Network Builder add-in for VMM 2012: Simple Creation of VLAN Isolated Networks

Network Builder add-in for VMM 2012: Simple Creation of VLAN Isolated Networks

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toolsNote: This add-in will only work if you are using your current Windows Session Identity to connect to VMM. It is being released under a “as-is, no warranty” license.

Anjay Ajodha and Matt McGlynn are Program Manager interns on the System Center VMM team. They spent their summer analyzing customer pain points regarding networking in System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM 2012) and developed a small tool that should help ease the frustration with setting up VLAN-isolated networks in VMM.

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To help you get started quickly with networking in VMM and to simplify the process of creating new networks, we have created a plug-in for VMM in the form of a UI add-in. VMM Network Builder streamlines the steps required to build a logical switch that contains virtual networks. This tool will create networks that utilize VLAN isolation and is not purposed for creating NVGRE networking configurations.

Installing Network Builder

Download the Network Builder installer at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=510082&clcid=0x409

Run the installer and select a location for installation.

Once the installer is complete, open up the VMM console. Select the ‘Settings’ workspace and select the ‘Import Console Add-in’ icon in the ribbon. Navigate to the file on your Desktop named NetworkBuilder.zip. Finish the process for importing the add-in to the console. Restart the VMM console and navigate to the new icon in the ribbon with the caption ‘Build a network’.

Creating a Networking Configuration

1. Introduction

After starting the wizard, wait until it says “Connected to VMM”. The introduction page offers an overview of the network configuration that will be created. Note that you will have the option to create a Management logical network that has no isolation and a separate logical network for VLAN isolated networks. Click ‘Next’ to proceed.

2. Management Network

A Management Network is an optional virtual network that connects to all hosts and ensures connectivity to isolated or management VMs. A Management Network is not necessary for a virtual network setup but it may be helpful in some cases. Note that the management network will not have isolation, therefore network creation will fail it if the network subnet overlaps with the subnets of any existing networks or networks that are created later in the wizard. If you do not choose to create a Management Network, make sure that applying any logical switch still preserves a connection between the VMM server and the host OS.

If you do choose to create a Management Network, select whether or not the Management Network utilizes separate physical NICs from the network for non-management VM traffic. Selecting the separate physical NIC option will result in two logical switches being created: One named Management and one named the same as the logical network you will create after the Management Network. Selecting No suggests that the infrastructure is converged and only one logical switch will be created that encompasses connectivity to both management and non-management networks. In this instance, the logical switch will be named the same as the logical network you will create later. Click “Next” to proceed.

On the next page, you will be asked to provide Management Subnet information. If you select ‘My management network does NOT use DHCP’, a static IP pool will be created with addresses that span the entire subnet. You may input one gateway address and one DNS address for IPv4 and IPv6. It is likely you will want to modify the configuration of this IP pool to include more DNS or WINS servers as well as a list of reserved addresses. This can be done by going to the properties of the IP pool object after finishing the wizard.

3. Logical Network

On the logical network page you are asked to name the logical network that will encompass all of your VLAN isolated VM networks. Note this will also be the name for the logical switch that is created as a result of this wizard.

4. Virtual Networks (VM Networks)

On the next page you will define the VLAN isolated networks that will contain VM traffic. Input the name and subnet information and add the network to the table. When these settings are applied to hosts using the host this wizard generates, these networks will be available to VMs located on those hosts. If you select ‘Add Static IP Pool’, a static IP pool will be created with addresses that span the entire subnet. You may input one gateway address and one DNS address for IPv4 and IPv6. It is likely you will want to modify the configuration of this IP pool to include more DNS or WINS servers as well as a list of reserved addresses not for use by this pool. This can be done by going to the properties of the IP pool object after finishing the wizard. If you did create a Management Network, make sure that no subnets for the virtual networks overlap with the subnet for the Management Network as this could prevent successful object creation.

5. Logical Switch Page

Here you can select how the configuration may be packaged and further utilized. If you chose not to create a Management Network, you will have the option of adding the configuration to an existing Uplink Port Profile. If this option is not selected, the output of the wizard will be a separate logical switch. If you do have separate physical NICs for your Management Network, two logical switches will created: One for Management and one for the other VM traffic with the logical network name you inputted.

6. Generating Host Application Script

There are two possible cases where you will be presented with the ability to create a script that will apply these setting to selected hosts. This option becomes available when a Management Network is not created OR when a management network is created and is being applied to a separate NIC than the VM traffic.

If you select ‘I would like to create a script to apply this logical switch to hosts’ you will be able to select physical NICs for application of the logical switch. Use the ‘filter by host group’ dropdown to generate a list of hosts and then select a host to reveal the Physical NICs available on that host for application of the logical switch. After successful creation of the networking objects, this script will be made available to you.

7. Summary and Object Creation

On the summary page you will find a list of the inputted information as well as options to view the object creation script or save the report to text. Click ‘create’ to build the network configuration. After object creation you will be able to see and save your script for host application.

After Object Creation:

Make sure to save the ‘Apply to Hosts’ script if you generated one. This can be run with PowerShell after object creation to apply your new configuration to hosts. If you did not choose to create this script, utilize your new configuration by going to hosts individually and creating an instance of the new logical switch. More information on this can be found at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj628156.aspx

We hope this makes building network configurations in VMM a little easier!

Anjay Ajodha  and Matthew McGlynn | Intern Program Managers | Microsoft

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  • Does this not provide the full functionality in SCVMM 2012R2 it is unable to create certain parts of the process (Port Profile, logical switch and vm network). It also does not provide the option for "View Apply to Host Script"

  • Great effort guys, a wizard driven interface helps this process immensely. is it possible to use this tool to add more vlan isolated networks later on, after you've established the initial logical network, switch and starting vlans? I've tried, and it keeps wanting me to put in a new logical switch name, rather than use the existing one.