System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (Part 8) - Introduction to the Console - Segment F

by [Published on 25 Sept. 2012 / Last Updated on 25 Sept. 2012]

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

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

Introduciton

In the previous few articles in this series, we started to investigate all of the options that are available in the System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager console. In this part of the series, we’ll start our tour of the Library area of VMM 2012.

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 now working with the Library workspace and, in this article we’ll start looking at the items on the Home tab. In previous parts of this series, we fully covered the general console as well as the items available in the VMs and Services and Fabric areas.


Figure 1: The big picture

Library

The Library is a critical fixture in VMM 2012. It is here where administrators can store any number of resources for use. For example, if you use the same ISO over and over, you can create an ISO library and simply point VMM at these resources as you, for example, deploy new virtual machines. But, ISOs are just the tip of the library iceberg. Let’s explore!

The library is a catalog of resources—virtual hard disks, templates, and profiles—that are used to deploy virtual machines and services. Microsoft recommends that the server hosting this role have at least a dual core 3.2 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM. There is no formal recommendation on disk space since this varies from installation to installation, but plan on needing quite a bit of space. After all, virtual hard disks and ISO files alone can consume a whole lot of space. Ideally, this information will be placed in a location that can grow with your needs.


Figure 2: The VMM Library

Templates

Templates are exactly what they sound like. They’re preconfigured objects that are housed in the VMM Library that you can reuse to ease the administrative burden that comes with managing your virtual environment.

Service Templates

A Service Template can be used to streamline the deployment of single or multi-tiered applications. Bearing in mind that we’re moving more and more to an application-centric world, this is a step in the right direction.


Figure 3: Creating a new service template in SCVMM

VM Templates

This is probably an item that will get used the most since it’s really handy. When you create virtual machines, you’re probably doing the same thing over and over. If you’re deploying a bunch of virtual machines that are all identical, you can create a VM template to make the process a little easier.

Profiles

Profiles allow the administrator to further reduce the effort that goes into deploying new services.

Application Profiles

An Application Profile allows you to automate the deployment of Microsoft Server App-V applications, web applications, or SQL Server data tier applications. You can also use an Application Profile to run scripts.

Capability Profiles

Capability Profiles are used to define the sets of capabilities that are allowed in a particular item. VMM 2012 ships with three capability profiles already defined—Hyper-V, Xen Server, ESX Server.


Figure 4: Three capability profiles are defined

When you open a Capability Profile, you can see what kinds of limits/capabilities are in place. For example, if I open the Hyper-V capability profile, I can see that virtual machines that are created against this profile can have anywhere from 8 MB to 64 GB of RAM, as shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5: The default Hyper-V Capability Profile

Guest OS Profiles

When you create a guest OS profile, you can specify the following OS-level elements:

  • Computer name
  • Administrator password
  • Prodict key
  • Time zone
  • Operating system
  • Roles
  • Features
  • Domain membership
  • Install script answer file
  • Any RunOnce elements that take place at installation

Hardware Profiles

As you know, virtual machines, just like their physical counterparts, get a hardware configuration with settings that match the needs of the workload. You can create a hardware profile in the library that is used to define common hardware needs. The hardware profile includes:

  • Number of vCPUs
  • RAM
  • Floppy drive
  • Video adapter (standard adapter or RemoteFX 3D adapter)
  • DVD drive
  • Network configuration (i.e. do you want to use a dynamic IP address or use an address from one of the IP address pools you’ve created?)
  • Availability options
  • BIOS configuration
  • CPU priority
  • Memory weight

Host Profiles

A host profile is used to automate the deployment of new hosts (converting a bare-metial server to a Hyper-V host). Host profiles can include the location of the operating system image to use as well as hardware and operating system configuration settings.

Host profiles can be used to deploy only operating systems that support using VHD files, so you need to use Windows Server 2008 R2 or higher.

SQL Server Profile

Create a profile for deploying SQL Server. Such profiles include:

  • SQL Server instance name
  • Installation Run As account
  • Media location
  • SQL Server administrator accounts
  • Security mode (Windows or SQL or both)
  • SA password Run As account
  • TCP/IP configuration
  • Named Pipes configuration
  • Other Run As accounts needed to deploy SQL Server

Equivalent Objects

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.

Cloud Libraries

This 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.

Self Service User Content

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

Library Servers

Library servers are ones that store library content. Not too tough!

<Your Server>

This entry will appear as the name of your VMM library server. There are a number of items included by default in your first library server. These include large (60 GB) and small (18 GB) blank virtual hard disks (VHD) and some application profiles. As you add new resources to the library, they will appear here. In Figure 6 below, you can see the resources available on my lab library server. I’ve added an ISOs library to my lab.


Figure 6: The library server

MSSCVMMLibrary

When you installed VMM 2012, this default library and associated shared folder was created on the VMM server.

During installation, Setup creates a default VMM library and library share (C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Virtual Machine Manager Library Files) on the local VMM server, although this is configurable during setup. Once this library has been created during setup, you cannot remove or relocate this default library server or its library share.

Stored Virtual Machines and Services

A node where self-service users with the right permissions can store virtual machines and services.

Orphaned Resources

If you remove a library share from VMM’s umbrella and that share had resources that were referenced in templates, those templates become orphaned resources that are viewable in this node.

Update Catalog and Baselines

If you’ve added a WSUS server to your VMM environment, a feature added in VMM 2012, you can create an update catalog and baseline. An update catalog is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a catalog of updates for your environment. A baseline is used to determine whether or not a resource is in compliance with policy.

Once you’ve added a WSUS server to the VMM environment, you should manage WSUS only through VMM, unless you’re also using Configuration Manager.

Summary

This was our first look at the resources that are available in VMM 2012’s Library area. In the next part of this series, we’ll go through the menus and discover how to manipulate this resource.

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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