Building my System Center SP1 Lab Part 1: Domain Controller

Everyone who is working with System Center products should have a lab/test/staging/whatever-you-want-to-call-non-production environment. System Center SP1 “RTM’ed” and I thought, let’s build a new lab environment. Most of the time, you will use parts of your existing infrastructure (like Active Directory or maybe even an existing SQL server) to setup your lab environment. This time I wanted to build a completely isolated test environment with my own, dedicated AD and dedicated SQL server. So this part will focus on setting up a new domain for my lab.

Before Windows Server 2012 was released, there were some limitations/issues with virtualized DCs, especially if you had no physical DCs at all. Windows Server 2012 has many new features and improvements, especially when it comes to running DCs virtualized. Read more about these improvements here: http://www.aidanfinn.com/?p=13171

You may also check out “Virtual Domain Controller Technical Reference (Level 300)” on TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj574214.aspx

Setup VM

The VM will be hosted and running on a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V machine. The system requirements of a Windows Server 2012 DC didn’t change and are basically the same as for Windows Server 2008 R2. Minimum RAM is 512MB, recommended is 2GB, so I will go with 1024MB RAM initially. My lab environment will be very small and I can always increase resources if I need them. You may also consider enabling dynamic memory but I couldn’t really find some useful guidance about dynamic memory and domain controllers. If there’s any good read on that topic, let me know. I connect the VM to my virtual network and the max. size of the extending HD will be 500 GB (just to be safe). I also recommend to assign at least 2 virtual CPUs to your VM.

Since this is a lab environment I will also only install one DC (at least for now). I will backup all lab VMs on a daily basis but I do not really care about uptime.

Windows 2012 Domain Controller

After Windows 2012 is installed, make sure to provide a static IP address to your DC-to-be. I also tend to leave IPv6 enabled and set a static address as well. There’s a lot of discussion whether or not to disable IPv6 and usually people think, disable it if you don’t need it. Anyway, MS recommends to leave it enabled and since it’s enabled by default, I leave it that way. I use the IPv4 to IPv6 converter to create IPv6 addresses:

If this is your first Windows 2012 Domain Controller and you’re still trying to use “dcpromo” to create a domain controller, you will see a message like “The Active Directory Domain Services Installation Wizard is relocated in Server Manager…”.

In the Server Manager, go to Manage –> Add Roles and Features:

Once the Wizard appears, skip the first page and select Role-based or feature based installation:

In the next screen we leave the “Select a server from the server pool” and keep the computer we want to promote to a DC selected in the server pool list. On the Select server roles screen we check the Active Directory Domain Services box:

After you’ve checked the checkbox, the Add Roles and Features Wizard appears. Just click onAdd Features to continue and also check the DNS Server checkbox. Again, click the Add Features button when the Add Roles and Features Wizard appears for the DNS Server role.
You can skip the next three pages as we do not install any additional features on that server at this time. Two pages are only providing additional information about the AD DS and DNS Server role.
On the Confirmation page I chose to automatically restart the server if it is required:

I hit Install and off we go…
The Server Manager will show a warning triangle after the role installation completed:

Click on the “Promote this server to a domain controller”. In my case, I’m installing a complete new, isolated forest:

Next up, Domain Controller Options:

Since I’m not integrating DNS with an existing DNS infrastructure, “no action is required”:

Specify a NetBIOS name:

I leave the Path configuration as it is:

After the Review Options page, you will see the Prerequisites Check:

A bunch of warnings (compatibility, DNS) but at the bottom you should read “All prerequisite checks passed successfully.”. Then click on Install. After a while the server will reboot.
Once the machine is up again you will see the two roles in the dashboard:

One important step after installing a DC is to setup time synchronization:

That was pretty painless and considering my focus to the System Center Suite it’s kind of “off-topic” but maybe this is useful to some of you – it will definitely serve me as “lab documentation”.

Here’s the next part: SQL Server

Cheers and a happy new year!



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