Installing System Centre Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2

If you are like me then you may be a little nervous when it comes to installing a piece of software for the first time and so it’s comforting, I think, if you can see a walkthrough with an explanation or demonstration of the decision points when it comes to installing a piece of software for the first time. Below I’ve provided some screenshots and instructions for getting SCVMM up and running. My installation was performed in a lab environment with Widows 2008 Server R2 installed on my laptop providing the Hyper-V functionality so that the hypervisor can have access to the virtualisation extensions of the processor (i.e. hyper-v will work). I’ve then created two virtual machines, scvmmdc as a domain controller and scvmm to run SCVMM and control hyper-v on my laptop as a host. True, it’s now what you would expect to see in production but it does give you an idea of how to install the software.

The first thing you will note is that I’m not installing a full install to a clustered sql server and, equally, I have not clustered SCVMM to make it highly available … both of these things being best practice for a full multi host production environment. You can, of course, get away without doing either of these things in production as you can still control clustered hyper-v from the built in server administration tools, it’s just that you won’t have access to SCVMM if your single server is not up and running. So, the more physical hosts you have, the “better” practice it is to provide high availability for SCVMM.

The first thing to note after installing the setup disk is that the very first link gives you access to the SCVMM help file which gives excellent advice as to sizing the solution, supported SQL, required software etc (the Setup Overview link).

Straight from that guide, the software requirements are:

Software requirement Notes
A supported operating system For more information, (generally 2003 SP2 and later).
Windows Remote Management (WinRM) This software is included in Windows Server 2008 and the WinRM service is set to start automatically. If the WinRM service is stopped, the Setup Wizard starts the service.
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 This software is included in Windows Server 2008. If this software has been removed, the Setup Wizard automatically adds it (i.e. no need to download unless you want the latest version – always patch afterwards though).
Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) 1.1 If this software has not been installed previously, the Setup Wizard automatically installs it (i.e. no need to download unless you want the latest version – always patch afterwards though).

If you use the same computer for your VMM server and your VMM database, you must install a supported version of Microsoft SQL Server.

Supported versions of SQL are

  • SQL Server 2008 Express Edition
  • SQL Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit) Standard Edition
  • SQL Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit) Enterprise Edition
  • SQL Server 2005 Express Edition SP2
  • SQL Server 2005 (32-bit and 64-bit) Standard Edition SP2
  • SQL Server 2005 (32-bit and 64-bit) Enterprise Edition SP2

If you do not specify a local or remote instance of SQL then the Setup Wizard will install SQL Server 2005 Express Edition SP2 on the local computer. The Setup Wizard also installs SQL Server 2005 Tools and creates a SQL Server instance named MICROSOFT$VMM$ on the local computer. To use SQL Server 2008 for the VMM database, SQL Server Management Tools must be installed on the VMM server. If you use Express Edition then SCVMM will not allow reporting and the database size is limited to 4GB.

After reading the pre-requisites we can prepare the server and domain to host SCVMM. The domain needs to be at Windows 2003 domain level as a minimum. Equally, if the SCVMM server is to host the self service portal then IIS needs to be installed and configured. For Windows 2003 this is a simple matter of installing the Application Server role. For Windows 2008 and above add the Web Server (IIS) role and ensure the following role services are selected:

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

We can then check the server for suitability for hosting SCVMM. This can be done locally or form a remote machine but whichever machine is being used for this task, that machine needs to have the Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer installed which can be downloaded from Once the MBCA has been installed we can then click the link for the VMM Configuration Analyzer. This will allow you to download the analyzer tool to your local machine and pre-check the machine for suitability for hosting SCVMM.

When starting the Analyzer tool from the start menu we have the following choices (SCVMM is the name of my lab machine). The tool should really be run in the context of an account that is a domain administrator in order that the tool can accurately check the domain level.

After clicking Scan and waiting a short while you will be presented with a report for which you will need to correct any errors.

Once all errors are resolved we can move onto installing the SCVMM software. Simply click on “SCVMM Server” under the setup section of the welcome screen. Setup will extract some temporary files and then begin the installation routine. Read and accept the license terms if you agree with them and wish to proceed.

I recommend that you participate in the customer experience program if you wish to see Microsoft improve their software for you and all other users.

Complete the User registration details according to your corporate standards.

Complete the prerequisites check and, if passed, click on Next.

Select where to install the software binaries.

As I don’t have a separate SQL server in my lab I chose to install SQL Express locally on my server.

I created a new folder called “Library” and changed the path for the library share to used that new location. In the normal course of events I would usually put this on a drive other than C to allow for growth.

While it is a best practice to change the port numbers used (one for security and two, because you have to uninstall and reinstall SCVMM if you want to change the ports later) I have left them at their defaults for my lab. Similarly, it is a security best practice to leave the service account as the system account. A network account should be used if SCVMM is being installed in a clustered environment where SCVMM is itself clustered.

At the summary of settings page click on Install to proceed.

The software and pre-requisite software will then be installed.

Finally, once the installation has completed select Close to check for any SCVMM updates.

This will have installed SCVMM server. Next, we need to install the Administrators Console. After any required patching, reboot the server and start setup from the CD once more and select VMM Administrator Console in the setup section. Once again temporary files will be extracted and the installation process will begin. As before, we first read and accept the license agreement if we want to proceed.

There is no need to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program as this screen will pick up the choice made when installing SCVMM server (this choice is available if installing the administrative console onto an administrators workstation).

Complete the prerequisites check and, if passed, click on Next.

Select the installation location and click on Next.

Next, we assign the port that we want the console to use to communicate with the SCVMM Server. This is the port that you assigned when installing SCVMM Server above. The port setting that you assign for the VMM Administrator Console must identically match the port setting that you assigned for the VMM Administrator Console during the installation of the VMM server or communication will not occur.

On the Summary of Settings page, if all settings are fine then click on Install.

The installation will then proceed.

Once again, click on Close and check for any updates to the software.

Once any updates have been installed and the server has been rebooted we can proceed to install the optional VMM Self-Service Portal. The Self Service Portal allows identified users to create and manage virtual machines within a Hyper-V or VMWare environment where SCVMM is managing VMWare hosts. To begin the install simply click on the VMM Self-Service Portal link under the Setup section of the welcome page. Once again temporary files will be extracted and the installation process will begin. As before, we first read and accept the license agreement if we want to proceed.

Complete the prerequisites check and, if passed, click on Next (remember, IIS must have been installed to install this service).

We can then choose where to install the application binaries. Here, I have chosen the default location for my lab. In a production environment I would move these to a drive other than C.

Next we tell the installation what port we would like users to connect to the self-service portal over. Generally this is port 80 but if another web site is being hosted on the server then we can either select a different port or, more usually, set a different host / web address to be used by the solution by way of host headers. If port 80 is already in use (by the default web site for example) then we receive the error message below.

I’ve used the hostname selfservice and registered this in my DNS servers as a host (A) record to enable clients to find the site. Additionally, we once again have to connect to our SCVMM server and need to enter the port number chosen earlier for connections. We can then click on Next to move to the next screen.

On the Summary page we can now select Install if we are happy with all of our settings.

Once again we click on Close and check for any updates to the software.

Once the installation is complete we can once again check for any updates and reboot the server to ensure that all services start cleanly (checking the event log for any issues on startup).

Once restarted you can take time if necessary to harden your self-service portal environment by deploying SSL (to encrypt traffic), using integrated logon (to prevent users having to enter passwords) and disabling unwanted ISAPI filters. The full guide on recommended hardening measures can be found at

If you have followed these steps you should now have a fully functional SCVMM server which can be connected to your Hyper-V or VMWare servers. Connecting to Hyper-V couldn’t be simpler. When you add a virtual machine host or library server that is in an Active Directory domain, SCVMM remotely installs an SCVMM agent on the Hyper-V host. The SCVMM agent deployment process uses both the Server Message Block (SMB) ports and the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) port (TCP 135) and the DCOM port range. You can use either SMB packet signing or IPSec to help secure the agent deployment process. You can also install SCVMM agents locally on hosts, discover them in the SCVMM Administrator Console, and then control the host using only the WinRM port (default port 80) and BITS port (default port 443). Even though we do not need to install the Local Agent manually as all of our servers reside in a domain I run through the procedure for installation below. First we insert the SCVMM disc into our hyper-v server (or map a drive to it) and start the setup routine and then click on Local Agent under setup. The installation of the Local Agent will then begin.

Accept the terms of the agreement to continue.

Select the installation path.

Change the ports the Hyper-V server will use to connect to the SCVMM server to those set earlier when SCVMM was installed.

Our server is not sitting in a DMZ – if it were we could encrypt traffic between the Hyper-V server and SCVMM.

You can then continue to Install the Agent

Click on Finish when completed.

Next we need to start the SCVMM Admin console on the SCVMM server by double clicking the link created on your desktop or by using the link in the Start menu.

From the Outlook like interface we can select the Hosts section and from there we can create a new host group if we have a number of physical Hyper-V or VMWare hosts we would like to control. For our purposes we’ll just use the All Hosts group. On the right hand side (Actions column) we can select Add Host.

In my lab the Hyper-V server is part of my domain as it would have to be if we were running a Hyper-V cluster and so we select the first choice and enter the domain administrator credentials to allow SCVMM access to the Hyper-V host.

Next, type in the name of the physical server running Hyper-V or browse for it in Active Directory. Note: Hyper-V does not need to be installed on the host at this point – if it is not then SCVMM will install and activate the role on the target server and reboot it.

Add the host machine to a host group.

Add a default path where Virtual Machines should be created on this host. When you add a stand-alone Windows Server-based virtual machine host as we are doing here to Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM), you can add one or more virtual machine default paths, which are paths to folders where SCVMM can store the files for virtual machines that are deployed on the hosts. However, For a Hyper-V or VMWare cluster the default path is a shared volume on the cluster that SCVMM automatically creates when you add the host cluster. When you are adding the host cluster, you cannot specify additional default paths in the Add Host Wizard.

We then get asked to confirm the settings and can select to add our host.

Once added a job will auto-run to add the host followed by a further series of jobs to add in any already configured Virtual Machines running on that host into SCVMM.

You should now be able to control your Hyper-V host using SCVMM and configure the self-service portal for your users.