System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (Part 11) - Introduction to the Console - Segment I

by [Published on 22 Nov. 2012 / Last Updated on 22 Nov. 2012]

In this part of the series, we’ll start our tour of the Settings area of VMM 2012.

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 go through each and every menu item so that you have a handy reference in case you’re not sure what something does.


Figure 1: The big picture

Settings

The last major section of the VMM interface that we’ll be covering in this series is the Settings section.


Figure 2: The Settings area

To start, the General area is selected. When that is the case, you see the Ribbon show below in Figure 3.


Figure 3: The Ribbon when General is selected

Create User Role

If you find that you need to create additional user roles in VMM 2012—perhaps you want to create a self-service user, for example—use the Create User Role button. There are four user roles built in to VMM 2012:

  • Administrator. Administrators can perform all functions in VMM 2012 and they hold sole responsibility for adding Xen hosts and clusters to VMM. In addition, only administrators can add WSUS servers to the VMM environment.
  • Delegated Administrator. With the exception of those duties that can be performed only by full administrators, delegated administrators are allowed to perform all tasks within their assigned resources.
  • Self-Service User. Users in this role are able to create and manage their own virtual machines.
  • Read-Only Administrator. Read-only administrators can read and view all objects to which they have access in VMM, but they can’t make any changes.

Create Run As Account

A Run As account is a set of stored credentials used by VMM to perform certain tasks. By storing credentials, administrators can more easily automate tasks.


Figure 4: Create a new Run As account

Create Servicing Window

Servicing windows can be created for individual objects—hosts, clusters, virtual machines—in VMM 2012. Servicing windows indicate when that object can be taken down for some kind of servicing, such as applying updates. In Figure 5 below, note that you can create servicing windows with specific start times, durations and recurrence patterns—daily, monthly or weekly.


Figure 5

Backup

This button allows an administrator to manually back up the VMM database.


Figure 6: Choose a location to which the VMM database should be backed up

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 7, you can see what happens when you click the Jobs button. It does exactly what it should!


Figure 7: 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.

Properties

Opens the properties page for whatever object is selected.

General

The General area is the one that is selected by default and there are a number of items of interest here. First, administrators have the option to join Microsoft’s Customer Experience Improvement Program. Open the CEIP information page by either double-clicking the Customer Experience Improvement Program or selecting that entry and then clicking Properties in the Ribbon.


Figure 8: Customer Experience Improvement Program

Database Connection

From the General settings page, you can also view the connected to the SQL server that is storing VMM data. In Figure 9, you can see that I am using GM-SC-SQL as my SQL server and the default database name of VirtualManagerDB. Note that this is read-only information.


Figure 9: SCVMM database connection information

Library Settings

Administrators can also define the interval in which SCVMM refreshes the library by choosing the Library Settings option. In Figure 10, note that my lab environment’s library is set to refresh on an hourly basis.


Figure 10: Library refresh interval

Remote Control

The port used by VMM to connect to virtual machines is also configurable in VMM 2012. Select the Remote Control option and provide a port if the standard port of 2179 cannot be used.


Figure 11: Configure the VMConnect port

Self-Service Administrative Contact

Should you choose to use VMM 2012’s self-service features, configure an email address in the Self-Service Administrative Contact area show that self-service users know where they can get help.


Figure 12: Provide details about the administrator that helps self-service users

Network Settings

There are a number of settings in this area that the administrator can adjust to change how VMM 2012 behaves.

  • Logical network matching. If you’ve opted to allow VMM to automatically create logical networks, this setting determines how VMM goes about that task.
    • First DNS suffix label (default). Creates a logical network based on the first part of the DNS name. So, if the DNS name is scott.lowe.local, the logical network name would be scott.
    • DNS suffix. Uses the whole DNS suffix. In the example above, the logical network name would be scott.lowe.local.
    • Network connection name. Every network connection in Windows has a name, which, by default, is something like “Local Area Connection” or “Ethernet.” When this option is selected, VMM will use this name for the logical network name.
    • Virtual network switch name. When this option is selected, VMM will use the name of the virtual switch to which the host’s physical network is bound.
    • Disabled. No logical network matching will take place.
  • Automatic creation of logical networks. By default, VMM 2012 automatically creates logical networks based on the first DNS suffix label.
  • Automatic creation of virtual networks (Hyper-V hosts only). Allows VMM 2012 to automatically create a virtual network for hosts with configured logical networks but with no virtual networks attached.


Figure 13: VMM 2012 network settings

Guest Agent Settings

Finally, VMM 2012 allows administrators to decide how the VMM server will communicate with guest agents, either via the fully qualified domain name or via IP address. FQDN is more secure as shown in Figure 14.


Figure 14: Guest agent settings in VMM 2012

User Roles

With User Roles selected in the navigation area, you see the ribbon below. The only real addition here is the Delete button, which allows an administrator to delete a user role.


Figure 15: User Roles options

If you want to add users to or remove users from a particular role, select the role, click the Properties button and, from the Members tab, use the Add and Remove buttons to accomplish your goals.


Figure 16: User role membership in VMM 2012

Run As Accounts

Earlier, you learned a little about Run As accounts. Once they’re created, you can enable or disable these accounts using the buttons shown in Figure 17.


Figure 17: Run As account options

You can also see which Run As accounts are associated with specific resources. To do so, select a Run As account and open the properties page. Next, navigate to the Consumers tab. In Figure 18, note that the selected account is being used by a host named hyperv5.


Figure 18: Run As account associations

Summary

For ongoing VMM 2012 use, this completes our tour of the VMM 2012 interface.

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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