Yesterday I’ve published my first article in the VMware Mirage Series on That’s my View. If you haven’t read the article it might be the best to do so first as I’m explaining the reason for this series and some of the Mirage wording.
After installing the Windows Server 2008 R2 VM’s and the needed Windows patches (Windows Update with 147 Updates!!!) I was ready to go. First of course I’ve installed the VMware Tools to have the best possible user experience in my virtual machines. As I said yesterday you’ll need an Active Directory for the Mirage installation. That was what I did next. Configuring the first Windows Server as an Active Directory domain controller. I took some time to do the dcpromo so I had a read in the documentation again. I found an information that it might be useful to create a special group for Mirage Administrators so I did that. In the meantime I’ve started the second VM. Well, before starting the dcpromo I’ve created a copy of the Windows VM and ran sysprep on it to have a “Template” as Fusion does not support templates as vSphere with vCenter does. Anyway I’ve started the second VM and started the Mirage Management Server installation but the first message I got was that there is no .NET Framework in Version 3.5 present on my system. To be honest there was the hint about the .NET 3.5 in the documentation but I thought I could miss that one as I supposed that a Windows Server 2008 R2 with all updates would include that.
To enable the .NET 3.5 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 you need to add this specific role in the Windows Server Manager application. Choose features and you’ll find it. It will take some time for the installation as the role includes some features.
But as you can see in the next screenshot it helped. The setup started as expected. The setup for Mirage is straight forward and you need just a few information to run successfully through it. But it’s a good time to stop the setup again here as there is another requirement which should be fulfilled: A SQL Server should be available to create the Mirage database on and of course you need a user which has the permission to create a database. In my environment that wasn’t an issue at all as I’ve just used the Administrator account who has the correct permissions anyway. But bear in mind that in a production environment you should use dedicated accounts and NOT the standard administrator account to get a maximum of security.
In my home lab I’ve setup an SQL Express Server 2008 on the Mirage Server itself, but this is not recommended by VMware. Again – please setup the SQL Server on a dedicated system when using Mirage in production. For the setup you’ll need the SQL Server name, the instance name which is usually SQLEXPRESS for the edition I’ve used (but could also be different when someone changed the instance name during installation). As you can see in the next screenshot there are two other form field. A checkbox and a text box! Both are important. The checkbox must be checked if this is a new Mirage installation as the installer creates a new storage are for the Mirage Server. In case you’re installing only one Mirage Server as I did, you can add C:\MirageStorage i.e. to the text box as it will use the local hardisk drive for the storage. If you are installing a production environment with a Mirage cluster you’ll need to use a SMB/CIFS Share here. The Admin Guide gives you a good overview of everything what’s needed in that case. For example the share has to support Alternate Data Sreams.
Next step was adding an account which has enough permissions to run the Mirage Service. This account needs also permissions to communicate with the database so as I’ve mentioned before I’ve chosen the Administrator as this was the easiest way for me in my home lab. Don’t forget to add the Domain name in front of the username. As Administrators group I’ve created the MirageAdmins before and added the admin account to that group.
That roughly was the installation and I needed only a few Next, Next, Install clicks. But this was only the first step in the Mirage setup. The Management Server was only the controller for the Mirage Servers. Next step is now to setup the Mirage Server. Usually you install it on a different hardware but here I’ve installed it on the same machine as the Management Server. I’ll not go into details now as the installation is similar. In my case it wasn’t as I’ve installed it on the same machine. The installer detected that I’ve installed the Management Server before and wanted to do a Repair or Add Feature for Mirage. I’ve chosen Repair and the Mirage Server service was installed on the system.
Almost done! Next one was the management console. To save RAM on my iMac I’ve decided to run the Management Console on my Active Directory Controller. This was the easiest installation. Click, Click, Click, Done!
After installing the snap-in for the MMC the icon appeared on my desktop and I’ve started the Console.
At this time the Management Console wasn’t aware of the Mirage Management Server as it can’t know about it without an IP address. With a right-click on the VMware Mirage folder I’ve opened the context menu which gives the option Add System. Click on that and you can add the IP of the Mirage System – The Mirage Management Server.
Just for your information I’ve added the following screenshot which shows a Server Down status! Please be aware that if you connect successfully to the Management Server but there is no Mirage Server installed yet or not reachable by the Management Server, you’ll get that message. Another important point here is that you check the Network Requirement section in the admin guide. It will give you more information about open ports needed on your firewalls for the Mirage system to run properly. For a connection between the Management Server and the Management Console you need an open in/outbound port 8443 on your Management Server.
Doing it the right way you’ll see the system connected and you get the overview of all functionality in the tree menu.
That was easy so far! Ok, I’ve to say that I did it the easy way. It is important that you read the Admin Guide, especially the Requirements for the Mirage system. Without setting up the Firewall ports or software pre-requesits you won’t be successful. For me it’s know time to look deeper into the Mirage Console. In the next days I’ll come back to you with an first article about the options of the console.