Using Hyper-V to Build a Private Cloud (Part 6)

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


At the beginning of this article series, I explained that my goal was to show you how to build an infrastructure that would allow authorized users to generate pre-configured virtual machines on the fly. So far we have created some virtual machine images and we have installed System Center Virtual Machine Manager, but there is still one big piece of the puzzle that is missing. Right now the users do not have an interface through which they can deploy virtual machines. That being the case, I want to turn my attention to the Self Service Portal.

The Self Service Portal is a free add-on for System Center Virtual Machine Manager. For the purposes of this article series I will be using version 2.0 of the Self Service Portal, which you can download here.

Installing the Self Service Portal

Once you have downloaded the Self Service Portal, you can launch the installation process by double clicking the SetupVMMSSP.exe file. Doing so will cause Windows to display a rather simple splash screen and you can kick off the installation process by clicking Install.

As you would probably expect the installation process makes use of a setup wizard and the wizard’s initial screen asks you to accept the software’s license agreement. After doing so, click Next and you will see a screen asking you if you want to install the VMMSSP server component, the VMMSSP Website component, or both, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A: You must choose which components you want to install.

In a real world deployment you would probably want to install these components onto separate servers for the sake of performance and security. In the interest of keeping things simple (and not dragging out this series any longer than I have to), I am going to install both components onto the same server.

If you look at the screen capture above, you will notice that there are some prerequisites to installing the two components. The VMMSSP server component requires System Center Virtual Machine Manager and the underlying SQL Server database. I covered the installation of System Center Virtual Machine Manager in Part 5, so you should already have it up and running.

Before you move on, you should check to see what version of SQL Server is running on your server. The Self Service Portal requires you to use SQL Server 2008. If your server currently has SQL Server 2005 installed then you will have to upgrade SQL Server before continuing (you won’t be able to perform an upgrade if you are currently running the Express Edition). Of course you always have the option of connecting to an instance to SQL Server 2008 that is hosted on another server.

For the purposes of this article however, I am going to assume that SQL Server is installed locally. My server was initially running SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. That being the case, I had to install a SQL Server 2008 instance in parallel with the existing SQL instance.

The VMMSSP Website component requires the Internet Information Services (IIS) and ASP.NET. Since IIS isn’t yet running on our server go ahead and cancel out of the installation (unless you plan to run the Web site component on a different server). I will quickly show you how to install IIS and then we will pick the Self Service Portal Installation back up at this point in a moment.

Installing IIS

To install IIS, open the Server Manager, click on the Roles container, and click Add Roles. When the Add Roles Wizard begins, click Next to bypass the Welcome screen. Now, choose the Web Server (IIS) option from the Select Server Roles screen, as shown in Figure B, and click Next.

Figure B: Select the Web Server (IIS) role and click Next.

Click Next once again and you will be taken to the Select Role Services screen. Select the ASP.NET role service, as shown in Figure C. If you are prompted to add additional role services then just click the Add Required Role Services button.

Figure C: Select the ASP.NET role service.

If you look back at the screen shown in Figure A, you will notice that it says that you will need IIS and ASP.NET, which we have just selected. However, there are a few other required role services that are not listed on this screen. In addition to the role services that are already selected you will need to select the IIS 6 Management Compatibility role (as well as all of its sub-components). You will also need to select the Windows Authentication role service

Click Next and you will see a summary of the components that are about to be installed. Assuming that everything appears to be correct, click the Install button. When the installation process completes, click Close. Although the wizard does not technically require you to reboot the server, I have found that the rest of the deployment process seems to go more smoothly if you take a moment to reboot at this point.

When the server reboots, go back into Server Manager, click on the Features container, and click the Add Features link. When prompted as to which feature you want to install, choose the Message Queuing option. Click Next, followed by Install to install the Message Queuing feature. When the installation completes, click Close and reboot the server.

Continuing with the Self Service Portal Installation

Now that IIS has been installed, go ahead and launch the installation wizard for the Self Service Portal. Accept the license agreement, tell the wizard that you want to install both the VMMSSP server component and the VMMSSP website component and click Next.

The setup wizard will take a moment to verify that all of the prerequisites have been met. If you have followed the instructions in this article and in Part 5, the prerequisite checks should all be OK.

Click Next and the wizard will prompt you for the installation path that you want to use. The default installation path should be fine, so just click Next.

The next screen that you encounter will ask you to provide the name of your database server. As you can see in Figure D, you can either connect to an existing SQL Server instance or you can create a new instance.

Figure D: You must specify the SQL Server instance that you want to use.

Click Next and you will be prompted to provide an Active Directory Domain Services account for the server to use as its service account. As you can see in Figure E, the software defaults to using the domain Administrator account, but it is better to create a dedicated service account.

Figure E: You must provide the wizard with a service account.

The next screen asks you for the server’s name. If you are installing the server and Website components onto the same machine you can accept the defaults, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F: You must provide the name of your server.

The next step in the process is to provide a list of your datacenter administrators. These are the people who will have full access to the Self Service Portal and all of its features, as shown in Figure G.

Figure G: You must provide a list of administrators.

Finally, you will have to provide a name for the IIS Website and a port number. In my case the software would not allow me to use Port 80 because the port number was already in use. That being the case, I had to pick a nonstandard port number and went with 79.

Figure H

At this point you will see a summary screen listing the options that you have chosen. Assuming that everything is correct, click Install. When you do, you will see a prompt warning you that the process takes a while to complete. Click Yes to move forward with the installation. In spite of this warning, the installation process only took about a minute to complete in my lab.

When the installation process completes, you will still have to configure the Self Service Portal software before you can use it, but if you look at Figure I, you can see what the interface initially looks like.

Figure I: The Self Service Portal is now online.


Now that the Self Service Portal has been installed we need to configure it. I will show you how in Part 7.

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

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