Testing Microsoft's System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Beta

Microsoft released a first beta of its upcoming System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 product to the MSDN community in early May. The community evaluation program begins May 26 and will be open to the general public. This is a significant release with many new capabilities specifically aimed at facilitating the merging of public and private cloud installations.

Microsoft released a first beta of its upcoming System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 product to the MSDN community in early May. We took it out for a spin, and here's what we found.

This article will cover what we had to do to get it up and running on a standalone test machine. Microsoft currently offers two options for downloading including a full installation image in the form of an .exe file and pre-configured virtual machine. The second option will require you to download five 1 GB files as well as a 67.7 MB one. There's also a Microsoft Word document named "Deploying VMM 2012 by Using a VHD.docx". If you take option one, you'll need to download the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) as well.


We started out with a fresh installation of Windows Server 2008 R2 and Service Pack 1 (SP1). With that done, you'll need to enable a number of roles on the server. The first time you start up a new installation of Windows Server 2008 R2, it will give you the option to configure new roles. Figure 1 shows what this screen looks like. Choosing "Add Roles" will bring up a wizard to guide you through the process. You'll need to choose Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). Step through the remaining pages, and let the process run to completion.

Configuring new roles in Windows Server 2008 R
Figure 1
Configuring new roles in Windows Server 2008 R2

Unfortunately, you can't use the add roles wizard to install the AD DS and DNS roles at the same time. You must install AD DS first and then use the AD DS installation wizard (dcpromo.exe) to finish the job. Installing the Hyper-V roll will take another pass through the add roles wizard as well. The other prerequisite for AD DNS is version 3.5.1 of the .NET Framework. If it isn't already installed, you'll be prompted to add that to your list of install tasks.

Configuring Windows Server 2008 R2

With AD DS up and running, you should be ready to install the DNS and Hyper-V roles. Running the dcpromo.exe application is relatively straightforward, although it does require you to answer a few questions. Before you start you probably want to configure a static IP address for your network adapter since the machine is going to be a DNS server. You'll get a warning message if that's not the case when you try to add the DNS role.

For our purposes, we chose to create a new domain in a new forest, used testlab.ferrill.net as the FQDN, and TESTLAB as the NetBIOS name. You must choose the forest functional level, meaning the servers you will need to support with AD DS. We choose Windows Server 2008 R2 since everything will be at that level. The final step is to make sure the DNS server checkbox is checked. The last bit of configuration is to add the Hyper-V role using the "Add roles" wizard.

SCVMM 2012 and Hyper-V

Once you have all three roles up and running, you should see something like Figure 2. If you haven't done it already, you'll need to build the .VHD file by running SCVMM2012.EVALVHD.BETA.part01.exe. This will combine the separate downloaded parts into a single file. You can then create a new virtual machine in the Hyper-V manager and select "Use an existing virtual hard disk." Make sure you specify at least 2GB, of memory and preferably 4GB.

Configuring new roles in Windows Server 2008 R
Figure 2
Three Roles Up and Running

Once the SCVMM 2012 virtual machine is running, you must join it to your domain. Before doing that, you have the primary DNS server of the virtual machine set to the IP address of the host machine since it is serving as the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) for this example. Here's the command to join the virtual machine to a domain with our TESTLAB domain as an example:

NETDOM join %computername% /domain:TESTLAB /UserD:TESTLABAdministrator /PasswordD:passwd

At this point, you should be ready to follow the instructions in the "Deploying VMM 2012 by Using a VHD.docx" document.

Wrap Up

Microsoft is holding a number of webinars over the next several months with the intent of helping interested parties get up to speed quickly with the new beta. Check out the System Center blog to get more information.

This article was originally published on May 27, 2011
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