System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (Part 2) – Installation

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


In the previous article in this series, we discovered some of the new features of System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager and discussed each of the product’s roles and prerequisites.

As of this writing, Microsoft has yet to move System Center 2012 to RTM status; it’s still at RC2. In this article, we’ll walk through a full single server installation of Virtual Machine Manager 2012.

Before I get into the actual installation, I want to explain to my readers why I used the traditional installation of VMM 2012 rather than the new “Unified Installer” that Microsoft has added to the newly united product set that makes up the System Center 2012 product. I made a hefty effort to use the Unified Installer, jumping through the many hoops that it puts in front of the user. At the end of the day, using it simply wasn’t worth the effort. I wrote a blog post about my miserable experience here.

So, I used the traditional installation method and outlined my experience in this article.

Before installation

I’m installing all of the VMM components—except SQL Server—on a single server. If you’re installing components to individual servers, your requirements may differ. My systems are all running Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1, so PowerShell 2.0 and the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 features already exist.

Prior to installing VMM 2012, I installed SQL Server 2008 R2 to a separate server. I will be using this SQL Server for all of my various System Center component installations. I installed SQL Server using the defaults and included Reporting Services, but did not configure SSRS.

In addition to making sure that you have a suitable SQL server ready to use with VMM, there are a number of other items that need to be in place in order to achieve a successful installation of VMM 2012.

Install the IIS role (for the self-service portal) and make sure that the following individual components are included:

  • .NET Extensibility
  • Default Document
  • Directory Browsing
  • HTTP Errors
  • IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility
  • IIS 6 WMI Compatibility
  • ISAPI Extensions
  • ISAPI Filters
  • Request Filtering
  • Static Content

You also need to install the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) for Windows 7. Install that before you begin the installation.

Finally, make sure that the VMM system has at least 4 GB of RAM.

Installation process

The installation process commences through the execution of the setup.exe installer that comes with VMM 2012. Once you do so, the main installation screen shown in Figure 1 appears. Click the Install option to proceed.

Figure 1: The VMM installation introduction window

When you get to the second screen of the installer, shown in Figure 2, choose the components you’d like to install. As you can see, I’ve opted to install the VMM server itself, the management console and the self-service portal to a single server. For larger installations, Microsoft recommends installing the self-service portal to its own server.

Figure 2: Choose the features you’d like to install

When you get to the Product registration information page, provide your name and company name. In the product key field, enter the VMM 2012 product key. You can get a product key from your company’s Microsoft volume licensing site or through TechNet or MSDN. If you leave the field blank, VMM 2012 is installed as an evaluation edition.

Figure 3: Provide registration information

On the licensing page, select the checkbox indicating that you agree with the license terms and click the Next button to proceed with the installation.

Figure 4: Agree to the licensing agreement

I generally like to participate in Microsoft’s Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), the details of which you can see in Figure 5. Once you’ve decided whether or not you’d like to participate, click the Next button to continue.

Figure 5: Would you like to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program?

Just like every other Microsoft product, VMM 2012 gets the occasional update. You can have Microsoft Update check for new updates automatically or you can do so manually. In the screen shown in Figure 6, make your decision.

Figure 6: Do you want to use automatic updates?

By default, VMM 2012 installs to C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012\Virtual Machine Manager. If you’d like to install to a different location, use the browse button and specify the desired location.

Figure 7: Choose your installation location

If you’ve failed to install all of the prerequisites, you’ll get errors such as those shown in Figure 8. I intentionally skipped some of the prereqs so show you what happens when they are not installed. When you have a big red X, the installation cannot proceed. You will notice that Figure 9 looks a bit different. It still has an alert, but this time, it’s only a warning. Although the item being warned about should be fixed, the installation can proceed.

Figure 8: The installation cannot continue

Figure 9:
Installation can move forward

After the prerequisite check is complete, the real meat of the installation process begins (Figure 10). The database is a critical component for your VMM installation. As I mentioned before, I’ve installed a SQL server dedicated to supporting the various System Center 2012 components installed in my home lab. The name of my server is GM-SC-SQL and I’m using the default SQL Server instance. The account specified must have administrative rights to the SQL Server instance selected. Note also that I’ve chosen to use the default database name of VirtualManagerDB.

Figure 10: Provide SQL Server configuration information

Windows services can run under either local system accounts, network accounts or domain accounts. If you intend to install VMM in a highly available configuration, you must use a domain account. Although I’m not installing VMM in a highly available way, I’ve chosen to use a domain account. It’s easier to secure a domain account than it is a local system account.

Figure 11: Choose the account you want to use for VMM

VMM has its hooks into a bunch of different areas. In Figure 12, you can see the installation screen on which you’re able to configure the various communications ports that are used for different VMM tasks. It’s important to know exactly which ports are used for each task. You’ll need to configure the local firewall—if one is installed—on each managed system to allow the right kind of traffic.

Figure 12: Configure communication ports

If you’ve chosen to install the self-service portal component, you’ll configure it on the next page of the installer (Figure 13). Here, specify the VMM server to which the portal should connect as well as the communication port that it should be used. My VMM server is named SCVMMRC and I’m using the default port of 8100.

Users need to be able to access the self-service portal. This is accomplished using the default HTTP port 80. If you’re using host headers, provide the host header information.

Figure 13: Configure the self-service portal settings

As discussed in Part 1 of this series, the VMM library is a catalog of resources—virtual hard disks, templates, and profiles—that are used to deploy virtual machines and services. On the screen shown in Figure 14, provide a name for the file share that will house these resources and a description of the share that will be seen over the network.

Figure 14: Provide details for the library share

You’re now at a point at which the installer has everything it needs to work its magic. You’re provided with a summary window on which you can verify the selections that you’ve made. Click the Install button to initiate the installation process.

Figure 15: Review your selections

The installation process will eventually complete; you’re provided with good status information throughout, as shown in Figure 16. When you’re done, click the Close button.

Figure 16: The product has been installed

When you start the VMM Console, you need to provide the server to which you’d like to connect as well as credentials that have access to that server.

Figure 17: Log in to the console

In Figure 18, you’ll see the last screenshot of this article. This is the management interface that you use in VMM 2012.

Figure 18: The VMM 2012 Console


With a fully functional VMM 2012 system, in the next part of this series, we’ll start walking through the console to see how it works.

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

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