Provision shielded Linux virtual machines in the VMM fabric

This article describes how to deploy Linux shielded virtual machines in System Center 1801 - Virtual Machine Manager (VMM).

Shield a Linux VM

Windows Server 2016 introduced the concept of a shielded VM for Windows OS based virtual machines (VMs). Shielded VMs provide protection against malicious administrator actions both when VM’s data is at rest or an untrusted software is running on Hyper-V hosts. Learn more.

With Windows Server 1709, Hyper-V introduces the support for provisioning Linux shielded VMs. This is now available in VMM 1801

Procedure to shield a Linux VM

Use the following steps:

  1. Create a signed template disk
  2. Create a Linux shielded VM template in VMM
  3. Generate shielding data file (PDK)
  4. Create a Linux shielded VM using the VM template and the PDK.


    WAP users can provision Linux shielded VMs in the same manner as Windows shielded VMs.

Create a template disk

You must first create a template and then sign it. Use the following procedures:

  1. Follow these steps to create the template disk.

  2. In Preparing the Linux Image section, before installing the lsvmtools, install the VMM specialization agent.

Sign the template disk

Use the following steps:

  1. Generate a certificate. You can use self-signed certificate for testing.

    Use the following sample cmdlet:


     $cert = New-SelfSignedCertificate -DnsName '<<>>'
  2. Sign the disk using a Windows Server 1709 machine.

    Use the following sample cmdlet:

    Protect-TemplateDisk -Path “<<Path to the VHDX>>” -TemplateName "<<Template Name>>" -Version <<x.x.x.x>> -Certificate $cert -ProtectedTemplateTargetDiskType PreprocessedLinux


    After this step, copy the templatized disk and the signed image to the VMM Library.

Create a Linux Shielded VM template in VMM

  1. From VMM console, Library, click Create VM Template.
  2. In Select Source, select Use an existing VM template and browse to select the signed VHDX that was created and added to VMM library earlier and click Next.
  3. In Configure Hardware Configuration:

    • Under Firmware, select Enable secure boot Template and select OpenSourceShieldedVM from Secure boot template drop-down menu.


      This boot template is a new addition to RS3 hosts. If there are no RS3 hosts already added to VMM, this option wouldn’t show up in the Secure boot templates drop-down.

    • Select required configuration for other hardware properties such as processors, memory, VM Network.

      hardware configuration Linux shielded VM

  4. In Configure Operating System:

    • Select the Guest OS profile as Create new Linux Operating System customization settings.

    • Select the OS present on the template disk created earlier (Ubuntu Linux).

      configure operating system VM

  5. Click Next.

  6. In Summary, review the details and click Create to finish generation of Linux Shielded VM template in VMM.

Generate the shielding data file (PDK)

Before you start, ensure you have the following prerequisites met:

  1. Get the Guardian metadata from the Host Guardian Service
  2. Extract the Volume signature catalog – VSC file

After the prerequisites are met, run the following sample script on Windows Server 1709 build:

#Create a VolumeSignatureCatalog file for the template disk, to ensure the template disk is not being tampered by anyone at the deployment time
# Create owner certificate
$Owner = New-HgsGuardian –Name '<<Owner>>' –GenerateCertificates

# Import the HGS guardian
$Guardian = Import-HgsGuardian -Path <<Import the xml from pre-step 1>> -Name '<<Name of the guardian>>' –AllowUntrustedRoot

# Create the PDK file on Server running Windows Server 1709 build

New-ShieldingDataFile -ShieldingDataFilePath '<<Shielding Data file path>>' -Owner $Owner –Guardian $guardian –VolumeIDQualifier (New-VolumeIDQualifier -VolumeSignatureCatalogFilePath ‘<<Path to the .vsc file generated in pre-step 2>>’ -VersionRule Equals) -AnswerFile <<Path to LinuxOsConfiguration.xml>>' -policy Shielded

Create a Linux shielded VM using the VM template and the PDK

  1. In VMM Console, click Create Virtual Machine Wizard.
  2. Select Use an existing virtual machine, VM template or virtual hard disk.
  3. Select Linux Shielded VM Template and click Next. configure operating system VM
  4. Give the VM a name and click Next.
  5. In Configure Hardware settings, ensure the details are conforming to the settings made while creating the template. Click Next.
  6. In Configure Operating System settings, ensure the details are conforming to the settings made while creating the template. Click Next.
  7. Select the shielding data file (PDK) that you created in the earlier step.
  8. Select the destination host group and click Next.
  9. Select the host by the rating given by VMM placement engine. Click Next.
  10. In Configure Settings, review the virtual machine settings and click Next.
  11. Review the actions in Add properties and click Next.
  12. Click Create to create the Linux shielded VM.

    While provisioning, the VMM specialization agent reads the Linux configuration file in PDK and customizes the VM.

Next steps