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System Center 2016 evaluation VHDs download links

4:04 pm in Hyper-V, SCDPM, SCOM, SCORCH, SCSM, scvmm, System Center 2016, VHD by Wim Matthyssen


Hi all,

Just a short blog post today. Like you probably already know System Center 2016 is officially launched on the 26th of September during Microsoft Ignite.



For all you guys running Hyper-V 2012 R2, and I hope that are a lot of you, Microsoft recently also released the System Center Evaluation VHDs (RTM version). The different download links, which you can find below, each consists of files that you extract into a single pre-configured VHD file. There are VHDs for several different System Center components like SCVMM, SCOM and SCDPM, but also for SCSM and SCORCH. When each VHD is downloaded it will enable you to create a VM (Generation 1) which you can use to evaluate and test each different System Center component. Be aware that most of these VMs ran in a Workgroup. It’s best to already have a DC configured and setup in your test environment, so you can join them into your test domain before you start playing around with them.

Hereby the list for are all the System Center 2016 Evaluation VHDs available for download:

Hope this helps you getting familiar with these new releases.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Step by step: Installing a standalone SCVMM 2012 R2 Management Server

4:34 pm in Private Cloud, scvmm, SCVMM 2012 R2 by Wim Matthyssen

clip_image002Installing the System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 R2 Management Server is pretty straightforward and is very much like installing a new Windows Server. Its main focus is to run the SCVMM service, which processes all commands and handles all communication between the SCVMM database, the SCVMM library server(s) and the Hyper-V hosts. The SCVMM server is cluster-aware, and you can deploy it as highly available (HA) if your virtualization environment is large. But in this blog post I will go to the installation process for setting up a standalone SCVMM Management server. I will also list up all prerequisites and components to get all things up and running.

But first of all, I will start with listing some things up which need  to be kept in mind when planning your deployment:

  • The topology for a SCVMM deployment will vary according to each company’s needs. Consider the following before taking off: numbers of Hyper-V hosts, number of branch sites with hosts, security, administrative groups, self-service experience, availability and recovery time for each of the components.
  • For complete SCVMM software and hardware requirements go to the following Microsoft TechNet page:
  • If you are deploying SCVMM, you should consider that the SCVMM database no longer supports SQL Express. Therefore, you must use a supported version of SQL server (full version) to run this database.
  • At least one SCVMM library server is necessary, but you should consider foreseeing more separate servers for each external site with a low bandwith link.
  • When you are naming the SCVMM Management server, the computer name cannot contain the character string “SCVMM”.
  • The SCVMM database can reside on a SQL server with other application databases. For example, in combination with the App Controller database.
  • The SCVMM database must be in the same domain as the SCVMM server or a two-way trust must be in place.
  • Be sure to join the SCVMM Management server to the domain.
  • Create all necessary accounts in advance: SCVMM service account, RunAs account for managing hosts, SCVMM Administrators security group. Add the security group to the Local Administrator group on the SCVMM Management Server.
  • You can deploy the SCVMM Console on the same server as the SCVMM Management server, or on another server or workstation that is running a supported operating system (OS).
  • The SCVMM Management Server will be installed on a W2K12 R2 virtual machine (VM) with the Windows Firewall disabled.
  • Configure SCVMM 2012 R2 Distributed Key Management (DKM) in advance. If you do not know how, read all about it in my previous blog post:
  • For the installation log on with a domain account which is a member of the SCVMM Administrators security group and insure this account has sufficient rights to access the SQL and the AD container.

SCVMM has five major components of architecture and these are setup accordingly for this standalone installation:

  • SCVMM Management Server -> will be setup as standalone server
  • SCVMM console -> will be installed on the same server as the SCVMM Management Server
  • SCVMM Self-Service portal -> is been replaced by System Center App Controller (SCAPP)
  • SCVMM database -> will be placed on a separate SQL cluster
  • SCVMM library -> tempory local, will be replaced by a share on a separate file server

After this brief intro, it’s time to setup the SCVMM Management server. We will start off with the installation of all the required Prerequisites.

1) Install Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Command Line Utilities, which can be downloaded over here:

2) Scroll down the page, until you find the exact download



3) If you right-click and install, you may receive following error


4) If so download the Microsoft SLQ Server 2008 R2 Native Client (X64 Package) and run Install









5) Now install the SQL Server 2008 R2 Command Line Utilities







6) Download the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) for Windows 8.1, you can find it via following link:


7) Run the file as Administrator


8) Leave the default installation path and click Next


9) We don’t join the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), so we select No and click Next

10) Accept the License Agreement

11) For SCVMM 2012 R2 we only need to install the Deployment Tools and the Windows Preinstallation Environment. Select those and click Next



12) To make sure things are still ticking along under the covers, you can navigate to %temp%/adk to look at the installation log file to make sure that things are still progressing behind the scenes. The installation can be quite large up to 5.1 GB, so if you are on a slow Internet connection, you may be stuck at 0% complete for up to 15 minutes or more before you see any change in the progress bar. In the log file, look for the time that you kicked off the installation and also the time of the last log entry. You should be able to see some activity, namely ‘acquiring package’. This will mean that it’s downloading the package in the background.


Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 8.1_20140224141443.log

Check your proxy settings if download doesn’t start or doesn’t work

13) Install the Microsoft Visual C++2010 x86 Redistributable Maintenance. You can locate the executable on the SCVMMR2VMM ISO under the folder “Prerequisites”

After all prerequisites are installed it is now time to freshly install the SCVMM Management Server

14) Go to the DVD or ISO, open it and select setup.exe


15) Click Install


16) Select VMM management server (automatically VMM console is also selected)


17) After the selection of the roles, you have to provide the information about the name of the administrator installing the product, organization details and last but not least the product key. If you don’t provide the product key during installation, you can provide it later. But be aware your installation will only be valid for a 180-day trial period


18) On the next screen, read and accept the licensing agreement and press Next


19) We will not join the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). So select No, I am not willing to participate and press Next


20) Leave the Installation location to the default and press Next


21) On the prerequisites checker, if there is any prerequisite missing, SCVMM setup will inform you about that. If so, install any missing prerequisite and re-run the checker

22) In the next screen you need to specify the database configuration. Because were installing the SCVMM database on a separate SQL cluster, we need to fill in het Server name and the proper SQL Server Instance name. In addition to this, we also have to specify the correct SQL Server listening port and the user name and domain used to connect to it


23) On the next screen we need to fill in the domain account used by the VMM service and the location for the DKM


24) In the next section leave all ports to the default and press Next


25) For the Library configuration also leave everything to the default. After installation is complete you can add a separate library shared on a file server and delete this default


26) On the last screen, a summary of all the configuration-related settings provided is shown. If everything is OK, you can click Install to start the installation




27) Like you can see installation is completed and you can Close the screen. If you mark the to open the VMM console when this wizard closes this will be opened. Here you are required to provide the right credentials


This concludes this blog post, hope it helps and till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Critical status for WinRM on host status (error 20506) in SCVMM 2012 R2

6:06 pm in Hyper-V, PowerShell, scvmm by Wim Matthyssen

Some time ago I was contacted by a customer who made the switch from VMware to Hyper-V for running his virtual environment. He already installed a Hyper-V cluster with 4 nodes and was now setting up the System Center Virtual Machine Manger (SCVMM) 2012 R2 management server. That installation ran without any issues, but when he tried to add his Hyper-V hosts he bumped into a critical WinRM error, namely 20506.


After reading the “Error details” and a short investigation on the Hyper-V hosts the problem was found. All Hyper-V hosts ran with the Windows Firewall enabled, but the communication ports for the SCVMM agent were not opened. To fix this I ran the following PowerShell Cmdlets to open up port 80 and 443 which fixed the problem. Keep in mind to run PowerShell as an Administrator.

New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "SCVMM Agent 80" -Direction Inbound -LocalPort 80 -Protocol TCP -Action Allow

New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "SCVMM Agent 443" -Direction Inbound -LocalPort 443 -Protocol TCP -Action Allow

Set-NetfirewallRule -DisplayName "SCVMM Agent 80" -Enabled True

Set-NetfirewallRule -DisplayName "SCVMM Agent 443" -Enabled True


This concludes this blog post. Keep tuned and I’ll be back soon.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Configure SCVMM 2012 R2 Distributed Key Management

8:31 pm in DKM, scvmm by Wim Matthyssen

Before going into the practical part, first a little bit of information about Distributed Key Management (DKM). DKM is used to store VMM encryption keys (for example all sensitive data like administrator passwords, Run As Account credentials and license key information) in a special container in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), instead of locally on the VMM server. This is the kind of information you don’t want unauthorized people to access!

It can be used for a standalone VMM server setup (optional but recommended). However, when you deploy a clustered installation of VMM (HA VMM) it is required. Why? Because both cluster nodes (in case of a failover from one node to another) need to be able to securely access those encryption keys to decrypt the data in the VMM database.


Herewith some tip and tricks before you start:

  • DKM is required when installing a HA VMM
  • I always manually configure the DKM container before starting the VMM installation (you can do it during the setup also, but make sure that the account with which you’re installing has rights to create a new container in AD. Easiest is that the user has domain administrator rights).
  • You need domain administrator rights to use ADSI Edit.
  • The VMDK container and the VMM service account should be created in the same domain as the VMM Management server.
  • Make sure to have a reliable AD backup in place to protect and recover all AD data, so those sensitive encryption keys don’t get lost in case of a disaster.
  • The domain I use in this example is contoso.local.
  • Following users and groups are created prior running the VMM Management server setup: sa-scvmm – SCVMM service account, scvmmadmin – SCVMM RunAs account, SCVMM-Admins – SCVMM Administrators security group. The user’s sa-scvmm and scvmmadmin are made members of the SCVMM-admins global security group. SCVMM-Admins is added to the local administrators group on the VMM Management server(s).

1) Log on into a Domain Controller (DC) with domain admin privileges, open Run and type adsiedit.msc to start Active Directory Service Interfaces Editor


2) In the ADSI Edit console, right-click ADSI Edit and select Connect to. On the Connection Settings page select OK (as name Default naming context should be filled in)


3) Right-click the domain’s container (or another container you desire as a logical place) which in my case is DC=contoso, DC=local, select New and then select Object


4) In the Create Object windows select container as the class and click on Next


5) In the Value textbox, fill in VMMDKM and click on Next (I’ve you prefer to use another name be sure not to use spaces and special characters in it)


6) In the Active Directory Users and Computers window, click on View and select Advanced Features.


7) Now you’re able to see the VMMDKM container. The last thing to do is to set the proper AD permissions. By default the AD groups domain admins, enterprise admins, and the AD user SYSTEM have full permissions to this object and its descendant objects. In my case VMM will be granted the necessary rights based on the SCVMM-Admins security group. So right-click the container and choose Properties


8) Click on the Security tab and click on Add


9) Type the name of the VMM Administrators groups: scvmm-admins


10) Check the Read, Write, and Create all child objects options


11) Next click on the Advanced tab


12) Select scvmm-admins and choose Edit


13) In the Applies to drop-down menu, select This object and all descendant objects


14) Right-click the VMMDKM container and select Properties. Select the attribute distinguishedName and click View. Now copy the Value which you will need later during the installation of VMM



15) When you install the VMM Management Server, on the Configure Service account and distributed key management page, you must specify the location of the container in AD DS, in my example CN=VMMDKM, DC=contoso, DC=local (the copied data from above)


16) After the VMM installation, you can see some data is added to the DKM container


We have now finished preparing to use DKM management for either a standalone or a HA VMM installation.

So this concludes this blog post, hope it’s useful and helps!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Authenticating error while installing SCVMM 2012 R2 Management Server

7:33 am in scvmm by Wim Matthyssen

Some time ago I was performing a clean installation of System Center Virtual Machine Manger (SCVMM) 2012 R2 on a Windows Server 2012 R2 server for a customer. It was a 3 server model VMM architecture (SQL 2012 SP1, VMM Management Server and a separated Library Server) scaled to match the customer‘s requirements.

Before I started, all necessary users and groups, a container for the Distributed Key Management where created and all necessary prerequisite were installed.

By carrying out the installation of the VMM Management Server as usual, the following error message popped-up:




First of all I tried to fix the problem by following all instructions in the text box (same instructions as in the SetupWizard log file, which can be found under %Systemdrive%\ProgramData\VMMLogs), but the problem still remained.

After going through the setup several times, and some frustrated hours later, I finally found it out. The problem wasn’t with the installation or credentials of any sort, it was the server name: GR-SCVMM-01

It seems when you use more than one dash in the server name for the VMM Management Server, you receive this error. After changing the name to GR-SCVMM the setup ran remarkably perfect without any errors.



So despite having a naming convention for naming servers, whenever you install a new VMM Management server be sure to use a name with just one dash.

This concludes this blog post, hope it helps!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

Quick overview of Channel 9 Ignite sessions about Hyper-V and Private Cloud

6:15 pm in Azure, Hyper-V, Microsoft Ignite, Private Cloud, scvmm by Wim Matthyssen

clip_image002 channel9

Hi all,

Like you probably all know Microsoft Ignite 2015 was held in Chicago last week. During this event, Microsoft made several new announcements, such as the Microsoft Azure Stack, Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) and Windows Update for Business. Besides all that, Technical Preview (TP) 2 for both Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 were released.

All these great sessions were recorded  and published on Channel 9 where they are ready for download or streaming. But even with all those recordings available, it’s quit hard to find the links to all topics you’re interested in.

That’s why below I summarized most of the sessions concerning Hyper-V and Private Cloud in general. Each link gives you direct access to the Channel 9 page where you can find the video recording and the slide deck.

Code Title
KEY01 Microsoft Ignite Keynote
BRK3461 What’s New in Windows Server Hyper-V
C9-45 Hyper-V Next
BRK3492 Deploying Hyper-V Network Virtualization
BRK3504 Hyper-V Storage Performance with Storage Quality of Service
BRK3506 The Hidden Treasures of Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V?
BRK2463 Hyper-V Network Virtualization: 100+ Customer Service Provider Deployments
BRK3493 Migrating to Microsoft: VMware to Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure
BRK3453 Virtualizing Linux and FreeBSD Workloads on Windows Server Hyper-V
BRK3457 Harden the Fabric: Protecting Tenant Secrets in Hyper-V
BRK2466 Platform Vision & Strategy (2 of 7): Server Virtualization Overview
BRK3575 Veeam Software: Availability Strategies for Microsoft Azure and Hyper-V, A Deep Dive
BRK2473 Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager: Technical Overview and Roadmap
BRK3502 Managing and Securing the Fabric with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager
BRK3498 Managing Storage with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager: A Deep Dive
BRK3477 Datacenter Integration Using Automation in Microsoft System Center Orchestrator
BRK1454 Hybrid Partnerships: Enabling On-Premises Scenarios in Microsoft Azure
BRK3904 Exam Prep Session for Exam 70-246 and Exam 70-24: Private Cloud (Part 1)
BRK3903 Exam Prep Session for Exam 70-246 and Exam 70-24: Private Cloud (Part 2)
BRK2493 Microsoft’s New Windows Server Containers
BRK3853 An Insider’s Guide to Desktop Virtualization
BRK3483 Taking advantage of Identity capabilities in the Azure Pack
BRK3466 Extending Virtual Machines in the Windows Azure Pack
BRK2468 NetApp, Inc.: Datacenter Transformation, Head into the Cloud While Keeping Your Feet on the Ground
BRK2469 The Power of the Windows Server Software Defined Datacenter in Action
BRK3337 Sysinternals Primer: Ignite 2015 Edition
BRK3489 Exploring Storage Replica in Windows Server vNext
BRK3474 Enabling Private Cloud Storage Using Servers with Local Disks
BRK3496 Deploying Private Cloud Storage with Dell Servers and Windows Server vNext
BRK3484 Upgrading Your Private Cloud to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Beyond!
BRK3503 Best Practices for Deploying Disaster Recovery Services with Microsoft Azure Site Recovery
BRK2479 Cloud Integrated Backup with Microsoft System Center and Azure Backup
BRK3119 Turning the Infrastructure Inside Out and IT Practices Upside Down: Microsoft IT’s Cloud Adoption
BRK2472 Overview of the Microsoft Cloud Platform System
FND1451 Windows Server & System Center Futures—Bring Azure to your Datacenter (Platform Vision & Strategy)
C9-31 The Microsoft Azure Stack
BRK2461 Nano Server: The Future of Windows Server Starts Now
THR0480 Nano Server
THR0488 Datacenter Management from the Microsoft Point of View
C9-03 Jeff Woolsey on the Microsoft Datacenter Platform vNext
C9-41 Availability on Demand – Site Recovery
C9-40 Availability on Demand – Backup
C9-20 Microsoft’s Storage Strategy & Capabilities in Datacenter vNext
C9-21 Microsoft’s Networking Strategy & Capabilities in vNext
C9-13 Microsoft’s Security and Assurance strategy in vNext

Before I close off, some quick tips.

For those interested in reading all about OMS, just read the quick start guide from my fellow SCUG member and MVP Dieter Wijckmans:

People who are interested in downloading all the Ignite sessions (and also from other events like TechEd), I can recommend using the PowerShell script from MVP Michel de Rooij, which you can find over here:

To end up, I share you the download links for Windows Server 2016 TP 2 and System Center 2012 TP 2:

Have fun watching and I’ll be back soon.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

How to perform a P2V with disk2vhd

10:20 pm in Hyper-V, scvmm by Wim Matthyssen

On a regular base I need to do physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversions at clients, to turn physical machines into virtual machines (VMs). The only problem is that in the current SCVMM version, namely SCVMM 2012 R2, the P2V functionality has been removed. As a solution you can install a down-level version of SCVMM, like the 2012 SP1 version, but in this blog post I will explain you how to do it with use of the disk2vhd tool from Microsoft.

You will need to follow the steps below:

1) First of all clean up the server that will be converted to a VM and remove all unnecessary software. Check the Event Viewer for critical problems and fix them. Also run Windows Updates and install all necessary updates.

2) Secondly open a command prompt and run “sfc /scannow”.This command will inspect all of the important Windows files on the server, including Windows DLL files. If the System File Checker finds an issue with any of these protected files, it will replace it.


3) As a third step run “chkdsk /f c:”.Check Disk will then perform an analysis of the disk and repairs all errors on the C: drive. If the volume is in use (like the C: drive always is) chkdsk will run on start-up. So close all applications and reboot the system.


4) When the chkdsk is completed, boot into the operating system and defrag your C: drive with “defrag /f c:


5) As a next step first download “Contig v 1.7” here. Contig is designed to defragment individual files, or specified groups of files, and does not attempt to move files to the beginning of the partition. Combined usage of the -s parameter and the wildcard symbol * allows whole directories and drives to be defragmented. Run “contig –s c:\*


6) When the contig has finished, use the Microsoft Virtual Disk Pre-Compactor tool to write out all of the free space to zeros. You can download the Precompact tool here. Run “precompact.exe




7) Now we are ready to use Disk2vhd v2.01 to make a new, dynamic-sized VHDX file. You can download the tool here. Preferably create the new disk on another disk then the C: because the tool uses a lot of IOPS.



8) When the new VHDX is created, copy it to the preferred location. It’s best you copy it to the Clustered Shared Volume (CSV) where the VM will reside on. In my example I copied it to: C:\ClusterStorage\Volume4\”VM folder”


9) As you can see in the screenshot below the disk now has a size of 125 GB.


10) The next step is to create a new VM (same name as the physical server) with SCVMM and attach the VHDX as the drive where the OS resides on. Then shut down the physical machine and boot up the VM. It should start, adjust the IP address to the one of the physical and the P2V should be done.

11) Now open up a Hyper-V Manager on the host and install the Integration Services. I always do this from the Hyper-V host and not from SCVMM, simply because it’s faster.





12) An important step is to convert the dynamic VHDX to a fixed-sized VHDX (only fixed-sized VHDX are supported by Microsoft in a production environment). So in SCVMM open the properties of the VM, and go to Hardware Configuration. Here you change the dynamic disk to a fixed one. When running you see the following job in progress.


13) As a last step you can adjust the size of the VM, so it uses less disk space on your CSV. To do this you need to RDP to it. When connected open run and type “diskmgmt.msc”. This command will open Disk Management. There you can shrink the volume. Shrink it as most as possible. When shrinked there will be unallocated disk space. In my case around 325,31 GB.




14) After the shrink, go back to SCVMM and reopen the properties of the VM, go to Hardware Configuration and select “Compact virtual hard disk”.


15) The result you can see below. The fixed VHDX now only uses 140,45 GB instead of 465,42 GB.


This concludes this blog post, hope it helps!

Keep tuned and I will be back with more.

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

How to extend system partition on Hyper-V Windows Server 2003 VM

9:55 am in Hyper-V, scvmm, win2003 by Wim Matthyssen


Last month, I worked at a customer who had a problem with low disk space on the system partition (C: drive) of a Virtual Machine (VM) runnig Windows Server 2003 as operating system. He received the “Low Disk Space” alert and wasn’t able to defragment or install any new software. He was also concerned that whitout enoug space for the system, the server would not work efficiently and stable. So in my first blog post I will explain how I fixed this.

First of all, you need to expand the virtual hard disk (VHD) of the VM. In the post I will use System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 (SCVMM) but you can also do this from the Hyper-V manager. To fix this issue you need to go trough the following steps:

1) Shutdown the VM

2) Open Properties of the stopped VM

3) Go to Hardware Configuration and locate the disk in question

4) Select Expand virtual hard disk (GB): and enter the new size

5) Click OK


6) In the job window you will see following action:


7) If the job is all done, start up the VM.

8) When the VM is started, open Run and type in following command diskmgmt.msc to open Disk Management

9) Click OK


The problem that you face at this point is that because it’s a Windows Server 2003 you can’t use “Disk Management” to extend the system disk with the 8 GB unallocated space. Like you can see in the screenshot below the option “Extend Volume” isn’t available.


10) So to expand the SYSTEM disk we will use a tool called Dell ExtPart Utility. You can download it from here

11) Save the zip file to a folder (like example Temp) and extract it. I’ve extracted it to the folder C:\Dell\Expart

12) Next open a Command Prompt and go to the above folder

13) Type in the command extpart “drive:” “size to extend”. In my example this is extpart c: 8192

14) Click Enter


15) Now if we open up Disk Management again, you can see the system drive has a size of 20 GB instead of the 12 GB from before. After the extend, the previously unallocated space has been combined with the system drive to form a single larger drive. In the end the extra space is available to install new software or install Windows Updates. Also the server will run stable again.


This concludes my first blog post. I hope it’s a fine start and that you will keep following me. So keep tuned and I’ll be back soon.