With Windows Server 2012 R2 preview, Windows 8.1 preview, SQL Server 2014 and System Center 2012 R2 preview Microsoft announced at TechEd Europe 2013 big updates of there current server, client and management software and continues there cloud vision.
So on with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 – which includes many new features and product improvements. One of my favorites is creating VHD’s! Running your task sequences directly into a VHD. No need to capture your images – just straight into the system..that’s make sense.
In order to create VHD’s with Configuration Manager 2012 R2 take care of the following:
- Hyper-V – You have to makes sure your console is installed on a machine where Hyper-V role is enabled, otherwise the option remains greyed-out in your console.
- VMM 2012 SP1/R2 console – Virtual Machine Manager console is required in order to upload VHD’s into VMM.
- Disk space – Make sure you have enough space on your machine where you are running the VHD creation process. A temp VHD will be created to your temp directory (C:\Users\<user-ID\AppData\Local\Temp).
- Windows ADK 8.1 – Required for the creating and maintaining WIM-, ISO- and VHD files.
Lets get started…
- Just start the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Preview console and browse to the Operating Systems pane.
- In preparation of creating a VHD we create first a new Task Sequence based on the new template ‘Install an existing image package to a virtual hard drive’
- Provide the usual suspects like name, description, boot image as you used to be with a normal Task Sequence
- When finished the Task Sequence we can proceed with the Create Virtual Hard Drive Wizard (only enabled when Hyper-V role is installed on the machine where you are running the Configuration Manager 2012 R2 console).
- Now we select the Task Sequence which we created previously which contains a Boot Image (x64), Windows 8 OS image and the Configuration Manager 2012 Client Package. This Task Sequence can be configured with all the requirements/needs for your image.
- When finished the wizard the process of creating a VHD based on your create Task Sequence has started.
- To have a closer look of the VHD creation process use the DeployToVHd.log which is depending where you installed the console – by default located at ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\AdminConsole\AdminUILog’
- In general a boot media (iso) is created followed by creating a temp VHD. Then a VM is created attached with the temp VHD and boot media.
- When the VM’s comes online the usual Task Sequence process is executed.
- When finished the Task Sequence process the machine is prepped and will be switched of after 5 minutes (shutdown -s -t 300), so be patient
- At this stage our VHD is ready and will be copied to a destination file share which is previously defined in the task sequence.
- The created VHD including a default installation of Windows 8 is now available in the console. Equal to Offline Servicing of WIM files the VHD can be serviced offline as well. which is pretty awesome!
- Additional to Offline Servicing VHD’s can be uploaded straight to Virtual Machine Manager in order to used VHD for provisioning VM machines based on the VHD created by Configuration Manager 2012 R2
Note! Integration between Configuration Manager 2012 R2 preview and Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 nor R2 preview seems not to be working at this stage.
Creating VHD’s is a great feature which is more than welcome addition to Configuration Manager 2012 R2. It improves the desktop imaging process for IT-pros. No more capture steps just straight into the VHD. A improvement point is the lack of support for VHDX, but that is just a matter of time I guess.
Someone dropped a quote on Twitter this week: ‘With flexibility comes complexity” …well this is an exception to the rule