Unfortunately, I can’t walk you through this process step by step, because the procedure will vary considerably depending on how your physical storage is configured.

In most cases, you will right click on the Storage container and then select the Add Storage Devices option from the shortcut menu. Doing so will launch the Add Storage Device Wizard, which will walk you through the process of discovering your storage devices. Later on in the discussion, we will connect the newly discovered storage to the storage classifications that you created earlier.


The next step in the process will be to create a virtual network. This network will service the virtual machines that you create later on through VMM. I will spend Part 3 of this article series walking you through the process of building a virtual network. After that, we can move forward with actually creating a private cloud.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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