Performing a Bare Metal Installation of Hyper-V using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

by [Published on 26 July 2011 / Last Updated on 26 July 2011]

In this article, you will learn how to use System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 to perform a bare metal installation of Hyper-V on a Dell PowerEdge T110 server.

Introduction

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (VMM 2012) introduces a new feature that allows you to install and configure Hyper-V using a bare metal deployment method. Using this method, VMM 2012 discovers a physical computer on the network, automatically installs the Windows Server 2008 R2 (or SP1) operating system, and then configures the computer as a managed Hyper-V host. The physical computer can either be a computer that does not have an operating system installed or a computer with an existing operating system installation that will be overwritten.

Remote Management Requirements

In order to use the bare metal deployment feature of VMM 2012, the physical server must have a baseboard management controller (BMC) that supports out of band management. In addition, the BMC board must support one of the following out-of-band management protocols:

  • Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) versions 1.5 or 2.0
  • Data Center Management Interface (DCMI) version 1.0
  • System Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) version 1.0 over WS-Management (WS-MAN)

The BMC board allows the remote management of a physical server including powering it on or off, booting to a network device, and many other remote management features.

Installation Prerequisites

Before initiating a bare metal installation, a one-time configuration of the environment is performed. Once the configuration is complete, the environment can then be used to provision one or more physical servers. The following steps capture the initial configuration process:

  1. Prepare the physical computer
    a.       Enable the basic input/output system (BIOS) to support virtualization
    b.       Enable the server to boot from a network adapter for access to the Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE)
    c.       Configure logon credentials and IP address parameters for the BMC board to allow VMM 2012 remote access
  2. Set up a PXE server in VMM 2012
  3. Set up the VMM 2012 library
    a.       Add a Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1-based VHD file to use as the base image for the operating system installation
    b.      Add optional driver files to install server hardware that is not included in the base Windows drivers
  4. Create a Run As Account
  5. Create a host profile

Step 1: Prepare the Physical Computer

In this step, the BMC board of the physical computer and BIOS settings are configured. Since a Dell PowerEdge T110 is used as an example in this article, the process may vary slightly for other hardware models. The following steps must be performed for each host that is a target for the VMM 2012 bare metal provisioning method:

  1. Boot the physical server to the BIOS screen
  2. Configure the virtualization parameters using the guidelines found at here.
    a.       Open the Processor Settings menu
    b.       Enable Virtualization technology
    c.       Enable Execute Disable
  3. Configure the boot mode
    a.       Open the Boot Settings menu
    b.       Set the Boot Mode to BIOS
  4. Configure PXE boot mode
    a.       Open the Integrated Devices menu
    b.      Set the Embedded GB NIC1 to Enabled with PXE
    c.       Save the settings and exit the BIOS menu
    d.      Restart the server
  5. Configure the BMC board
    a.       After the server reboots, during the POST screen, the current BMC board configuration displays
    b.      Press CTRL-E to configure the BMC board within 5 seconds
    c.       Enable IPMI Over LAN
    d.      Configure the LAN Parameters
                                                                  i.      To use VLANs, enable VLAN support and configure the VLAN ID
                                                                 ii.      Set the Domain Name to the Active Directory domain name (e.g., Contoso.com)
                                                                iii.      Set the Host Name string to the name of the host (e.g., HOU-V1.Contoso.com)
                                                                iv.      Enable IPv4 support
                                                                 v.      Set the IP Address Source (e.g., Static)
                                                                vi.      Set the IP address (e.g., 192.168.1.244)
                                                               vii.      Set the Subnet Mask (e.g., 255.255.255.0)
    e.      Configure System Services
                                                                 i.      Enable System Services
    f.        Set LAN User Configuration
                                                                 i.      Enable the Access Account
                                                                 ii.      Set the IPMI LAN Privilege to ADMIN
                                                                iii.      Set the Account user name (e.g., Root)
                                                                iv.      Enter a Password
    g.       Press ESC to save the changes and exit

Step 2: Set Up a PXE Server in VMM 2012

The bare metal deployment process relies on the use of PXE to boot from a WinPE image to support the configuration of a physical server. Therefore, the deployment environment requires a server with Windows Deployment Services (WDS) installed to provide PXE services. The WDS installation must have both the Deployment Server and Transport Server options configured. You do not need any images installed on the WDS server because VMM 2012 will add boot images to the server during configuration. The WDS server must be configured to respond to clients and be on the same subnet as the physical servers to be provisioned.

In order to configure a PXE server in the VMM 2012 installation, follow these steps:

  1. Open the VMM 2012 Administration Console
  2. Click on the Fabric Resources in the ribbon bar
  3. In the Fabric pane, under Servers, select PXE Servers
  4. Right-click PXE Servers, and select Add PXE Server (Figure 1)


Figure 1: VMM 2012 Fabric Pane

  1. In the Add PXE Server dialog box (Figure 2):
    a.       Enter the computer name of the PXE server (e.g., HOU-PXE.contoso.com)
    b.       Enter the user credentials in the format domain name\username for an account that has local Administrator permissions on the PXE server
    c.       Click Add


Figure 2: Add PXE Server Dialog Box

  1. In the Jobs dialog box, verify that the job has a status of Completed, and then close the dialog box
    a.       The job sets up the new PXE server, installs the VMM agent on the PXE server, imports a new Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) image, and adds the machine account for the PXE server to VMM 2012 (Figure 3)


Figure 3: PXE Server Setup

  1. Use the following steps to verify that the PXE server is successfully configured in VMM 2012:
    a.       In the VMM 2012 Fabric pane, expand Servers, and then click PXE Servers
    b.      In the PXE Servers pane, verify that the PXE server appears in with an agent status of Responding (Figure 4)


Figure 4: PXE Server Status

Step 3: Set Up the VMM Library

After the configuration of the PXE server, you must add a sysprep VHD and optional driver files to the VMM library. The VHD must contain the Windows Server 2008 R2 or SP1 operating system and must be syspreped with the generalize option selected.

In order to place the VHD in the VMM 2012 library, perform the following steps:

  1. In the VMM Administration Console, select Library (Figure 5)


Figure 5:  Library Selection

  1. On the top menu bar, select the Folder tab (Figure 6)


Figure 6:  Folder Tab Selection

  1. Select Explore and a File Explorer window will open at the root of the library
  2. Double-click the VHD folder
  3. Paste the VHD file into the folder (e.g., VHDTemplate.VHD)
  4. Select the Refresh button in the VMM console, and you will see the VHD template displayed in the library under VHDs (Figure 7)


Figure 7:  New VHD template

In order to place additional device drivers in the VMM 2012 library, perform the following steps:

  1. Download the required drivers from the OEM site (e.g.,  network driver for the Dell T110)
  2. Select the Explore button to open the root of the VMM 2012 Library
  3. Create a new folder called DRIVERS, and open the folder (Figure 8)


Figure 8: New DRIVERS Folder

  1. Create and open a new folder (e.g., T110Network)
  2. Copy the driver files into the folder (e.g., B06ND.INF and B06ND15A.SYS)
  3. Refresh the Library in the VMM Console
  4. In the Library pane, open the new folders that contain the driver packages (Figure 9)


Figure 9: New Driver Files

Step 4: Create a Run As Account

A Run As account is used to store credentials that VMM 2012 will use during operations that require different privileges. You can create a Run As Account to interface with the BMC board, add a machine to a domain, manage a machine using VMM 2012, manage a network device like a load balancer, or manage a storage array. Accounts can be grouped together in Run As profiles so that it is easier to specify the required accounts with a single profile assignment. In order to create a Run As profile, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings workspace (Figure 10)


Figure 10: Settings Workspace

  1. Select Create Run As Profile to launch the Create Run As Profile Wizard (Figure 11)


Figure 11: Create Run As Profile Selection

  1. On the Name and Description page, enter a name (e.g., Dell T110 Bare Metal), and click Next
  2. On the Run As Accounts page, click Next
  3. On the Summary Page, click Finish

After creating a Run As profile, you can create the account that is required to interface with the BMC board during bare metal provisioning, and to automatically join the machine to the domain. To create a Run As Account, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings workspace
  2. On the icon bar, click Create Run As Account to launch the Create Run As Account Wizard
  3. On the General page, configure the following options for the BMC board account (Figure 12):
    a.       Enter a name and description to identify the credentials in VMM 2012 (e.g., Dell T110 BMC Account)
    b.      Select the category of Run As account (e.g., BMC Account)
    c.       Enter credentials for the Run As account
                                                                   i.      User Name = root
     
                                                                 ii.      Password = password previously set on the server BMC account
    d.      Clear the Validate Credentials check box
    e.      Click Next


Figure 12: Create Run As Account Wizard General Page

  1. On the RunAs Profiles page, click Add
  2. On the Select A Scope dialog (Figure 13), set the scope (e.g., Contoso)


Figure 13: Scope and Run As Profile Selections

  1. Select Browse
  2. Select the desired profile (e.g., Dell T110 Bare Metal), and then click OK (Figure 14)


Figure 14: Selection of Run As Profile

  1. On the Select Scope dialog, click OK
  2. On the Run As Profiles page, click Next
  3. On the Summary page, click Finish
  4. Repeat Steps 2 through 10 to create an account to join the machine to the domain

Step 5: Create a Host Profile

A host profile provides the host configuration settings, location of images for deployment, and account information that is required for a bare metal deployment. In order to create a host profile, follow these procedures:

  1. Open the Library Workspace
  2. Click on the Create button and select Host Profile
  3. On the Profile Definition page (Figure 15), enter a profile name (e.g., Dell T110 Profile), and then click Next


Figure 15: New Host Profile Wizard Main Page

  1. On the OS Image page (Figure 16), click the Browse button and select the VHD file (e.g., VHDTemplate.vhd) from the list, click OK to exit the selection dialog, then click Next


Figure 16: OS Image Page

  1. On the Hardware Configuration page, click the Driver Filter option (Figure 17)


Figure 17:  Hardware Configuration Page

  1. Select the option to filter by tags, click the Select button, highlight the appropriate option (e.g., DELLT110), click the Add button, and then click OK
  2. Click Next to continue
  3. On the OS Configuration page (Figure 18), select Domain, enter the domain name (e.g., Contoso) for the domain name, click Browse, select the appropriate Run As profile (e.g., Dell T110 Bare Metal), and then click OK


Figure 18: OS Configuration Page

  1. Select Admin Password, set the password to use as the local administrator password on the host, and then click Next
  2. On the Host Settings page, enter a path to store new VMs that are created on the host (or use the default path of %SystemDrive%\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V)
  3. Click Next to accept the default path
  4. On the Summary page (Figure 19), review your selections and then click Finish


Figure 19: Summary Page

Initiating a Bare Metal Deployment

Once the environment is configured to support bare metal provisioning, you can start to provision servers. This involves running the Add Resource wizard to discover a physical host and perform a bare metal deployment. The Add Resource wizard will configure settings such as the host group and the host profile to use, set custom deployment parameters, and start the operating system and Hyper-V deployment. During deployment, the VMM 2012 management server restarts the physical host using the BMC board and out-of-band management. After the physical host restarts, it boots through the network interface card and an authorized PXE server. The PXE server responds to a boot request from the physical host and uses a customized Windows PE image on the PXE server. A Windows PE agent prepares the computer, configures the hardware, downloads the operating system VHD image with specified driver files from the VMM 2012 library, applies the drivers to the operating system image, enables Hyper-V, and then restarts the computer.

In order to initiate the bare metal deployment of a physical host, follow these steps:

  1. In VMM 2012, select the Fabric workspace
  2. In the ribbon bar, select Add Resources (Figure 20), and then select Hyper-V Hosts and Clusters to launch the Add Resource Wizard


Figure 20: Add Resources Selection

  1. On the Resource Location page (Figure 21), select Physical Computer to be Provisioned into Hyper-V Hosts, click Next


Figure 21: Resource Location Selection

  1. On the Credentials and Protocol page (Figure 22), follow these steps:
    a.       Beside the Run As account box, select the Browse button, then select the BMC account (e.g., Dell T110 BMC Account), and then click OK
    b.      In the Protocol list, click the out-of-band management protocol to use for discovery (e.g., IPMI), and then click Next


Figure 22: Credentials and Protocol Selection

  1. On the Discovery Scope page (Figure 23), select the option to specify an IP address range that includes the IP address of the BMC board, (e.g., 192.168.1.244), and then click Next


Figure 23: Discovery Scope Selection

  1. On the Target Resources page (Figure 24), after searching the provided IP address range, the list of discovered computers is displayed
  2. Select the check box next to the desired host (e.g., Dell PowerEdge T110), and then click Next


Figure 24: Target Resources Selection

  1. On the Provisioning Options page (Figure 25), follow these steps:
    a.       In the Location list, select the host group (e.g., Contoso) to assign as the target location for the new Hyper-V host
    b.      Select network settings through DHCP
    c.       Select a host profile that contains the predefined network settings (e.g., Dell T110 Profile)
    d.      Click Next


Figure 25: Provisioning Options Selection

  1. On the Deployment Customization page (Figure 26), when selecting a host profile that depends on DHCP settings, follow these steps:
    a.       Select the host (e.g., Dell PowerEdge T110) from the list
    b.      In the Computer Name text box, enter a computer name for the selected entry (e.g., HOU-HV1)
    c.       When there is a status of Complete in the Required Settings column, click Next
    d.      Review the warning message, and then click OK to continue


Figure 26: eployment Customization Selection

  1. On the Summary page (Figure 27), confirm the settings, and then click Finish to deploy the new Hyper-V host under VMM 2012 management


Figure 27:Add Resource Wizard Summary Page

  1. The Jobs dialog box appears so that you can track the deployment progress.
  2. Upon job completion, ensure that all steps show a status of Completed, and then close the dialog box

Conclusion

One of the new and exciting features in VMM 2012 is the ability to automate the provisioning of new Hyper-V hosts configured with a BMC board from a bare metal state. Requiring only configuration of the physical server BMC board and the deployment environment, one or more Hyper-V hosts can be easily provisioned and added to VMM 2012 as managed hosts, reducing the complexity and time to bring new Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines online.

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