SCVMM 2012 – Preparing the Host Profile

In the previous blogs I have explained how to create Run As Accounts & Profiles. I also discussed Out of Band Management and specifically how to Add the HP iLO2 OOB provider to SCVMM 2012. In this blog I focus on another preparatory step before we can start our Bare Metal Deployment and Cluster Creation: Preparing the Host Profile.

The Host Profile is like a combination of the Hardware Profile and OS Profile in SCVMM 2008 R2 but intended for defining the physical server rather than the virtual machine. Again a wizard is available to define such a Host Profile which is relatively straightforward:

  • General: Host Profile Name & Description plus location of the VHD file to be used as the base image for the operating system
  • Hardware Configuration: Selection of the Management NIC with a choice of DHCP or static IP address; Partition and Disk Configuration and Driver Options (for injection of a specific set of (filter) drivers
  • OS Configuration: similar to the OS Profile in SCVMM 2008 R2 describing OS name, Run As Profile, Admin Password, Identity Information, Product Key, Time Zone and Scripts
  • Host Settings: for adding the virtual machine placement paths

The preparation of the Host Profile starts off by clicking on the Library wunderbar, expanding Profiles and right-clicking Host Profiles: Create Host Profile.

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Supply a clear and standardized name to the Host Profile. I’d suggest defining these kind of names in your design because naming can become quite a mess if you don’t. Anything goes as long as it is standardized and the name is meaningful if you look at it a couple of months later. Of course a clear description will help you too.

Please also note that the VHD file must contain a version of Windows Server 2008 R2 because the OS must support boot from VHD. This VHD can be created by running the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep.exe) on a Windows Server 2008 R2 or later virtual machine.

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The next step in the wizard defines how the bare metal server will be configured. The easiest way is to obtain an IP address through the DHCP service. However in this example I wanted to find out how the new logical network concept in SCVMM 2012 worked. Under Fabric | Networks we can now define one or more logical networks with pre-defined subnets, VLANs and IP-pools that allow for checking out and checking IP address. Much like a DHCP server for static IP addresses. I have expressed this wish for a centralized and flexible network configuration for Hyper-V hosts to the responsible developer teams in the past two years and …. Yes, they’ve listened! What I still don’t know of course is how this will interact with Hyper-V vNext. I still sincerely hope that configuration of high available/teamed networks will be part of the new product and that we can configure them easily from SCVMM 2012.

As you can see in the following screenshot, I have prepared a few logical networks. In the Host Profile I will use the Backend network configuration for the primary connection of the Hyper-V hosts to the network. The idea is that the bare metal server will boot from a Windows Deployment Server (WDS/PXE), get a DPCP address, configures the profile and finally receive a static IP address from the IP pool. Manual intervention should no longer be necessary.

You might well ask yourself: “What if I have a server with eight NIC’s? Which one will it take?” The SCVMM team thought of that too as we will see in the next blog.

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The following sub-step in the Hardware configuration part of the New Host Profile Wizard is the definition of partitions and disks. Be aware that Microsoft has chosen to use the Boot from VHD method for deploying bare metal servers. But before a VHD can be deployed, at least one disk and partition must be configured. The disk type can be selected (MBR/GPT), the volume can be labeled, the partition type can be selected and either all remaining free disk space or a set amount of disk space can be configured. Of course Make this the boot partition must be checked for the first disk that is defined.

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The last step in the hardware configuration depends on your server hardware or specific storage requirements. By default, Virtual Machine Manager injects all drivers that match the Plug and Play (PnP) IDs discovered on the target physical computer. If on the other hand you want only desired drivers to be applied to the operating system, you can add a list of tags.

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Next we define the OS configuration. If you have worked with SCVMM 2008 R2 this will be mostly familiar. Only the RunAs profile is new and saves you an extra authentication step.

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The Host settings completes the preparation of the Host Profile. In this list you can add one or more default locations for virtual machine placement to be used by the Hyper-V hosts.

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In the next blog we will arrive at our real goal for all these blogs: the Bare Metal Configuration of one or more physical servers. Please join me later for the next blog in the sequel.

5 Comments

  1. April 22, 2011    

    Hi

    Great blog post here. I too have bee trying this but appear to have run into an issue. I have downloaded the requisite components and successfully got the iLO2 BMC registered. However, when I attempt to discover devices, I am presented with an error stating that no devices were discovered. I have checked in the iLO Configuration Utility directory and a file has been generated with the details of the iLO that I am trying to discover, and can see form the iLO Log on the server that an XML Login and XML Logout are occurring. I was just wondering if this is something that you might have come across.

    Cheers

    Shaun

  2. November 2, 2012    

    Hi Hans,

    Instead of installing the VHD to a disk do you know if its possible to deploy the VHD to a USB stick? given it can provide enough storage space?

    /Casper

    • adminHans's Gravatar adminHans
      November 10, 2012    

      Hi Casper,

      In my book Microsoft Private Cloud computing you will find a lot about Bare Metal Deployment, including a PowerShell command to create an ISO to avoid using a PXE/WDS Server. You will still need the iLO out-of-band to trigger the installation however.

      Regards, Hans

  3. November 2, 2012    

    ohh oohh and allso..

    What about product key compared to the VHD?

    Do i have to create my own VHD and rolle that into the SCVMM 2012 libery? In one of your post you wrote that you don’t need to setup any images on the WDS server because the VHD was stored in the SCVMM 2012 libery.

    I took that, that SCVMM 2012 camed shipped with a premade VHD file for deploying? but maybe im suppose to create my own VHD and add that to the libery?

    If thats the case then i know how to handle the license key issue but if SCVMM 2012 comes shipped with a pre build VHD for BMC deployment how do i handle the license key?

    /Casper

    • adminHans's Gravatar adminHans
      November 10, 2012    

      Hi Casper,

      No just any sysprepped Windows Server 2008 R2 VHD (or Windows Server 2012 VHDX if you will be using VMM SP1) will do.
      In VMM you will create a server profile dealing with the disk partitioning, the OS information (domain membership, administrator, key) and how OEM drivers are deployed.
      After the VHD/VHDX has been deployed, the OS boot is changed to boot from VHD/VHDX. From there it is just an ordinary Windows server.
      Again, my book details this all very well ;-)

      Regards, Hans

  1. SCVMM 2012 Adding HP iLO as an OOB Provider | Hyper-v.nu on April 18, 2011 at 09:19
  2. System Center VMM 2012 [Beta] Resources - MSDN Blogs on July 3, 2011 at 22:02

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