How to install Microsoft's System Centre Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)
System Centre Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)
If you run Microsoft’s Hyper-V as your virtualisation platform rather than the ever popular VMware ESX then you probably want a way to manage your Hyper-V hosts as well as the virtual machines that reside on this. Well you can do a lot of the functions that SCVMM does with the free tool for managing Hyper-V, the Hyper-V Manager (which comes as part of the Windows Operating System).
So if they are similar why would we use System Centre VMM over and above the Hyper-V Manager you ask and have to pay more money to Microsoft?
Well I list out the main differences here to hopefully guide you to a decision before going through the installation process of SCVMM later on down the page.
SCVMM vs Hyper-V Manager Key Differences
- Can manage the Hyper-V hosts and the virtual machines that reside on it.
- Can manage a single host or multiple Hyper-V hosts that are members of a failover cluster.
- Requires Failover Cluster manager to manage multiple hosts.
- Requires powershell to setup affinity rules.
- No single pane of glass to manage your complete Hyper-V environment which requires you to utilise the Hyper-V Manager console, Failover Cluster console and then powershell to do only some of what SCVMM can do.
System Center Virtual Machine Manager
SCVMM can do all the Hyper-V Manager does from a single console.;
- Configure and manage your datacentre components as a single fabric in SCVMM. (Datacentre components include virtualization servers, networking components, and storage resources.)
- SCVMM can add, provision, and manage Hyper-V and VMware virtualization hosts and clusters. SCVMM can manage VMware ESX servers and its virtual machines in limited capacity. It does however require you to have a VMware vCentre to connect to, to be able to manage your VMware virtual machines.
- Add networking resources to the SCVMM fabric, including network sites defined by IP subnets, virtual LANs (VLANs), logical switches, static IP address and MAC pools.
SCVMM provides network virtualization, including support for creating and manage virtual networks and network gateways. Network virtualization allows multiple tenants to have isolated networks and their own IP address ranges for increased privacy and security.
Using gateways, VMs on virtual networks can connect to physical networks in the same site or in different locations.
- SCVMM can discover, classify, provision, allocate, and assign local and remote storage.
SCVMM supports block storage (fibre channel, iSCSI, and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) storage area networks (SANs)).
- The SCVMM fabric retains a library of file-based and non file-based resources that are used to create and deploy VMs and services on virtualization hosts.
File-based resources include virtual hard disks, ISO images, and scripts.
Non file-based resources include templates and profiles that are used to standardize the creation of VMs. Library resources are accessed through library shares.
- Integrates with Azure (Though you cannot change settings of the Azure VMs but you can see them and at least stop and start them from your SCVMM console)
The biggest issue with using Hyper-V Manager over System Centre VMM is that it cannot scale to manage large environments, and with having three different consoles (Hyper-V Manager, Failover Cluster Manager and then Powershell) can be quite daunting to use to it’s full ability.
SCVMM Capacity Limits
Planning for your SCVMM deployment is a good practice and you want to make sure to size it right for your environment. The suggested limits of the software Microsoft details for SCVMM deployment are in the table below;
|Entity||Recommended maximum count|
|Library Objects (templates, profiles)||100|
Recommended hardware requirements are;
|Hardware||VMM server||VMM database||VMM library||VMM console|
|Processor (minimum)||8 core Pentium 4, 2 GHz (x64)||8 core Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz||4 core Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz||2 core Pentium 4, 1 GHz CPU|
|Processor (recommended)||16-core, 2.66 GHz CPU||16 core 2.6 GHz CPU||4 core 2.8 GHz CPU||2 core 2 GHz CPU|
|RAM (minimum)||4 GB||8 GB||2 GB||4 GB|
|RAM (recommended)||16 GB||16 GB||4 GB||4 GB|
|Hard drive (minimum)||4 GB||50 GB||Based on size/amount of stored files||10 GB|
|Hard drive (recommended)||10 GB||200 GB||Based on size/amount of stored files||10 GB|
SCVMM Operating System Requirements
The recommended Windows Operating System requirements for SCVMM 2019 are
- Windows 2016 Server Core
- Windows 2016 Full Desktop Experience
- Windows 2019 Server Core
- Windows 2019Full Desktop Experience.
SCVMM Database Requirements
The last piece to the SCVMM puzzle, is the database it requires. Obviously this database is another Microsoft product, SQL Server.
The supported Microsoft SQL database versions for SCVMM 2019 are;
- SQL 2016
- SQL 2017
How to install System Centre Virtual Machine Manager.
A step by step guide to install SCVMM.
Now that you can see the benefits to installing and using SCVMM to manage your Hyper-V hosts and it’s Virtual Machines. We will now get to the installation part to guide you through the process. I am going to assume here that you already have your Hyper-V hosts up and running and are ready to start your installation. To continue on with this installation guide I will run you through my current infrastructure setup. I have a newly deployed Hyper-V host and have prebuilt some generic virtual machines that are running on it. I am using a demo version of SCVMM which you can download for yourself from the Microsoft site (link here) and I have already predownloaded the files ready to start the installation.
So what are the prerequisites to install SCVVM? Obviously besides the requirements detailed up above, you will need a functioning Hyper-V environment to install the SCVMM on to, as well as administrator access to manage the Hyper-V hosts. As I have downloaded an image from Microsoft and if you are doing the same you will need Domain Administrator access to add the SCVMM Windows server to the domain.
SCVMM join Active Directory Domain
We now need to join the SCVMM virtual machine to the domain, so open up CONTROL PANEL then go to SYSTEM. Change the virtual machine name so you can easily identify it in the future and add the VM to your Active Directory Domain and dont forget to Reboot the server.
Install SQL Server for SCVMM
So after your SCVMM server has rebooted and is joined to your domain, we next need to start the installation of the SQL Database if you have not got one already. On the desktop of my Windows 2019 VM, I can see Microsoft has placed two icons for me to use to start the SCVMM installation. Luckily in this case they tell me to start the SQL Server install first, so we need to DOUBLE CLICK on that.
Schedule a Hyper-V Checkpoint
Now that you have SCVMM installed in the next blog post I will cover off how to add your Hyper-V Hosts and perhaps while you are already here you can see how easy it is to schedule snapshot creations and deletions of your Hyper-V or VMware virtual machines with SnapShot Master.