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The Microsoft Management Summit 2013 just ended and all recorded sessions are already available on Channel9. Whether you are interested in the latest developments, lessons learned by early adopters or in-depth demos these session recordings will provide you with great insight into Private, Hosted and Public Cloud solutions by Microsoft. I did not attend the MMS 2013 and therefore I am very grateful to have access to all this magnificent content online.
As you might have noticed from my previous blogs I have a great interest in Windows Azure for Windows Server. In session WS-B303 Windows Server Virtual Machine: Adding Windows Azure Services Program Managers Marc Umeno and Anjli Chaudhry explain the components, lessons learned (some of them looked very familiar ) and some demos.
One slide caught my attention.
In this slide Marc Umeno talks about an upcoming development in Windows Azure For Windows Server. In the current version user accounts are stored in an ASP.NET membership SQL database. This is a great solution for Service Providers, but (except for the Admin Site) there is no integration with Active Directory.
The product team is working on Active Directory integration for a future release.
What users will logon to the portal with Active Directory accounts? Users from the internal organization.
If you think about it, it is a logical step. Whether self-service users manage their services in Windows Azure, in a hosted cloud or in their own private cloud, they can access them through a uniform portal. It also fits in the roadmap to drive the adoption of Windows Azure in a great way.
Where does this leave System Center App Controller? Maybe the product team working on Windows Azure for Windows Server might be reinforcement with the System Center App Controller product team. At the end of the session Marc Umeno specifies that at TechEd (taking place June 3-6, this year) more information will be disclosed. So stay tuned.
For Windows Server 2012 clusters it was still very difficult to find a complete list of hotfixes. In the past there were blogs and other locations for Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and clusters, but not always authorized by Microsoft. This could cause a trust issue for customers who don’t want to rely on some blog.
As MVP’s we have also expressed a wish to see an official list which is maintained by Microsoft. It is great to see our request is honored so quickly and you can now find the Windows Server 2012 Cluster hotfixes
Here is a message from John Marlin, Senior Support Escalation Engineer Microsoft Enterprise Platforms Support:
In a previous blog, it was discussed on where you can get a list of the Failover Clustering and Hyper-V hotfixes for Windows Server 2008 R2.
In this blog, we give the links to newly released hotfixes for Failover Clustering and Hyper-V so you know what hotfixes are out there. There are two Wiki pages that will make life easier for you when looking for hotfixes for Windows Server 2012 Clustering and Hyper-V.
These Wiki pages are updated on a regular basis. You can setup an RSS Subscription to the Wiki page so you can the updated Wiki page in your favorite RSS app or Outlook.
I admit, you don’t have to remove a non-existent VMM Library Server everyday, but today happened to be such a day. Let me explain what happened. In addition to a SQL Server 2012 AllwaysOn cluster for the VMM database and a VMM 2012 SP1 Failover Cluster, I wanted to also make the VMM Library Server highly available because the management foundation for a production Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosted cloud would soon become too big too fail.
Let me concentrate on the VMM Library cluster. I created an ordinary guest based 2-node Windows Server 2012 cluster using the new synthetic virtual Fibre Channel adapters, connected to an EMC VNX5300 storage system. After documenting the WWN’s and WWPNs for both adapters and requesting the SAN admin to create a few disks and to correctly zone the FC devices, creating the failover cluster was really a very quick deal. For some reason after installing EMC PowerPath 5.5 SP1, only one node of the cluster detected the correct Multi-Path Disk Device while the other thought it was dealing with a VRAID SCSI Disk Device.
Because uninstalling the devices or removing and reinstalling EMC PowerPath didn’t do the trick, I just went on to create a standard clustered file server role and add a share to be used for the VMM Library.
Kind of quietly or better said unnoticed by many, the list below has been published on two sources (here and here). The list includes KB articles describing a number of issues or support tips regarding System Center 2012 SP1.
As to quote the first link “Nothing really major, just a couple support tips and FYIs we saw during that beta that might save you some time if you happen to run across them. Enjoy!”
2709539 – Regional settings default to English when deploying a virtual machine using a template on System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2709539)
2800073 – System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 Maintenance Mode Causes Refresh Errors 13926, 2606 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2800073)
2798383 – System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 Does Not Recognize Newly Imported Highly Available Virtual Machine (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2798383)
2798507 – Creating a VM from a template on an ESX host fails with error 2947 in System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2798507)
2798842 – System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 cannot increase the number of CPU Cores during a P2V conversion (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2798842)
2798911 – System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 cannot create a VM in the cloud that has an underscore in the name (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2798911)
2798926 – System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 fails to shut down a virtual machine (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2798926)
2797597 – Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 is missing from the Linux OS list in System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2797597)
2795033 – A Virtual Machine Manager Library share on Highly Available File Server displays an incorrect status (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2795033)
2799257 – How to convert between VHD and VHDX formats in System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2799257)
2798401 – System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 Service Deployment fails with error 22011 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2798401)
2800610 – Static IP is missing from a virtual switch created with System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager SP1 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2800610)
I ran into a problem with a misbehaving Failover Cluster Manager (FCM) on a Windows Server 2012 cluster after allowing Cluster Aware Updating (CAU) to update the cluster. The following updates were gracefully installed, automatically placing the nodes in maintenance mode, installing the updates and moving on to the next node:
After the cluster had been updated it was no longer possible to view the roles (Hyper-V VM’s in this case) on the cluster. Instead the following screen popped up:
Because another unpatched cluster did not have this symptom, I decided to uninstall all updates that had been installed by CAU and after a reboot all is well.
After I reported this problem, I got a quick note from the Microsoft cluster team that KB2750149 was the cause of this problem and that the current advice is to uninstall this update until further notice.
It is important to note that this is only a problem of the Failover Cluster Manager (CluAdmin.msc) snap-in. The cluster and all its roles continue to run fine, which can be verified by opening a PowerShell screen on one of the affected cluster nodes and run Get-ClusterGroup. I was also able to run FCM successfully from another cluster or a management station with the Failover Clustering management tools.
In the quiet days between Christmas and New Year, I had some time to research how DPM2012 SP1 performed with protecting guests on a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V cluster using CSV v2.0.
According to the SP1 release notes we can expect improved backup performance of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V over CSV deployments with the following benefits:
900% improvement in Express Full backups
No performance difference between backups from CSV owners and non-owners
Let me first point out that my setup is based on the following configuration:
HP ProLiant BL460c Gen8
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter with iSCSI Target Server Role enabled
Dual-port 10Gb HP FlexFabric 554FLB (Emulex) Adapter
Converged Fabric network configuration
Hyper-V Cluster Nodes
HP ProLiant BL460c Gen8
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter with Hyper-V role and Failover Cluster feature enabled
10Gb HP FlexFabric 554FLB (Emulex) Adapter
Converged Fabric network configuration
DPM 2012 SP1 Server
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Virtual Machine
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
1 x 10Gb virtual network adapter (synthetic)
Both on the iSCSI Target Server and Hyper-V cluster nodes, the two 10Gb network adapters have been teamed using a switch independent teaming mode with Hyper-V Port as the load balancing algorithm. A Hyper-V Extensible Switch is connected to the NIC Team and several virtual networks have been configured using the Converged Fabric method of Windows Server 2012. Each network has a minimum bandwidth Quality of Service configured on the virtual switch level. On the backend, the servers use a Virtual Connect Flex-10 interconnect.
It is only several days since Microsoft made the final bits of System Center 2012 SP1 available, although for a relatively limited audience. If you have a TechNet or MSDN subscription, you have access to SP1 now. All others have to wait till general availability in the course of January 2013.
One of my fellow MVP’s in the Cloud and Datacenter Management department, Graham Davies, raised my interest by claiming there was something in VMM 2012 SP1 that had gone unnoticed: a brand-new SMI-S storage provider for the onboard iSCSI Target Server role in Windows Server 2012! People using the iSCSI Target Server for both demo/test/development and production will get quite excited if they discover how well this software storage solution is integrated, not only in Windows but now also in System Center 2012 SP1.
Back in March 2011, I wrote several blogs about the new Fabric concept in Virtual Machine Manager 2012 which was still in its early beta. One blog focused on deep storage integration using a SNIA standard called Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). When I was contributing my Fabric chapters for the Microsoft Private Cloud Computing book, there was only a limited number of usually very expensive storage arrays to really dig into this subject. I had access to some HP and NetApp storage to test SMI-S integration which was still very limited at the time. When we saw how the iSCSI Target Server, which was previously a separate install on Windows Server 2008 R2, developed and became included as a role in Windows Server 2012, we begged the product managers responsible for storage in System Center 2012 to also provide SMI-S support. Well guys … here it is!
Fast forwarding about two years, a lot has happened in the storage space and most storage vendors have introduced SMI-S support for their most important storage products. I now consider storage that does not support SMI-S (and some of the other cool technology such as ODX and Unmap/Trim), as a sign that these products are on that vendor’s death list and will soon be obsolete.
Especially for those who want to manage their Windows Server 2012 servers and clusters, an important moment has come. System Center 2012 SP1 is not only RTM but also ready for download on Technet. Several of our projects were delayed because we needed the SP1 version of Virtual Machine Manager 2012, Data Protection Manager 2012 and several of the other components to manage Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and Hyper-V Server 2012 cluster. The long wait is over!
Because the new Windows operating system introduced such a shipload of new features, you can imagine what this meant for developing SP1.
It is good to know that some of the ISOs provided contain the full product including SP1 which makes it easier if you want to do a completely fresh install.
Release notes and documentation SCVMM 2012 SP1: http://technet.microsoft.com/library/gg702209.aspx
Installation Guide: http://technet.microsoft.com/library/gg610669.aspx
Release notes and documentation SCOM 2012 SP1: http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh561709.aspx
Installation Guide: http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh298609.aspx
Many businesses are changing their perspective on cloud services. A lot of arguments that prohibit acceptance of the cloud slowly start to crumble. Internet connectivity is a common good, bandwidths are increasing and even the legal aspects are dealt with. Instead of a threat the cloud now empowers possibilities. Microsoft anticipated on this change years ago with numerous game changing developments. They have set the bar with their public cloud offerings like Office365.com, Outlook.com and Bing.com just to name a few worldwide deployed services. They have even raised the bar further with their cloud operating system Windows Azure. Providing these services to millions of people gave Microsoft great insight.
Leveraging the knowledge learned through their public cloud offerings, Microsoft has created a great platform for the private cloud with Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012. This scalable solution provides businesses an elastic environment of pooled resources with self-service capabilities and usage based metering.
Microsoft now takes it to the next level by bringing Windows Azure to Windows Server. This solution mainly focusses on service providers but if you do not consider yourself one, please continue reading. The new service has also immense potential for enterprise organizations and might even trigger IT organization to think about providing hosted services.
Windows Azure for Windows Server consists of a Service Management Portal and a Service Management API. Microsoft has released a beta of Windows Azure for Windows Server with two services and will continue to add services over time. The first two services are high density website hosting and virtual machine provisioning and management. I will focus on the virtual machine provisioning service in this blog.
Microsoft provides an end to end solution enabling service providers to create an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) offering. This end to end solution consists four layers.
- Windows Server 2012: The virtualization layer
- System Center VMM 2012 SP1: The management layer
- Service Provider Foundation for SCVMM: Multitenancy for SCVMM and a REST ODATA API
- Windows Azure For Windows Server (WA4WS): The Service Management Portal and API
Windows Server 2012 is the most cloud capable Operating System ever released. Combined with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 as the management tool, they form the building blocks of the modern private cloud, providing scalability and availability features to meet even the most critical environments. Service Providers running hundreds or even thousands of workloads for their customers have these requirements. Leveraging the power of the private cloud, Microsoft enables multitenancy with the Service Provider Foundation (SPF). SPF also creates an industry standard Restful ODATA web service that developers can use for programming to System Center VMM 2012. This means that service providers can retain their current portal solutions and still benefit from the private cloud provided by Microsoft.
Windows Azure runs tens of thousands of customers and hundreds are added to the platform each day. As you can imagine the management portal, the primary tool for this platform, is used heavily. Since the launch of Windows Azure on February 1, 2010 the management portal has evolved to fulfill a diversity of requirements, from browser independency to easy administrating, monitoring and diagnostics. Microsoft has taken these developments to complete their end to end offering for service providers and created a Service Management Portal combined with a Service Management API for Windows Server that are now available in Beta.