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SCORCH Technical Preview in a LAB – Installation Guide (Install Orchestrator)


Install System Center Orchestrator Technical Preview

In my Lab example, I am using the following:

  • Windows Server Technical Preview
  • SQL Server 2014
  • Web Server (IIS)

These have been setup as per my previous guides for the OS and SQL setup.

IMPORTANT: In order to evaluate the System Center Technical Preview, you MUST be using the Windows Server Technical Preview, and SQL Server 2014; as per the following TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn806369.aspx.

 

Install SCORCH

Start by copying the EXE file into the SCORCH VM. As of this writing, the Technical Preview EXE is labelled as “en_system_center_technical_preview_orchestrator_x86_x64_5650402.exe“.

Start by running the EXE. On the Directory screen, choose the location to extract the installation files, then click OK.

SCORCH vNext - 01 - Extract Directory

On the Extraction Complete dialog, click OK.

SCORCH vNext - 02 - Extract Complete

Once the files are extracted, start the installation by running SetupOrchestrator.exe.

On the splash screen click the Install link.

SCORCH vNext - 03 - Splash Screen

On the Product Registration screen, fill in the Name, Organization and Product Key fields, and click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 04 - Product Registration

Read and accept the License Terms, and then click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 05 - License Terms

On the Select Features screen, select what you want to install. In this lab example, we are installing all features onto the same server.

SCORCH vNext - 06 - Select Features

On the Prerequisites screen, if you are missing .NET and/or IIS, the installer can take care of it all for you. Just select the “Activate .NET and IIS features/roles” option, then click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 07 - Prerequisites

Once all the prerequisites are installed, click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 08 - Prerequisites Installed

Next you need to provide a Service Account for running the Runbooks, and accessing remote systems. Note that the account must have “Log on as a service” rights. Enter the account details, and then click the Test button.

Once the credentials have been tested successfully, you will be able to click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 09 - Service Account

Now you need to configure the database. Provide the server and instance, and click the Test Database Connection button.

Only once the database connection has been successfully tested will you be able to click the Next button.

SCORCH vNext - 10 - Database Server

Now you can also specify the database name. In this lab example we will accept the defaults and click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 11 - Configure Database

Now we need to configure the Orchestrator User Group. This group will have Administrative access to Orchestrator. You can locate and use an existing Security Group from Active Directory. Specify a User Group and click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 12 - Users Group

On the Web Services screen, you have the opportunity to change the ports used. For this lab example we will accept the defaults and click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 13 - Web Services

You can also change the installation location. For example, if you have a dedicated drive in the server for the Operating System, and a second drive for the middleware. Make the appropriate modifications if applicable, and then click Next.

SCORCH vNext - 14 - Installation Location

Just as in System Center 2012, you can use Microsoft Update to find updates for the product. In a Production environment, you would probably not want to do this, since there will more than likely be Change Management controls around updating/patching. In this lab example, I am not going to enable Microsoft Updates for the product, so that in the future I will be able to document the update/upgrade process in detail.

SCORCH vNext - 15 - Microsoft Update

Next, you can choose if you want to participate in the CEIP program. In a Production environment, this will probably not be accepted, as there may be some concern over private/personal data. In a lab/non-production environment though, I would personally choose to be a part of the program, because the information collected by Microsoft aids them in improving the product. If no one was willing to participate, then there would be no improvements.

SCORCH vNext - 16 - CEIP

Finally, review the information on the Summary screen, and click Install.

SCORCH vNext - 17 - Summary

Once the installation is complete, you can select/de-select any of the listed checkboxes, and then click Close.

SCORCH vNext - 18 - Setup Complete

Congratulations, you have now successfully installed the System Center Orchestrator Technical Preview.

As you can see from the About screen, the version of SCORCH, even though it shows “System Center 2012 R2”, the version is: 7.2.503.0 (whereas the actual 2012 R2 product is version 7.2.84.0).

SCORCH vNext - 19 - About

At this point, I haven’t noticed anything new/different with the product. However, as the product is updated, I will keep you informed of any interesting and important changes.

 

For further information about the System Center Technical Preview, here is the link to the Features Removed In System Center Technical Preview, and the Release Notes For System Center Technical Preview.

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My Experience With The PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (PDT) – Part 3 (Installer.ps1)


In our last post, we used the PDT’s VMCreator.ps1 script to create all the VMs that are required to setup all System Center components.

Now, we are going to use the Installer.ps1 script to finish the installation.

Installer.PS1 SCRIPT

Start by running PowerShell command prompt as Administrator. Right-click on PowerShell and choose ‘Run As Administrator’.

Administrative PowerShell Prompt

In the PowerShell command prompt, change the working directory to where the Installer.ps1 script is located (in my example, in the Downloads folder); for example: cd “C:\Users\Adin\Downloads”.

Before running the script to execute the installation, it is best to run the validation option first, to ensure everything is in place. To do this, run the Installer.ps1 script with the “-ValidateOnly” parameter, like this: PS C:\Users\Administrator\Downloads\PDT2.5.2509> .\Installer.ps1 -ValidateOnly. This will initiate the validation, which checks things like the VMs, dependencies, SQL Server installations, and media for installation.

As you can see in my lab example, the Media validation has failed.

PDTInstallerScript-MediaValidationFailed

You will notice that the Installer.ps1 script is looking for the media in the C:\Temp directory. But wait, didn’t we download all of the required files by running the Donwloader.ps1 script? Yes we did. Then why is this validation failing?

Simply, the Downloader.ps1 script downloaded all the required files, but rather than placing them into the C:\Temp directory, it put them in C:\Installer\Prerequisites. If you look at the Variable.xml file, specifically lines #7 and 8, you will see the following:

<Variable Name=”SourcePath” Value=”$SystemDrive\Temp” />
<Variable Name=”Download” Value=”C:\Installer” />

These lines tell the scripts where path to the source files are, and where (originally) to download those files.

So at this point, we have 2 choices. Either we can move all of the files into C:\Temp, or we can change the “SourcePath” directory to match where the files are downloaded to (namely C:\Installer\Prerequisites).

In my case, I’ll just move the files. But if you want, you could modify the SourcePath variable.

Re-run the Installer.ps1 script with the “-ValidateOnly” parameter. The validation for the Media should pass now. However, as you can see in my lab example, I am now getting validation failures on the Service Accounts.

PDTInstallerScript-ServiceAccountValidationFailed

So, how do we fix this? Well, first, I should mention that I am running the PowerShell scripts on my HOST machine; which is NOT a part of the domain. This is why the validation of the Service Accounts fails.

So you have 2 choices, either join your HOST to the domain, or copy the Installer.ps1 script and C:\Installer directory to the Domain Controller. Since I like to re-build my lab over and over, I don’t prefer to add my HOST to the domain. So, in my lab example I opted to copy the files to my Domain Controller VM, and re-run the Installer.ps1 script with the “-ValidateOnly” parameter.

Now, when I did this, I am STILL getting validation errors, but this time with the Server and Access validation.

PDTInstallerScript-ServersAndAccessValidationFailed

Why is this? Honestly, I don’t know. But I do recall reading/hearing somewhere about possibly having to run these scripts from an Administrator’s workstation, and NOT from any of the systems that the scripts are designed to work with. Since I was originally running the scripts on my HOST system that was NOT connected to the domain, that was one issue. Then I ran the scripts from the Domain Controller, which resolved the Account validation.

So, I thought that I would try one last thing. I decided to create an Administrator workstation and run the scripts from there. Now, of course I ran the Installer.ps1 script with the “-ValidateOnly” parameter just to see if everything passed prior to actually running the script to perform the installation. And guess what! Everything passed!

So, now that we know everything is green and we won’t end up with a partial/incomplete installation, we are now ready to run the Installer.ps1 script, and complete the final part of our installation.

Run the Installer.ps1 script, and the validation will be completed again (as designed), then the installation will be initiated.

PDTInstallerScript-InstallationStarted

Just like the VMMCreator.ps1 script, the display will turn green when each item is completed. Eventually, it will complete all pieces.

PDTInstallerScript-InstallationCompleted

Congratulations, you have now successfully used the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (PDT) to automatically install and configure an entire System Center environment!

One final note. You may not have noticed, but all of the System Center consoles were actually installed onto server RD01. Why is that? It’s not the Administrator’s workstation. The answer is because that server is the System Center Orchestrator Runbook Designer server, which requires all of the consoles for the interoperability/connectivity to create runbooks, and thus System Center automation.

SystemCenterConsoles

So, if you are looking for the console for a specific System Center component (i.e. SCOM, SCCM, etc.), you will need to log into the RD01 server and launch it from there. Alternatively, since we had to setup an Administrator workstation, you could install each console on the workstation as well.

I hope this post series on the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit has been helpful. Happy lab-ing.

My Experience With The PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (PDT) – Part 2 (VMCreator.ps1)


In our last post, we used the PDT’s Downloader.ps1 script to download all the files, pre-requisites, etc. that are required to setup all System Center components.

Now, we are going to use the VMCreator.ps1 script to create all the VMs we need.

For more information about the VMCreator.ps1, see the following: http://blogs.technet.com/b/privatecloud/archive/2013/02/18/deployment-the-pdt-vm-creator.aspx

IMPORTANT: This script only support creating of VM’s on Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V.

Variable.xml File

The PDT2.5.2509 directory contains 2 important files, called Variable.xml, and VariableAD.xml. This is the file that tells the script what to label the VMs, etc.

NOTE: The file “Variable.xml” will create all VMs created for System Center, but requires the existing of Active Directory first. The file “VariableAD.xml” will create all the VMs including a Domain Controller with Active Directory. This is the best option to use if you want to re-build your lab environment completely automated. This is the file that I will be using.

Let’s first take a look at this file, so that I can point out the area(s) you may want to customize.

Start by editing the VariableAD.xml file.

VariableADXML

There are a few things to note.

First, you should take note that the domain used is “CONTOSO”. If you want to customize your setup to have a specific domain name, you will need to Find and Replace all entries of “CONTOSO” with your domain.

In my lab example, I am going to change it to “SC.LAB”. However, there are 2 different types of entries that contain the word “CONTOSO”. One for Service Accounts, using the ‘Domain\UserName’ pattern (44 entries), and another that uses ‘Domain.com’ (46 entries) for the database server references.

VariableADXML-ChangeDomain

Therefore, to make it easier to use Find and Replace, I have found that replacing the ‘Domain.com’ references first is best. In my case I will use Find and Replace and replace the existing “Contoso.com” with “SC.LAB”. If your domain uses the “.com” ending, then you can just simply replace all entries of “CONTOSO” with your domain name.

Once you have the domain modified, save the file as “Variable.xml” replacing the existing one, or you can name it something specific like “VariableADCustom.xml”.

VMCreator.ps1 Script

Now that we have a customized Variable.xml file, we are ready to make a few minor modifications to the VMCreator script and then run it.

If you have re-named the Variable.xml to something different, you will need to edit the VMCreator script first (because by default it looks for Variable.xml). I have not attempted this yet, so re-name your XML file to be “Variable.xml”. Once I have attempted with a re-named file, I will post an update to this section.

Now, before we can run the VMCreator script, we need to create a sysprep’d VHD file for each OS required (namely Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012 R2). To make this easy, you can use the Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 script (found here: http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Convert-WindowsImageps1-0fe23a8f).

Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 Script

Using this command-line tool allows you to rapidly create sysprepped VHDX and VHDX images from setup media for Windows 7/Server 2008 R2, Windows 8/8.1/Server 2012/R2.

This script actually has a GUI to make it easier to work with, which I will walk though here.

Start by running PowerShell command prompt as Administrator. Right-click on PowerShell and choose ‘Run As Administrator’.

Administrative PowerShell Prompt

In the PowerShell command prompt, change the working directory to where the Convert-WindowsImage script is located (in my example, in the Downloads folder); for example: cd “C:\Users\Adin\Downloads”.

Now call the script, and include the “-ShowUI” parameter, like this: Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 -ShowUI. This will cause the GUI to appear.

ConvertWindowsImage-UI

From this UI, choose 1). the Source (which is the ISO of your Operating System), 2). the SKU (like Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, etc.), 3). specify the file format (I choose VHDX for 2nd Generation VMs running Windows Server 2012), Dynamic, and the size (I left mine at the default of 40 GB).

Leave the Working Directory as is, since that’s where the script is running from. Provide a name for the VHD file.

NOTE: If you do choose to provide a name, you MUST enter the file extension or else you will encounter an error as follows (i.e. W2012R2.vhdx).

INFO : Launching UI…
INFO : Opening ISO en_windows_server_2008_r2_with_sp1_vl_build_x64_dvd_617403.iso…
INFO : Looking for F:\sources\install.wim…
INFO : Scanning WIM metadata…
ERROR : There is a mismatch between the VHDPath file extension (), and the VHDFormat (.VHDX). Please ensure that these
match and try again.
INFO : Log folder is C:\Users\Adin\AppData\Local\Temp\Convert-WindowsImage\fe5ad446-cd0a-4e4d-b72b-f5916feb7d9e
INFO : Done.

ConvertWindowsImage-UI_ErrorOutput

When you are ready, click the Make My VHD button.

Windows(R) Image to Virtual Hard Disk Converter for Windows(R) 8
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Version 6.3.9600.3.amd64fre.fbl_core1_hyp_dev(mikekol).131226-2000 Release to Web

INFO : Launching UI…
INFO : Opening ISO en_windows_server_2012_r2_x64_dvd_2707946.iso…
INFO : Looking for D:\sources\install.wim…
INFO : Scanning WIM metadata…
INFO : Image 2 selected (ServerStandard)…
INFO : Creating sparse disk…
INFO : Attaching VHDX…
INFO : Disk initialized with MBR…
INFO : Disk partitioned…
INFO : Volume formatted…
INFO : Access path (F:\) has been assigned…
INFO : Applying image to VHDX. This could take a while…
INFO : Signing disk…
INFO : Image applied. Making image bootable…
INFO : Opening F:\boot\bcd for configuration…
INFO : BCD configuration complete. Moving on…
INFO : Drive is bootable. Cleaning up…
INFO : Generating name for VHDX…
INFO : Closing VHDX…
INFO : Closing Windows image…
INFO : Done.

The script will show in the PowerShell command prompt what it is doing.

ConvertWindowsImage-UI_Output

You will need to create 2 VHDs, one for Windows Server 2012 R2, and another for Windows 2008 R2. This is required because the System Center Service Manager portal runs on SharePoint 2010, which is only supported on Windows Server 2008 R2.

Variable.xml File (VHD Files)

Now that we have the sysprep’d VHD files ready, we can now use the VMCreator.ps1 script to create all the Virtual Machines (VMs) for all the System Center components automatically.

By default, the VMCreator.ps1 script uses the Variable.xml file to generate the VMs. Therefore, by default it will check for the VHD file in the following location: C:\VHD\WS12R2D.vhdx.

This means that you will have to either move/re-name your sysprep’d VHD file, or change the XML file to point to the correct location. In my example, I will change the XML file accordingly, as follows.

At line # 235 the section begins. Within there, there is a reference to which is the sysprep’d VHD file that we created (specifically the Windows Server 2012 R2 disk). Change this entry to meet the location and name of the VHD file you created with the Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 script.

<OSDisk>
<Parent>C:\VHD\WS12R2D.vhdx</Parent>
<Type>Differencing</Type>
</OSDisk>

At line # 399 the  section begins. Within there, there is a reference to which is the sysprep’d VHD file that we created (specifically the Windows Server 2008 R2 disk). Change this entry to meet the location and name of the VHD file you created with the Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 script.

<OSDisk>
<Parent>C:\VHD\WS08R2E-SP1.vhdx</Parent>
<Type>Differencing</Type>
</OSDisk>

Variable.xml File (Virtual Switch)

Before you run the script, you also need to ensure that the Hyper-V Virtual Switch is already created.

In the Variable.xml file, at line # 222 the section begins. Change this entry to match whatever Virtual Switch you have created in Hyper-V, or create a Virtual Switch labelled the same “CorpNet01”.

<VirtualSwitch>CorpNet01</VirtualSwitch>

In my lab example, I created an Internal Virtual Switch, and labelled it “Internal Lab Virtual Switch”.

 

Variable.xml File (VHD Location)

One more minor note. In the Variable.xml file, at line # 208 and 209, there is a and reference. On your Hyper-V host, if you have a different drive that you want your VM files to be stored on, you need to change this reference. In my lab example, I have a dedicated SSD drive labelled as Y:\ for my VMs.

<VMFolder>C:\VMs</VMFolder>
<VHDFolder>C:\VMs</VHDFolder>

Now we are finally ready to run the VMCreator.ps1 script and watch it create all the VM’s for us!

VMCreator.ps1 Script (Continued)

Start by running PowerShell command prompt as Administrator. Right-click on PowerShell and choose ‘Run As Administrator’.

Administrative PowerShell Prompt

In the PowerShell command prompt, change the working directory to where the VMCreator.ps1 script is located (in my example, in the Downloads folder); for example: cd “C:\Users\Adin\Downloads”.

Now run the script: VMCreator.ps1. The command line will show you its progress. First it will validate everything, and then start creating the VMs. You will notice that it first creates the Active Directory Domain Controller, and waits for that to be up and running (with Domain Services installed), and then create the other VMs. This is because all other VMs are joined to the domain.

VMCreator-AD

VMCreator-AllVMs

Once all the Virtual Machines are up and running the script will appear to be completed, as follows.

VMCreator-VMsCompleted

However, if you connect to the Domain Controller, you will see that another script is running to install all the components for each System Center product.

VMCreator-DC-ComponentInstall

Eventually, you will notice that some lines will turn yellow. This is because some elements are dependant on others, so it needs to wait for those to complete. For example, SQL Server needs to be installed before Management Servers, Management Servers need to be up and running before Consoles are installed, etc.

PDT Installations Pending

When an element is complete, the line will turn green.

PDT Installations Completed

This entire process will take some time, and is dependant on your hardware. In Microsoft’s MMS demo, it took them just less than an hour. With my lab hardware (described here), it took approx. 1 and a half hours.

In the last post in this series, we will go onto using the next script, Installer.ps1.

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