VMM 2012 R2 UR7 – Issue NVGRE Gateways

Last week we implemented Update Rollup 7 for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 at one of our customers. After implementation we experienced some strange issues on the NVGRE Gateway Cluster. When a tenant removed his network from the Azure Pack portal, the network is removed from VMM and the VMM Database, but the resource is still online on the NVGRE cluster. This isn’t a problem until a failover occurs. Then the resource and only that resource will fail to start on the other node. Also not a big issue, all other networks comes online and start function normally.

BUT, the cluster role is in a failed state and will start playing tennis between 2 nodes to try to bring the resource completely online. And this becomes annoying. Because with each failover of a node the connection for the tenant VMs drops for a second.

The solution for now is simple but not something you would like to do every day until the fix is there. READ MORE »

Deploy Windows Containers with custom PSDSC resource

Last Sunday I was going through the MVA course What’s New in Windows Server 2016 Preview. Eventually I ended up at the Windows Containers module and figured it would be nice if I had a Desired State Configuration resource to declaratively deploy containers with, including their initialization script. When I thought about this a bit more, I figured this could result in container automation similar to the dockerfile concept but then in PowerShell DSC configuration DSL. The big benefits being abstraction of lower level configuration and source controlled container recipes!

Since the Windows container tech is fresh of the boat, making its first appearance in Windows Server TP3, don’t expect anything in the Desired State Configuration area released by Microsoft yet. Luckily the Containers PowerShell module and the container specific extensions made to Invoke-Command and Enter-PSSession are working fine. They provide a solid basis to create a custom DSC resource on top off (read more about Container management using PowerShell here).

If you haven’t started playing with containers yet, start here.

I started creating a DSC resource module and put in the bare minimum to make it functional. You can find, and contribute if you like, the project on my GitHub here. If you just want to use it, hit the download ZIP file button, unblock the ZIP and expand it to c:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Modules.

A configuration based on this DSC resource can look like this (this one works perfectly):

Stuff I know I still need to implement (but not limited to):

  • Create Image from deployed container and create new containers from that
  • Configure Host NAT rules

When I feel I have a solid enough module created, I’ll publish it to the PS Gallery.


BG_ContainersPSDSC_001What you see here is the configuration being loaded into memory. Then the MOF file is generated and applied. As a result, the container is running and configured.

BG_ContainersPSDSC_003Get-DscConfiguration shows the defined settings.

BG_ContainersPSDSC_002When we look in the container, we see the nginx process running. Now we need to create a firewall rule and a PAT rule on the host to allow traffic to pass to the container on a specific port. For now, I’ll leave this manually until I figured out a smart way to do this.

When a browser is targeted at the host ip address it should now open the nginx test page.BG_ContainersPSDSC_004

You might wonder why I did not configure the container runtime with DSC. Turns out, the WinRM service cannot be started (known issue, see here) which makes it impossible for the Local Configuration Manager (LCM) to apply a configuration.

Have fun with Containers!

Scale-Out File Servers – DNS Settings

Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) is a feature that is designed to provide scale-out file shares that are continuously available for file-based server application storage such as Hyper-V. Scale-out file shares provide the ability to share the same folder from multiple nodes of the same cluster.

In this blog we will go deeper into DNS Settings for Scale-out File Servers, I assume you already have played around with SOFS and know the basics.


Get more value out of your Windows Azure Pack environment

In the last two years we have performed numerous deployments of Windows Azure Pack. Enabling the Cloud OS for Service Provider and Enterprises. We have gained serious experience with these engagements. Besides technical knowledge, we have also learned that the success of cloud services starts with the people in the organization itself. Many organizations still have different departments for the underlying fabric components. These departments work in silos, each having their own targets and priorities. ITSM tooling is in place for digital processes between the silos. In theory this sounds like a solid construction, but in reality it is slowing these departments down, forcing the internal customer to look alternative cloud services, resulting in shadow IT.

The key to a successful project is the collaboration of all the involved departments. Depending on the size of the organization you can form a team consisting of all the departments or a key user from each department. It is crucial that they start to understand the value of abstraction, self-service and automation. Normally they already have parts of that implemented within their own department, but now it spans all departments.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not easy. It is actually the hardest part of a successful cloud transformation.

I have heard a lot of folks say that Windows Azure Pack and all depending components for its cloud services are hard to implement. I felt like that when I started with Windows Azure Services for Windows Server (the predecessor of Windows Azure Pack) in 2012. But in the end it is just like learning to speak and write another language. Once you master it, it is repeatable. You can dictate the software. How different is this with people. Every person has its own language that you must get to master in some degree. But you can never dictate them.

I was asked this week: “What is the reason that you are so successful in the Netherlands with Cloud OS deployments?”

It is a small country, three and a half hours is about the longest drive you can do, without driving in circles of course or hitting traffic (the downside of a lot of people on a tiny piece of earth).

I’m convinced it comes down to this;


Hyperconverged with Windows Server 2016

There has been a lot of development the last couple of years on the Hypervisor and Storage landscape.
Where in the past we did big investments in separate infrastructure for Compute and Storage Array Network (SAN), now we see developments that beholds a combined infrastructure for both.

While the big vendors not seemed “All-in” on the Hyperconverged technology there have been very successful starts-ups focusing on this technology like Nutanix and Simplivity. Also VMware is picking up with the announcement of EVO:RAIL at VMworld in October 2014.

Hyperconverged with Windows Server 2016

This May, at the Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft announced their new Windows Server 2016 operating system.
Although there are many new features shipping with this release, one particularly caught my eye:

Storage Spaces Direct

With Storage Spaces Direct we have the ability to pool local disks of multiple servers to one big virtual disk.
This virtual disk can we add to a Failover cluster and use it as shared storage. I will write this down again: Use local disks as shared storage.
With this functionality Microsoft also announced they will support running Hyper-V Virtual Machines on the same servers as your using for your storage.
Voila, Hyperconverged with Windows Server 2016.

I know an illustration works better than words so this is what a Hyperconverged infrastructure will look like.


Hyperconverged makes your infrastructure drastically less complex, If you need extra storage or compute power, just shove an extra server in your cluster and you’re ready to go!
The storage virtualization software (Storage Spaces) will take care of the rest and will rebalance your data across the servers.

This above described functionality is all out-of-the-box with Windows Server 2016. Although Windows Server 2016 is planned for release somewhere around the summer 2016 timeframe, there are already public previews out to test.
You can download the Windows Server 2016 public previews here.

Thank you for reading my post.
I regularly write about Microsoft technologies on various blogs.
If you would like to read my regular posts then feel free to also connect via Twitter @DarrylvdPeijl

Lessons learned: DSC Pull Security and Integration with WAPack [DUPSUG]


Last Dutch PowerShell User Group (DUPSUG) on May 26th I presented a session on end-2-end Secure DSC Pull Services. The demo scripts can be found here: https://github.com/bgelens/DUPSUG_052015/tree/master/Secure-End-2-End and I have recorded the demo and posted it on youtube for your review.

On top of that, I demoed interaction / integration between components like DSC Web Pull Server, PKI, VM Role, SMA and Hyper-V.

In this blog post I’m going to describe and share the demo pieces I have shown for the integration / interaction demo. It is a build up from the previous 10 part blog series on DSC integration with Windows Azure Pack VM Roles. So if you are missing pieces to follow or prerequisite knowledge, please start reading here: http://www.hyper-v.nu/archives/bgelens/2015/02/integrating-vm-role-with-desired-state-configuration-part-1-introduction-and-scenario/

During this post, links will be provided to download the presentation and the files.


Azure Stack – What’s new and what’s changed

At Ignite 2015 Microsoft announced Microsoft Azure Stack. Microsoft brings with this version literally the Public Azure to your own Datacenter. Azure stack will contain the same bits as they run in Azure. So that’s looking really promising as I can’t even imagine how many services they offer in Azure. The big keyword here is consistency. When you as a tenant creating a new deployment they will allow you to take that deployment and run it in Azure, the Service Provider running Azure Stack and your own data center if you are running Azure Stack. And that’s a big change versus the last 2 editions of Azure Pack. But as Daniel Neumann  mentioned on his blog, it is not an updated version of Azure pack, but an entirely new product. In this blog post I am going to highlight the new features that makes all this consistency possible. You see in the image below that Azure Stack and Azure consist of the same building blocks, starting with the Cloud Infrastructure or as we also know it as the fabric. On top of that they provide the Azure portal and on top of that we deploy our services no matter if it is running Windows or Linux.


Microsoft Azure Stack Announcement

From Azure Announcement blog


“Microsoft is the only cloud vendor that builds and runs its own hyper-scale datacenters and delivers that technology back to customers. We are infusing our experience into our hybrid cloud technology through battle-hardened cloud infrastructure and integration of Azure design points for greater consistency between Azure and customers’ datacenters. We are bringing the next wave of this innovation to our customers with Microsoft Azure Stack.

Built on the same core technology as Azure, Microsoft Azure Stack designed to bring Azure to your datacenter for the deployment of enterprise and modern applications at any scale. Azure Stack enables IT professionals to transition from traditional IT control methods to providing users and developers access the tools they need when they need them, while still maintaining central control.

  • Empowering users and developers with a consistent, self-service cloud experience: Azure Stack brings the ease of cloud application deployment to the on-premises datacenter, supporting the same experience as Azure with Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates (made available in preview last week at BUILD). ARM templates provide a gateway through the Azure portal for seamless service delivery across Azure and datacenters, reducing friction in the hybrid environment. Users can deploy workloads to Azure or on-premises based on business requirements, focusing on the application itself rather than the infrastructure. Azure Stack enables access to many of the same Azure IaaS and PaaS services on-premises, with the same intuitive self-service experience they would have with Azure. Azure Stack also empowers developers to innovate faster and on their terms by providing access to the broadest set of development tools and platforms.
  • Improving flexibility with cloud-inspired software defined infrastructure: Azure Stack extends Microsoft’s investments in the software-defined datacenter across compute, software-defined storage, software-defined networking, and software-defined security. These innovations provide a flexible and more secure datacenter architecture
  • Speeding time to value with simplified deployment: The deployment and configuration of private and hybrid clouds can be daunting and resource-intensive. Azure Stack will offer a simplified deployment and configuration experience.

Customers will be able to take advantage of the first Azure Stack features in preview this summer.  For more information, visit http://www.microsoft.com/azure-in-your-dc.”

Microsoft Azure Stack Video and ARM Templates

Here is a video of the Microsoft Azure Stack introduction at Ignite by Jeff Woolsey



What Jeff did not show because of time constraints: deploying an Azure Resource Manager Template

Here is just one example:



Microsoft Ignite 2015 Notes

Here are some random notes from Ignite 2015


  • Server Technical Preview 2 on Technet
  • 130k IOPS in Azure VM is very impressive
  • Windows Server 2016 User Voice
  • Win10 will be “Azure AD Aware”-will have something called AzureAD join
  • Azure Operational Insights generally available & becomes a part of Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS)
  • If you don’t provide a computername in the unattend.xml for Nano, It will be named “minwinpc” No unique name being generated
  • Test the Storage QoS feature in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2 using the guide at msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/…
  • Channel9 Session Downloader v1.81
  • Data Deduplication in Windows Server Technical Preview 2
  • Office 2016 Public Preview now available
  • Nano Server can be  installed as a Generation 2 VM from a VHDX by using convert-WindowsImage.ps1 with -VHDPartitionStyle to GPT https://t.co/bJ0gZ2h
  • Azure Networking: User defined routing, multiple NIC’s, and expanded appliance catalog in Azure networks
  • You can place all kinds of resources in an Azure Resource Group and use a single-click parameterized template to deploy it to Azure or in your own datacenter (with Azure Stack)
  • Enhanced ExpressRoute Connectivity between on-premises and Azure
  • image
  • Windows 10 is the last version of Windows. Everything else will be an update


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