Windows Azure Pack (WAP) Best Practice Analyzer (BPA)

My attention was drawn to the Windows Azure Pack (WAP) Best Practice Analyzer recently, when attempting to install the Update Rollup 6 for WAP.

After you deploy the Windows Azure Pack (WAP) it is a good idea to run the Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) in order to confirm everything is configured correctly and ready for Production.

As per this TechNet article: “You can test your deployment using the Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) for Windows Azure Pack. BPA is a tool that analyzes your components of Windows Azure Pack. It helps you immediately identify many configuration, security, and performance issues, and it recommends best practices to resolve them.

At first it may not be completely clear on how to use the Windows Azure Pack (WAP) Best Practice Analyzer (BPA), so let’s explore it.

 

Prerequisites

To scan the components of Windows Azure Pack, you must install BPA for Windows Azure Pack on every machine that has components of Windows Azure Pack installed.

You can find the options for downloading the Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn469327.aspx

Note: If you want to install the Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) onto a server that does not have Internet access, you may opt for the Microsoft Download Center option. However, I noticed that the link supplied does not actually go to the Microsoft Download Center.

As an alternative method to actually get the MSI installer, on a computer (even a Workstation) that has Internet access, download and install the Microsoft Web Platform Installer.

After you download and install the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, launch the application. In the Search box in the top right corner, type “BPA” and hit Enter. You should see a single entry labelled as “Windows Azure Pack: Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer”. Click the Add button, then click Install.

Windows Azure Pack (WAP) - Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) - Web Platform Installer

Windows Azure Pack (WAP) – Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) – Web Platform Installer

You may be prompted by a license agreement dialog. Click “I accept”.

Web Platform Installer - License Agreement

Windows Azure Pack (WAP) – Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) – Web Platform Installer > License Agreement

Once the installation is complete, click Finish. Then click Exit on the Web Platform Installer.

Web Platform Installer - Installation Complete

Windows Azure Pack (WAP) – Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) – Web Platform Installer > Completed Installation

Now that we have installed the Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) on a system that has Internet access, we will be able to get the MSI installation file.

Open Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\Users\<UserLoggedInDuringInstallation>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Web Platform Installer\installers\WAP_Bpa\<GUID>\, and locate the MgmtSvc-Bpa.msi installation file.

Now you can copy this file to the server that does not have Internet access, and perform the installation.

 

Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer (MBCA) 2.0

BPA for Windows Azure Pack works within Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer (MBCA) 2.0 to scan the software configurations of the machine it is installed on. It automatically detects all components that are installed in Windows Azure Pack and compares their configurations against a set of rules. MBCA then lists all noncompliant issues.

When I first read this statement, I thought it was talking about the Windows Server built-in Best Practices Analyzer. But this is not the case.

Server Manager - Best Practices Analyzer

Windows Server Manager – Best Practice Analyzer

If you re-read the statement, it says “BPA for Windows Azure Pack works within Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer (MBCA) 2.0“. You can download the Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer 2.0 from the following location: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16475.

Note: When you click the Download button, you will be presented with a selection of files to download, that have the naming convention of MBCA_Setup<32 or 64>_Win8.msi. Even though this naming refers to Windows 8, this can still be used on Windows Server 2012.

Launch the MSI installer, and walk through the installation wizard.

 

Windows Azure Pack (WAP) Best Practice Analyzer (BPA)

Once the installation is complete, find the application entry and launch it.

Baseline Configuration Analyzer Install Entry

Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer 2.0 Installation

When the Baseline Configuration Analyzer launches, from the Select A Product list you should have an entry for the Windows Azure Pack. Select it, and click the Start Scan link.

Baseline Configuration Analyzer - WAP Start Scan

Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer 2.0 – Start Scan

After the scan is complete, a report will be generated. You will see more detailed information on each error or warning if you click on the entry. As you can see in my example, I have several Certificate warnings due to using a self-signed certificate.

Baseline Configuration Analyzer - WAP Scan Complete

Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer 2.0 – Scan Results

 

Conclusion

This is a nice tool to check your Windows Azure Pack (WAP) installation, to ensure everything is as optimal as possible.

In fact, this tool is also available for other System Center components, so it can be very valuable in assessing configuration.

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