Archive for the ‘System Center Family’ Category

Installing and configuring System Center Service Provider Foundation

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Management of cloud resources involves the deployment, configuration, monitoring, and ongoing maintenance of hardware and software components. These components compose the infrastructure management platform, virtual machine hosts and instances, and their associated storage, network and facility components that support the cloud infrastructure. The tools required to manage these components are provided by hardware manufacturers and the cloud computing platform providers.

The Microsoft Private Cloud platform is composed of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft System Center 2012. These products provide the tools necessary to build, monitor and maintain a cloud fabric management infrastructure and the cloud resources that compose services running on the infrastructure. While these tools are ideal for the management of a cloud infrastructure, service providers and large IT organizations require additional capabilities that allow them to integrate the management of their infrastructure with existing self-service portals, support multiple tenants and distribute workloads across management instances that may be deployed geographically in multiple datacenters.

System Center Service Provider Foundation is provided with System Center 2012 – Orchestrator that enables organizations to gain this additional management capability and extend the service provided by their cloud platform.

This blog is a complete walkthrough on installing and configuring the Service Provider Foundation.

Enabling the Cloud OS


The Service Provider Foundation enables service providers to offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The infrastructure of System Center VMM 2012 is exposed through the Service Provider Foundation as an extensible OData web service, that supports REST-based requests. The web service handles these requests through Windows PowerShell scripts. By using this industry standard Microsoft enables Service Provider to leverage their existing investments in custom management Portals.

The Service Provider Foundation is placed on top of a System Center VMM 2012 environment. This blog will not cover the installation and configuration of System Center 2012 VMM. I can advise a great book called Microsoft Private Cloud Computing written by Aidan Finn, Hans Vredevoort, Patrick Lownds and Damian Flynn that I use as a reference frequently.


The Service Provider Foundation uses SQL server for its database. Depending on the size of your environment you can either use the same SQL server as your System Center VMM 2012 SP1 environment or use a dedicated SQL server for the Service Provider Foundation. The database is supported on SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012.

Before we install the Service Provider Foundation some prerequisites must be installed.


These prerequisites can be categorized in the following parts.

  • Operating System
    • Windows Server 2012
    • PowerShell 3.0
  • System Center VMM SP1
    • System Center VMM SP1 console
  • Web Server IIS Server Role
    • IIS Management > Scripts and Tools
    • IIS Security > Basic Security
    • IIS Security > Windows Authentication
    • IIS Application Development > ASP.NET 4.5
  • Windows Features
    • .NET Framework 4.5 Features > WCF Services > HTTP Activation
    • Management OData IIS Extension
  • Downloads
    • WCF Data Services 5.0 for OData V3
    • ASP.NET MVC 4

When you have configured Windows Server 2012 with an IP address, applied Windows Updates and introduced the server as member to the same domain that your System Center VMM environment is running in, you are ready to install the prerequisites. The first requirement is the installation of the System Center VMM console. You can install the console from the System Center 2012 VMM SP1 installation media.

01 Install VMM console

Now you can install the required features and roles by opening Add Roles and Features in Server Manager. Select the Web Server IIS on the Server Role screen. Select .NET Framework 4.5 Features > WCF Services > HTTP Activation andManagement OData IIS Extension. On the Web Server IIS role services screen add the role services IIS Management Scripts and Tools, IIS Security Basic Security, IIS Security Windows Authentication, IIS Application Development ASP.NET 4.5 to the default settings.

05 Installation Check Part2

You can also install these roles and features by running the following PowerShell command.

Install-WindowsFeature Web-Server, Web-WebServer, Web-Common-Http, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Static-Content, Web-Health, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Performance, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Security, Web-Filtering, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-App-Dev, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Scripting-Tools, NET-Framework-45-ASPNET, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, ManagementOdata, WAS, WAS-Process-Model, WAS-Config-APIs

PowerShell Install-WindowsFeature

Two requirements are not included in the Windows Server 2012 operating system. The installation of these requirements is straightforward.

The Service Provider Foundation install wizard will verify that all roles and features are installed correctly.

Required user accounts

We need to create a domain user account for the Service Provider Foundation application pools and three domain groups that will be used for the permissions on the individual virtual directories created by the installer.

In this example I have created a service account

  • domain\Svc_Spf

And the following domain groups

  • domain\Spf_Admins
  • domain\Spf_Provider
  • domain\Spf_VMM


The Service Provider Foundation provides an extensible OData web service. Communications to this web service can and should be encrypted by SSL. SSL requires certificates. The Service Provider Foundation allows for self-singed certificates (for testing purposes) and certificates issued by a standalone Certificate Authority, an enterprise Certificate Authority or a public Certificate Authority. The Service Provider Foundation requires a default web server certificate.

If Windows Azure for Windows Server is located in the same domain as the Service Provider Foundation you are not required to request a public certificate. If you want to enable connectivity to the Service Provider Foundation from System Center App Controller in untrusted domains a public certificate might become a better alternative.

In the following blogs I will describe connecting Windows Azure for Windows Server to the Service Provider Foundation and connecting System Center App Controller to the Service Provider Foundation. In these blogs we will have a closer look at the possible web server certificates and the corresponding pros and cons.

For the installation in this blog we will use a self-signed certificate. In the following blogs this certificate will be replaced.

Open IIS Manager, select the server in the left console and select Server Certificates in main menu.

Create SelfSigned Cert P1

When you open the Server Certificates feature the right menu allows for certificate creation.

Create SelfSigned Cert P2

Select Create Self-Signed Certificate and specify the common name. The common name must match the URL that is used when connecting to the Service Provider Foundation.

Create SelfSigned Cert P3

Please keep in mind that the self-signed certificate will not be trusted by another operating system that initiates a request to the web service. For testing purposes you can add the self-signed certificate to the trusted root certificate certificates in the computer store of the requesting operating system.


The Service Provider Foundation setup is added to the System Center Orchestrator SP1 media. The System Center Orchestrator 2012 SP1 installer also allows you to install the Service Provider Foundation.

02 Setup screen orchestrator

The installer will first verify that all prerequisites are met. If you have followed the steps described in this blog you will see all green checks here.

07 Prerequisites check

In the next step you need to specify the SQL Server where the Service Provider Foundation database is created. Please verify that the firewall of the SQL Server allows traffic on port 1433. The installer will verify connectivity before you can continue to the next step.

Select the certificate you created for the web service. In this example we select the self-signed certificate that we created earlier.

09 Certificate

In the following three screen the virtual directories, corresponding permissions and App Pool Identities are specified. Please note that these permissions and App Pool Identities are essential for a properly functioning environment when you connect different solutions to Service Provider Foundation. In these screen we will specify the domain service account and the domain groups we created earlier.

In the Configure the Admin Web Service specify the domain\Spf_Admin group in the virtual directory permissions. Specify the domain\Svc_Spf service account in the Application pool credentials.

10 AppPool Admin

In the Configure the Provider Web Service specify the domain\Spf_Provider group in the virtual directory permissions. Specify the domain\Svc_Spf service account in the Application pool credentials.

11 AppPool Provider

In the Configure the VMM Web Service specify the domain\Spf_VMM group in the virtual directory permissions. Specify the domain\Svc_Spf service account in the Application pool credentials.

12 AppPool VMM

Post installation

In the following blog I will explain how to setup Windows Azure for Windows Server. For correct functionality additional permissions must be configured for the service account (domain\Svc_Spf).

The SPF service account that is configured as Application Pool Identity of the Service Provider Foundation virtual directories needs to be added as a member of the following local groups on the server where the Service Provider Foundation is installed.

  • SPF_Admin
  • SPF_Provider

15 Set permissions for Spf Service Account on SPF server

The SPF service account (domain\Svc_Spf) also needs to be added to the administrator user role in the System Center VMM 2012 SP1 environment in the same domain. Open System Center VMM 2012 SP1, select settings in the left bottom menu and select user roles in the main window.

13 Set permissions for Spf Service Account in VMM P1

Open the Administrator User Role and add the service account (domain\Svc_Spf).

14 Set permissions for Spf Service Account in VMM P2

The service account also needs permissions in SQL Server running the Service Provider Foundation database. Open the SQL Server Management Studio > Security and select the domain service account.

17 Set permissions for Spf Service Account in SQL

The service account will need the Sysadmin role in SQL Server. Open the properties of the service account (domain\Svc_Spf), select the Server Roles tab and enable the sysadmin role.

18 Set permissions for Spf Service Account in SQL

Update Rollup 1 changes App Pool Identity

When you install System Center Orchestrator 2012 SP1 Update Rollup 1 on the Service Provider Foundation server the VMM App Pool Identity is changed from the domain service account (domain\Svc_Spf) to Network Service.


You need to change the App Pool Identity back to the service account (domain\Svc_Spf). You can find a complete walkthrough on this System Center 2012 SP1 Update Rollup 1 breaks Service Provider Foundation connectivity in Windows Azure for Windows Server.

More information

Enabling Hosted IaaS Clouds for Service Providers Using Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 with Windows Server 2012

Service Provider Foundation on TechNet

Cloud Resource Management with System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) – Orchestrator and Service Provider Foundation


Free ebook: Microsoft System Center: Optimizing Service Manager

December 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Microsoft released a free book for Microsoft System Center: Optimizing Service Manager,I hope it’s helpful for you

Service Manager & Orchestrator – Management Pack Transfer Tool

November 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Have you ever tried to transfer some Request Offerings that contains runbooks from one environment to the other?
You will notice that is it not possible by default.

Problem is that the links to the runbooks do not work anymore since all the runbooks has been re-imported and have been assigned new IDs.


by using this easy 4 step procedure you can accomplish a successful transfer!

Download Here


Deploy Exchange 2013 using Service Templates!

October 20, 2013 Leave a comment

awesome post must see regarding how to  Deploy Exchange 2013 using Service Templates!

Best of TechEd 2013 – What’s New in Private Cloud with System Center 2012 R2 VMM

July 20, 2013 Leave a comment

System Center 2012 R2 VMM – What’s New in Private Cloud

Vijay Tewari, Principal Group Program Manager on the VMM team, delivered an awesome demo-heavy session last week at TechEd 2013 that provided an overview of new and enhanced Private Cloud management capabilities that will be available in the forthcoming release of System Center 2012 R2 VMM.  Below, I’ve provided a clickable index to Vijay’s recorded session, so that you can easily concentrate on learning about the areas that are most important to you.

Download the deck and video for offline viewing.

Session Index – What’s New in Private Cloud with System Center 2012 R2 VMM

    • Customer Private Clouds
    • Service Provider Clouds
    • Windows Azure Cloud
    • Consistent Building Blocks
    • Consistent Management Experience
  • [ 08:25 ] Cloud – Demystified
    • Pool of compute, storage and networking resources
    • Elastic – Allocable on demand to your “customers”
    • Automate everything – 540+ PowerShell Cmdlets in VMM!
    • Usage-based Metering – Chargeback / Showback
    • Self-Service – Role-based Delegation and Access Control
  • [ 13:28 ] Enabling Private Cloud with System Center 2012 R2 VMM
    • Storage – Use any kind of Storage: DAS, SAN, NAS, Windows Server 2012 File Server, Scale-out File Server Cluster
    • Networking – Management of physical network switches via OMI as well as virtual network infrastructure ( PVLANs, NV-GRE Virtualized Networks, NV-GRE Gateways )
    • Virtualization host agnostic – Intel/AMD/OEM Hardware running Windows Server 2012/R2/2008 R2 Hyper-V, VMware or Citrix XenServer
    • Configure and deploy physical Storage, Network and Virtualization hosts as Private Cloud Fabric
    • Define Pooled Resources as “Clouds” based on SLA
    • Delegate Cloud Capacity to Self-Service Users
    • Model Applications using VMM Service Templates for consistent deployment of application workloads
  • [ 19:47 ] Announcing Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch
    • Advanced NX-OS feature-set
    • Innovative Services architecture ( vPath )
    • Consistent operational model
    • Integration today with Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 VMM
    • Already working together on future release of 1000V for Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 VMM
  • [ 20:36 ] 3rd Party Storage Management in VMM
    • Standards-based management using SMI-S
    • Test and confirm interoperability at ongoing storage industry plug-fests
    • Dramatically simplifies provisioning and management of storage
  • [ 22:03 ] Key Investment Areas in System Center 2012 R2 VMM
    • Services
    • VMs
    • Clouds
    • Networking
    • Storage
    • Infrastructure
  • [ 23:36 ] Introduction to Private Cloud Case Study Scenarios
    • Wingtip Toys – Enterprise company
    • Contoso Hosting – Service Provider
  • [ 29:44 ] Think “Stamps” for Private Cloud Consistency
    • Stamps are a unit of compute, storage and networking ( scale unit )
    • Managed by System Center
    • One datacenter could have multiple stamps
    • Disaster recovery across stamps
    • Logical view of a Stamp
    • Physical view of a Stamp
  • [ 33:24 ] Bootstrapping a repeatable architecture
    • Create initial storage and management infrastructure first
    • Use VMM and service templates to deploy other management scale units
      • System Center components planned to be made available as VMM Service Templates in the future.
    • Configure storage, networking and edge scale units
    • Deploy more templates for more stamps
  • [ 34:24 ] Network Overview
    • Public Internet
    • Corporate
    • Management
    • Internal – Live Migration, Cluster, Storage
    • Tenant Networks
    • Isolation – Internet vs Datacenter vs Tenants
  • [ 35:54 ] Storage Overview
    • 3rd Party SAN – iSCSI or Fibre Channel
    • 3rd Party NAS
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 Scale-Out File Server Cluster
  • [ 37:18 ] DEMO: Bare-Metal Provisioning Scale-Out File Server Cluster and Storage Spaces
    • SAN-like features at a commodity cost point
    • Just a Bunch Of Disks ( JBOD ) with Enterprise SSD / SAS disks for inexpensive shared storage
    • Storage Spaces for resilient tiering
    • VMM used for bare-metal provisioning of Scale-Out File Server Cluster and Storage Spaces
    • Library > Physical Computer Profile
    • Fabric > Create File Server Cluster
    • Fabric > Manage Pools > New Storage Pool Wizard
    • Fabric > Create File Share
    • Fabric > Cluster > Properties > Add File Share Path for VM Deployments
  • [ 45:55 ] DEMO: Provisioning Synthetic Fibre Channel in Guest VMs using VMM
    • Provides VMs with access to shared Fibre Channel Storage
    • Preserve investment in existing Fibre Channel SANs
    • Simplifies Fibre Channel Zone Management
    • VMs and Services > Guest VM > Properties > Storage > Add Fibre Channel Array > Create New Zone
    • VMs and Services > Guest VM > Properties > Storage > Add Disk > Create LUN
  • [ 50:03 ] Reduce VM Provisioning Time with ODX in VMM
    • Use ODX from VMM Library to Hyper-V virtualization hosts
  • [ 51:17 ] DEMO: Guest Clustering with Shared VHDXs
    • Automate Creation of Guest Clusters using new Script Options within VMM Service Templates
    • First VM can have its own script to provision new cluster
    • Second and Subsequent VMs can run separate script to join cluster
    • Shared VHDX stored on Scale-Out File Server Cluster
    • Library > Service Template Designer > Tier Properties > Hardware Configuration > Bus Configuration > SCSI Disk > Share this disk across the service tier
    • Library > Service Template Designer > Tier Properties > Application Configuration > Scripts > Creation: First VM
    • Library > Service Template Designer > Tier Properties > Application Configuration > Scripts > Creation: Other VMs
  • [ 58:56 ] VMM Integration with IP Address Management ( IPAM )
    • Centralized Management of Logical and Physical Networks
    • VMM Logical Networks appear in Windows Server 2012 IPAM Tools
    • Windows Server 2012 IPAM can be used to provision new VMM Logical Networks side-by-side with Physical Networks
  • [ 59:46 ] DEMO: Managing Top of Rack ( ToR ) Network Switch Compliance
    • Uses OMI to communicate with physical network switches for configuration validation and remediation
    • Fabric > Logical Networks > Host > NIC > Compliance errors
    • Fabric > Logical Networks > Host > NIC > Remediate
  • [ 1:03:24 ] DEMO: Hybrid Networking with Windows Azure Pack and System Center 2012 R2 VMM
    • Self-service virtual network provisioning and management via Windows Azure Pack
    • Builds on foundation in Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2
      • NVGRE, IPA, Switch Extensions
      • Uses VMM as control plane
    • Isolated virtual networks running on shared network infrastructure
    • In-box multitenant edge gateway in Windows Server 2012 R2
      • Provides connectivity between physical and virtualized networks
      • VMM Service Template planned for automating the provisioning of edge gateways
    • VMs and Services > VM Networks > Properties
    • Library > Service Templates > Windows Server 2012 R2 Edge Gateway
  • [ 1:11:02 ] DEMO: Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager
    • Automate and Orchestrate Disaster Recovery between Private Clouds at different datacenters
    • Windows Azure Management Portal > Recovery Services > Recovery Plan
      • Protected Items defined for each Private Cloud
      • Define Recovery Plan for orchestrated DR failover process
    • VMs and Services > VM > Enable Recovery
  • [ 1:15:02 ] Delegating Access Per Private Cloud
    • Assign different permissions for different clouds
    • Restricted permissions to resource gold cloud
    • Full permissions to silver cloud
  • [ 1:15:37 ] DEMO: OM Dashboard for VMM Fabric Monitoring
    • Operations Manager > Monitoring > Cloud Health > Fabric Health
  • [ 1:17:28 ] Session Summary and Q&A
    • System Center 2012 R2 VMM Builds on investments in Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1
    • Enables End-to-End Scenarios for CloudOS
    • Full list of new features in System Center 2012 R2 VMM in slide deck appendix

Creating a map with server locations in OpsMgr 2012

June 15, 2013 Leave a comment


There are two new dashboards which use the new SCOMLocation information to provide information for Web Application Availability Monitoring.

Summary Dashboard – Map: This dashboard (and the Detailed Dashboard – List) are available when Web Application Availability Monitoring synthetic transactions have been created in the authoring pane. These dashboards are available in the Monitoring pane under Application Monitoring / Web Application Availability Monitoring / Test State by highlighting a synthetic transaction navigating to the Detailed Dashboard – Map option. This dashboard displays a map dashboard for the items which were highlighted when the task was run. Locations can be set for objects in OpsMgr 2012 using the New-SCOMLocation (which requires the display name, latitude and longitude) and Set-SCOMLocation PowerShell scripts. There are a variety of websites which can provide locations for various cities including

Detailed Dashboard – List: This dashboard displays a variety of information including the test status, total transaction time, time to first byte, content time, dns resolution time, time to last byte and content size for the Web Application Availability Monitoring synthetic transactions which were highlighted when this dashboard was navigated to.

PowerShell scripts related to location:

PowerShell scripts are used to work with the SCOMLocation information as shown below:



Script name                           Synopsis:

Get-SCOMLocation            Gets a location.

New-SCOMLocation          Creates a location to which you can assign agents.

Remove-SCOMLocation     Removes a location.

Set-SCOMLocation             Associates one or more agents with a location.

Update-SCOMLocation       Updates the settings of a geographic location instance.


To configure the location for an agent we can perform the steps shown below: (to define the location, to define the agent and then to assign the location to the agent)


How to remove duplicate or non-required location information? Avoid running this script multiple times as I have yet to find an easy way to remove a location once it has been defined.  Marnix Wolf has written a blog article on this topic available (and other good tips on web application availability monitoring at):


To create locations and assign latitude and longitude:

As an example, the first script below creates the locations and assigns them to latitude and longitude locations:

New-SCOMLocation –DisplayName “Austin” –Latitude 32.85 –Longitude -96.85

New-SCOMLocation –DisplayName “Tampa” –Latitude 27.9667 –Longitude -82.5333

New-SCOMLocation –DisplayName “Denver” –Latitude 39.75 –Longitude -104.867

New-SCOMLocation –DisplayName “Phoenix” –Latitude 33.4333 –Longitude -112.017

New-SCOMLocation –DisplayName “Washington” –Latitude 38.8900 –Longitude -77.03

To assign locations to agents:

The next script assigns the locations to the agents:

$Location = Get-SCOMLocation -DisplayName “Austin”      $Agent = Get-SCOMAgent -Name “”       set-SCOMLocation -Location $Location -Agent $Agent

    $Location = Get-SCOMLocation -DisplayName “Tampa”      $Agent = Get-SCOMAgent -Name “”       set-SCOMLocation -Location $Location -Agent $Agent       $Location = Get-SCOMLocation -DisplayName “Denver”       $Agent = Get-SCOMAgent -Name “”       set-SCOMLocation -Location $Location -Agent $Agent

$Location = Get-SCOMLocation -DisplayName “Washington”    $Agent = Get-SCOMAgent -Name “”     set-SCOMLocation -Location $Location -Agent $Agent

$Location = Get-SCOMLocation -DisplayName “Phoenix”      $Agent = Get-SCOMAgent -Name “”       set-SCOMLocation -Location $Location -Agent $Agent

[Note: Be very careful when cut and pasting in samples for creation of locations, an incorrect dash can be misinterpreted as the positive value instead of the negative and put your location on the other side of the world! (yes, it happened to me a couple of times writing this blog post)]

Using agents with locations assigned:

Now that agents are assigned, we can use these agents as part of the Web Application Availability Monitoring synthetic transaction. To do this use the Add Monitoring Wizard


Displaying the Summary Dashboard – Map:

From the Monitoring pane, open the Application Monitoring, Web Application Availability Monitoring, Test State and highlight the new Web Application Availability monitor which was defined.





Displaying the Detailed Dashboard – List:


From the Monitoring pane, open the Application Monitoring, Web Application Availability Monitoring, Test State and highlight the new Web Application Availability monitor which was defined.


By highlighting a synthetic transaction we can navigate to the Detailed Dashboard – List and see the systems which were identified to a location and their health state details as shown below!


Additional resources:

For further details on Web Application Availability Monitoring synthetic transactions on these dashboards see


Patching Orchestrator Runbook Servers while Maintaining High-Availability

May 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Balancing server patching with maintaining the availability of the services that run on these servers can be a difficult task for an IT Pro, with lots of repetitive, time-consuming, and error-prone steps. Luckily, Orchestrator has emerged as an effective automation tool to help IT Pros manage the patching process. But what about when the Orchestrator service itself needs to be patched? How can an IT Pro ensure their enterprise automation continues to function despite the patching of the servers running Orchestrator components?

Joe Levy has published an interesting post to expose all steps to follow to be able to maintain high availability when patching Runbook Servers. Read the original post here