Getting Started With Azure Pack (Part 4)

by [Published on 8 July 2015 / Last Updated on 8 July 2015]

This article continues the Azure Pack discussion by examining the process of deploying the Service Provider Foundation.

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

So far in this article series, I have shown you how to install Azure Pack and how to confirm that Azure Pack is working. Even so, we aren’t done yet. The problem is that even though our current Azure Pack deployment looks just like Azure, it doesn’t actually do anything yet. At this point Azure Pack is really nothing more than just a pretty interface that isn’t connected to anything. If we want for Azure Pack to be useful then we are going to need to tie it into System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

In order to make Azure Pack functional, there are a few things that we are going to need. First, we are obviously going to need our Azure Pack server and we are going to need virtual machine manager. For the purposes of this article series, I will be using System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager. For our purposes I am going to assume that you already have Virtual Machine Manager up and running and that you know how to use it.

The next thing that you are going to need is SQL Server. You should already have at least one SQL Server running on your network. After all, SQL Server is a requirement for both Virtual Machine Manager and for Azure Pack. To move forward however, we are going to need yet another SQL Server instance. It’s OK to place this instance on your existing SQL server if it has sufficient capacity or you can create a new SQL Server.

The last thing that you are going to need is System Center Orchestrator. The version of Orchestrator that you are using must match the version of Virtual Machine Manager that you have installed on your network. Hence, this article is going to be based on System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator. However, we don’t need a full blown Orchestrator deployment. We only need to install a single Orchestrator component – The Service Provider Foundation. In this article, I will show you how to set up the Service Provider Foundation.

Before you begin configuring the Service Provider Foundation, you will need to create a service account. The service account will need domain admin permissions. You can call this service account anything that you want. On my network I have named the account SPF-SQL-SA. Notice that the account name references the Service Provider Foundation (SPF) and SQL Server (SQL). The reason for this is that the service account is used for both the Service Provider Foundation and for SQL Server.

The Service Provider Foundation has a somewhat long list of prerequisite components that must be installed prior to installing the Service Provider Foundation. These requirements include:

Web Server (IIS) role

                Basic Authentication

                Windows Authentication

                ASP.NET 4.5

                IIS Management Scripts and Tools

Management ODATA IIS extensions

Windows .NET Framework 4.0

WCF Data Services 5.0 for Odatga V3

ASP.NET MVC 4

Virtual Machine Manager Console

Most of these components are included with Windows Server 2012 R2 and can be installed through the Server Manager, but I have provided download links for the components that you will have to download. The rest of this article assumes that you have installed the required roles and features and the two downloadable components.

So with that said, the first step in the configuration process is to install an SQL Server instance (I am using SQL Server 2012 for this article). Once SQL Server is up and running, launch the SQL Server Configuration Manager and then expand the SQL Server Network Configuration container. You should see a sub container whose name references the SQL Server instance that you are using for the Service Provider Foundation. For example, my SQL Server instance is called SPFSQL, so the container that I need to select on my server is called Protocols for SPFSQL.

Right click on the TCP/IP object and select the Properties command from the shortcut menu. When the TCP/IP Properties dialog box appears, scroll to the bottom of the IP Addresses tab and locate the section called IPAll. There is a setting within the IPAll section called TCP Dynamic Ports. Make note of the dynamic port number. In my case this number is 56752, but yours will probably be different from mine. Click OK and then close the SQL Server Configuration manager.

Now, go ahead and install the Virtual Machine Manager console onto your Service Provider Foundation Server. To do so, insert your Virtual Machine Manager installation media, choose the Install option and then choose the option to install the management console. Keep in mind that the management console is not being installed as a convenience feature. It is a required component and the Service Provider Foundation will not work without it (at least not for what we need it to do).

Now, insert your Service Provider Foundation DVD and then open File Explorer. Open the DVD and run the SetupOrchestrator file. When the System Center 2012 R2 splash screen appears, click on the Service Provider Foundation link. This will cause the Service Provider Foundation splash screen to be displayed. Click on the Install link to launch the installation wizard.

On the wizard’s initial screen, accept the license agreement and click Next. You will now see a screen verifying that all of the prerequisites are in place. Assuming that all of the checks are passed, click Next. Now you will be prompted to configure the database server. Enter the server name and replace the port number with the dynamic port that you looked up earlier. Enter a name for the database and click Next.

The following screen asks you to provide a server certificate. You must choose to use an existing certificate or to generate a self signed certificate. After making your choice, click Next.

The following screen asks you to configure the Admin Web Service. Add your service account to the virtual directory and use your service account for the application pool credentials. Click Next to continue.

You will now see a screen asking you whether or not you wish to participate in Microsoft’s Customer Experience Improvement Program and whether or not you want to use Microsoft Update. Make your choices and then click Next.

You should now see the installation summary screen. Take a moment to verify that the information on this screen is correct (especially the port number and the service account). Now, click Install to install the Service Provider Foundation. When the process completes, click Close.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is relatively easy to install the Service Provider Foundation, but it does take a bit of work to get all of the prerequisites in place. My advice is to take your time deploying the prerequisites and the SQL Server (don’t forget to make sure that your service account has access to the SQL Server database). The work that you do up front will determine just how smoothly the rest of the process goes.

Although the Service Provider Foundation is now in place, it isn’t yet linked to Azure Pack. I will show you how to make this connection in Part 5 of this series.

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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