Preparing your environment for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager
Updated: May 18, 2016
Applies To: System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager
Here are the system requirements and considerations to keep in mind before you deploy System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM).
If you’re evaluating your environment, see System Requirements for System Center 2012 R2.
VMM management server
Operating system: We strongly recommend Windows Server 2012 R2 as the operating system on the management server running VMM (in System Center 2012 R2). If you want to use VMM to create clusters running Windows Server 2012 R2, the VMM management server must run Windows Server 2012 R2. This is true for creating either Hyper-V host clusters or Scale-Out File Server clusters.
We especially recommend Windows Server 2012 R2 as the operating system if you want to install a highly-available (clustered) VMM management server, because it is more difficult to upgrade the operating system in that situation.
If you instead choose Windows Server 2012 as the operating system for the VMM management server, you can create clusters running Windows Server 2012 R2 outside of VMM and then add them to VMM. You just can’t create the clusters in VMM.
Windows ADK software: On the VMM management server, Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 must be installed, regardless of the operating system on the VMM server. A link to Windows ADK for Windows 8.1 is available from Setup, or you can download it from the Microsoft Download Center. When you install Windows ADK, select the Deployment Tools and Windows Preinstallation Environment features.
Command Line Utilities for SQL Server: If you plan to deploy VMM services that use SQL Server data-tier applications, install the related command-line utilities on your VMM management server. Install either SQL Server 2008 R2 Command Line Utilities or SQL Server 2012 Command Line Utilities, depending on which version of SQL Server you install. The Command Line Utilities are available in the following feature packs:
If you do not install these utilities, this will not block the installation. These utilities are required if you plan to deploy services that use SQL Server data-tier applications (.dacpac files).
Clustering: For high availability, the VMM management server can be installed on a failover cluster. We strongly recommend that the failover cluster run Windows Server 2012 R2.
Domain membership: The computer on which you install the VMM management server must be a member of an Active Directory domain.
Computer name length: The management server’s computer name cannot exceed 15 characters.
Library server disk space: If you use the VMM management server also as a library server, then you must provide additional hard disk space to store objects. The space required varies, based on the number and size of the objects you store.
Avoiding installation on a Hyper-V host: Don’t install the VMM management server, or other System Center components other than agents, on servers running Hyper-V. You can install System Center components in virtual machines.
Installing in a virtual machine: Installing the VMM management server in a virtual machine can help you reduce the number of physical servers that you maintain, and simplify some management tasks. For information about memory and other requirements, see Hardware.
Dynamic Memory (for installation as a virtual machine): If you install the VMM management server on a virtual machine and you use the Dynamic Memory feature of Hyper-V, then you must set the startup RAM for the virtual machine to be at least 2,048 megabytes (MB).
Management of more than 150 hosts: For better performance when you manage more than 150 hosts, we recommend that you use a dedicated computer for the VMM management server and do the following:
Add one or more remote computers as library servers, and do not use the default library share on the VMM management server.
For the VMM database, do not use a SQL Server instance that runs on the same computer on which you install the VMM management server.
For information about how to install a VMM management server, see Installing a VMM Management Server and Installing a Highly Available VMM Management Server.
The computer on which you install the VMM console must be a member of an Active Directory domain.
For information about how to install the VMM console, see Installing and Opening the VMM Console.
SQL Server and database
The instance of SQL Server that you are using must allow for case-insensitive database objects.
The SQL Server’s computer name cannot exceed 15 characters in length.
If the VMM management server and the SQL Server computer are not members of the same Active Directory domain, then a two-way trust must exist between the two domains.
When you install SQL Server, select the Database Engine Services and Management Tools - Complete features.
You can perform an in-place upgrade to a supported version of SQL Server (without moving the VMM database). Make sure no jobs are running when you perform the upgrade, or jobs may fail and may need to be restarted manually. For procedures, see the SQL Server documentation, for example, Upgrade to SQL Server 2014.
For the VMM database, for better performance, do not store database files on the disk that is used for the operating system. For SQL Server best practices for placement of data and log files, see Place Data and Log Files on Separate Drives.
If you are using Software Defined Networking (SDN) in VMM, then all networking information is stored in the VMM database. Because of this, you might want to consider high availability for the VMM database, using the following guidelines:
Failover clustering is supported and is the recommended configuration for availability within a single geographical area or datacenter. For more information, see AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances (SQL Server).
Use of AlwaysOn Availability Groups in Microsoft SQL Server is supported, but it's important to review the differences between the two availability modes, synchronous-commit and asynchronous-commit. For a description of the two modes, see the Availability Modes section in the Overview of AlwaysOn Availability Groups.
With asynchronous-commit mode, the replica of the database can be out of date for a period of time after each commit. This can make it appear as if the database were back in time which might cause loss of customer data, inadvertent disclosure of information, or possibly elevation of privilege. For more information, see Reviewing Availability and Recovery Options for Protecting the VMM Database.
You can use synchronous-commit mode as a configuration for remote-site availability scenarios. For more information, see Overview of AlwaysOn Availability Groups (SQL Server) and Getting Started with AlwaysOn Availability Groups (SQL Server).
The SQL Server service must use an account that has permission to access Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). For example, you can specify the Local System Account, or a domain user account. Do not specify a local user account.
You do not need to configure collation. During deployment, Setup automatically configures CI collation according to the language of the server operating system.
Dynamic port is supported.
For detailed information about SQL Server and System Center 2012 R2, see SQL Server in System Center 2012 R2.
The library server is where VMM stores items such as virtual machine templates, virtual hard disks, virtual floppy disks, ISO images, scripts, and stored virtual machines. The optimal hardware requirements that are specified for a VMM library server vary, depending on the quantity and size of these files. You will need to check CPU usage, and other system state variables to determine what works best in your environment.
To store virtual hard disks in the .vhdx file format, the VMM library server must run Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2.
VMM 2012 R2 does not support DFS Namespaces (DFSN), formerly known as Distributed File System (DFS), or DFS Replication (DFSR).
VMM does not provide a method for replicating physical files in the VMM library or a method for transferring metadata for objects that are stored in the VMM database. Instead, if necessary, you need to replicate physical files outside of VMM, and you need to transfer metadata by using scripts or other means.
VMM does not support file servers that are configured with the case-sensitive option for Windows Services for UNIX, because the Network File System (NFS) case control is set to Ignore. For more information about the NFS case control, see Windows Services for UNIX 2.0 NFS Case Control.
For more information about library servers in VMM, see Configuring the VMM Library.
Virtual machine hosts
Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) supports Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESX, and Citrix XenServer as virtual machine hosts:
Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) supports the following versions of Hyper-V.
|Operating system||Edition||Service pack||System architecture|
|Hyper-V Server 2008 R2||N/A||Service Pack 1||x64|
|Windows Server 2008 R2 (Hyper-V server role)
(full installation or Server Core-MiniShell installation)
|Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter||Service Pack 1||x64|
|Hyper-V Server 2012||N/A||N/A||X64|
|Windows Server 2012 (Hyper-V server role)
(full installation or Server Core installation)
|Standard and Datacenter||N/A||X64|
|Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 (but see the note after the table)||N/A||N/A||X64|
|Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V server role (but see the note after the table)||Standard or Datacenter||N/A||X64|
If you want to use VMM to create Hyper-V host clusters running Windows Server 2012 R2, the VMM management server must run Windows Server 2012 R2. This is also true for creating Scale-Out File Server clusters running Windows Server 2012 R2.
However, you can create clusters running Windows Server 2012 R2 outside of VMM and then add them to VMM, even if the VMM management server runs Windows Server 2012.
For more information about:
Which guest operating systems are supported by Hyper-V - See Hyper-V Overview-Software requirements (for supported guest operating systems).
How to manage Hyper-V hosts in VMM - See Adding and Managing Hyper-V Hosts and Host Clusters in VMM.
VM Ware ESX hosts
VMM supports the following VMware virtualization software:
- VMware vCenter Server 4.1
- VMware vCenter Server 5.0
- VMware vCenter Server 5.1
- VMware vCenter Server 5.5 (supported in Update Rollup 7 and later)
- VMware vCenter Server 6.0 (supported in Update Rollup 8 and later)
|For more information about the requirements for vCenter Server, refer to the VMware product documentation.|
|Virtual machine hosts and host clusters that run any of the following versions of VMware:
- VMware ESX 4.1
- VMware ESXi 4.1
- VMware ESXi 5.0
- VMware ESXi 5.1
- VMware ESXi 5.5 (supported in Update Rollup 7 and later)
|The host or host clusters must be managed by a vCenter Server, which is managed by VMM.|
For more information, see Managing VMware ESX Hosts Overview.
Citrix XenServer hosts
The following software is required for a host that runs Citrix virtualization software.
Citrix XenServer 6.0
Citrix XenServer 6.1
Citrix XenServer – Microsoft System Center Integration Pack
For more information about:
Requirements for XenServer – See the Citrix product documentation.
Citrix XenServer – Microsoft System Center Integration Pack - See Citrix XenServer – Microsoft System Center Integration Pack.
Citrix XenServer in general - See Managing Citrix XenServer Overview.
All information and content at http://www.citrix.com is provided by the owner or the users of the website. Microsoft makes no warranties, express, implied, or statutory, as to the information at this website.
Hyper-V host deployment to a bare-metal computer
You can use VMM to find physical computers on the network and then automatically install the Windows operating system on these computers and convert them into managed Hyper-V hosts. Such physical computers can be computers on which no operating system is installed, often referred to as “bare-metal" computers. Or these can be computers on which you want to overwrite an existing operating system.
For more information, see Adding Physical Computers as Hyper-V Hosts or as Scale-Out File Servers in VMM Overview.
|System role||System requirement|
|Physical computer to be discovered||Must have a baseboard management controller (BMC) with a supported out-of-band management protocol. VMM supports the following out-of-band management protocols:
- Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) versions 1.5 or 2.0
- Data Center Management Interface (DCMI) version 1.0
- System Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) version 1.0 over WS-Management (WS-Man)
- Custom protocols such as Integrated Lights-Out (iLO).
Make sure that you use the latest version of firmware for the baseboard management controller (BMC) model.
|PXE Server that is used to initiate the operating system installation on the physical computer.||- A computer that runs Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Windows Deployment Services role installed.
- A computer that runs Windows Server 2012 with the Windows Deployment Services role installed.
- A computer that runs Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Windows Deployment Services role installed.
The PXE server needs to be in the same subnet as the out-of-band computer.
|Image operating system||- A Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 operating system image.
- A Windows Server 2012 operating system image.
- Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system image.
The operating system image must support the option to boot from virtual hard disk.
You can create the virtual hard disk by running the System Preparation Tool (Sysprep.exe). Use Sysprep.exe with both the /generalize and the /oobe options on a virtual machine that runs the operating system that will be on the image.
In VMM you can use a Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server to manage updates for the following computers in your VMM environment:
Virtual machine hosts
VMM management server
The WSUS server
Infrastructure servers running Windows Server 2012 R2.
You can configure the update baselines, scan computers for compliance, and perform update remediation.
|Supported WSUS servers||Notes|
|- A 64-bit edition of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 Service Pack 2 (SP2)
- A 64-bit edition of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server role on Windows Server 2012
- A 64-bit edition of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server role for Windows Server 2012 R2
|- For information about WSUS system requirements and to download WSUS 3.0 SP2, see Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP2 on the Microsoft Download Center. Important: If you use WSUS 3.0 SP2 to enable updates for Windows Server 2012 hosts, then you must apply KB2734608. Make sure that you carefully read the Known Issues for this update as they apply to VMM.
- On Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, WSUS is an integrated server role.
- VMM supports using a WSUS server that is part of a Configuration Manager 2007 R2 or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager environment, but additional configuration steps are required. For more information, see How to Integrate Fabric Updates with Configuration Manager.
The WSUS server must run Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.
There must be full trust between the WSUS management server and the VMM management server domains.
VMM can use either a WSUS root server or a downstream WSUS server. VMM does not support using a WSUS replica server.
The WSUS server can either be dedicated to VMM or can be a WSUS server that is already in use in your environment.
If VMM will process a very large volume of updates, consider installing the WSUS server on a separate computer from the VMM management server.
VMM can also work with System Center Updates Publisher, but only full content updates are supported. Metadata-only updates cannot be added to an update baseline.
For more information about update management in VMM, see Managing Fabric Updates in VMM.
Monitoring and reporting
VMM can monitor the health and performance of virtual machines and their hosts. To do so, VMM integrates with Operations Manager and enables Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO). VMM also provides the capability to use the reporting functionality of Operations Manager. To use the forecasting reports, SQL Server Analysis Services must be installed on the Operations Manager reporting server.
VMM in System Center 2012 R2 supports Operations Manager in System Center 2012 R2 only.
The version of Analysis Services must be SQL Server Analysis Services 2008 SP2 or later.
The version of the Operations Manager operations console that is installed on the VMM management server must match the version of Operations Manager with which you intend to integrate.
The version of the Operations Manager agent should be supported by the respective version of Operations Manager.
For more information, see Configuring Operations Manager Integration with VMM.