Let’s face it: System Center 2012 is BIG.  Microsoft literally took seven completely separate products – three of which were HUGE on their own, and combined them into a single product.  It’s no wonder so many IT Pros and hopefuls are so intimidated by it. 

I am not going to guide you through the actual installation of products in these articles.  My reasoning behind that is that the installation process is fairly simple for each component; it is easy to get lost along the way, but by reading the guidance in your error messages you will be able to make it through.  Nonetheless during the next week I will record a series of webcasts guiding you through the actual installation processes.

Additionally you do not need to go out and buy the software – you can download the evaluation versions which are good for 180 days by clicking on the following links: Download Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012. Additionally you will need to download SQL Server; for these demos I used SQL Server 2012, which you can download as an evaluation as well.

A little bit of knowledge will take you a long way; in this article we are going to get you started with three of the components which are central to your private cloud: Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and Operations Manager (OpsMgr).

I consider Virtual Machine Manager to be the focal point of the Private Cloud; it is the module where we create the Private Cloud, manage the resources, and build and manage the virtual machines.  It does not work in a vacuum of course; but as with most of the components of System Center 2012 it interacts ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ with two main components: Orchestrator for scripting and runbooks, and OpsMgr for monitoring, reporting, and intelligent placement.  For today we will focus on the connectivity requirements between VMM and OpsMgr.

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The relevant portion of my virtual network is outlined in this diagram.  All of these components are virtual (machines and switches) within one of the primary Hyper-V hosts.

The first step we will take is to prepare the OpsMgr to connect to VMM.  In order to do this we need the following:

Console:

  • Operations Manager console must be installed on the VMM Server.

This is easy enough… attach the OpsMgr media to the VMM virtual machine and install only the console.

Credentials:

  • An account which is a member of the Operations Manager Administrators user role; and
  • An account which is a member of the VMM Administrator user role.

imageI am a strong believer in the old AGGUDLP philosophy – user Accounts go into Global Groups, which go into Universal Groups, which go into Domain Local Groups, which are then assigned permissions.  As such I have created a Security Group in Active Directory called OpsMgr&VMM which I will assign to these roles.

  1. In the Operations Manager Console click on the Administration context.
  2. In the Navigation Pane expand Security and click on User Roles.
  3. In the User Roles main window double-click Profile: Administrator\Operations Manager Administrators.
  4. Click + Add…
  5. Type the name of the Active Directory Security Group that you created and click OK.
  6. Click OK to close the User Roles Properties window.
  7. In the VMM Console window click on the Settings context.
  8. In the Navigation Pane expand Security and click on User Roles.
  9. In the User Roles main window double-click on Administrator.
  10. In the Administrator Properties window click on Members.
  11. Click Add…
  12. Enter the name of the Active Directory Security Group that you created and click OK.
  13. Click OK to close the Administrator Properties window. image

Now that I have provided the appropriate credentials, I can move on to the Management Packs.

Management Packs:

Several management packs are required in order to join OpsMgr and VMM, all of which are free and easily downloaded from Microsoft.com, or from within the OpsMgr Console.  They are:

  • SQL Server Core Library version 6.0.5000.0 (or later)
  • Windows Server Internet Information Services Library version 6.0.5000.0 (or later)
  • Windows Server Internet Information Services 2003 version 6.0.5000.0 (or later)
  • Windows Server 2008 Internet Information Services 7 version 6.0.6539.0 (or later)
  1. From within the OpsMgr Console click on the Administration context.
  2. Right-click on Management Packs in the Navigation Pane and click Import Management Packs.
  3. In the Select Management Packs window select Add from catalogue from the +Add drop-down menu.
  4. Select the management packs listed above, and click Import.

**Note: If your Operations Manager VM is not connected to the Internet you can download the management packs individually and then import them from Disk.

Now that we have laid the groundwork, connecting VMM and OpsMgr is relatively simple.

  1. From the VMM Console select the Settings context.
  2. In the Navigation Pane select System Center Settings.
  3. In the main window right-click Operations Manager Server and click Properties.
  4. In the Introduction window click Next.
  5. In the Connection to Operations Manager screen enter the OpsMgr server name (SWMI-OpsMgr.swmi.ca).  Ensure the boxes Enable Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO) and Enable maintenance mode integration with Operations Manager are selected and click Next.
  6. In the Connection to VMM screen enter the credentials of a user who is assigned Administrator rights on the VMM server (such as one that is a member of the OpsMgr&VMM Security group) and click Next.
  7. On the Summary screen click Finish.

PowerShell!

The script to connect the OpsMgr server to the VMM server should look like this:

$vmmCredential = Get-Credential
$opsMgrServerCredential = Get-SCRunAsAccount -Name "RunAdmin" -ID "02f51024-f502-44cd-94c4-87e304124818"
New-SCOpsMgrConnection -EnablePRO $true -EnableMaintenanceModeIntegration $true -OpsMgrServer "swmi-opsmgr" -RunAsynchronously -VMMServerCredential $vmmCredential -OpsMgrServerCredential $opsMgrServerCredential

At this point you are ready to go!  OpsMgr will be monitoring your VMM environment, which means that not only can you begin monitoring the health of your VMM server, but your entire environment, allowing for great features like Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO), and more intelligent patch management using maintenance mode.

We’ll leave it here for now because you now have a lot to play with; start exploring your VMM on your own and see what it���s made of; start generating reports in OpsMgr and see what kind of data you can extract!

In my next article we will introduce another System Center component into play.  Stay tuned for Orchestrator!