But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

Have you tried switching it on and off again? Go on be aggressive!

We have been building ‘standard’ environments for our TFS Lab Management system. Environments that can be used for most of the projects we are involved in without too much extra setup e.g. a small domain controller VM and a Server VM with SQL and SharePoint. These environments have a series of snapshots so it can be used in a number of ways e.g if we just want SQL and IIS we just go back to a snapshot prior to SharePoint being installed.

When trying to deploy one of these environments we saw a couple issues.

Capacity

First we got the error that there was not a suitable host with enough capacity to host the environment (remember all the VMs in a network isolated environment need to be on the same Hyper-V host). This can be a bit of a red herring as with dynamic memory and other new Hyper-V features there is often the capacity there (see Tiago’s post on this for more details). The fix here was to set TFS to allow aggressive deployment using the command

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

Initial Startup

The next problem I saw was that when the new environment was deployed it did not started cleanly. The first time an environment is started it seems to take longer than subsequent starts (assume there is some initial configuration done). Basically in this case network isolation did not start correctly, hence build and testing capabilities also failed.

The fix was simple, shut down the environment and start it again. The tried and trusted IT answer to all problems. This time it started fine, and was faster to start.

Now I have not see this issue every time I deploy. When I deployed the same environment again and it worked perfectly first time. I suspect it was really a capacity issue on the underlying Hyper-V server causing some delay, but I am running in aggressive mode so I should expect this.

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