Building SCVMM – Server requirements and SQL install

Well, it happened again. I got bitten by the bug and just had to do it.  This time around I felt like diving into SCVMM.  Here is a quick overview of what I have built so far.  It covers the servers I will use and the SQL install steps.  Once I get a bit more time I will dive deeper in the SCVMM install itself and from there playtime begins 🙂


So, in order to follow along at home you will need

1)      A physical server with at least 8 (prefer 16) gigs of RAM.  This is above the minimum system requirements but will make the install far more manageable and allow for more usable VMs.  RAM is (as is HDD) one of the most critical components to a fully functional lab.  Do not undersize RAM or HDD needs – they are both relatively inexpensive these days so you may want to do some upgrades.

2)      A HDD with at least 100 gig free space (again more than minimum but will be nice to have)

3)      Access to create at least 4 VMs.  Ask your sys admin or boss if needed

4)      Access to create or use a virtual switch.  Great way to keep traffic segregated

This setup will allow you to have a fully functional lab environment. Note, this does not include much free space left over for VMs.  If you want to actually use the VMs in the lab and not just test SCVMM but the virtual machines too then you will need more RAM and storage.  At least 16 gigs of RAM and a 500gig hard drive – again: both are pretty inexpensive.  If you really cannot afford to purchase hardware there are other ways to setup SCVMM on as few as one server but I cannot recommend that.

My lab is setup as follows

I have a Server 2012 R2 server (96 gigs of RAM, 12 cores and 2TBs of storage).  Why so much?  I plan to use it build out series of independent, fictional “companies” to test various software applications and builds.  This is the only physical resource I have – everything else is virtual

On the physical host are 4 VMs

VM1 – DC: Server 2012r2, 2gig dynamic RAM, 25 gig HDD.  This is just a plain domain controller to allow account creation/management through AD

VM2 – Gateway: Server 2012r2, 2gig dynamic RAM, 25 gig HDD.  Since I want to use multi-tenants this will help manage the IP spaces and handle some routing and other network tasks

VM3 – SQL: DC: Server 2012r2, 2gig dynamic RAM, 25 gig HDD.  SQL is needed for SCVMM and I chose to install on a separate PC to keep the load separate and (in a real world) allow for faster data manipulation

VM4 – SCVMM: 2gig dynamic RAM, 25 gig HDD.  This is the machine on which SCVMM will be installed.  This is where all the fun will happen J

And they are all connected to an external virtual network

So there you have it.  My new lab in a nut shell.  For those of you playing along at home this is what needs to be built in order to exactly duplicate the steps I will be giving later. Please note: this is a lab – you can use as few as one machine or as many as you deem fit for your testing (take a look at TechNet for sizing help).  Also note, that not all of this is best practice for production environments but is done to facilitate learning in a lab environment

Ok, so now that I have my disclaimer I will walk you through the part that seemed the most daunting to me: installing SQL.  If you are new to System Center (as I am) then SQL is a very intimidating beast.  Fear not – it is really to install and you don’t need to be a DBA to figure it out – trust me J

I will not cover creating a domain controller or domain joining the machines in the lab – take a look at TechNet for that as well if needed

First step is mounting the ISO and clicking the “Setup” icon. Once launched click “New installation”.  If you are using SQL 2012 you may get prompted to install updates: go ahead, it is automatic and required

Next you will need to test the setup.  The SQL installer will run a bunch of tests (up to 10 depending on the version of SQL you are using) to make sure the PC is ready.  In my testing I had no errors but did get a warning that the Windows firewall was on and would need to be configured to allow communication between servers.

Once you pass the setup test you will have to pick how to install SQL.  I chose “all features with defaults”

The SQL installer will again test the machine to make sure it meets the requirements for all the selected components.  When it passes you will be able to pick the instance details.  You can safely leave the settings at default if you want.

The next screen is a bit intimidating but it is simply asking if you want to create a series of accounts and configure them. In this lab we will leave them as default but they can be configured as needed in the real world

As a side note here is where you can set collation.  Basically, it allows for multi-lingual support to be installed.  The options are fairly straight forward.  We are only using English in our lab so it is not needed here

The next few slides may get scary but don’t worry – we are almost done

For the Database engine you want to choose “Mixed mode” and enter (and document) the SA account password

Also note that we added the domain admin user and a group called SCSMAdmins.  The administrator account needs to be explicitly defined for all the features to work correctly.  The group makes managing users far easier – just add a new admin user to the group instead of updating SQL itself (using AD makes things easy, right? J )

On the next screen (Analysis Services) you will need to give the same users/groups permission as you did on the Database engine configuration