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How to: Create and Store Virtual Machines and Templates Ready for Lab Management

Updated: March 2011

If you are a system administrator, you might have to regularly create new golden virtual machines to satisfy the needs of various team projects. Because you cannot create a virtual machine (VM) from scratch using Lab Management, you must start from an existing virtual machine created in Hyper-V or System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and import it into a team project. After you installed the test, build, and lab agents, you can either:

  • Leave the virtual machine on the host and compose an environment around it.

  • Convert the virtual machine into a template and store the template in the team project library.

The following diagram illustrates how the various machines and agents interact with one another.

Components of an integrated Lab Management setup

This topic contains instructions for creating virtual machines with all the necessary agents by using SCVMM, for converting those virtual machines into templates, and for storing the templates in the SCVMM library.

To create a virtual machine

  1. Log in as an Administrator to the server that is running Virtual Machine Manager.

  2. Click Start, click All programs, click Microsoft System Center, click Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, and then click Virtual Machine Manager Administrator Console.

  3. Create a virtual machine in SCVMM by using one of the following three methods:

    1. How to Create a Virtual Machine from an Existing Virtual Hard Disk.

    2. How to Create a Virtual Machine with a Blank Virtual Hard Disk.

    3. Creating Virtual Machines from a Template.

  4. Connect to the virtual machine by using the VM console in the SCVMM Administrator Console.

    1. In SCVMM, click the Virtual Machines tab, right-click the virtual machine, and then click Connect to virtual machine.

    2. Make sure that you have installed the appropriate operating system and application pre-requisites onto this virtual machine.

  5. Enable remote desktop connections to this virtual machine.

    This enables guest-based connections to the virtual machine. For more information about the types of connections, see How to: Connect to a Virtual Environment.

    1. On the virtual machine, click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.

    2. In the System dialog box, click Remote settings.

    3. On the Remote tab of the System Properties dialog box, click the appropriate Allow connections option, and then click Select Users.

    4. In the Remote Desktop Users dialog box, confirm the appropriate user names appear or click Add to add other user accounts, and then click OK.

You can use Lab Management to deploy an application to your environment and run tests on that environment. These are called the workflow integration and testing capabilities for Lab Management. For workflow integration to deploy an application, you create a build definition that includes the workflow to deploy your application to each virtual machine in your environment. You can then run tests on the role that you selected in your test settings. For more information about environments and roles, see Setting Up Test Machines to Run Tests or Collect Data.

Next you will install a build agent, a lab agent, and a test agent on each virtual machine that you created. You can install these agents either manually, as described below, or by using a power tool. The power tool can also create a template from this virtual machine after it has been installed with the agents. For more information, see the following Microsoft Web site.

To install the agents on a virtual machine

  1. Install a build agent on this virtual machine. For more information about how to install a build agent, see Installing and Configuring Visual Studio Agents and Test and Build Controllers. When the installation is complete, the build service configuration wizard is started. You do not have to enter any data. You can click Next to accept the defaults for the user account to use.

    NoteNote

    You do not have to add the name of the team project collection. This will be done automatically when the virtual machine is deployed by Lab Management.

  2. Install a lab agent on this virtual machine. For more information about how to install a lab agent, see Installing and Configuring Visual Studio Agents and Test and Build Controllers.

  3. Install a test agent on this virtual machine. For more information about how to install a test agent, see Installing and Configuring Visual Studio Agents and Test and Build Controllers.

    NoteNote

    You do not have to register the test agent with a test controller when you install. This will be done automatically when the virtual machine is deployed by Lab Management.

If you will compose a virtual environment using this virtual machine, you are finished. If you will store the virtual machine in the library, continue to the next section.

Caution noteCaution

Lab Management has very strict requirements for how a network should be configured when you create an isolated environment. Do not do any of the following:

  • Set virtual LAN IDs for network adapters. The VLAN ID will be cleared when the virtual machine is deployed. For more information about how to useVLAN IDs, see Configuring Virtual Networks in VMM.

  • Create multiple network adapters on a virtual machine that connect to specific networks. Lab Management overrides this configuration and creates two adapters. One adapter connects to the lab network and the other adapter handles communication among virtual machines.

  • Configure the MAC address on a network adapter. Lab Management clears the MAC address at the time the network-isolated environment is created.

When you store a virtual machine in the SCVMM library, you must decide whether to store it as a virtual machine or a template. The decision to store the virtual machine as-is or as a template will depend on several factors:

  • Whether applications that are installed on the virtual machine can continue to work if the unique identifying information about the virtual machine is removed.

  • Whether virtual machines will be used only as part of a network-isolated environment.

For example, if you will make multiple copies of this virtual machine for use in the same environment, that is, you will use the machine only once in an environment, then compose a virtual environment from the virtual machine without storing it to the library. If you will use the virtual machine in more than one environment on the same network, you must either convert it into a template and store it in library, or configure each environment to use network isolation. For more information about the factors to consider, see Virtual Environments Concepts and Guidelines.

To store a virtual machine as-is in the library

  • Store the virtual machine so that it can be imported into your team project, right-click the VM and point to Store in library.

    1. In SCVMM Administrator Console, right-click the virtual machine and then click Shutdown.

    2. Select the SCVMM library share that you added to your team project collection and then click Next.

    3. Select the path for the share location for this virtual machine and then click Next.

    4. Click Store.

To first convert a VM into a template and then store it in the library

  1. Prepare the virtual machine to be converted into a template by clearing the administrator password and local password policy.

    1. If the virtual machine is joined to a domain, remove it from the domain and join it to a workgroup. Restart the machine when you are prompted to do this.

    2. Open gpedit.msc, and then click Local Computer Policy, Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Account Policies, and then Password Policy.

      Set the following values:

      Enforce password history: 0

      Minimum password length: 0

      Password must meet complexity requirements: Disabled

    3. Close gpedit.msc

    4. Change the password of local Administrator account to be empty. You can do this by logging in as .\Administrator and then using CTRL+ALT+DEL to change the password.

  2. Make sure that any applications already installed on the virtual machine will continue to work properly after the name of the virtual machine is changed.

    Caution noteCaution

    If your application depends on a specific computer name or on joining a specific domain, your application might not work when a new virtual machine is deployed from the template.

  3. Make sure that there is no media (DVD) loaded into the virtual machine. For more information about how to remove media, see How to Add a DVD or CD Drive to a Virtual Machine.

  4. Shutdown the virtual machine. In SCVMM Administrator Console, select the virtual machine, right-click it, and then click Shutdown.

  5. Select the virtual machine and create a clone of it. This is recommended because the original virtual machine is destroyed when it is converted into a template.

  6. Select the clone, and remove all the checkpoints on the virtual machine. This is required as SCVMM cannot convert a virtual machine with checkpoints into a template.

    1. Right-click the virtual machine, and then click Manage checkpoints.

    2. Click each checkpoint, and then click Remove.

  7. If you remove the checkpoints from a virtual machine, Hyper-V merges the disks associated with the checkpoints. This could take several minutes depending on the size of the checkpoints. You can verify the progress of this merging using Hyper-V manager on the host on which the virtual machine is deployed. Wait for the merging to be complete before moving to the next step.

  8. In SCVMM Administrator Console, right-click the virtual machine, and then click New template.

    1. Accept the defaults on all the screens. When prompted for a library share location, select the SCVMM library share.

    2. Click Create to start the SCVMM job. If the SCVMM job is not completed successfully, review the error message and take the appropriate actions.

Date

History

Reason

March 2011

Added guidance to not set virtual LAN IDs for network adapters, create multiple network adapters on a virtual machine, or configure the MAC address on a network adapters.

Customer feedback.

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