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How VMM profiles can work with a service or VM template -- or both

There are six different types of VMM profiles but not all of them all compatible with the VM and the service templates.

The primary purpose for designing a VMM product is to be able to build and manage a dynamic IT environment while...

also reducing the time it takes to configure and apply settings across a virtualization infrastructure. VMM offers profiles containing the configuration settings that can be re-used when deploying or creating a virtual machine or a service template. I've noticed a lot of VMM administrators can become confused with the use of VMM profiles.

The first thing to understand is that there is no limitation when creating VMM profiles. You can create as many as profiles you want, but, as a best practice, you should avoid creating too many. In VMM, you can create six types of profiles: hardware, capability, guest operating system profile, application, SQL Server or host or physical computer profiles. Apart from creating VMM profiles, there are two types of templates -- VM template and service template -- that can be created in VMM. The VM template has been available since the evolution of SCVMM while the service template was added in SCVMM 2012. The only logical difference between the two templates is that a service template can be used to deploy multiple VMs or a tier of VMs. Also, other profiles, such as application and SQL Server, can be configured as part of a service template. On the other hand, a VM template can be used to deploy a single VM.

The immediate benefit of using VMM profiles is that they hold the configuration settings that can be re-used and deployed easily via VM or service templates. In case users need to deploy a VM or a tier of VMs, all they need to do is to select either the VM or service template and then select which VM to use. The VM will then be deployed on a virtualization host with required resources such as CPU and memory, and any application settings that are configured as part of VMM profiles. VMM profiles can be used with VM and service templates, but there are a few VMM profiles that can only be used with one or the other. As indicated in the table below, the hardware and the guest operating system profiles are only available to the VM template. In other words, pre-created hardware and guest OS profiles are not available for selection in service template designer when creating a service template. It is slightly disappointing that two main pre-created profiles will not be shown in service designer when creating a service template, but there is a better approach that SCVMM developers have made available.

VMM Profile VM Template Service Template Note
Hardware profile x   Specify CPU, RAM and so on.
Guest operating system profile x   Specify OS details such as domain-join info, computer name, and roles or features to be installed on the destination VMs.
Application profile   x Contains the instructions for installing and configuring applications on VMs.
SQL Server profile   x Contains instructions for installing Microsoft SQL Server on VMs.
Physical computer profile     Physical computer profile replaces host profile in SCVMM 2012 R2 and used to provision servers via VMM.
Capability profile x Capability profile is used via hardware profile and used in cloud deployment scenario.

As for the application and SQL Server profiles, these have been made available specifically to be used with a service template. Physical computer profiles are not used in any of the templates as indicated in the table above but are rather used when provisioning a Hyper-V host or a Windows file server via VMM.

The relationship of each VMM profile, except for the physical computer profile, with the VM and service templates can also be seen in Figure 1.

VMM profile relationships
VMM profile relationships

Each VMM profile can be created individually in the VMM library workspace. VMM profiles can be used when creating a VM template, deploying a VM directly on a virtualization host via right click option or when creating a service template.

There are a handful of key takeaways that users should remember from Figure 1. Hardware and guest OS profiles always go to VM Template (VM Template-A) and application and SQL Server profiles in a service template (Service Template-A). You might have noticed that although the capability profile can be created individually in the VMM, it is always made available for selection in the hardware profile.

The VM and service templates can be used by App Controller users and VMM administrators when deploying a single VM via VM templates and/or when deploying a tier of VMs via service templates. A VM template can be used to deploy one VM whereas a service template can be used to deploy multiple or a tier of VMs. A service template can be saved as a VM template by using the service designer and storing it in the VMM library workspace.

In a guest OS profile, you can configure Windows roles and features to be installed on a VM deployed through VMM, but it works only if the VM template including the guest OS profile is used in a service template.

Figure 1 also shows the relationship between VM and service templates. The VM templates that you create in the VMM can always be imported in the service templates. In other words, the configuration of a VM template can be applied to service templates. One of the top ways to approach them is to create the VM templates with the necessary hardware and guest OS profiles and then apply the VM template in the service template.

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