So, what is System Center App Controller 2012? It's the newest member of the System Center family and is the link needed to seamlessly connect and manage Application Self Service between both your private cloud and public cloud offerings.
When I attended MMS 2011 early this year, this product was showcased with a name of ‘Project Concero’. The demonstration that the MS guys gave of this product was amazing and with all the talk of public, private and hybrid cloud around these days, it’s the perfect time for the launch of this product.
I've just also finished an online session as part of the Microsoft Private Cloud Community Evaluation Program (CEP) and App Controller played a big part in the demos and slides and had a lot of people talking about it!
You can sign up for the Private Cloud CEP from the link below:
This blog post will provide the information and steps required to install System Center App Controller 2012 into your private cloud environment and configure the link between your private cloud and Microsoft’s public cloud offering – Azure.
Firstly, see below for the hardware and software requirements needed to install SCAC 2012 as taken directly from the Microsoft website.
This section provides information about system requirements and supported operating systems for installing and running System Center 2012 - App Controller.
The following are the minimum and recommended hardware requirements for the App Controller server.
Pentium 4, 2 GHz (x64)
Dual-Processor, Dual-Core, 2.8 GHz (x64) or greater
Hard disk space
Note: For better performance, it's recommended that you use a version of SQL Server installed on a different system for the App Controller database.
The following software must be installed before installing App Controller.
A supported operating system
For more information, see Supported Operating Systems in this topic.
Microsoft .NET Framework 4
If .NET Framework 4 is not installed (it is not installed by default), the App Controller setup wizard will install it.
Web Server (IIS)
If the Web Server (IIS) role and the following Web Server (IIS) features are not installed, the App Controller setup wizard will install them:
Static Content Compression
IIS Management Console
The VMM console feature in System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)
Only the VMM console feature is required for App Controller.
A supported version of SQL Server
For more information about supported versions of SQL Server, see Database Requirements in this topic.
To begin with, you need to build either a physical or virtual machine that meets the above requirements. The machine that I am installing onto is a virtual Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 server on Microsoft Hyper-V. You also need to have previously installed System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 into your environment.
Once you have your new machine built and ready, you need to install the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Console onto the SCAC 2012 server. Copy the SCVMM 2012 Release Candidate media to your System Center App Controller 2012 server and then right mouse click on the 'setup.exe' file and select 'Run as Administrator' to begin the SCVMM 2012 console install.
Note: It is important that you use the SCVMM 2012 Release Candidate or higher for the SCVMM 2012 console installation as your SCAC 2012 pre-requisite check will fail. I ran into a problem in my environment where I had installed the SCVMM 2012 BETA build and the SCAC installer failed and wouldn’t go any further. The error message that came back was:
“Install a supported version of the virtual machine manager for system center 2012 console”
As there is no upgrade path from SCVMM 2012 BETA to SCVMM 2012 RC, I had to uninstall my SCVMM 2012 BETA environment and then reinstall with the later SCVMM 2012 RC (nothing wrong with this and it was a task that had to be done anyway!)
Now click on the 'Install' option to continue
Select only the 'VMM Administrator Console' option and then click 'Next'
Agree with the terms and conditions and click 'Next' again
Choose the Installation Location and then click 'Next'
Leave the port configuration as it is (or change it if you wish) and click 'Next'
Finally, click on 'Install' to begin the SCVMM 2012 RC console installation
Once this has completed, you should see the screen below showing a successful install of the console
Once the SCVMM 2012 Administrator Console has been installed, ensure that you have a pre-installed SQL 2008 instance either locally on your SCAP 2012 server or remotely on a separate SQL 2008 server.
When I’m installing System Center products, I prefer to have a standalone (preferably physical) SQL server with a separate SQL Database instance for each of the System Center products. If the System Center product has a reporting module, then I will also install a separate SQL Reporting Services (SSRS) instance for each System Center product too. This allows for easy administration and patching of your individual System Center applications without affecting anything else.
Sticking to these recommendations, I have pre-installed a new SQL 2008 R2 instance for System Center App Controller 2012 onto my physical SQL 2008 R2 server and I have used the by now ‘de facto’ standard SQL collation for all System Center products of ‘SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS’
The SCAC 2012 documentation doesn’t specify that this SQL collation be used (or any SQL collation for that matter), but as it is needed for most of the other System Center products, I’d recommend using it here too
When you have your SQL instance ready to go, click on the link below to download the System Center App Controller 2012 installation file to a location on your hard disk:
Browse to the SCAC 2012 installation media, right mouse click on the 'AppController.beta' application and then select 'Run as Administrator' to begin the installation
Click on the 'Install' option from the splash screen below
The initial pre-requisite check should begin and if you don't have the .NET Framwork 4.0 installed, it will ask you if you want the installer to automatically install it now
When the .NET Framework 4.0 installation is complete, the App Controller setup will continue
Enter your product registration information and then click 'Next'
Agree with the terms of the licence agreement and then click 'Next'
Now SCAC 2012 will perform another pre-requisite check and will come back to you with a list of software that is missing and that needs to be installed. If you didn't follow the instructions above and ensure that the SCVMM 2012 Release Candidate is installed (as opposed to the BETA version), then you will see an error highlighting the SCVMM console as being an issue at this point.
Once I had installed the SCVMM 2012 RC console onto the SCAC 2012 server, the error message went away and all that was missing from the pre-requisite check was the Web Server (IIS) role. The SCAC 2012 installer will identify this as missing and will then add this role as part of the installation process.
Click ‘Install’ to kick off the missing pre-requisite installation
Once the pre-requisites are installed, the SCAC installer will continue as shown below. Select the installation location and then click 'Next'
On the Configure services page, specify the account that will be used by App Controller services. You can configure App Controller services to use either the Network Service account or a domain account.
Note: If you specify a domain account, it is strongly recommended that you create an account that is specifically designated to be used for use by App Controller services.
You can also choose the port for internal communication here too
On the Configure website page, specify the following:
- IP address: Select an IP address from the IP address list or type an IP address that users can use to access this site.
- Port: Type the port on which HTTP.sys must listen for requests made to this website. If you specify a port different from the default port (443 for HTTPS), clients must specify the port number in requests to the server or they will not connect to the Web site.
- SSL certificate: Select whether you want App Controller Setup to generate a self-signed certificate or use a previously imported certificate for SSL.
Note: To add or configure server certificates, use the Server Certificates feature in IIS Manager.
If you use a self-signed certificate, the certificate must be added to the Trusted Root Certification Authorities store of all computers that will access the App Controller website. Some browsers will fail to display App Controller if the certificate is not trusted. It is recommended that you use a certificate from a trusted certification authority instead of using a self-signed certificate.
The port that you assign during the installation of App Controller cannot be changed without uninstalling and reinstalling App Controller
On the Configure the database page, specify the following:
- Server name: Type the name of the computer that is running SQL Server. If you are installing the App Controller server on the same computer that is running SQL Server, the Server name will be prepopulated with the name of the computer.
- Port: Type the port to use for communication with the computer that is running SQL Server. By default, this value is not required and is therefore left blank.
- Instance name: Select or type the name of the instance of SQL Server to use. There will be a short delay while the instance names are populated in the list. The list of available instances may not correspond to the Port specified above.
- Database name: Type the name of the database to use. The account with which you are installing the App Controller server must have at least database owner (dbo) permissions in the specified database. If the specified database does not exist and the current user has the appropriate permissions, the App Controller setup wizard will create it for you. If you are performing a high availability installation, the second and subsequent server installs need to use the same database as the first server.
Choose whether or not to join the CEIP and also to use Microsoft Update for receiving updates within App Controller
Confirm your selections are correct in the below screen and click on the 'Install' button
The installer should work through the components needed for App Controller
Once setup completes succesfully, ensure you have selected the 'Start the App Controller window when Setup closes' box and then click on the 'Finish' button to close the window
If you don't have Microsoft Silverlight installed, you will be prompted to install it at this point
When the Silverlight installation is complete,enter your credentials to sign into System Center App Controller 2012
You should now see the screen below with the new System Center App Controller 2012 installation completed and you're now ready to manage your public and private cloud environments all from one window!
For further information on using System Center App Controller to manage your clouds, see my series of posts on 'Cloud Management with System Center'