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Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012, MCSE: Private Cloud

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This Microsoft video training course with Greg Shields covers how create a private cloud with the latest version of Microsoft System Center, including how to install and configure VMM 2012, automating the deployment of Hyper-V hosts, and more....
This Microsoft video training course with Greg Shields covers how create a private cloud with the latest version of Microsoft System Center, including how to install and configure VMM 2012, automating the deployment of Hyper-V hosts, and more.

Related Area of Expertise:
  • Microsoft System Center

Recommended skills:
  • Experience with Windows Server, Active Directory, System Center 2012, security, high availability, fault tolerance, and networking in an enterprise environment
  • Basic knowledge of Microsoft SQL Server and Windows PowerShell
  • Familiarity with with ITIL and MOF concepts

Recommended equipment:
  • Microsoft System Center 2012

Related certifications:
  • MCSE: Private Cloud

Related job functions:
  • IT professionals

In a world of confusion about cloud computing’s technologies, techniques, and reason for being, it takes a lot of guts for Microsoft to include a button marked “Create Cloud” in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012. With so many people still trying to figure out what cloud means, the clever developers at Microsoft can now simply say, “Hey, we’ve got a button for that!”

That button might be a bold move for Microsoft, but clicking it isn’t something to be taken lightly. Before you ever consider that click, you’ve got to build Hyper-V hosts. You’ll need a storage and network fabric among those hosts. You might even need shared storage if clustering, automatic failover, and load balancing are your requirements. Indeed, that button might seem simple, but there’re a lot of configurations that require attention first.

In this course, Greg Shields walks you through the technologies that get your Microsoft Private Cloud operational. He helps you with learning the topics and technologies you need for success on the first of two MCSE: Private Cloud exams, the 70-247. But he doesn’t stop there. He digs deep into the reasons why the Microsoft Private Cloud is the next step in virtualization. You’ll learn how Microsoft’s System Center 2012 components like Virtual Machine Manager, Server App-V, App Controller, Operations Manager, Service Manager, and even Data Protection Manager integrate to automate everything in IT service delivery. You’ll construct complex IT services, made of virtualized applications, web applications, and databases, and configure them for self-service delivery by others in IT.

Configuring and deploying a Microsoft Private Cloud with System Center 2012 isn’t a task to be taken lightly. It takes up-front effort to build the proper automations and craft the right experience for self-serving users. And the reward? What you’ll get is near-complete automation for everything that makes up your Windows server operating environment.

So, consider joining Greg in this MCSE and Private Cloud exploration. There’s effort involved, but you won’t be sorry when all that IT scut work suddenly becomes smooth automation.
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1. Introduction to System Center 2012, VMM 2012, and the 70-247 Exam (27 min)
2. Understanding the Microsoft Private Cloud Architecture and Components (13 min)
3. Installing and Configuring Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2 (37 min)
4. Installing and Configuring VMM 2012 (49 min)
5. Configuring the Network and Storage Fabric (28 min)
6. Clustering Hyper-V Hosts and Creating a Microsoft Private Cloud (32 min)
7. Working with the VMM 2012 Library: Profiles and VM Templates (39 min)
8. Configuring VMM User Roles and the Self-Service Portal (22 min)
9. Creating Virtual Application Packages with the Server App-V Sequencer (30 min)
10. Working with VMM 2012 Services and Service Templates (25 min)
11. Automating the Private Cloud Deployment of a Three-Tier Service (58 min)
12. Managing Fabric Updates in VMM 2012 (20 min)
13. Automating the Deployment of Hyper-V Hosts (22 min)
14. Installing and Configuring App Controller (18 min)
15. Integrating Private Cloud Monitoring with Operations Manager 2012 (52 min)
16. Integrating Service Manager 2012 (24 min)
17. Incorporating Orchestrator 2012 Runbooks and Integration Packs into Service Delivery (52 min)
18. Protecting Private Cloud Data with Data Protection Manager 2012 (28 min)
19. Working with VMM 2012 SP1 and Hyper-V v3 in Windows Server 2012 (28 min)
20. Extending VMM into the Windows Azure Public Cloud (30 min)

Introduction to System Center 2012, VMM 2012, and the 70-247 Exam


Do you ever stop and wonder that in a world of IT pros who tend to think of things in kind of binary terms, zeroes and ones, off and on, works and doesn't work, red light, green light, that for someone, probably in marketing, to come up with a name for a service or the name for an approach to IT operations and call it cloud?


What were they thinking? We IT pros, we deal in whether stuff works or not. And so the idea of a cloud and its nebulous shapeless, formless, I don't know what, is something that, I think, a lot of us have struggled with for a very long period of time.


Well, cloud is kind of a challenge for we IT pros, and in its various iterations, private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, I think a lot of us can get confused about, well, what exactly is this thing, and how can I use it? Will it actually make my life easier?


Now, that's one of the things that I think we hope to answer here in this 20 Nugget Series on the 70-247 Microsoft Exam titled Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012. My name is Greg Shields, and over the last couple of years, I've had an opportunity to travel around the country and a variety a cities to talk with IT pros everywhere about cloud, and to get their impressions on it, to get their feelings about really where it might fit in with our whole portfolio of things we have to manage.


And I've got to tell you, with what we see now in Microsoft's private cloud offering and even in their new MCSE Private Cloud, they've got a pretty visionary future set out for we IT pros. That future is kind of moving away from the click here, then click here approach that we've used up until this point and almost tends to kind of hybridize our role with the role that our developers serve whenever they're building our applications.


And you're not necessarily going to create an environment for developers in all businesses and in all operations. But there may be some circumstances where you need to make resources available for other people in the IT organization. Maybe they are developers, or maybe they are just other individuals that need virtual machines and those resources out in your IT organization.


And that's what a private cloud can actually provide for you. You know, it takes a lot of guts for Microsoft to, in this world where nobody knows what cloud is, to create a solution where they've got a button that says, Create Cloud. Microsoft can say, aye.


We got a button for that. And so I think you're going to really appreciate some of the things that we'll be talking about here in this 20 Nugget Series. And we'll be spending quite a bit of time together, you and I, and getting to understand exactly how we can go about deploying that private cloud and configuring it so that it supports the needs of those other people in our IT organization.


You may find at the conclusion of the series that a private cloud is not something that's nebulous and un-understandable, but is, in fact something very concrete. And if you create all of the building blocks in the just appropriate ways, you can create something that is very manageable even in what would otherwise be considered a very dynamic environment.


So in this first Nugget, I'm going to spend just a minute or two kind of talking with you a little bit about System Center, but more specifically about just the exam, the 70-247 exam. Now, we are not necessarily here to provide-- this is no brain dump series.


This is no, here are exactly the things you need to know for the 70-247 exam. We're here primarily to help you, we are together, to help you develop those skills that you need in preparing for, installing, configuring, and doing maintenance of a Microsoft Private Cloud, the top Microsoft Hyper-V.


Kind of the secondary piece there, the unspoken undercurrent is that this exam closely tracks to the objectives you'll find in the 70-247 exam. That exam, if you've taken a look at the objectives online, can be overwhelming. The more so than any other exam I have seen in my entire career history, I've never seen an exam that is so mile wide and inch deep.


The variety of topics that are required for you to have success with this exam encompasses nearly the entirety of the System Center portfolio. And in fact, we'll be spending the vast majority of our time, if not, over 90% of our time, not even in Hyper-V, but instead, in all the System Center components that you must lay into place, to actually go about constructing and creating that private cloud.


Along the way, I hope to share with you a few of my personal experiences and some of the best practices I've learned in actually building those private clouds. I think you'll find that there are some really heavy topics here. There are some challenging ones, and there are ones that may actually stretch your normal limits of what you consider appropriate in a regular IT operations environment, But if you are willing to put forth the upfront effort towards creating these building blocks and making them available in ways that they can be added to and consumed by other users in your IT org, well, you can create complete automation out of your server environment.


And when I say complete, you're going to be impressed as we get further along in the series of exactly how complete System Center can make this. So all right. I've dangled the carrot in front of you. There is an amazing amount of automation that you can actually put together with this private cloud once you get the pieces laid into place in order to do that.


Well, all right. How do you get there? What are the steps to actually construct the private cloud? What are the steps to lay all the system centerpieces in place? Those are our steps over these next 20 Nuggets, and also, with a little bit of that hint as I mentioned before towards what those exam objectives are for preparing for 70-247.


I will tell you that the entirety of this series is actually going to be based on, not Windows Server 2012, but instead, on Windows Server 2008 R2. Now, before you pause the recording or before you shut down this recording, be aware that when we get to the 19th Nugget, we'll pick back up the 2012 and Hyper-V 3.0 topics.


Because everything that you need to know for the exam is based off of the System Center content and not so much off of the Hyper-V content. So we will only spend maybe one or two Nuggets out of the entire 20 talking about Hyper-V itself. Microsoft really intends with this release of System Center to think of Hyper-V as almost an Appliance Operating System.


And in that Appliance Operating System, you can manage just about every single one of the configurations of your Hyper-V infrastructure without ever having to log into a Hyper-V server ever again. That's impressive. And that is a really, really good shot over the bough at some of the other virtualization platforms that exists out in this world that also think of themselves as Appliance Operating Systems.


I want to spend a minute to also, in this Nugget, talking about just some of the exam stats, the audience, the notes, the series outline, the objectives, and also the network that we'll be constructing here in order to build this complete automation.


So let's actually scroll down here and take a look at some of just the facts that are associated with Microsoft's System Center Certification, that's new MCSE. So if you haven't figured it out, and I'm sure you have because you're paying attention to this training video, the MCSE is back and hooray.


The MCSE has just a great name and amongst IT professionals, it's really well-loved by IT pros, and that's one of the reasons why Microsoft kind of moved away from their MCITP approach and brought back the MCSE. What's different is that the MCSE is no longer an engineer, but an expert.


The term engineer was a protected word in a lot of countries and Microsoft was facing some stiff penalties for keeping it. So once they realized that there was another great word, expert, that they could use to replace the E for engineer, they brought back the MCSE in its new form.


I cannot stress to you enough that the MCSE is almost entirely about, and specifically this private cloud MCSE, is almost entirely about System Center. In order to get the MCSE, you must first actually pass three exams that make up the MCSA. These are 7410, 411, and 412.


These initial MCSA exams talk to or speak to and prepare you for this specific Windows Server content that you need to know. And so you'll be dealing a lot more with Windows Server in these three initial examinations that get you the MCSA. And it is my assumption that you will have already been familiar with the content in the MCSA, potentially if you passed the exams, before you've even got into these two new exams 7247, and 7246.


So you will not see a lot of the very basics of Hyper-V, of the very basics of creating virtual machines. My assumption here is that you're at least minimally familiar with the concept of networks and storage, and virtualization, and virtual machines, because we need to have or you need to have that information in place to get to the levels of automation that 7247 tests against.


Now, as you see here, there are, in fact, two exams that make up the private cloud MCSE. The first is the 70-247 exam. And I call it first because you kind of have to configure and deploy the private cloud before you can really get on to monitoring and operating it.


Microsoft's content seems to put them in the reverse order where the 7246 is accomplished first and the 7247 accomplished second. I've actually reverse these because as I said, we've got to get that private cloud built before we can go about putting things into it.


There will be a little bit of overlap in the content between these two series, but for the most part, you're going to get a chance to see how the private cloud is built here in the first series and then how the private cloud is later operated and monitored there in the second series.


But as far as intended audience is concerned, I've actually copied this right off of Microsoft's website. But Microsoft intends for candidates of the exam to have some familiarity with System Center and System Center 2012. So you need to understand how System Center is facilitated in installing and configuring a private cloud solution.


The intended audience also are people that design, configure, and deploy the underlying infrastructure fabric. When you are creating your little private cloud, this little private cloud here might look like a cloud to everyone that's facing it from the user side, but underneath it, it's going to be an entire fabric of network, of storage, of servers, and all kinds of other stuff that has to aggregate together to create the service delivery platform that we're creating here with our private cloud.


The candidates also should have experienced Windows Server, Active Directory, System Center, and some of the more-- these are sort of newer topics for Microsoft certification, things like security, and high availability, fault tolerance, and networking experience.


So if you have that familiarity, that will do you far, that will do you well in passing this MCSE private cloud. I'll tell you, from everything that I read on the internet, the vast majority of the questions here are going to relate to VMM itself. So if you've got a familiarity with VMM, you're going to do fairly well.


But there are another set of questions, another percentage of those that deal with the other pieces in System Center. These are things like System Center Orchestrator, System Center Service Manager, System Center Operations, and also System Center App Controller.


If you have experience with those, you'll do just fine. But even if you don't have experience, I'm going to assume that you can at least get these components installed. The installation for most of these, these days, is a very easy thing. I'll help you through some of the very basic introduction for how you'll integrate the components with virtual machine manager, which is the centerpiece for everything that we're working here.


Microsoft also recommends Windows PowerShell knowledge, application configuration experience, which we will talk about whenever we get to Server App-V. And even some familiarity with ITIL and MOF concepts, which will become important when we talk about service manager.


We're going to spend a little bit of time dealing with some of the ITIL concepts like service requests, and incidents, and problems, these things that ITIL defines as activities that make up an IT infrastructure. So if you are that person, you're going to do just fine, I think.


Now, a few notes on the exam itself, and again, these are just some items that in some cases, I copied right off of Microsoft's website. If you've never taken a Microsoft exam before, the assumption here is that you have, there is no penalty for guessing.


If you choose an incorrect answer, you're not going to earn points for that item. No points are deducted for incorrect answers. If you have a multi-choice answer or a multi multi-choice where you have to choose among the following, you must choose all of the correct answers to earn a point for that item.


These are the question items that can get very challenging. And some questions, in fact, may actually not even be included in the calculation of your score. Microsoft recognizes that there are some questions that may not necessarily test appropriately the fact that you know the knowledge that you need to know.


And so Microsoft will put those questions on the exam in a trial mode to see if there are questions that they actually want to later on include as real questions that are actually scored. Microsoft uses these test questions to identify the second metrics of the exam and exactly how they end up testing whether or not you actually know what you anticipate or hope that you know.


Couple of format decisions here too associated with the exam. There are a variety of question formats that you can find including case study formats, simulations, and even some virtual labs. The question types that you might find include multiple choice and I should also add multi multi-choice, which is choose the correct number of from among the following possibilities, some hot area questions, some active screen questions, drag and drop, and build-list and reorder questions.


The case study formats, they can be longer case studies. They could be shorter case studies. It again just depends on which of the questions you actually end up getting on your specific exam. These exams are now administered through Prometric at prometric.com/microsoft, and at last check, they're about $150 each.


So make sure that you've got your studying down because these exams don't come cheaply. In addition to that, we are going to spend the next 20 Nuggets talking about the build, the management, and the operations of your private cloud. In this first Nugget and also in the second Nugget, we won't actually spend any time on the product itself.


We've got to spend a little bit of time understanding what the exam is, getting to know each other, and then also understanding what the architecture is between all of these components that make up System Center. I'll show you here in just a minute how many virtual machines you're going to need, and you make shrug your head, because there's a lot of equipment, a lot of hardware requirements that are required if you anticipate following along with what you see here on the screen, so prepare for that.


And making use of tools like VMware Workstation or just a bunch of servers that you may have lying around, can definitely assist when you're creating these VMs. We will spend one Nugget and only one Nugget on Hyper-V. That's installing and configuring Hyper-V on Server 2008 R2.


Actually, that's a bit of a lie. We'll spend one more Nugget down here on how similar it looks when we move to Windows Server 2012. Again, you shouldn't necessarily fret that all of this really deals with server 2008. Many of us are moving very quickly to Server 2012, and everything is very similar between these two operating systems.


We will then install and configure VMM. We will go through configuring the fabric and also the hosts and clusters that define our Microsoft private cloud. Once we understand what the fabric is, how the network gets connected, how the storage gets connected, how the hosts get connected and identified, we can then create that cluster and create that Microsoft private cloud.


With a private cloud created then, that then becomes the foundation upon which we lay the virtual machines and the services that we intend to deploy onto the private cloud. Services can exist as one or more virtual machines and then the applications and customizations that exist on top.


But before you ever get to services, we have to actually go through identifying all the building blocks that are used and connected together to create those services. Those building blocks are things like profiles and VM Templates. There are things like virtual application packages and we will actually go about packaging up an application using the Server App-V Sequencer, which is, you'll find out, is a special kind of App-V that is designed for use with servers.


We'll take a look at those services and the service templates that we then create. We'll also take a step aside and take a look at user roles and the self-service portal. I'll tell you though, that the self-service portal is deprecated in RTM and is pretty much gone in Service Pack 1.


So I introduce this because it's on the exam, but be aware that you probably won't be using this in production. Where we're looking to get is really this sort of mid-term capstone right here. You're familiar three-tier services. These are things like our web server that talks to some business logic server or an application server that itself talks to a database, which connects up to the data that we have.


These n-tier services or three-tier services are fairly common in IT because we have our user side, we have our application side, and then we have our database side nicely separated out so that they can perform the activities that they require. Well, our goal in consolidating or connecting this fabric together, building the cloud, and putting together all the building blocks is to get us to the point where we can automate the deployment of an entire three-tier service with just a single click of the button.


And this is exactly something that you're going to be able to do when we actually get to Nugget 7. You'll be very impressed because the functionality that's built into the VMM to accomplish this is a really, really cool. Once we've deployed that service, we then need to update it.


We need to spend a minute just talking about the automatic deployment of Hyper-V Hosts, which in this case, is bare metal deployment of Hyper-V onto whatever equipment that you have laying around. If you have the right hardware, this is a very, very easy way for you to get Hyper-V deployed out to anywhere that you need in your organization.


And then from there, we actually are going to spend four Nuggets here 15, 16, 17, and 18, talking about the System Center components, really, really five if you count App Controller. App Controller, if you're unfamiliar, is one of the mechanisms that you can use for exposing self service and the self-service options to the other people in your organization.


Now, before you get your head wrapped around the notion of self service being a bad thing, recognize that the person doing the self service in Microsoft's world is probably not going to be the person in marketing, or the person in the sales team, or your executives.


No. Different from those people, would be other people inside your IT organization. So the person doing self service might be your developers, or they might be or your database people, or your applications people, those people that aren't necessarily building new computers all day long, but are instead working with applications that exist on those computers.


With that App Controller self service in place, we will then spend four Nuggets here talking about the other pieces of System Center. These other pieces of System Center are really the glue that ties everything together, monitoring with Operations Manager, scheduling, and in coordination with Service Manager, Orchestrator, which Microsoft actually refers to as the glue.


And in fact, this 17 is another one of these to actually pay attention to because number 17 is where we take our three-tier service and take it one step further in completely automating out services via Orchestrator's Runbooks and its Integration Packs, again, really, really exciting stuff in terms of the automations you can build.


And then lastly, down here, a short video on or short Nugget her on Data Protection Manager. We'll then conclude with a look at Hyper-V version 3.0 in Windows Server 2012 and then a very short look at taking VMM and taking our private cloud into the Windows public cloud with Windows Azure.


Some pretty impressive stuff there. It's kind of a-- call that a bonus Nugget here, because once you make that move to System Center Service Pack 1, which is where we will be at when we moved to both of these Nuggets, that will bring us some additional functionality that makes our private cloud able to connect up to a public cloud.


So we have an exam objectives here. These are, again, copied off of Microsoft's website. The exam objectives, I would highly recommend you go to Microsoft's website, take a look at the web page that they've put together that talks about the specific tasks that are associated with each of these objectives.


I've removed the specific tasks here just to make it fit on one screen. You'll notice that the objectives are almost equally broken out here between design/deploy, configure the infrastructure, slightly more weight here in configuring the fabric, a little bit in here in integration.


I talked about the integration with those other pieces of System Center. And then lastly, down here, the configuring and deploying of virtual machines and services I have taken these objectives and re-ordered them to be able to give you a much better narrative, a much better storyline that takes you from the first things you would think of all the way through to the last things you would think of.


So while these objectives may not necessarily tell a story, what I've tried to do here in this series is to give you exactly that story that you would go through when you're configuring your own private cloud infrastructure. And hopefully, at the conclusion of it, you'll be able to say, well, you know what?


I think I really understand why this series was put together in the order that it was. We have finally, this one slide here that I'm almost embarrassed to show you. Microsoft, in the creation of the MCSE Private Cloud has, as I said, created this exam and created this infrastructure that in order for any of it to work, it all has to work.


And so when we are creating this environment, we will literally be creating every one of these machines. We'll be creating a domain controller, and we'll have one available. We will have a storage server on which will be a bunch of disks that we will expose out through ISCSI We'll be using ISCSI throughout this series because it's just easier over a network.


We will have our VMM server here, which will manage talking to each of our Hyper-V hosts down here and instructing them what to do when we're creating new virtual machines. Each of these Hyper-V hosts will have three different addresses that are used.


The first address, the one net address being their regular production network address, their two net address being they're cluster address, and their three net address being what connects them up to the ISCSI LUNs that have been exposed over here on the ISCSI target on our storage server.


We will also have a Service Manager Server, an Ops Manager Server, a Data Protection Manager Server, and an Orchestrator Server that we'll be building as we get into that four-part series later on. These servers have to be on their own individual equipment for them to work.


Microsoft has made it so that you can't actually consolidate any of these activities with each other. The only one that can be is App Controller, which can be hosted here on the VMM server itself. We will be spending most of our time, however, here on this Windows desktop, a Windows 7 desktop called Client.


And this Windows desktop is the one that we'll be using because in a private cloud world, it's really not a great idea to be logging on directly onto the console of all of our machines, partially because it consumes resources, and also partially because when we are crafting these automations, we will craft them with the assistance of all of the System Center Servers.


And so we'll be crafting an automation that begins as a service manager request that itself kicks off an Orchestrator Runbook, which it then can change something inside of the AMEN, or an Ops Manager PROTip that makes change to VMM, or an app controller service that needs to interact with service manager and ops.


As you can see here, all of these need to work together. And so having a single location on our client where we can manage all the consoles becomes very important. Be prepared. And if you have the hardware, I believe I've got a single machine here running 32 gigs of RAM.


It's running VMware Workstation version 9 because VMware Workstation can now home nested virtualization here with our Hyper-V hosts. That should get you most of the way in being able to build the entirety of this network. So some pretty heavy hardware that you're going to require.


You may require a couple of machines that interact with each other in order to support this network, or you can just follow along. So that really kind of gives you an understanding, hopefully, of all the things that you're going to need to know in order to just prepare yourself for even watching what's going on here within this series.


As I mentioned before my name is Greg Shields, and it is always exciting for me to be able to put together, again, another of these CBT Nugget series this time, the first of the two MCSE Private Cloud exams, this one being on configuring and deploying a private cloud with System Center 2012.


I think you're going to get really excited about some of the things you'll be seeing here because with the information that you learn here, there are some pretty heavy-duty automation that you're going to be able to add to your data center. Coming up next, we're going to spend a little bit of time talking about the architecture of System Center and all the different pieces and how they interrelate.


Microsoft has done a really good job of separating out the job of each of these individual System Center components so that the component that's responsible for monitoring really does the monitoring and the component that's responsible for orchestration does the orchestration.


The only hard part is getting all these components integrated together, and that's your job as an IT pro. So we'll talk about that here coming up next, but until then, I hope this has been informative for you, and I'd like to thank you for viewing.

Understanding the Microsoft Private Cloud Architecture and Components

Installing and Configuring Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2

Installing and Configuring VMM 2012

Configuring the Network and Storage Fabric

Clustering Hyper-V Hosts and Creating a Microsoft Private Cloud

Working with the VMM 2012 Library: Profiles and VM Templates

Configuring VMM User Roles and the Self-Service Portal

Creating Virtual Application Packages with the Server App-V Sequencer

Working with VMM 2012 Services and Service Templates

Automating the Private Cloud Deployment of a Three-Tier Service

Managing Fabric Updates in VMM 2012

Automating the Deployment of Hyper-V Hosts

Installing and Configuring App Controller

Integrating Private Cloud Monitoring with Operations Manager 2012

Integrating Service Manager 2012

Incorporating Orchestrator 2012 Runbooks and Integration Packs into Service Delivery

Protecting Private Cloud Data with Data Protection Manager 2012

Working with VMM 2012 SP1 and Hyper-V v3 in Windows Server 2012

Extending VMM into the Windows Azure Public Cloud

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