Saturday, March 16, 2013

Do You Need Virtual Machine Manager and VMM 2012 SP1 Installation

Do I need VMM?


That's a question I've heard many times and while there is alot of data out there I wanted to make a simple list to help those entertaining the same question. Here is the breakdown of what Microsoft offers with VMM above and beyond standard Hyper-V:

  • Centralized management and configuration support for Hyper-V, Xen Server, and VMWare.
  • It contains P2V Migration tools not included with standard Hyper-V.
  • One console for managing multiple hosts. While using standard Hyper-V you can have multiple hosts in one MMC, but you need to switch between them. 
  • Automatic "workload placement" i.e. automatically moving a guest from one host to another based on load. 
  • Tools for environment consolidation. (Identify idle guests, etc.)
  • Much more from a management perspective including tools facilitating hosting multiple clients. "Tenants". 
If any of these features are appealing to your business you should give VMM a try. Everything you need for a trial is available for free. (Win8 AEK, VMM, SQL Express) For licensing costs, see this blog post by the always sharp Scott Lowe and this FAQ published by Microsoft. Now that we covered that,let's install!

Installing VMM



  • We're talking 2012 SP1 here, so you'll need Windows Server 2012 
  • Internet Access to D/L the Win8 AEK (link below)
  • Domain and preferably Enterprise Administrator access (You'll see why) 
  • This has a SQL Database; I assume you know where you want to put that. "An intern with Excel" will not suffice.  


  1.  First you'll need to download and install the Windows 8 Assessment and Deployment Kit on the server on which you intend to install 2012. When installing select "Deployment Tools" and "Windows Preinstallation Environment" only. 
  2. Service Account: This domain-based service account will need only Administrative access to the target server. Lesser access is not possible per Microsoft. For additional security lock the account down to being able to log onto that server only. While it is possible to run VMM with a non-domain account, I won't cover that because doing so loses functionality. If you haven't done a service account before make sure you create at least one dedicated OU and a good prefix or suffix for the account name. I use a prefix of S_.
  3. A container for the Active Directory based crypto keys. By putting these in AD you facilitate moving the server or having a highly available environment. Again, I will not cover the "local" option. There is conflicting information on how to implement this, but through testing I determined that you DO need to pre-create the DKM container. This article is correct on the steps to configure, but here is a short list: 
    1. Pick a location in AD for this container. Use ADSIEdit to create the container by navigating to where you would like it and right clicking target OU->New->Object->Container and name it. (I recommend VMMDKM to correspond with MFST doco) 
    2. (If you're not an "Enterprise Admin", "Domain" not enough) Right click the new CN, select properties, and switch to the "Security" tab, and add the username of the installer to have full control to "this object and all descendant objects". Click OK. 
    3. Make sure you take note of the distinguishedName; this can be copied easily by right clicking->properties->double click distinguishedName->copy to clipboard/paste to notepad or Edlin or vi or Lotus WordPro or WordStar.

 Let's Do This

  1. Insert the DVD (image) and start setup.exe. Hit "Install".
  2. Check "VMM Management server" and "VMM Console" if desired and hit "Next"
  3. Enter your Name, Company, and ProductID. You can do a "evaluation" edition if you don't have a key yet. Hit next, accept the service agreement, and hit next again. 
  4. Choose if you want to participate in the CEIP, and hit "Next". 
  5. Select your install directory and hit "Next". As a rule of thumb I recommend using a drive other than the system drive for  all apps and logs.
  6. Assuming you pass the pre-req check, note any warnings and hit "Next". 
  7. Select your SQL server. As noted above your installer account will need to have sufficient permissions to add a database. If you're setting up a lab and don't have a "real" SQL server available, check out SQL Express. Enter the appropriate info and click "Next".
  8. Now you'll need to enter the service account that we discussed above. Check the "Store my keys in Active Directory" and copy in the DN from earlier. Hit "Next". If you want to use the non-AD based option you can, but eventually your server will self destruct.
  9. On the Port Configuration screen, accept the defaults unless you know you'll conflict with another service on the box and hit "Next".
  10. Specify a location for the VMM Library share. Again, I recommend not putting this on the system drive. Don't worry about space at this time, you can always change this after the install. 
  11. Hit "Install" on the Installation Summary screen. 
  12. Make sure you update the server & VMM from Windows Update and party like it's 1999. 
Now that you've got it installed it's time to see what it can do. I'm not going to tackle that today, but here are a few other resources to get you started:

Have fun & if you have any questions, let me know!

Update 3/31/2013: Troubleshooting
  • Host Performance Counters read 0!  I was having an issue where VMM was missing all or some of the performance counters. Fortunately Kristian Nese published a fix that works well here

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