Using Hyper-V to Build a Private Cloud (Part 2)

by [Published on 21 Dec. 2011 / Last Updated on 21 Dec. 2011]

This article continues the discussion of building a private cloud by demonstrating the procedure for creating deployment images that will be used within the cloud.

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

Introduction

In the first part of this series, I showed you how to download, install, and configure Microsoft’s Deployment Toolkit. Now that we have created a deployment share, it is time to begin creating some operating system images that we can host in that share.

Adding Operating Systems

Adding operating systems to the deployment share is a really simple process. When you expand the deployment share that you previously created, you will see that the deployment share contains a folder called Operating Systems. Right click on this container and select the New Folder command from the resulting shortcut menu. This will cause Windows to launch the New Folder Wizard.

The wizard’s initial screen asks you to provide a folder name and a description. For the purposes of this article, I am going to call my folder Windows Server 2008 R2. After entering a folder name and description, click Next. You should now see a summary screen that gives you the chance to verify the name and description that you have provided. Take a moment to make sure that everything appears correctly and click Next. When Windows finishes creating the folder, click Finish.

After you create the initial operating system folder, go ahead and create any other folders that you might need. In my case, I am going to create a Windows Server 2008 R2 folder and a Windows 7 folder. You can see what these folders look like in Figure A.


Figure A: Create folders for any operating system images that you wish to host on the server.

Once the folders are in place you need to import the operating system files into them. Begin the process by inserting the installation DVD for the operating system that you want to import. Next, right click on the folder that you have created for the operating system and choose the Import Operating System command from the resulting shortcut menu. Windows will now launch the Import Operating System Wizard.

The wizard’s initial screen asks you what type of operating system you want to add. Choose the Full Set of Source Files option and click Next. The following screen prompts you for the path to the source files. Since we are essentially copying the installation media, just point the wizard to your DVD drive. There is no need to select a sub folder within the installation media.

Click Next and the wizard will prompt you to specify the destination directory name. The destination directory is populated automatically and the defaults may be suitable for your purposes. In my case for instance, the wizard attempts to automatically name the destination directory Windows Server 2008 R2 x64. The only change that I made was to append SP1 to the end of the destination directory name.

Click Next and you will see a summary of the options that you have provided. Assuming that everything appears to be correct, click Next. The wizard will now import the operating system from your installation media. The amount of time that this process takes to complete varies depending on your server’s capabilities and on the operating system that you have chosen. On my lab server it took about four minutes to import Windows Server 2008 R2 and about seven minutes to import Windows 7. When the process completes, all of the various Windows editions should be listed within their corresponding folders as shown in Figure B.


Figure B: Deployment images have been added to the operating system folders that were created earlier.

Building a Task Sequence

Later in this series we will be deploying a System Center Virtual Machine Manager server and some Hyper-V host servers. However, there is no need to manually create these servers because we have already created a deployment image. The deployment images will eventually be used to create virtual machines within our private cloud, but in the meantime we can also use it to help us build our private cloud infrastructure. The first step in doing so is to build a task sequence that can be used to deploy a generic Windows Server 2008 R2 machine.

To create this task sequence, expand the deployment share and then right click on the Task Sequences container. Select the New Folder command from the shortcut menu, and then use the resulting wizard to create a folder called OS Install. When the folder is created, right click on the OS Install folder and select the New Task Sequence command from the shortcut menu.

Windows will now launch the New Task Sequence wizard. The wizard’s initial screen requires you to provide an identification code for the task that you are creating. You can use any alphanumeric code that you want so long as it is unique. You must also come up with a name for the task. In my case, I named the task sequence Windows Server 2008 R2 Generic and used a Task Sequence ID of W2K8R2G.

When you have entered the name and sequence ID, click Next. The wizard will now ask you what type of task sequence template you want to use. Select the Standard Server Task Sequence option and click Next.

Now, select the operating system that you want to deploy as a part of the task and click Next. The following screen gives you the option of specifying a product key. If you have a multiple activation key for Windows Server 2008 R2 you should enter it now. Otherwise, choose the option not to specify a product key at this time.

Click Next and you will be given the change to enter your name, your organization’s name, and the Internet Explorer home page. Enter this information and click Next. You must now enter a local administrator password that will be used on servers that are deployed from this image.

Click Next and you will see a summary of your task sequence options. Verify that everything appears to be correct and click Next to create the sequence. When the process completes, click Finish. You will see the new task sequence listed within the OS Install folder, as shown in Figure C.


Figure C: Your new task sequence is listed in the OS Install folder.

As I mentioned previously, we are going to be using the deployment images to build our private cloud infrastructure, and then eventually to create virtual machines within the private cloud. Since we are going to be using the images to help create the private cloud infrastructure, we will need a task sequence that can be used to deploy a Hyper-V server.

For right now, go ahead and create a task sequence that is identical to the generic sequence that you just created. The only difference should be that this task sequence should have a name and an ID that reflects the fact that the sequence will be used to deploy Hyper-V host servers. In Part 3 I will show you how to modify the task sequence in a way that allows it to accomplish its intended task.

Conclusion

Now that we have created some deployment images, it is time to make some minor modifications to the task sequences and then begin deploying our infrastructure servers. I will show you how in Part 3.

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

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