Using Hyper-V to Build a Private Cloud (Part 8)

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


In my previous article, I began showing you how to configure the Self Service Portal. In this article, I want to continue the discussion by talking about some of the main components used by the Self Service Portal such as Business Units, Infrastructures, and User Roles.

Before I Get Started

Before I delve into the remainder of the configuration process, I want to take a moment to address a question that might be on some people’s minds. If you think back to the early parts of this article series, you will recall that I showed you how to use the Deployment Workbench to build system images. Once those images were built, we used the Windows Deployment Services to roll the image out to a virtual machine. My point is that we did all of that work, and yet in the previous article I basically SYSPREPPED the image and turn it into a template. That being the case, you might be wondering if all of the work that we did with the Deployment Workbench and the Windows Deployment Services was really necessary.

Technically speaking, we could have easily created the template without using the Windows Deployment Services or the Deployment Work bench. The reason why I chose to do things the way that I did was because even though it might seem as though we are doing a lot of unnecessary work, all of the work that we have done up front will make things easier in the long run.

System templates are anything but static. You’ll probably find yourself having to create new templates every time a new service pack comes out or whenever you want to add a new application. When it comes time to create a new system templates, you have two choices. One option is to manually set up a virtual machine with everything that you want to include in the template and then run SYSPREP. The other option is to make minor modifications to the task sequence that you created in the Deployment Workbench and then generate a new system image. The second approach is usually a lot faster and a lot less prone to errors. This is especially true for organizations that need to maintain large numbers of system templates. So with that said, I want to get back to the configuration process.

Registering a Business Unit

So far we have created a semi-functional self-service portal. The users can’t create virtual machines just yet, but we are ready for some degree of user interaction. When a standard user connects to the Self Service Portal (as it currently exists) they will see the screen shown in Figure A.

Figure A: This is the screen that users will currently see.

As you can see in the figure, the Self Service Portal tells the user that they need to register a business unit. That being the case, let’s go ahead and do that by clicking on the Register New Business Unit link.

As you can see in Figure B, this is a simple process. The user enters a name and code for the business unit that they want to register along with a contact address and justification for the request and then clicks the Submit button.

Figure B: Users can request the registration of a business unit.

Of course the end user lacks the authority to actually create a business unit. It is up to the administrator to approve the user’s request. If you log into the Self Service Portal as an administrator and then click on the Requests tab you can see the request that was submitted, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C: The request for a new business unit is displayed within the administrative console.

You can use the View / Edit Information link to see the request and to make any required changes. You can then use the Approve or Reject buttons to approve or reject the user’s request.

Infrastructure Requests

Once a user’s request for a new business unit has been approved, the next step in the process is for the user to make an infrastructure request. The infrastructure request is used to request physical resources from the host server and access to virtual machine templates.

To create an infrastructure request, the user would log on to the Self Service Portal, click on the Infrastructures tab, and then click on the Create Infrastructure Request link. In case you are wondering, the user has this ability because the user who requests a business unit is automatically made an administrator within that business unit.

The next step in the request process is for the user to provide a name for the infrastructure request, as well as business justification for the request and a date upon which the requested resources will be decommissioned (this date can always be extended). The user must also specify the amount of physical memory and storage that they want to request, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D: The user must create an infrastructure request.

When the user enters all the required information, they must click the Save and Next button. The next step is for the user to request a service. A service can be thought of as a subset of the infrastructure, and a user’s infrastructure can contain multiple services. As you can see in Figure E, each service can be assigned a unique billing code and service quota.

Figure E: Each infrastructure must contain at least one service.

The lower portion of the screen contains a section in which the user can specify advanced operators and business unit users. The user should specify the names of the people in their department (in domain\username format) who will need access to the service. I will discuss this in more detail when I talk about user roles.

If you look at the bottom of the previous figure, you will notice a message stating that each service must include at least one service role. Click the Add Service Role link to define a service role. A service role is nothing more than a collection of one or more virtual networks.

When the user has finished filling in the required information they must click the Save and Next button. The following screen will allow users to request access to virtual machine templates, as shown in Figure F. The user must simply select the templates that they would like to use and then click the Save and Next button.

Figure F: The user must request the virtual machine templates that they would like to have access to.

The user should now see a screen like the one shown in Figure G, detailing the items that they have requested. Assuming that everything appears to be correct, the user can click the Submit Request button to complete the infrastructure request.

Figure G: The user reviews the summary and then submits the request.


In Part 9 of this series, I will show you how to approve the infrastructure request, as well as how user roles work. We are almost at the point where the user can actually begin creating virtual machines.

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

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