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Random bits of (hopefully) useful technical information on Windows, with a focus on understanding and troubleshooting.

SCVMM Console-ation

SCVMM Console-ation

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The Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, other than being a mouthful to say and hence referred to as SCVMM, is a great consolidation tool for managing Virtual Server, Hyper-V and even VMWare ESX hosts and the VMs on them.

This isn’t a sales blog, so if you’re not already familiar with the product then I recommend reading this, this and this as a starting point.

The current version a the time of writing this is SCVMM 2008 R2 – to help distinguish the difference between this and the previous version I shall refer to SCVMM 2008 as SCVMM 2008 R1.

 

The SCVMM Administrator Console is a component installed separately from the SCVMM Server, and the 2 communicate over TCP port 8100 – you can see a summary of all the ports used and what their purposes are here.

The Console has various views you can employ to monitor or configure your environment – for example you can select to list the hosts that are registered with the SCVMM Server and then drill down to the VMs running on them, or view the list of VMs across all the servers.

 

On Windows virtualization hosts it is possible to remotely get the console of a VM – the VMs themselves do not need to have Remote Desktop enabled (or even have any network connectivity themselves).

For Hyper-V hosts we use a cut-down version of the RDP protocol (the same as VMConnect.exe used by Hyper-V Manager) over TCP port 2179, and for Virtual Server hosts we use the VMRC protocol over TCP port 5900.

This TechNet page shows how this can be enabled/modified.

 

This leads me to the meaning behind this blog entry, as it turns out if the SCVMM 2008 R1 Administrator Console is installed on Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 then it is not possible to use the VMConnect method to communicate with the Hyper-V host, and the VirtualMachineViewer.exe process will instead attempt to RDP directly to the VM (over TCP port 3389).

If Remote Desktop is not enabled in the VM then the following error is thrown:
Virtual Machine Manager failed to connect to the virtual machine because of a socket connection error.
Check the firewall and network settings, and then try to connect again.

 

If using Windows later than Server 2008 for the SCVMM Administrator Console then you must use SCVMM 2008 R2 to use the host connection method for remote controlling VMs (regardless of whether the host itself is Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2).

The various system requirements pages for SCVMM can be a bit tricky to navigate now they mention both SCVMM 2008 R1 and R2, and there is an explicit note about SCVMM 2008 R2 being required to manage Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V hosts, but I didn’t see this specific issue mentioned.

 

I am not sure about the technical reasons behind the SCVMM 2008 R1 Administrator Console’s OS requirement/restriction, but the product was released before Windows 7 which must account for the functionality difference and whilst it installs and otherwise is fully functional there could be no guarantee it would have all the features available.

Comments
  • I am getting the Virtual Machine Manager failed to connect to the virtual machine because of a socket connection error. Check the firewall and network settings, and then try to connect again. , message and I'm using SCVMM R2 on W2K8. It worked fine until the latest agent update.

  • I assume you are talking about the rollup package KB982522, blogged by Carmen here:

    blogs.technet.com/.../scvmm-2008-r2-rollup-released-for-scvmm-server-and-administrator-s-console.aspx

    It doesn't appear to be a known issue with the rollup package, so it might indicate a genuine network connectivity issue between the client running the Administrator Console and the Hyper-V host.

    You mention you are using W2K8 - is that for the Administrator Conole, the VMM server or the Hyper-V host?

    I would look at things like:

    Does the problem only start when the VMM Agent is updated on a working host?

    Is the problem present for both W2K8 and W2K8R2 Hyper-V hosts?

    Does it happen regardless of which OS the Administrator Console is running on?

    Disabling TCP chimney / offloading features as a test (the symptoms caused by problematic offloading features can be very random).

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