Getting Started With Azure Pack (Part 10)

by [Published on 14 Jan. 2016 / Last Updated on 14 Jan. 2016]

This article concludes the Azure Pack series by explaining how to add a VM template to Azure Pack and how to use the template to create a virtual machine.

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

In my previous article, I walked you through the process of building a VM template. In this article, I want to continue the discussion by showing you how you can add the newly created VM template to Microsoft Azure Pack and make it available for virtual machine creation.

The first step in importing a VM template into Azure Pack is to log into the Azure Pack administrative portal and then click on the Plans workspace, and then click on the plan in which you want to make the VM template available. Upon doing so, you will be taken to the plan’s dashboard screen. Scroll down until you locate the Plan Services section and then click on the appropriate plan service. Doing so will take you to a screen that exposes all of the resources that are associated with the plan. You can use this screen to set resource limits for the plan and to make other configuration changes.

Go ahead and scroll through this page. When you get about half way down, you will come to a section marked Templates. Click on the Add Template link. This will cause Azure Pack to display the Select Templates to Add to this Plan dialog box. Select the check box associated with the template that you want to add and then click on the Done icon. The template is now added to Azure Pack.

We could in theory go ahead and allow users to create virtual machines from this template. Before doing so, there is one thing that I recommend doing. It’s a good idea to verify that no cloud capability profiles have been defined. Otherwise, when a user tries to create a virtual machine from the template, the user will receive an error message.

To check the template, open up System Center Virtual Machine Manager and select the Library workspace. Now, select the VM Templates container, right click on the template that you just added to Azure Pack, and choose the Properties command from the shortcut menu. Upon doing so, Virtual Machine Manager will open the template’s Properties dialog box.

To check the template for a cloud capability profile, select the dialog box’s Hardware Configuration tab and then click on Cloud Capability Profile. The resulting screen allows you to select the capability profile to validate against the hardware profile. Capability profiles exist for ESX Server, XenServer, and Hyper-V. It is very important to make sure that none of these profiles are selected. If any of the profiles are selected, then you must deselect the corresponding check boxes and then click OK.

Assuming that you are using Azure Pack as an interface to a private cloud or a hybrid cloud, you will also need to make sure that no capability profiles have been defined at the cloud level. This is easy enough to do. From within the Virtual Machine Manager console, select the VMs and Services workspace. Now, expand the Clouds container, and then select the cloud within which the VM template will be used. Right click on this cloud and then choose the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu. When you do, Windows will display the cloud’s properties dialog box.

The process of verifying that no capability profile is associated with your private cloud is very similar to that of making sure that no capability profile is associated with the VM template that you created. Simply select the Capability Profile tab and you will see a series of check boxes corresponding to the various capability profiles. Once again, there are capability profiles for ESX Server, Hyper-V, and Xen Server. Make sure to deselect any capability profiles whose check boxes have been selected and then click OK. Your VM Template should now be ready to use.

Creating a Virtual Machine

I want to conclude this article and this article series by explaining how a tenant would go about creating a new virtual machine from the VM template that you have added to Microsoft Azure Pack. For the sake of this discussion, I am assuming that the user has already been given permission to access the private cloud.

So with that said, open your browser and navigate to the tenant portal. As mentioned in one of the previous articles in this series, Azure Pack consists of two separate Web portals – an administrative portal and a tenant portal. As the names imply, cloud level administrative tasks are performed through the administrative portal, and end user activities are done within the tenant portal.

Once the tenant portal opens, it is tempting to go ahead and log in with your test user account, but you won’t be able to. You have to sign up first. Fortunately, signing up is easy. You (and eventually the end users) must simply click on the Signup link, enter an E-mail address, and then enter and confirm a password. Assuming that you have already given the user account the appropriate permissions (by adding the account to the Tenant Administrators group), the user account will be logged in as a part of the subscription process.

Once logged in, the first thing that you will see is a tour of the interface. At the conclusion of this tour you will be taken to the main portal screen, but you won’t be able to do anything yet. If you think back to my previous articles, you will recall that we had to create at least one plan for our users and I mentioned something about users subscribing to the plan. The reason why the user cannot do anything yet is because they have not subscribed to a plan.

To complete the subscription process, click on My Account and then click on Add Plan. Select the plan that you want to subscribe to and click Done. After several seconds the account will be subscribed to the plan and some additional tabs will be added to the interface.

You can now move forward with creating a new virtual machine. To do so, click on the newly available Virtual Machines tab and then click on the Create a Virtual Machine Role link. This will cause Azure Pack to display the New screen. Click on Standalone Virtual Machine | Quick Create. You will now be prompted to assign a name to the virtual machine that you are creating and to choose a virtual machine template. You will also be prompted to enter and confirm an administrative password for the virtual machine. Once you have entered this information, click on Create VM Instance. The virtual machine will now be created.

After creating a virtual machine, you can access the VM by going to the Virtual Machines tab and clicking on the virtual machine. Doing so will provide you with an option to connect to the virtual machine through an RDP session. You will also find options for pausing, restarting, stopping, shutting down, and deleting the virtual machine.

Conclusion

As you can see, it takes quite a bit of work to get Microsoft Azure Pack up and running. There is even more work involved in creating VM templates and assigning the necessary permissions. Once you complete all of the prep work however, Azure Pack is a great tool for allowing users to create their own virtual machines in a safe and isolated manner.

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

See Also


The Author — Brien M. Posey

Brien M. Posey avatar

Brien Posey is an MCSE and has won the Microsoft MVP award for the last few years. Brien has written well over 4,000 technical articles and written or contributed material to 27 books.

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