It has been a long journey for the evolution of App Controller. We will be discussing how this component evolved during the last couple of iterations of the VMM product.
App Controller is a component of the System Center family. Historically, it used to be the self-service portal in the Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 server. With the release of the System Center 2012 suite, Microsoft consolidated SCCM, SCOM, VMM, SCSM, Orchestrator, Data Protection Manager, and Software Update Publisher (SUP) as a single-bundle software suite to manage enterprise data centers. With the release of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, the system center's virtual machine manager self-service portal was removed from Virtual Machine Manager Server and distributed as System Center App Controller. It was a well-timed change, as Microsoft was addressing its move towards a Cloud OS-centric approach.
To date, System Center App Controller is an extension of Virtual Machine Manager. It adds further functionality to Virtual Machine Manager by exposing role-based access control for users consuming resources allocated in the private cloud, as well as adding functionality to manage public cloud services such as Microsoft Azure.
In this chapter, we will cover the following topics:
Introduction to App Controller
Considerations before beginning installation
Overview of the prerequisites required
With the release of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, the self-service portal was removed from Virtual Machine Manager and introduced as a separate component of the System Center suite. Up to this point, the private cloud and public cloud were two distinct technologies. To manage a public cloud such as Microsoft Azure, we had to log on to the Microsoft Azure Management portal; and to manage our private cloud, we had to log in to the System Center Virtual Machine Manager. System Center App Controller gave us a single pane where we can manage Windows Azure resources in the cloud, on-premises private cloud management capability, and ability to allow access to resources modelled around business function as a user role, hence simplifying security management and administration of a multi-tenant environment.
For planning and design purposes, App Controller is one of the simplest components of the System Center family. To get the App Controller up and running quickly, the Web IIS role is required on at least one of supported server operating systems. A supported SQL Server is required to store the App Controller database. To get extended App Controller features enabled, a component of the System Center family, named Virtual Machine Manager Server, is required in the environment. It can provision, manage, and convert virtual machines. We can also use a shared storage to convert and upload virtual machines to the Microsoft Azure cloud. There is also a requirement of Active Directory Certificates Services if we want to use a certificate from a trusted corporate certification authority, although a self-signed certificate can also be used.
If we want to make App Controller highly available, there are three options possible, as follows:
Making the App Controller server highly available either by creating a virtual machine on a Hyper-V cluster and making the virtual machine highly available or installing multiple App Controller servers behind a load balancer
Let's cover the prerequisites for successful installation of App Controller. System Center Virtual Machine Manager has to be deployed in the environment to extend App Controller's management capability of administrating a private cloud. App Controller extends Virtual Machine Manager's capabilities and allows conversion and uploads of virtual machines from a private cloud to the public cloud.
The Windows ADK toolkit is required in order to install System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager Server. Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit is a free toolkit from Microsoft, and can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=39982. It can be installed on the following operating systems:
Windows Sever 2012 R2
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Sever 2008
Microsoft .NET 4.5 is required for successful installation, and is installed automatically if it is missing. Windows Server 2012 has .NET 4.5 installed out of the box.
Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT): This can be used to build inventories of software installed on computers and also to assess compatibility with Windows 8.1 after migration. This component requires SQL Server 2005 or newer versions. The SQL Server Express edition can also be used.
Windows Performance Toolkit: This tool can be used to monitor application performance against Windows operating system profiles. WPT includes Windows Performance Recorder, Windows Performance Analyzer, and Xperf tools.
Windows Assessment Toolkit: This tool can produce diagnostic and remediation information against a local system by running jobs to measure reliability, performance, and functionality. It requires Deployment Tools, Windows PE, Windows Performance Tools and SQL Server. All of these are included in the ADK 8.1 download.
After downloading the
adksetup.exe file, the setup process will attempt to download 4 gigabytes of files during the installation process. We can also download the ADK kit for offline usage, and transfer the files to the required server over LAN for easier access. For installation, perform the following steps:
To download the files for local access, browse to the location where
adksetup.exehas been stored. Right-click and select Run as administrator, as shown in the following screenshot:
After the installation wizard starts, select the Download the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 8.1 for installation on a separate computer option. Then specify the download location path under Download Path. To keep the installation files isolated, I always create a subfolder in the same location where
adksetup.exeis located. Ensure that enough space is available on the disk and then click on Next, as shown in this screenshot:
Select the appropriate answer according to your environment for Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program. It does help Microsoft in creating a better product. Then click on Next, as shown in the following screenshot:
Select the appropriate answer according to your organization in the Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program section, and click on Next, as shown in the following screenshot:
Accept the terms and conditions. Then you will be presented with the section about installation of features. Select the Deployment Tools and Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) features only, and then click on Install, as shown here:
System Virtual Machine Manager is still required for App Controller to work with private cloud resources. For instructions on installing Virtual Machine Manager, refer to the Installing System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager section in Chapter 3, Deploying and Configuring System Center Virtual Machine Manager Server.
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 SP2
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP 1
Windows Server 2012 Standard, Datacenter edition
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard, Datacenter edition
System Center 2012 R2 Application Controller requires the IIS role installed to function. If the IIS role is not enabled, the setup installer enables the role automatically, with the correct features enabled. The required IIS features are as follows:
Static Content Compression
IIS Management Console
Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 should also be installed. The setup wizard will install .NET 4.5 if it's missing. On Windows Server 2012 R2, .NET Framework 4.5 is installed by default.
SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 Standard, Datacenter edition
SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 Standard, Datacenter edition
SQL Server 2012 Enterprise, Standard (64-bit) edition
SQL Server 2012 SP1 Enterprise, Standard (64-bit) edition
Maximum number of SCVMM management servers
Maximum number of Windows Azure subscriptions per user
Maximum number of concurrent users
Maximum number of jobs that can be run in a 24-hour interval
Maximum number of objects in a Windows Azure storage directory
In this chapter, you learned the history of App Controller. Then we looked at the prerequisites required for successful installation. We also looked at the Microsoft supported versions of components. Finally, we looked at the limitations of App Controller.
In the next chapter, we will install prerequisites, required services, SQL Server, and App Controller.