No Virtual Machines in SCVMM 2008 Self Service Portal – What the?

After installing System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (SCVMM 2008) into our production environment we decided to try fully utilize the feature of the product to offer our clients a web based portal to login and manage their virtual machines.  This all seemed fine in practice until we actually installed the SCVMM 2008 Self Service Portal and found that not a single Virtual Machine is visible, and no error messages or helpful information is displayed.

We had initially assumed this was a problem with the User Roles which I had assumed to be the primary mechanism for distributing permissions to individual users and groups.  Well I was half right, User Roles controls access to the portal itself, as well as the hosts and library shares that that user role will have access to. To actually view a Virtual Machine within the portal you need to be an Owner, or a member of a group that has Ownership of the Virtual Machine.

I'm still undecided if I like this feature or not, I like the granularity it offers – i.e. I can allow a client to view their two virtual guests on our host, without compromising the security of the other guests on the server.  On the other hand, I don't like having to double handle my permissions in two different areas.  I think time will tell on this one, and functionality will win out over inconvenience as it usually does.

To change the ownership of a Virtual Machine using SCVMM 2008 Administrator's Console is fairly simple as it can be edited in the properties menu.  For more than one server I would recommend using PowerShell.  The command to change the ownership of a Virtual Machine follows :

Set-VM -vm "VMName" -owner "DomainNewOwner"

For anyone who wants to do any SCVMM 2008 Self-Service Portal PowerShell Scripting this is a great resource, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb963722.aspx, it includes a bunch of useful sample scripts. 

And an additional quick warning, I have found that running PowerShell scripts to change properties of large groups of Virtual Machines can from time to time slow down VMM, or even bring it to a complete half.  Use wisely!

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