PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (PDT) For System Center

It takes time to deploy System Center.  It takes a long time to deploy the entire suite.  So you can imagine that I only ever (if that) have bits of System Center deployed.  That’s why it was great to see that Microsoft’s Rob Willis had written a “hydration” kit to deploy a complete System Center demo environment using PowerShell scripts and XML metadata files called the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit.

I want to stress that word: DEMO.  This kit is not to be used for deploying a production system.  Out of the so-called-box (a zip file really) it deploys an architecture that should never ever be used in production.  It’s designed to be able to run on a laptop (a large one) and it does things that any System Center expert would choke at.  But it will deploy, with very little effort, an environment that is fit for performing demonstrations.

In the zip you’ll find a few files:

  • Variable.xml: This file describes the System Center installation.  You can customize this as required (time zones, domains, passwords, etc) – and that’s probably a good idea after you’ve done a test install to see what the PDT does.
  • Downloader.ps1: This script will download all the some of the required pieces to deploy your System Center suite.  All of them!  The newest version even pulls down the new Windows Azure Pack! You’re going to be manually downloading System Center and Windows Server 2012 R2 as pointed out by Reidar Johansen here.
  • VMCreator.ps1: This script will create the Hyper-V VMs required for your demo environment.
  • Installer.ps1: This script will deploy and configure System Center from your downloads.

Before you ask, yes, the kit does download/install WS2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2, and all of the dependencies (about 11,000 MB at the time of writing).  It’s a monumental piece of work that should be a time saver for those wanting to quickly build new demo environments.

I’m running this kit for the first time right now.  I’ll blog about my experience as time goes by.

6 thoughts on “PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (PDT) For System Center”

  1. How did you get on with this? I just can’t get it to work. I’m using version 2.5.2708 and during the downloader phase always get a Warning message of “No Archive Found” when extracting:

    Extracting RAR System Center 2012 SP1 Orchestrator
    Extracting RAR System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager
    Extracting RAR System Center 2012 SP1 App Controller
    Extracting RAR System Center 2012 SP1 Operations Manager
    Extracting RAR System Center 2012 SP1 Service Manager
    Extracting RAR System Center 2012 SP1 Data Protection Manager

    I populated all of the System Center 2012 R2 content myself and when validating media I get:

    System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Prerequisites… Failed
    C:TempSystemCenter2012R2ConfigurationManager.DLConfigMgr.Manifest.cab missing

    I’ve no idea where to find ConfigMgr.Manifest.cab to populate the folder and there doesn’t seem to be much guidance for this online.

    The PDT is a great idea (though no idea why they called it PDT – it’s not deploying PowerShell, it’s deploying System Center), but I think I would have saved more time deploying and configuring this all manually.

    My environment is in Azure by the way, this may present an issue later but won’t for the issues I have run into so far.

    Interested to know how you get on with this.

  2. You will need to run the .Download.ps1 -Deployment only script which is located in the directory where you saved the deployment.

  3. Had the same ConfigMgr.Manifest.cab issue. Take a look through the Workflow.xml and you see what is trying to be done to get the prerequisite files. You can just go to:

    C:InstallerSystemCenter2012R2ConfigurationManagerSMSSETUPBINX64 and run setupdl.exe

    Change your path as needed. That will run the Configuration Manager Setup Downloader and you can place the necessary files in the c:InstallerSystemCenter2012R2ConfigurationManager.DL folder.

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