VMWare vCenter and Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services

I know this might be a weird combination, but if you ever have to install VMWare vCenter 4.0 and MS SQL including Reporting Service on the same machine (Windows Server 2008 64 Bit), this is how it is done. Be warned, VMWare will eventually not support this configuration, but I had no issues with that up to this point.

VMWare vCenter requires a SQL database (SQL 2005 or SQL 2008 at the time of this writing). While you can use a remote database we had the need for a local installation as well as we needed SQL Server Reporting service installed. After installing the Windows Operating System we did a full install of SQL Server 2005 including SP3. We did try this with SQL 2008 before, but SQL 2008 is no longer using IIS to manage the Reporting Services and that made it very difficult to manage the 2 applictions and their ports that they use (hint: overlapping ports are 80 and 443).

After you installed SQL 2005, you can install vSphere vCenter 4. During the installation you can change the ports that vCenter uses, however this does not work. SQL Report Services needs port 443 for internal communication. I had changed the port in vCenter to 444 when using SQL 2008, but apparently vCenter ignores that port setting and still locks port 443 later one – making Reporting Services kaput. So, install vCenter with the default ports.

Now go into IIS (hint: SQL 2005 requires that you install ALL IIS items in Server 2008) and change the port for the reporting services to port 81. There is no need to touch port 443 to get MS SQL Reporting Services to work. Now open up the Report Services Configuration tool and select the Web Service Identity tab. Set the appPool to “Classic.NET” for the Report Server and the Report Manager.

MS SQL Reporting services should work just fine as long as you specify the new port in the URL when accessing the reports.

Why did SQL 2008 not work for me? SQL 2008 Report Services does use HTTPS traffic much more than SQL 2005 does. Since VMWare vcenter locks that port (even if you tell it not to), SQL 2008 Reporting Services will not function properly. Please note that this is a very high level view at the problems related to running VMWare vCenter and MS SQL Reporting Services from the same server.

Read more VMWare Tutorials here. The author also frequently reviews products – including consumer gadgets like the electric fly swatter.

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