Recently I had to learn quite quickly about System Centre Configuration Manager and I must confess, I had never seen it before. I decided that rather than play with a live system, it would be better to build a virtual lab to better understand how it hangs together.
One of the things I was asked to do with SCCM was to sort out the imaging process to our desktop computers. We needed both a Windows 7 and a Windows 10 image creating and for this to work over PXE boot. The virtual lab was a must to allow me to get to grips with this technology.
Because this blog documents my journey with Technology, I decided it would be a good idea to document the process so anyone else who would like to give it a try can do so. This will be a complete start to finish guide split out into different parts. I hope you enjoy building with me.
Designing the Lab
The requirements for this lab were quite simple. I needed the following: –
- One Domain Controller.
- One SCCM 2012 Box.
- A Client Machine to test PXE Boot and deploy images to it.
Choosing a Virtualisation Solution
In my case I elected to use Hyper-V which is built into the professional Versions of Windows 8 and Windows 10. Other options could be: –
- Oracle Virtual Box.
- VMWare Workstation.
- Parallels if using a Mac.
This guide will focus on configuring the environment in Hyper-V, in any event the actual Windows and SCCM configuration of the Virtual Machines will be same.
You will need a copy of Windows Server 2012 R2 along with a copy of SCCM 2012. You will also need aaWindows 10 ISO File.
You can get trial versions of Server 2012 R2, SCCM 2012 and Windows 10 Enterprise from the TechNet website.
Head over here to find out more.
Other things to consider
To allow a decent level of performance you should have a reasonable machine.
- 16GB RAM.
- An SSD.
- A strong CPU.
With such minimal requirements you can probably get away with less. You can always give it a try in any event!
With all the boring stuff out of the way let’s start building this thing. As mentioned above, this guide is going to focus on Hyper-V so if you are using something else that’s great. Please skip to part two of this guide to begin building the lab.
Step 1: The first thing we need to do is to set up Hyper-V. Hyper-V is added via the ‘Turn Windows Features on or off‘ option in the control panel in both Windows 8 and Windows 10.
Step 2: Tick the Hyper-V checkbox and Click on OK.
Once the installation is completed you will be told a reboot is required.
When convenient restart your computer to complete the installation.
Step 3: Open Hyper-V on your computer, you should find it listed under Windows Administrative Tools on the Windows 10 Start Menu. If not you can always perform a search on your computer for Hyper-V.
Step 4: Next we can configure our networking. In my case I will expose the lab to my home network so I can access the Internet from my Virtual Machines if needed. Click on the ‘Virtual Switch Manager’ option on the right hand side of the screen to get started.
Step 5: There are three networking options available to us. Here is what they do: –
- External. This provides your machines access to an external network by binding to a physical adapter.
- Internal. This type of network allows your virtual machines to talk to each other as well as talking to the physical machine they are hosted on. They cannot communicate with a physical network.
- Private. This isolates your Virtual Machines so that they can only talk to each other.
For the purpose of this guide, let’s choose an External Network as this is what I will be using for this particular lab. Click on ‘Create Virtual Switch’.
Note: A much deeper overview can be found here, although this applies to the server version of Hyper-V it is still good to know.
Step 6: We will now be looking at a screen similar to below: –
Choose a name for your Virtual Switch. I have called mine VMNET. Under the ‘Connection Type’, check that the network card you wish to bind to is selected. In my case it is bound to the Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet Controller. Click on OK to apply the settings to receive the following Warning message: –
If you are happy to loose network connectivity for a few moments then Click on Yes. The changes will be applied. You can also ask Hyper-V not to ask you again.
Step 7: We are now ready to provision our first server. This is the exciting part. On the right hand side of the Hyper-V Screen is something called the Actions Menu. Click on New and then choose Virtual Machine from the Menu.
Step 8: If all is well in the world, we will be looking at a screen similar to below: –
Step 9: Click on Next and then give your Virtual Machine a name. The first machine we will configure is the Domain Controller. In my case I will call the Domain Controller DDG-DC-01 and you can call yours anything you like. You can also choose where to store your machine on this screen. I am happy with the default location but change this if needed.
Step 10: Choose a Virtual Machine Generation. I am opting for Generation 2. Generation 1 will also be fine for what we are doing but be mindful that you cannot change this setting later. Click Next to continue.
Step 11: For our Domain Controller we will allocate 1GB RAM which is the default selection. I will also be unticking the ‘Use Dynamic Memory for this Virtual Machine’ option. Click Next to continue.
Step 12: Next we will configure the Networking. Remember before how we configured a Virtual Network? If you click the dropdown menu in the New Virtual Machine Wizard you should see your network there. In my case I called the network VMNET. Click on Next to Continue.
Step 13: Next we will configure our Virtual Hard Disk. The option ‘Create a Virtual Hard Disk’ will already be selected. Again you can choose where the Hard Disk File is to be stored. In my case the default options are fine. You can also specify a size. I will be setting 30GB as the size. Click on Next to continue.
Step 14: The Installation Options are Next. Remember the Server 2012 R2 ISO you downloaded earlier? We can use that here. Choose the ‘Install an operating system from a bootable image file’ option and Click on Browse. Navigate to the location of your Server 2012 R2 ISO File and Click on open. Click on Next to continue.
Step 15: You will now be presented with a summary screen like below. Click on Finish. Our First Virtual Machine is ready.
Step 16: We now need to repeat the process for our SCCM 2012 Box and our Desktop Client Box.
SCCM 2012 Box Configuration:
- Name: DDG-SCCM-01
- RAM: 3GB
- Disk: 100GB
- Network: VMNET
- Installation Options: Select your Server 2012 R2 ISO File.
Desktop Client Configuration:
- Name: DDG-PC-01
- RAM: 1.5GB
- Disk: 40GB
- Network: VMNET
Once you are finished you will be looking at something that looks like below: –
In Part 2 of this guide, we will build and configure Windows on the Domain Controller Box and the SCCM 2012 Box.