As I wrote in an earlier post, there is no better time to write your exam for 70-659 Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization, than now and particularly before May 31, 2012. So to aid in that endeavour, Joseph Yedid, an IT specialist with Enhansoft in Ottawa, has put together a series of posts focused on getting IT folk ready to pass this exam. Joseph writes his blog at www.josephyedid.com but has allowed me to repost this series here.

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Create and Deploy Virtual Machines

System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) is the über-management software for virtual machine management. It has more options and capabilities than Hyper-V Manager. Creating VMs in VMM is done the same basic way as in Hyper-V Manager.

What is cloning? Cloning is the process of creating a new VM from an existing one. The source VM can be in either the VMM library or on an existing host. When a new clone is created, it retains the source’s original information: AD info, SID, name, and MAC. The source VM isn’t deleted. For a VM to be cloned, it first must be powered off or in a saved state. Be careful of having both VMs running at the same time because they might try to communicate on the same network; if they reside on the same network. For the best outcome, place the clone in the library. The clone can then be used as a backup.

Deploying VMs in VMM is a lot faster and easier than in Hyper-V Manager. Due to the fact that VMM is a datacenter level product, rapid deployment is essential. VMM makes use of host groups which are merely containers for quick provisioning. VMM also relies on an intelligent placement star rating system to help determine which hosts are best suited to host the desired VM. Since VMM can manage clusters, VMM can place VMs in clusters, making them highly available. In best practices, you would use the library to store templates, VHDs, scripts, etc. for quick deployment.

Creating VMs in Hyper-V Manager is pretty straight forward. Under the Actions click New and then Virtual Machine. A wizard will launch. The wizard will have you choose all the settings needed to create a new VM such as: location to store the VM, disk type, disk size, network to connect to, load an ISO, etc. Any additional settings you wish to make will be available in the VM settings after the VM is created.

The Self -Service Portal (SSP) is designed to allow an individual user the ability to manage and create their own VMs without involving the VMM admins too much. The VMs that self-service users create can be isolated to not impact a production environment. One of the best uses of the SSP is to allow developers to build their own VMs and to test software against them. There is no impact on the production in case something goes wrong with the software. VMM admins first setup the SSP, create the users or groups that have access to it, and set limits, if any, as to what the SSP user can do.

SSP requires IIS to function as SSP is web-based.

The IIS requirements are:

  • IIS 6 and above
  • IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility
  • IIS 6 WMI Compatibility
  • Static Content
  • Default Document
  • Directory Browsing
  • HTTP Errors
  • ASP.NET
  • .NET Extensibility
  • ISAPI Extensions
  • ISAPI Filters
  • Request Filtering

VMM admins can grant SSP users the following VM permissions:

Start Start VMs
Stop Stop VMs
Pause and Resume Pause and resume VMs
Checkpoint Create and manage VM checkpoints
Remove Remove VMs
Local Administration Grant local admin rights on VMs
Remote Connection Remotely connect to VMs
Shutdown Shutdown VMs

One other item to note, VMM can place quotas on SSP users. What this means is that SSP users can do only certain operations within the quota limit.

Using Powershell is another method for creating and deploying VMs. Now, I am not a programmer, but I will give this section my best shot. First thing to note is that VMM runs on top of Powershell. Everything you do in the GUI has an associated Powershell script or action. With that said, when you create a new VM in VMM you will see an option at the end of the wizard to view the Powershell script that will run to create the new VM. Just about everything has something similar to this. Being able to view the Powershell script also gives you the capability to copy and store the code for reuse. You can then edit/modify the code for other purposes. Once VMM is installed, the associated Powershell scripts will be available. The best advice I can give for this topic is to get familiar with the commandlets, what they do and how they work.

Read the full series >>


Joseph-1Joseph Yedid is an IT specialist working at Enhansoft a company based in Ottawa, Canada, that develops products and services to extend the value of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM) and System Center Configuration Manager 2012. He is an avid user of technology and is certified in many areas of Microsoft infrastructure technologies. He is MCTS and MCITP certifed - Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft Vista/Windows 7. Other interests revolve around virtualization technologies, System Center and Private Cloud. Joseph is a member and on the executive of the Ottawa Windows Server User Group.