Creating a bootable VHD the easy way…continued

You might have read and tried the scripts from my first blog about creating a bootable vhd here, and in this blog post I’ll continue where I left with some information about my usage of difference discs and bootable vhd’s.

First of all I started by creating a bootable vhd with my script with the following options:

Name Type Size
Base2k8r2.vhd Expandable 80 000 Mb (Remember that you need this much free space on your disc even if the vhd doesn’t have the size from start)

This left me with a vhd-file that took about 7Gb on my internal disc. I restarted my machine to make sure that my bootable vhd was working correctly.

After the health-check and some customizations like folder options in explorer I opened up a command prompt and entered shutdown /r /f, this way I don’t have to enter a reason to restart my Windows Server 2008 R2 OS Blinkar

Back in Windows 7 I took these steps to create a difference disc to keep my base disc clean:

  1. Start a command prompt as Administrator
  2. Write BCDEDIT /v and hit enter
  3. You will see the boot entries and their GUIDs
  4. Write BCDEDIT /delete {guid to the entry with a the path to your bootable vhd}
    WARNING this will delete a boot entry, make sure you enter the GUID to the entry where the device/osdevice points the path of your bootable vhd. Entering the wrong guid could make your computer UNBOOTABLE.
  5. Write DiskPart and hit enter
  6. Enter CREATE VDISK FILE="<Path to difference vhd>" PARENT="<Path to parent vhd>"
    You must specify a valid folder name or you’ll get an error.
  7. Write SELECT VDISK FILE=”<Path to difference vhd>” and hit enter
  8. Write ATTACH VDISK and hit enter
  9. Write Exit and hit enter
  10. Write BCDBOOT <your assigned drive letter>:\Windows and hit enter
  11. If you write BCDEDIT /v and hit enter you should see a new boot entry that points to your new difference disc.
  12. Restart your machine and make sure that your bootable difference disc starts correctly.

When I get some time I’ll try to automate these steps into a handy batch-file or application. I hope you found this post interesting.



End to end TFSBuild pattern for BizTalk 2009, part 2 (Tools)

Ok, you finally got your build environment installed and tested with a simple Hello World build and you’re ready for the next phase.

Before I show you the good stuff J there is some tools that you need to succeed with this quest:

  • You’ll need basic knowledge of MSBuild and TFSBuild or you could copy and paste my build pattern if you like J
  • I mainly use the OOB tools that come with .Net framework and BizTalk i.e. BTSTask, BTSWCFServicePublishing and GacUtil with my builds because I find them to be stable, supported and generally well documented.
    These tools should already be installed in your environment but you’ll have to make sure that you have the correct permissions on your TFSBuild service account to use them.
  • I use BizTalk MsBuild Generator to start and stop BizTalk applications so you will need to download the tool and extract BizTalk.BuildGenerator.Tasks.dll and BizTalk.BuildGenerator.tasks. These two files are then placed under source control with the teambuildtype.
  • If you need automatic generation of the BizTalk binding-files from a template (for different target environment for instance) I have found the XMLPreprocess tool very helpful.
  • In the early years I used the SDC tasks but it’s no longer supported but there is still a lot of good stuff in that package if you want to learn MSBuild in more depth. The replacement is called MSBuild Extension Pack if you want to check it out. While you’re at it you should really checkout MSBuild Explorer.

Try to install the tools in a common directory i.e. C:\BuildTools or something similar and keep these tools under source control at all time.

Until next time have a good one!


End to end TFSBuild pattern for BizTalk 2009, part 1 (Environment)

If you read my earlier blog post about a mysterious error from BTSTask you already know that I’m currently helping a customer with automated TFS 2008 builds for BizTalk 2009, if you haven’t read my earlier post here’s your chance.


Firstly you’ll have to setup some sort of build server and there’s at least 3 ways you can do this:

  • Have the build server installed separate from the “build BizTalk server”
  • Have the build server start a virtual snapshot of a “build BizTalk server”
  • Have the build server installed on the “build BizTalk server”
  • ???

I typically skip the first option because it usually end up in me having to write some kind of remote execution scripts (PSExec) or starting the scripts with timer jobs. Either way the overall build pattern turns out more complex than it needs to be or managing the build (yes you will be managing your builds) will be harder.

The second option would be the top choice for me if the customer has TFS 2010 and Lab Management in place. I know there are virtualization options for TFS 2008 but I’ve never user them myself.

So this leaves my with the option to have the “build BizTalk server” and the build server on the same box which makes it a lot easier.

Remember that you’ll need to install and configure the BizTalk server and remember to install/configure these options during the installation of the BizTalk server:

  • Developer Tools and SDK
  • Additional Software / Project Build Component, build component used by TFSBuild.

When the BizTalk server is installed and configured you’ll need to make/configure these options:

  • The service account for TFSBuild need to be added to the local Administrators group, required to install/uninstall assemblies to the GAC.
  • The service account for TFSBuild need to be added to the BizTalk Administrators group, required to use BTSTask operations.

As a common practice I always create a Hello World build type to test that my build server is working correctly before moving on with any advanced build patterns with automatic deploy for instance.

Hope you’ll enjoy this first part of the series!