A Platform Layer is intended to include the platform software and settings required to deploy images in your environment. You can create two kinds of Platform Layers:
When creating a Platform Layer, the software installers for your platform must be available in a location that's accessible to the Packaging Machine VM where you are going to create the Layer. As summarized in the following table, the prerequisites vary based on the type of Platform Layer you choose to create.
|Type of Platform Layer||Prerequisites|
Publishing Layered Images
Software installers, and settings you use for your:
The software and settings for your:
For example, your hypervisor installer and settings.
Note: You only need a Platform Layer for packaging Layers if you are creating your Layers on a different hypervisor than the one from which you imported your OS image.
Next, you can deploy the packaging machine for your layer.
The Packaging Machine is a virtual machine where you install the app(s) you want to include in this Layer. It is strongly recommended that you use a unique Packaging Machine for each Layer. The Packaging Machine is a temporary VM that will be deleted once the Layer has been finalized.
Deploy a Packaging Machine to Azure
The Task Description (example shown in the last step above) contains a link to the location in the Azure portal where the Packaging Machine for this Layer has been published.
To create your Packaging Machine in Azure, begin with the expanded Packaging Disk Task shown in the last step above.
Install the platform software
This section explains how to install your application(s) on the Packaging Machine you created in Azure. Keep in mind that the state of the software before you finalize the layer is what users experience when they access it.
To install the application(s):
Next, you'll need to shut down the Packaging Machine and verify that the Layer is ready to finalize.
Verify the Layer and shut down the Packaging Machine
Once the application is installed on the Packaging Machine, the next step is to verify that the Layer is ready to be finalized. To be ready for finalization, any required post-installation processing needs to be completed. For example, a reboot may be required, or a Microsoft NGen process may need to complete.
To verify that any outstanding processes are complete, you can run the Shutdown For Finalize tool, which appears on the Packaging Machine's desktop.
To use the Shutdown For Finalize tool:
The Layer is now ready to finalize.
Layer integrity messages you may see during the finalization process
Layer integrity messages let you know what queued tasks must be completed before a Layer is finalized.
The new Layer or Version can only be finalized when the following conditions have been addressed:
A reboot is pending to update drivers on the boot disk - please check and reboot the Packaging Machine.
A post-installation reboot is pending - please check and reboot the Packaging Machine.
An MSI install operation is in progress - please check the Packaging Machine.
A Microsoft NGen operation is in progress in the background.
Note: If a Microsoft NGen operation is in progress, you may be able to expedite it, as described in the next section.
Expediting a Microsoft NGen operation
NGen is the Microsoft Native Image Generator. It is part of the .NET system, and basically re-compiles .NET byte code into native images and constructs the registry entries to manage them. Windows will decide when to run NGen, based on what is being installed and what Windows detects in the configuration. When NGen is running, you must let it complete. An interrupted NGen operation can leave you with non-functioning .NET assemblies or other problems in the .NET system.
You have the choice of waiting for the NGen to complete in the background, or you can force the NGen to the foreground. You can also check the status of the NGen operation, as described below. However, every time you check the queue status, you are creating foreground activity, which might cause the background processing to temporarily pause.
Forcing the NGen to the foreground will allow you to view the progress and once the output has completed, you should be able to finalize the layer.
Force an NGen operation to the foreground.
Normally, NGen is a background operation and will pause if there is foreground activity. Bringing the task into the foreground can help the task to complete as quickly as possible. To do this:
Open a command prompt as Administrator.
Go to the Microsoft .NET Framework directory for the version currently in use:
Enter the NGen command to execute the queued items:
ngen update /force
This brings the NGen task to the foreground in the command prompt, and lists the assemblies being compiled.
Note: It’s okay if you see several compilation failed messages!
Look in the Task Manager to see if an instance of MSCORSVW.EXE is running. If it is, you must allow it to complete, or re-run ngen update /force. Do not reboot to stop the task. You must allow it to complete.
Check the status of an NGen operation
Open a command prompt as Administrator.
Check status by running this command:
ngen queue status
When you receive the following status, the NGen is complete, and you can finalize the Layer.
The .NET Runtime Optimization Service is stopped
Once the Packaging Machine is created, the platform software is installed and ready to finalize, and you have shut down the machine, you'll need to finalize the layer.
Note: When you finalize a Platform Layer, App Layering software deletes the Packaging Machine.
When a layer is ready to finalize:
Return to the Management Console.
In the Layers module, select the layer.
Select Finalize in the Action bar.
Monitor the Task bar to verify that the action completes successfully and that the layer is deployable.