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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

Introduction

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.

Prerequisites

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

Certificates

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.

Installation

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
  • SPF_VMM

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.

05-IIS-after-update

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

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Monitoring the Hybrid Microsoft Cloud

February 25, 2013 2 comments

he Microsoft Hybrid cloud, as it stands currently, is a mixture of a Hyper-V private cloud with an Azure public cloud, managed by System Center App Controller (formerly Concero).  One of the key pieces of the Microsoft solution is monitoring the health of the application (that the business really cares about) using System Center Operations Manager (OpsMgr).

Management packs make monitoring of Hyper-V, Windows, SQL, Exchange, CRM, hardware, storage, etc, easy.  You can put together end user perspective monitoring from the basic ping test to the advanced synthetic transaction, build service-centric distributed application models, and provide SLA monitoring of the LOB applications.  That’s got the private cloud covered.

There is also a management pack for Azure.  This allows you to monitor the availability, health, and performance of your public cloud services.  Let’s face it – even if Microsoft does/did provide a monitoring solution within Azure – can you really use a monitoring solution that is a part of the thing you are monitoring, i.e. the Microsoft public cloud?  I say no – and that’s the first reason why you should use OpsMgr and this management pack.  The second reason is that it allows you to integrate your monitoring of public and private clouds, giving you that mythical single pane of glass for monitoring.

  • The features of this management pack are:
  • Discovers Windows Azure applications.
  • Provides status of each role instance.
  • Collects and monitors performance information.
  • Collects and monitors Windows events.
  • Collects and monitors the .NET Framework trace messages from each role instance.
  • Grooms performance, event, and the .NET Framework trace data from Windows Azure storage account.
  • Changes the number of role instances via a task.

The prerequisites of it are:

  • The management group must be running Operations Manager 2007 R2 Cumulative Update 3.
  • The Windows Azure role must be published with full trust level. For more information about Windows Azure trust levels, see Windows Azure Partial Trust Policy Reference.
  • Windows Azure Diagnostics must be enabled. For more information about Windows Azure Diagnostics, see Implementing Windows Azure Diagnostics.
  • Windows Azure Diagnostics must be configured to forward diagnostic data to a Windows Azure storage account. For more information about configuring Windows Azure Diagnostics, see Transferring Diagnostic Data to Windows Azure Storage.
  • Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0 or newer must be installed on the computer that you designate as the proxy agent when you configure the Monitoring Pack for Windows Azure Applications.