System Center Virtual Machine Manager for Beginners (Part 3)

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

Introduction

In the previous article, I introduced you to the various components that make up System Center Virtual Machine Manager. In this article, I want to continue the discussion by guiding you through the deployment process.

System Requirements

As is the case for any other piece of software, there are minimal system requirements that must be observed when deploying System Center Virtual Machine Manager. The requirements vary depending on the server role that you are deploying. The requirements also vary based on the number of hosts that you plan to manage and on whether or not the database server will be deployed locally.

For a VMM management server that supports the management of up to 150 hosts, the requirements are as follows:

Component

Minimum

Recommended

Processor

Pentium 4 (x64) running at 2 GHz

Dual processor, dual core, 2.8 GHz   (X64)

RAM

4 GB

4 GB

Hard Disk Space (without a local database)

2 GB

40 GB

Hard Disk Space (with local SQL Server   deployment)

80 GB

150 GB

Table 1

If you only plan to deploy the management server, then the requirements vary depending on whether you plan to manage fewer than 150 hosts, or more than 150 hosts. The minimum requirements are as follows:

Component

Fewer than 150 Hosts

More than 150 Hosts

Processor

Pentium 4, 1GHz

Pentium 4, dual processor, 2 GHz

RAM

2 GB

4 GB

Hard disk space

2 GB

4 GB

Table 2

The requirements for a database server vary considerably depending on which version of SQL Server you choose to use. System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager supports the following versions of SQL Server:

SQL Server 2012, 64-bit Standard or Enterprise RTM or SP1

SQL Server 2008 R2, 64-bit Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter with SP2 or 3

Regardless of which version of SQL Server you decide to deploy, you must configure SQL to support case insensitive objects and the SQL Server’s computer name must not exceed 15 characters. It is recommended that the VMM management server and the SQL Server be members of the same Active Directory domain. If the servers exist in separate domains then you will need to establish a two way trust between the domains. Finally, you will need to deploy the Database Engine and the Management Tools – Complete features for SQL Server.

You should also keep in mind is that System Center Virtual Machine Manager depends heavily on SQL Server. If the database is lost, configuration data (such as software defined networking configuration data) will also be lost. That being the case, Microsoft strongly recommends that you enable failover clustering for your SQL Server and that you take advantage of SQL Server’s AlwaysOn feature.

There are some other software requirements in addition to SQL Server. You will obviously need a supported operating system. System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager can run on 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. Both Standard and Datacenter Editions are supported and you can deploy to an OS that has a GUI or to a server core installation.

You are also going to need WinRM and the version 4.5 or 4.5.1 of the .NET Framework. Both are Included with Windows Server 2012 R2.

If you are deploying a management server, you will need to install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 8. You can download this from Microsoft here. When you install the Deployment kit, you will need to install the Deployment Tools and the Windows Preinstallation Environment features.

One last thing that I want to point out before I show you how to set up System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 is that this article only covers the system requirements for the most common roles. There are separate requirements for other roles (such as Library servers). You can access the full documentation for the deployment requirements here.

The Deployment Process

For the purposes of this article, I am going to be setting up a single server deployment of System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager. The deployment is going to be running in Windows Server 2012 R2 and the server is going to have SQL Server 2012 installed locally. The server is also fully patched.

With that said, you can install System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager by inserting the installation DVD and run Setup.exe. When the splash screen appears, click on the Install link. When you do, Setup will copy some files and then launch the Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager Setup Wizard.

The wizard’s initial screen asks you which components you want to install. For the purposes of this article, we will install both the VMM Management Server and the VMM console onto the same server. That being the case, select both check boxes as shown in Figure A, and click Next. Incidentally, if you choose to install the VMM Management Server, the VMM Console will also be installed.

Image
Figure A: Select the features that you want to install and click Next.

The next screen that you will encounter is the Product Registration Information screen. This is where you enter your product key. After doing so, click Next. You should now see a screen that asks you to accept the license agreement. After doing so, click Next. The next screen that you will encounter asks you if you want to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program. Make your selection and click Next.

At this point, you will be prompted to provide your desired installation path. The default installation path is usually fine for most deployments.

Click Next and the Setup program will perform a quick prerequisite check. Once this check completes, you will be taken to the Database Configuration screen. At a minimum you will need to specify the name of the database server and the name of the SQL Server instance. Typically you will also want to create a new database for Virtual Machine Manager. By default Setup will create a database named VirtualManagerDB, as shown in Figure B.

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Figure B: You will need to specify the database server name and instance name.

The next screen that you will encounter prompts you to enter the credentials for an account that you can use as a service account. More importantly, the screen also gives you the option to store your encryption keys in the Active Directory. You don’t absolutely have to store your keys in the Active Directory unless you are going to make Virtual Machine Manager highly available. However, storing the keys in the Active Directory is a best practice, because doing so helps to prevent key loss.

Click Next and you will be prompted to select the ports that you want to use for the various Virtual Machine Manager features. In most cases the default port numbers will probably work just fine. You should make a note of the port numbers however, because you may need to open ports in your firewall.

Click Next and you will be asked whether you want to create a new library share or use an existing library share. Being that this is a brand new deployment, go ahead and choose the option to create a new library share.

When you click Next, you will see a summary of the installation options that you have chosen. Take a moment to review the installation summary. If the summary information appears to be correct then click the Install button. When the installation completes you should see a message like the one shown in Figure C, indicating that installation has completed successfully.

Image
Figure C: Setup has completed successfully.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is relatively easy to deploy System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager. In the next article in this series, we will begin exploring the management console.

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

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