What machine name is being used when you compose an environment from running VMs in Lab Management?

This is a follow up to my older post on a similar subject 

When composing a new Lab Environment from running VMs the PC you are running MTM on needs to be able to connect to the running VMs. It does this using IP so at the most basic level you need to be able to resolve the name of the VM to an IP address.

If your VM is connected to the same LAN as your PC, but not in the same domain the chances are that DNS name resolution will not work. I find the best option is to put a temporary entry in your local hosts file, keeping it for just as long as the creation process takes.

But what should this entry be? Should it be the name of the VM as it appears in the MTM new environment wizard?

Turns out the answer is no, it needs to be the name as appears in the SC-VMM console


So the hosts table contains the correct entries for the FQDN (watch out for typo’s here, a mistype IP address only adds to the confusion) e.g. wyfrswin7.wyfrs.local shamrockbay.wyfrs.local

Once all this is set then just follow the process in my older post to enable the connection so the new environment wizard can verify OK.

Remember the firewall on the VMs may also be an issue. Just for the period of the environment creation I often disable this.

Also Wireshark is your friend, it will show if the machine you think is responding is the one you really want.

Lab Management with SCVMM 2012 and /labenvironmentplacementpolicy:aggressive

I did a post a year or so ago about setting up TFS Labs and mentioned command

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010\Tools>tfsconfig lab /hostgroup /collectionName:myTpc  ​/labenvironmentplacementpolicy:aggressive /edit /Name:"My hosts group"

This can be used tell TFS Lab Management to place VMs using any memory that is assigned stopped environments. This allowed a degree of over commitment of resources.

As I discovered today this command only works for SCVMM 2010 based system. if you try it you just get a message saying not support on SCVMM 2012. There appears to be no equivalent for 2012.

However you can use features such as dynamic memory with in SCVMM 2012 so all is not lost

Kerbal Space Program – Its educational and written in Mono too!


My son is really taken with Kerbal Space Program. This great games allows you to design your own  space craft and so run your own on-going space program, all with a realistic physics engine.

What is particularly nice is that this cross platform Mono based application is being built in a very agile manner with a new release most weeks, each adding features as well as bug fixes. There also seems to be an active community of people building plug-ins for extra space craft components and rovers.

I am not sure how much orbital mechanics will appear in his school exams this year, but it is certainly educational in the longer term.

TF900548 when using my Typemock 2012 TFS custom build activity

Using the Typemock TFS 2012 Build activity I created I had started seen the error

TF900548: An error occurred publishing the Visual Studio test results. Details: ‘The following id must have a positive value: testRunId.’

I thought it might be down to having patched our build boxes to TFS 2012 Update 1, maybe it needed to be rebuild due to some dependency? However, on trying the build activity on my development TFS server I found it ran fine.

I made sure I had the same custom assemblies and Typemock autorun folder and build definition on both systems, I did, so it was not that.

Next I tried running the build but targeting an agent on on the same VM as the build controller. This worked, so it seems I have a build controller issues. So I ran Windows update to make sure the OS was patched it to date, it applied a few patches and rebooted. And all was OK my test ran gain.

It does seem that for many build issues the standard switch it off and back on again does the job

Black Marble is hosting the Yorkshire Chapter of the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp on the 27th of April

Black Marble is hosting the Yorkshire Chapter of the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp taking place in several locations globally on the April 27th, 2013. This free community organised event is one day deep dive class where you will get you up to speed on developing for Windows Azure. The class includes a trainer with deep real world experience with Windows Azure, as well as a series of labs so you can practice what you just learned.

Black Marble’s event will be run by Robert Hogg (Microsoft Integration MVP) and Steve Spencer (Windows Azure MVP). Come along and join the global Azure event of the year!

Check out the prerequisites you need to install on your PC and here to sign up

Global Azure Bootcamp Logo

Installing a DB from a DACPAC using Powershell as part of TFS Lab Management deployment

I have been battling setting up a DB deployed via the SQL 2012 DAC tools and Powershell.  My environment was a network isolated pair of machines

  • DC – the domain controller and SQL 2012 server
  • IIS – A web front end

As this is network isolated I could only run scripts on the IIS server, so my DB deploy needed to be remote. So the script I ended up with was

    [string]$sqlserver = $( throw "Missing: parameter sqlserver"),
    [string]$dacpac = $( throw "Missing: parameter dacpac"),
    [string]$dbname = $( throw "Missing: parameter dbname") )

Write-Host "Deploying the DB with the following settings"
Write-Host "sqlserver:   $sqlserver"
Write-Host "dacpac: $dacpac"
Write-Host "dbname: $dbname"

# load in DAC DLL (requires config file to support .NET 4.0)
# change file location for a 32-bit OS
add-type -path "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DAC\bin\Microsoft.SqlServer.Dac.dll"

# make DacServices object, needs a connection string
$d = new-object Microsoft.SqlServer.Dac.DacServices "server=$sqlserver"

# register events, if you want ‘em
register-objectevent -in $d -eventname Message -source "msg" -action { out-host -in $Event.SourceArgs[1].Message.Message } | Out-Null

# Load dacpac from file & deploy to database named pubsnew
$dp = [Microsoft.SqlServer.Dac.DacPackage]::Load($dacpac)
$d.Deploy($dp, $dbname, $true) # the true is to allow an upgrade, could be parameterised, also can add further deploy params

# clean up event
unregister-event -source "msg"

Remember the SQL 2012 DAC tools only work with PowerShell 3.0 as they have a .NET 4 dependency.

This was called within the Lab Build using the command line


cmd /c powershell $(BuildLocation)\SQLDeploy.ps1 dc $(BuildLocation)\Database.dacpac sabs

All my scripts worked correctly locally when I ran it on the command line, they were also starting from within the build, but failing with errors along the lines of

Deployment Task Logs for Machine: IIS
Accessing the following location using the lab service account: blackmarble\tfslab, \\store\drops.
Deploying the DB with the following settings
sqlserver:   dc
dbname: Database1
Initializing deployment (Start)
Exception calling "Deploy" with "3" argument(s): "Could not deploy package."
Initializing deployment (Failed)
+  $d.Deploy($dp, $dbname, $true) # the true is to allow an upgrade
+  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo          : NotSpecified: (:) [], MethodInvocationException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : DacServicesException
Stopped accessing the following location using the lab service account: blackmarble\tfslab, \\store\drops.

Though not obvious from the error message the issue was who the script was running as. The TFS agent runs as a machine account, this had no rights to access the SQL on the DC. Once I granted the computer account IIS$ suitable rights to the SQL box all was OK. The alternative would have been to enable mixed mode authentication and user a connection string in the form 

“server=dc;User ID=sa;Password=mypassword”

So now I can deploy my DB on a new build.

You don’t half get strange errors when two servers have the same SID

You don’t half get strange errors when building a test environment if when you run SYSPREP’d each copy of your VM base image you forget to check the ‘generalize’ box


If you forget this, as I did, each VM has a different name but the same SID. Basically the domain/AD is completely confused as who is what. The commonest error I saw was that I could not setup application (Report Services, SP 2010 and TFS 2012) with domain service accounts. I all cases I got messages about missing rights or cannot communicate with domain controller.

The fix was to basically start again. I re-SDYSPREP’d one of the pair of boxes I had to it reset it’s SID, I stripped off what I was trying to install, re added it to the domain and installed applications again. Once this was done all was fine.

For more on SID and SYSPREP see Mark Russinovick’s blog

Cannot run Microsoft Fakes based test if Typemock Isolator enabled

With Microsoft Fakes moving to the Premium SKU of Visual Studio in 2012.2 (CTP4 is now available) more people will be looking at using them.

I have just installed CTP4 and have seen a behaviour I don’t think I have not seen in the previous version of Visual Studio (I need to check because as well as CTP4  I have recently installed the new version of Typemock Isolator 7.3.0 that addresses issues with Windows 8 and Visual  Studio 2012).

Anyway the error you see when you run a fakes based test is ‘UnitTestIsolation instrumentation failed to initialialize, Please restart Visual Studio and rerun this test’


The solution is to disable Typemock Isolator (Menu Typemock > Suspend Mocking), when this is done, without a reboot, the Fakes based test run.

Does mean you can’t have a solution using both Fakes and Isolator, but why would you?

TFS TPC Databases and SQL 2012 availability groups

Worth noting that when you create a new TPC in TFS 2012, when the TFS configuration DB and other TPC DBs are in SQL 2012 availability groups, the new TPC DB is not placed in this or any other availability group. You have to add it manually, and historically remove it when servicing TFS. Though the need to remove it for servicing changes with TFS 2012.2 which allows servicing of high availability DBs

Recovering network isolated lab management environments if you have to recreate your SC-VMM server’s DB

Whilst upgrading our Lab Management system we lost the SC-VMM DB. This has meant we needed to recreate environments we already have running on Hyper_V hosts but were unknown to TFS. If they were not network isolated this is straight forward, just recompose the environment (after clear out the XML in the VM descriptions fields). However if they are network isolated and running, then you have do play around a bit.

This is the simplest method I have found thus far. I am interested to hear if you have a better way

  • In SC-VMM (or via PowerShell) find all the VMs in your environment. They are going to have names in the form Lab_[GUID]. If you look at the properties of the VMs in the description field you can see the XML that defines the Lab they belong to.


If you are not sure what VMs you need you can of course cross reference the internal machine names with the AD within the network isolated environment. remember this environment is running so you can login to it.

  • Via SC-VMM Shutdown each VM
  • Via SC-VMM store the VM in the library
  • Wait a while…….
  • When all the VMs have been stored, navigate to them in SC-VMM. For each one in turn open the properties and
    • Change the name to something sensible (not essential if you like GUIDs in environment members names, but as I think it helps) e.g change Lab_[guid] to ‘My Test DC’
    • Delete all the XML in the Description field
    • In the hardware configuration, delete the ‘legacy network’ and connect the ‘Network adaptor’ to your main network – this will all be recreated when you create the new lab


Note that a DC will not have any connections to your main network as it is network isolated. For the purpose of this migration it DOES need to be reconnected. Again this will be stored by the tooling when you create the new environment.

  • When all have been update in SC-VMM, open MTM and import the stored VMs into the team project
  • You can now create a new environment using these stored VM. It should deploy out OK, but I have found you might need to restart it before all the test agent connect correctly
  • And that should be it, the environment is known to TFS lab managed and is running network isolated

You might want to delete the stored VMs once you have the environment running. But this will down to your policies, they are not needed as you can store the environment as a whole to archive or duplicate it with network isolation.