System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (Part 10) - Introduction to the Console - Segment H

by [Published on 8 Nov. 2012 / Last Updated on 8 Nov. 2012]

In this part of the series, we’ll continue our tour of the Library area of VMM 2012 and also cover the items in the Jobs wunderbar.

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

Quick recap

Before we get started, let’s do a quick recap to gain our bearings. In Figure 1, you can see the main window that is seen when you start the VMM 2012 console. We’re continuing our exploration of the Library workspace. In the previous part of this series, we went through all of the high level options that are available in the Library. Here, we’ll finish going through each and every menu item so that you have a handy reference in case you’re not sure what something does and also cover Jobs.


Figure 1: The big picture

Home tab: Equivalent Objects (Library)

Equivalent objects are a sort of deduplication technique available in VMM 2012. The Equivalent Objects allows VMM to have multiple sources for the same object . This will decrease VMM’s dependency on physical resources. From the VMM docs: “Different files (for example, .vhd files) on which a user has set the same family and release properties to indicate that the different files are related.”

When items are marked as equivalent, VMM can use either equivalent object when it’s referenced.


Figure 2: Equivalent objects in VMM

Mark Equivalent

Allows an administrator to indicate that selected objects are equivalent to one another.

Enable

Enables a previously disabled object so that it can be used again.

Disable

Takes an item offline. When you do this, the item is marked as disabled as shown below in Figure 3.


Figure 3: The selected Server App-V Framework object has been disabled

Open File Location

In Figure 4, you can see that the Open File Location button takes you to the location in the file system at which a selected object is located. In the figure, the object and the file and both selected and displayed in blue.


Figure 4: Browses to the location in the file system where the file is located

Delete

Deletes a selected object from VMM.

Properties

Opens the properties page for the selected object. On the screen shown in Figure 5, you can see that the General tab is currently displayed. When you click the View equivalent resources button, you get a screen like the one shown in Figure 6.


Figure 5: The properties page for the object


Figure 6:
View the objects in VMM that are equivalent to the selected resource

Home tab: Cloud Libraries (Library)

When you select the Cloud Libraries item in VMM 2012, the menu that you see is the same as we’ve seen so far in this article. A cloud library is a read-only library share that is assigned to a private cloud where self-service users with appropriate permissions can store virtual machines and services.

Home tab: Self Service User Content (Library)

VMM 2012 adds significant capability for users to meet their own needs. You can add content to be used in this effort here.

Home tab: Library Servers (Library)

Select a library server and the Server Tools/Library Server tab opens.


Figure 7: Library Server tool bar

Add Library Shares

You are able to add new server-based shares to your VMM library. This can be useful if you want to, for example, add a single share that contains nothing but ISO files, which is what I have done in Figure 8.


Figure 8: Add a library share

Refresh

Refresh the contents that are displayed on the screen.

Remove

Removes the library server from VMM 2012. When you choose this option, you are asked to provide a Run As account that has rights to perform the operation.

It goes without saying that you should be careful with this option.


Figure 9: Provide Run As account credentials for removing the library server

Properties

Let’s take a look at what happens when you choose the Properties button. In Figure 10, note that you can change the description and host group association for your library server.


Figure 10: Modify the properties for your library server

Home tab: Update Catalog and Baselines

And now we’re on to the Update Catalog and Baselines section of the VMM library.


Figure 11

View Software License

When you have a Windows Update item selected, it may have a separate license agreement that needs to be viewed. Click this button to view that license.

Load All Updates

The default view shows the first 100 updates in VMM. Choose the Load All Updates button to show all of the available updates.

Jobs

VMM 2012 runs jobs to perform the actions that you direct the software to perform. You’re able to closely monitor the status of these jobs using the Jobs wunderbar in the VMM 2012 console. In this area, you can see a list of all jobs that have run along with details about each job, including the date the job ran, the name of the job, and the status of the job.


Figure 12: The Jobs status window

Restart

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, jobs can fail. Perhaps you’ve not provided appropriate credentials or maybe a server has gone offline. Regardless, you can choose to restart a failed job as shown in Figure 13. In some instances, you can tell VMM to skip the step that previously failed.


Figure 13: Restart a failed job

Cancel

Cancel a job that is currently underway.

Load All Jobs

You don’t always see every job on the list. Use the Load All Jobs button to view everything.

PowerShell

A few years ago, Microsoft released PowerShell and has extended this scripting language to just about all of their new products. PowerShell allows administrators to write scripts that can automate administrative functions. Click the PowerShell icon on the Home tab to open a PowerShell command window.

Jobs

VMM works by creating jobs that are carried out with the results eventually reported to the administrator. In Figure 14, you can see what happens when you click the Jobs button. It does exactly what it should!


Figure 14: A list of currently running and recently run jobs

PRO

If you’ve enabled Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO) in VMM 2012, then you’ve successfully connected your VMM implementation with a running System Center 2012 Operations Manager instance to unlock additional capabilities. With earlier versions of VMM and SCOM, PRO was necessary to perform what many would consider basic operations, particularly those that come from VMware. In VMM 2012, when PRO is configured, you’ll see PRO tips that help you do things better.

A bit more about Jobs

Before we summarize this article, let’s take a look at a little more information about Jobs. In Figure 15, you can see that VMM actually provides you with a step-by-step look at exactly what each job is doing and where a job fails. This makes the life of the administrator much easier when it comes to troubleshooting issues.


Figure 15: Jobs in action

For even more exacting information that lets you know exactly why a job failed, choose the Summary tab at the bottom of the Job Details window. Here, you can see that VMM shows you the specific error that occurred and provides you with some guidance as to how to correct the issue.


Figure 16: Job summary information

Here’s a feature that I love about VMM 2012. The Jobs area shows you a list of exactly what changes as a result of the actions performed by the job. In Figure 17, you can see that the act of adding a virtual machine host would have a number of impact points. Whereas the items in the “Previous Value” column are all shown as “None,” there are actual values in the “New Value” column. This is because the job was intended to add a new resource that did not exist before, so there was no value to change.


Figure 17: Change tracking for a job

Summary

In this article, we’ve finished our exploration of the Library area and also covered the Jobs section of VMM 2012. In the next part of this series, we’ll explore the Settings section.

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

The Author — Scott D. Lowe

Scott D. Lowe avatar

Scott has written thousands of articles and blog posts and has authored or coauthored three books, including Microsoft Press’ Exchange Server 2007 Administrators Companion and O’Reilly’s Home Networking: The Missing Manual. In 2012, Scott was also awarded VMware's prestigious vExpert designation for his contributions to the virtualization community.

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