Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Hotfixes Update

Microsoft recently published a new list for the recommended hotfixes, updates, and known solutions for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V environments. These are hotfixes specific to known problems that are not fixed by the monthly Windows update cycle. I often see that hotfixes are overlooked by server administrators which can cause unnecessary pain. I recommend reading each description carefully to see if the hotfix applies to your specific configuration, so don’t just download and install all of them. Take some time, write a script and update your servers as required.

It can save you a lot of trouble!

All hotfix lists

Recommended hotfixes, updates, and known solutions for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V environments

Recommended hotfixes, updates, and known solutions for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) environments (includes VMM)

Recommended hotfixes and updates for Windows Server 2012 R2-based failover clusters

List of currently available hotfixes for the File Services technologies in Windows Server 2012 and in Windows Server 2012 R2

Older lists

Hyper-V: Update List for Windows Server 2012

Azure Stack – The Fabric Layer

With more and more details coming available on Microsoft Azure Stack we can see the direction Microsoft is taking and giving us a peek under the hood of Microsoft Azure itself.
Azure Stack will be consistent with Azure and Microsoft is bringing the Azure bits to your datacenter with Azure Stack, we will get the same portal and all the great features (like Azure Resource Manager) it brings us.

The one thing that is not consistent with Microsoft Azure is the fabric layer and in this post I will give some more insight on the infrastructure side.
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Last tickets for Experts Live 2015

I have been trying to keep my budget of free tickets to the last few weeks or so and make my audience feel extremely lucky if they would be able to get hold of one of those last precious tickets to the information technology event of the year (if that is still the right word for an event in the cloud age we live in). But I just got notified by the organization that we are down to double digits.

In previous Hyper-V events we were always very lucky to sell out very quickly, but if you’re aiming at 1000 attendees, after last year’s 500 or so, I’d say that is rather ambitious. But looking at it from a little distance, I noticed the great ambition that the organization team had and the eagerness of sponsors to sign up for having their names attached to this event, it is not difficult to understand. It’s just going to be a superb event, I can promise you that!

Simply take a look at the huge list of interesting presentations, the great (international) diversity of speakers, many of them MVPs and other Microsoft specialists. A day at Experts Live is a day well spent!

On behalf of Hyper-V.nu, I’m pleased to give away 10 tickets to Experts Live 2015. What do you have to do? You need to be on Twitter, follow @hvredevoort and let us know why you think Experts Live is great. I’ll pick the 10 best and perhaps funniest tweets and send you a golden ticket! But be quick, if we sell out before I have 10 winners, you’re out of luck.

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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.

Results:

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.

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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;

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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.

Converged

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]

Introduction

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.

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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.

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