Configuration of a Self-Service Portal using System Center VMM 2008 R2 (Part 1)

by [Published on 25 Feb. 2010 / Last Updated on 25 Feb. 2010]

How to configure a System Center VMM 2008 R2 Self-Service Portal.

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Configuration of a Self-Service Portal using System Center VMM 2008 R2 (Part 2).

Introduction

In this article, I will show you how to configure a System Center VMM 2008 R2 Self-Service Portal that enables users to create and manage their own virtual machines. Part 2 of the article will focus on using a System Center VMM 2008 R2 Self-Service Portal to create and manage virtual machines.

Microsoft System Center VMM 2008 R2 Overview

Microsoft System Center VMM 2008 R2 allows you to manage Virtual Server 2005 R2, Hyper-V (including R2), VMware ESX Server host farms and virtual machines from a single console. The Windows PowerShell interface is the underlying component that enables automation of tasks across the supported virtualization hosts. VMware ESX Server hosts are managed by VMM 2008 R2 through the VMware VirtualCenter (now VMware vCenter Server) API set. VMM 2008 R2 support extends to the following VMware product versions:

  • VMware ESX Server 3.0 or above, and VMware ESX Server 3.5i
  • VMware VirtualCenter (VC) 2.5 (VMware Infrastructure 3 [VI3])
  • VMware vSphere 4 (VI3 features only)

It is important to note that some VMware ESX Server specific tasks (e.g., deploying updates, managing resource pools) may still require using VMware vCenter Server. In addition, VMM 2008 R2 does not support VMware Server.

VMM 2008 R2 Components

VMM 2008 R2 consists of multiple components that can be installed on a single server or distributed to multiple servers based on infrastructure scale and load requirements. The VMM 2008 R2 components include:

  • Virtual Machine Manager Service
  • Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console
  • Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal
  • Virtual Machine Manager Database
  • Virtual Machine Manager Agent
  • Virtual Machine Manager Library

Virtual Machine Manager Service

The central management engine for VMM 2008 R2 is the Virtual Machine Manager Service. The Virtual Machine Manager Service controls command processing and communications between other VMM components. It communicates with virtual machine hosts and Virtual Machine Library hosts through a Virtual Machine Manager agent.

Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console

The Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console provides a graphical user interface (GUI) to perform the following tasks:

  • Monitor and manage supported virtualization hosts
  • Monitor and manage VMM Library servers
  • Create and manage virtual machines

The Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console uses PowerShell cmdlets to issue commands and perform tasks. In addition to the Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console, there is also a command shell that you can use to perform any VMM management function from a command line interface.

Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal

The Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal is an optional component that can be deployed to allow users to create and manage their own virtual machines. Administrator-defined user roles determine the scope of user actions on their own virtual machines. Through a set of policies and host ratings, a user-created virtual machine can be automatically deployed to the most suitable.

Virtual Machine Manager Database

The Virtual Machine Manager database is the central store for all VMM configuration information, library information and job status information.

Virtual Machine Manager Agent

A Virtual Machine Manager Agent must be installed on Hyper-V hosts and Virtual Machine Manager Library servers in order to be managed through the Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console. This is not required for supported VMware ESX Server hosts.

Virtual Machine Manager Library

A Virtual Machine Manager Library is a central store for components such as virtual hard disks, virtual floppy disks, virtual machine templates, hardware profiles, and guest operating system profiles that are used to create virtual machines. A VMM 2008 R2 installation must have at least a single library.

System Center VMM 2008 R2 Self Service Portal Configuration

There are virtualization environments that require users to have direct access to create and manage their own virtual machines. Software development and student laboratory environments are just a few examples. In order to facilitate the use and management of these environments, System Center VMM 2008 R2 includes the Self-Service Portal which enables users to work with their virtual machines through a web browser. Self-service user actions are controlled through a self-service policy. A self-service policy grants a user (or group) permissions to create, manage, and connect to their virtual machines. Users create new virtual machine based on templates that are specifically developed for the self-service users. A self-service policy limits self-service users to use only specific templates to create virtual machines.

Basic Configuration Steps

There are four basic steps to configure a VMM 2008 R2 Self-Service Portal after you complete the installation of the Virtual Machine Manager Service, the Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console, and a Virtual Machine Library:

  1. Installing the VMM 2008 R2 Self-Service Portal component
  2. Creating a self-service host group
  3. Creating a virtual machine template
  4. Creating a self-service user and policy

Installing the VMM 2008 R2 Self-Service Portal Component

After the Virtual Machine Manager Service is installed on a server, the VMM Self-Service Portal can be installed. If server resources are restricted or you manage a small number of hosts and virtual machines, you can install this component on the same server as the Virtual Machine Manager Service, even in a virtual machine. However, you should carefully plan and distribute the deployment of the VMM Self-Service Portal component (as well as other VMM components) in environments that consist of a large number of hosts and virtual machines. You also need to consider that the Internet Information Server (IIS) must be installed on servers to which you plan to deploy the VMM 2008 R2 Self-Service Portal.

Once logged into the server with Domain Admin credentials, you must first ensure that the required Web Server role and services are installed on your server.

Follow these steps to install the Web Server role and services:

  1. Launch the Server Manager, click Roles in the left pane, and then select Add Roles in the right-pane to launch the Add Roles wizard.


Figure 1

  1. On the Before You Begin page, click Next.


Figure 2

  1. On the Select Server Roles page, select the checkbox for Web Server (IIS), and then click Next.


Figure 3

  1. On the Web Server (IIS) page, review the notes, and then select Next.
  2. On the Select Role Services page, select the checkbox for the following components:
    a.      ASP.NET (found under the Application Development node)
    b.      IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility (found under the Management Tools node)
    c.      IIS 6 WMI Compatibility (found under the Management Tools node)


Figure 4

  1. Click Next after making all the selections.
  2. On the Confirm Installation Selections page, review the information and click Install.


Figure 5

  1. On the Installation Progress page, monitor the role and role services installation.
  2. On the Installation Results page, ensure that the installation was successful, and then click Close.


Figure 6

After the Web Server role and services are installed, follow these steps to install the VMM 2008 R2 Self-Service Portal:

  1. Launch the System Center VMM 2008 R2 installation media.
  2. From the main screen, select VMM Self-Service Portal to launch the Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal Setup wizard.


Figure 7

  1. On the License Terms page, select to accept the license terms if you agree to them, and then click Next.


Figure 8

  1. On the Microsoft Update page, select Use Microsoft Update When I Check For Updates (Recommended), and then click Next.


Figure 9

  1. On the Prerequisites Check page, ensure that all prerequisites are met, and then click Next.


Figure 10

  1. On the Installation Location page, click Browse to select a new location to store the VMM program files, or use the default location, and then click Next.


Figure 11

  1. On the Web Server Settings page, adjust the VMM server and Web server name and TCP port settings if necessary, or use the default settings, and then click Next.


Figure 12

  1. On the Summary of Settings page, review the Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal settings, and then click Install.
  2. On the Installation page, ensure that the installation was successful, and then click Close.


Figure 13

Creating a Self-Service Host Group

A Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal provides virtual machine placement and access using VMM host groups. For complex environments with multiple self-service portals, it is useful to create a specific host group hierarchy. In this example, we use a single host group named SelfServiceHosts.

Follow these steps to create the SelfServiceHosts host group and add a Hyper-V host as a member of the host group:

  1. Launch the Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console.
  2. Select the Hosts workspace in the left pane.
  3. In the navigation menu (left pane), right-click All Hosts, and then select New Host Group.


Figure 14

  1. Enter SelfServiceHosts as the new host group name.


Figure 15

  1. To add a Hyper-V host to the SelfServiceHosts host group, click Add Host in the action menu to launch the Add Hosts wizard.
  2. On the Select Host Location page, type the password for the administrative account (this assumes that you are still logged in with an account that is assigned Domain Admin privileges), and then click Next.


Figure 16

  1. On the Add Hosts page, enter the fully qualified name of your Hyper-V host, click Add, and then click Next.


Figure 17

  1. If a warning dialog about installing the Hyper-V role appears, click Yes to continue.


Figure 18

  1. On the Configuration Settings page, select the SelfServiceHosts host group (All Hosts\SelfServiceHosts).


Figure 19

  1. On the Host Properties page, click Next to accept the defaults.


Figure 20

  1. On the Summary page, click Add Hosts to add the selected host.


Figure 21

  1. A  Jobs window will appear to show the progress of the Add Hosts request.


Figure 22

Creating a Virtual Machine Template

In order for a self-service user to create virtual machines, a virtual machine template has to be defined and available on a library server. This is a requirement because a self-service user does not have the ability to manage virtual machine settings.

Follow these steps to create a virtual machine template:

  1. Launch the Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console.
  2. In the left pane, select the Library workspace.
  3. Under the Library Servers node, select the VMs and Templates node.


Figure 23

  1. Under Library Actions, select New Template to launch the New Template wizard.


Figure 24

  1. On the Select Source page, click Browse for Use An Existing Template Or A Virtual Hard Disk Stored In The Library.


Figure 25

  1. On the Select Template Source page, select Blank Disk – Small from the available virtual hard disks, click OK, and then click Next.


Figure 26

  1. On the Template Identity page, enter Test for the template name, and then click Next.


Figure 27

  1. On the Configure Hardware page, click Next to accept the default hardware settings.


Figure 28

  1. On the Guest Operating System page, select Customization Not Required for the Guest Operating System Profile, and then click Next.


Figure 29

  1. On the Summary page, review the information and then click Create.
  2. A Jobs window will appear to show the template creation progress successful.
  3. The new Test virtual machine template will display in the Virtual Machine Manager Library.


Figure 30

Creating a Self-Service User and Policy

In order to access the Self-Service Portal, a self-service user role and policy must be created and users added as members of the role.

Follow these steps to create the Self-Service User Role:

  1. Launch the Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console.
  2. In the left pane, select the Administration workspace.
  3. In the Administration pane, select User Roles, and then select New User Role in the Actions pane to launch the Create User Role wizard.


Figure 31

  1. On the General page, type Self Service for the User Role Name, and then click Next.


Figure 32

  1. On the Add Members page, click Add.
  2. Type in a user name (e.g., SSUser), click OK, and then click Next.


Figure 33

  1. On the Select Scope page, select the Host Group called SelfServiceHosts, and then click Next.


Figure 34

  1. On the Virtual Machine Permissions page, select All Actions (or select only those actions that are required), and then click Next.


Figure 35

  1. On the Virtual Machine Creation Settings page, select Allow Users To Create New Virtual Machines.


Figure 36

  1. Click Add to select the template (e.g., Test template created earlier) that the Self-Service members can use to create virtual machines.
  2. Click OK, and then click Next.
  3. On the Library Share page, click Next.


Figure 37

  1. On the Summary page, review the settings and then click Create.


Figure 38

After the user role and policy is created, the Self-Service user can log into the VMM Self-Service Portal to create and manage virtual machines.

Conclusion

In Part I of this article, you learned about the Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal, an optional component of System Center VMM 2008 R2. Step-by-step procedures provided the process to install and configure this VMM 2008 R2 component to allow users to create and manage virtual machines through a web browser interface. With this functionality, the controlled deployment of test, development, or other environments where virtual machine management must be delegated to a user subset, is easily supported. In Part II of this article, you will learn how to access and use a Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal to create and manage virtual machines.

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Configuration of a Self-Service Portal using System Center VMM 2008 R2 (Part 2).

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