System Center Virtual Machine Manager & RTFM

I've been playing with System Center Virtual Machine Manager.  I needed to do a demo of it, so figured now was the time to start learning..

You can get your hands on Beta 1 of VMM from - you just need to sign up for it.

I've got a 64-bit laptop, so without doing anything sensible (like RTFM), I installed the x64 version of Windows Server 2003 R2 onto it.  Next I installed the x64 version of Virtual Server R2.  Now I'm ready to install VMM?  No - VMM Beta 1 only installs on 32-bit Windows!

Next I install the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003 R2 and the 32-bit version of Virtual Server.  My machine is in a workgroup, I try the install with no joy.  The machine must be in a domain (no workgroups)!

I join my machine to the Microsoft network as a member server.  VMM has a couple of pre-requisites to install before you can install it, which I do (still no reading manuals) - just execute everything in the pre-reqs folder.  VMM installs a treat and is an amazing product - I'm very impressed (more on that later).

Everything working fine, I work out what I can demo (and what to avoid).  One last, quick test before I head off for my demo - reboot laptop without a network connection.  VMM won't start without connecting to a domain controller - no demo yet!

I plug back into the network and leave the Microsoft domain.  Quick install of DNS, reconfigure IP and run DCPROMO.  Now I've got access to a domain controller (my laptop), VMM should work, right?  No!  Maybe it's an access thing (I did install it as myself when on the Microsoft domain)?

So, I uninstall VMM and start the installation again.  VMM won't install on a Domain Controller!

Plan F (of is it G?) - dcpromo again, back to a workgroup.  Create a Virtual Machine running in my Virtual Server and make it into a Domain Controller.  Install the MS Loopback connector and configure it to connect to the DC running as a virtual machine.  Get my laptop (the host) to join the domain that's running in the guest.  Making sense - see where I'm going?

After a few reboots, and a quick Virtual Server configuration to get my guest DC to start automatically (so that I can log onto my laptop as the domain admin), I re-install VMM.  Did is work?  No (and with an error I cannot find documented anywhere)!

My demo is tomorrow, and I have nothing to show (well I do have a 10 minute video of a demo shown at WinHEC earlier this year).

I haven't given up yet - it must be possible to demo VMM on a laptop (and nothing is impossible - right?).  I have another plan (which I'll hopefully get to try next week):  64-bit Windows, 64-bit Virtual Server, 32-bit guest Virtual Domain Controller and a 32-bit guest Virtual Member Server, onto which I'll install VMM (and get it to manage its own host server).  What are my chances (slim I'd say)?

What lesson did I learn?  RTFM (I could have saved myself a lot of time)!

I'll let you know how I get on next week..