Troubleshooting Windows Azure Pack & Gallery Items (VM Roles) (Part 1)

Troubleshooting Windows Azure Pack & Gallery Items (VM Roles) (Part 1)

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Hello readers

Today we are going to look at another new area which came to market with Windows Azure Pack (WAP) and System Center 2012 R2. The new concept is called Gallery Items and is a new way to distribute applications and workloads (e.g PaaS apps, VM Templates) using Windows Azure Pack and Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2.

As with previous blog posts I’m going to split this into two parts:

    • Short Introduction to Gallery Items and concepts before troubleshooting (Part 1, this blog post)
    • Troubleshooting items for Windows Azure Pack and Gallery Items (Part 2)

 

Introduction to Gallery Items

Gallery Items (Virtual Machine Role Templates) provide a consistent service model amongst Windows Server, System Center and Windows Azure for composing, deploying and scaling virtualized applications and workloads.

This allows you to deploy Microsoft and 3rd party workloads like

    • SharePoint
    • Domain Controller
    • SQL Server
    • Word Press
    • Oracle Self-Service Kit (here)
    • CentOS6 LAMP

Gallery Items require Windows Azure Pack, Service Provider Foundation and Virtual Machine Manager to provision these VM Roles to a Cloud

Gallery Items can be offered via Plans in Windows Azure Pack and can be distributed to Clouds using the WAP Tenant Portal.

image

Gallery Item Definitions:

You should familiarize yourself with these definitions before starting:

Virtual Machine Role Gallery:

Catalog of Virtual Machine Role templates for tenants. Tenants view a curated and role-scoped list of Virtual Machine Role templates in the Tenant Portal. AS with many other resources in WAP these can also be accessed via Powershell or APIs

image

Picture of Gallery Items in the WAP Admin Portal

Virtual Machine Role Gallery Item:

A single Virtual Machine Role template

image

Picture of a GAllery Item in the WAP Admin Portal

Resource Definition Package

A Resource Definition Package defines the virtual machine container properties consists of the following:

• Resdef file

• Viewdef file

• Icon

• Language directories and files

Resource Extension Package

A Resource Extention Package defines the application to be deployed and contains the following:

• Resext file

• Script Payload

• Application Payload

Gallery Item Packages

Azure Pack Gallery Items Packages can be downloaded using the WEB PI by following this TechNet Wiki:

Downloading and Installing Windows Azure Pack Gallery Resource

The following Sample Gallery Items are currently downloadable from the WEB PI

    • SharePoint 2013  and  SharePoint Foundation 2010
    • Domain Controller,  IIS  and  Essentials
    • Windows Server 2012 R2  and  Windows Server 2012
    • BlogEngine.NET
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2013
    • Database Servers including MySQL Server (Windows and Linux) and Oracle Self Service Kit
    • Linux applications including  CentOS6 LAMP,  Drupla

More are to follow as they get uploaded to the WEB PI.

My colleague Shawn Gibbs has created a great Blog Post where he explains how you can use WEB PI and Windows Azure Pack:

Application Management - System Center and the Web Platform Installer (WebPI)

A VM Role Gallery Item consists of three files:

    • Resource Definition Package (RESDEF): Package file which needs to be imported into WAP
    • Resource Extension Package (RESEXT): Package file which needs to be imported into VMM

Note: Resext is an optional component of a gallery item. Eg. You can have a windows server gallery item for example which is comprised of only a resdef

    • Windows Azure Pack Gallery Resource Readme: Readme for important information like Tags, Operating System and Family in order to install the Windows Azure Pack Gallery Ressource

Importing Windows Azure Pack Gallery Resource:

Once a Gallery Item is downloaded it can be imported into Windows Azure Pack and Virtual Machine Manager.

The high level steps for doing this are the following:

image

The following steps defines how to make use of a Windows Azure Pack Gallery Resource

1. Download Windows Azure Pack Gallery Resource using the WEB PI

2. Read the readme file to understand the requirements for Tags and Operating System

3. Import RESEXT Package into VMM

4. Set the required VHD properties in VMM such as FamilyName, Release, Operating System and Tags.

5. Add library share to all clouds (plans) using the Gallery Item

6. Import RESDEF Package into WAP

7. Make the Gallery Item Public

8. Assign Windows Azure Pack Gallery Resource to a WAP Plan

9. Assign plan to a subscription

In the following two posts Stephen Baron and Kurt Scherer explain in detail how the above process is done end to end:

Application Management – Service Models Web Platform Installer Gallery
Application Management – Virtual Hard Disk Requirements of Windows Azure Pack Gallery Items

Provisioning a Gallery Item from Windows Azure Portal

Once a Galley Item has been imported into Windows Azure Pack and Virtual Machine Manager and has been added to a plan with an attached subscription it’s now possible for a tenant to deploy these Gallery Items as VM Roles using the Tenant Portal of the Windows Azure Pack. The high level steps for doing are the following:

image

The following process is used when provisioning a Gallery Item (VM Role) to a Cloud:

1. Tenant gets a plan assigned which has one or more Gallery Items (VM Roles) as part of a plan

2. Tenant logins to Tenant Portal

3. Tenant selects New > VM Role > From Gallery

4. Tenant Selects VM Role

5. Tenant provide needed Input and click OK to provision a VM Role

6. WAP contacts SPF with Config File definition

7. SPF calls VMM with input parameters and maps Resource Extension Package with OS VHD based on defined tags and selection made in the tenant portal

8. VM Role gets deployed to a VMM Cloud

The following things must be in place to start making use of Gallery Items:

  • One or more hosts running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V enabled
  • Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2
    • One or more VHD with a defined OS in the VMM Library
    • One or more Clouds are defined
    • VMM is managing one or Hyper-V Hosts
  • Service Provider Foundation 2012 R2
  • Windows Azure Pack

I hope this short introduction to Gallery Items concepts have been useful reading as the next blog post will be released soon:

Troubleshooting items for Windows Azure Pack and Gallery Items (Part 2)

Stay tuned for more troubleshooting Windows Azure Pack and Gallery Items

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  • The default values populated for VM Role size in Windows Azure Pack portal are from VMM (Get-CloudVMRoleSizeProfile cmdlet shows them). Are we allowed to modify them through' Set-CloudVMRoleSizeProfile cmdlet? Is it ok to modify/remove the options or is there any dependency on them and not recommended to modify/remove ?