System Center Essentials: Installation Gotchas

A few months ago I received HP’s branded System Center Essentials (HP Insight with Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010) to prepare for my current tour. 

As with any server-based application, the best practice is to make sure that your host operating system is patched with the latest Service Pack, Security Patches, and Critical Patches.  Additionally once you have installed System Center Essentials 2010, there is an update patch for the VMM components that is critical if you are using Server 2008 R2 SP1 hosts, which is patch KB2308590 that you should apply immediately after installing SCE.

As a virtualization guy, I was pleased to hear that although it is BIOS-locked to HP ProLiant servers (and can only be purchased with one), there is a tool that allows the installation of the product in a virtual environment on Hyper-V.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with server virtualization, Hyper-V creates a virtual machine that is based on a standard set of hardware, which separates the virtual machine from the physical hardware layer.  As such, the HP BIOS, which is exposed to the physical, is hidden from the virtual and, as such, any application that requires that hardware connection will not work.  However on the HP SCE disk there is a file called Hyper-V-injection.vbs that mitigates this issue, which is pretty well documented. (In the event that the Injection tool does not work, try the following command from an elevated Command Prompt:

Reg Add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Virtualization"
/v BiosLockString /t REG_SZ /d "Hewlett-Packard                 "

Do not make any changes to this… the seventeen (17) spaces at the end are a requirement.

**IMPORTANT: This BIOS injection must be applied to the host, and not to the guest OS.

**IMPORTANT: If your virtual machine is running when you make this change, you will have to shut it down (not Restart) for the change to take effect.

Next, whether you are installing on physical or virtual, these prerequisites do not seem to be very well documented, but they will cause no end of grief if overlooked:

Server Roles:

  • Application Server, with the default Role Services PLUS:
    • Web Server (IIS) Support
    • COM+ Network Access
  • Web Server (IIS), with the default Role Services PLUS:
    • Basic Authentication
    • Windows Authentication

Server Features:

  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) (with the default Role Services)
  • RPC over HTTP Proxy (with the default Role Services)
  • Simple TCP/IP Services
  • SNMP Services
  • Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE

additionally, I like to add (although they are not prerequisite):

  • Desktop Experience (with the default Role Services)

Once these are all installed you will have to restart your server to configure the features.  When it comes back up, you can log back in (I have had the most luck installing as a Domain Administrator) and continue.

Services & Security

By default the Computer Browser service is Disabled.  From the Services console (services.msc) you should double-click on this, set the Startup type to Automatic, and click Apply. Once you do that you will have the option to Start the service.  Do so, then close the Services.msc.

There are a number of firewall ports that should be opened on your Domain Profile, but for test labs I tend to turn that profile off in Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

Although this is not something I advocate you do in most circumstances, I have had more success installing SCE if I have disabled User Account Control (UAC) on that server only.  Remember, this is not a server that I would be using for anything else other than SCE, and nobody other than the IT Staff will be connecting to it.  Under most conditions UAC is a very important tool that should be enabled on all servers and desktops!

During Installation

For reasons that I have not investigated, it seems that the installation will crap out if you select the checkbox to check Microsoft Update for updates to this and other Microsoft programs.  My suspicion is that it it conflicts with the WSUS updating that it installs.  In any event, uncheck that box, (On the Customer Experience Improvement page) and it should install just fine.

Once the installation is complete, you should be able to run with it!  Remember, all of the documentation that you will need is either on the DVD or on-line… but if you look up an issue on-line don’t be surprised if it shows you how to fix the issue with one of the enterprise packages – OpsMgr, ConfigMgr, or VMM.  The solution should be the same!

In the event that the installation does NOT succeed:

A couple of audiences have watched me scratch my head over this one, because the prerequisites are seemingly pretty simple… once you know all of the undocumented stuff outlined herein.  However…if your installation fails, there are a few gotchas that will prevent the installation from working again.  They are pretty simple, really:

  • Uninstall all of the components that the SCE installer installed for you, including (if applicable) all of the Microsoft SQL Server components.
  • Delete the directories for same in both c:\Program Files and c:\Program Files (x86).  When everything else should work the second time, these will prevent that.
  • REBOOT! For some reason the Uninstall does not do it, does not tell you to do it… but if you then try to reinstall SCE (or any software that checks for it) you will get a message that there is a reboot pending, and that you cannot proceed until that has been done.

Good luck! Keep watching here for more articles about HP Insight with System Center Essentials 2010! -M

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2 thoughts on “System Center Essentials: Installation Gotchas

  1. Pingback: HP Insight Extensions for System Center Essentials « The World According to Mitch

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