Posts tagged Hyper-V

Keeping your Virtual Active Directory Domain Controllers Safe

In my last blog I sent out a red alert on a killer Windows Update that had not been sufficiently tested. The net result was a full crash of a two-node System Center fabric management cluster. The fabric was still in the making and backups were only provisionally taken in the form of Virtual Machine exports of the most important virtual machines.  As fellow Hyper-V MVP Aidan Finn wrote unambiguously: “Something Has Gone Very Wrong With Microsoft Patch Testing

Where did it go wrong?

I was actually demonstrating the fantastic Cluster Aware Updating functionality in Windows Server 2012 clusters, which would automatically move all VMs off a host, update it, reboot it, live migrate the VMs back to the updated cluster node and move on to the next.

The problematic July Update Rollup KB2855336 – which was one of the updates to be processed – is actually a collection of originally 20 issues that solves problems in several areas. A still unidentified part of that rollup caused a 0x000000D1 Stop error while live migrating a VM on a Windows Server 2012-based server. So Cluster Aware Updating using the Live Migration mechanism to place a host in maintenance mode, combined with the mentioned update, sent shockwaves through the cluster. In this case both cluster nodes crashed within minutes.

Catch 22

Ironically enough this same July Update Rollup also contained an important fix for a problem that has been around for some time: Active Directory database becomes corrupted when a Windows Server 2012-based Hyper-V host server crashes (KB2853952).

Symptoms

Assume that you have a Windows Server 2012-based virtualized domain controller on a Windows Server 2012-based Hyper-V host server. When the Hyper-V host server crashes or encounters a power outage, the Active Directory database may become corrupted.

Cause

This issue occurs because the guest system requests the Hyper-V server to turn off disk caching on a disk. However, the Hyper-V server misinterprets the request and keeps disk caching enabled.

If you try to disable the write caching manually you will see this error: “Windows could not change the write-caching setting for the device. Your device might not support this feature or changing the setting.”  On a physical domain controller this has never been a problem.

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CORRUPTED DOMAIN CONTROLLER

It takes very little imagination to guess what happened to Active Directory if you combine the full STOP of the fabric management cluster and the AD domain controllers that were virtualized on that same Hyper-V cluster without the required updates and hotfixes.

READ MORE »

[RESOLVED] Avoid KB2855336 Rollup with NIC Teaming and VLANs

[Update July 13, 2013 – I was able to deploy the newly issued KB2855336 to all of my physical and guest cluster nodes. There have been no issues so far. The same KB will also show up in most of your VMs as it is a collection of 21 updates touching all kinds of bugs including four stop errors]

[Update July 13, 2012 – For a thank you to Microsoft testers, may I kindly refer to Aidan Finn’s very direct blog called “Something Has Gone Very Wrong With Microsoft Patch Testing”]

[Update July 12, 2013 – Meanwhile Microsoft has expired KB2855336. In WSUS you can no longer approve installation of this update and you are recommended to decline this update

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Problem has been acknowledged and KB2855336 has been reissued ]

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Unfortunately we again see a problem with Hyper-V clusters just after installing the Windows Updates. The previous one only broke Cluster Failover Manager which could be solved by uninstalling the responsible update or install the fix which came out very quickly afterwards.

This time we face a much more serious problem and should be a strong warning for those responsible for testing updates at Microsoft.

After updating the cluster nodes with the Windows Server 2012 update rollup (July 2013) and when Windows Server 2012 NIC teaming is used with VLANs (not entirely uncommon), you may get a 0x000000d1 bug check on one or more of your cluster nodes. If you analyze the debug, it points to MsLbfoProvider.sys which is for NIC teaming. The upgraded version of MsLbfoProvider.sys is 6.2.9200.16628.

Uninstalling KB2855336 will return you to 6.2.9200.16451 of MsLbfoProvider.sys

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Please avoid the July rollup until we find out which part of the rollup is responsible for this problem.

[See updated info top of blog!]

Fifth MVP Award

Today I received word from Microsoft that I am re-awarded as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Virtual Machine. When I received my first award for Cluster back in 2009, I could not begin to understand its consequences and how much such an award would mean in terms of recognition, access to knowledge, direct contact with the product teams and all those forums crowded by fellow MVPs in Hyper-V, cluster, System Center, file & storage.

Today you can’t live on an island anymore and only specialize in one direction. Although my focus has always been Hyper-V, clusters, servers, storage, I now see so many other technologies need be be learnt to provide high level services in the private, service provider and public clouds. Networking is one subject which is difficult to ignore, although I must admit I have tried. Especially NVGRE and Hyper-V Network Virtualization, the in-box Gateway in Windows Server 2012 R2, the Hyper-V Extensible Switch, physical switch integration with the OMI standard …… there are so many technologies in networking alone, that this will easily be the subject I will be studying in the coming year.

My sincere thanks to all my fellow MVPs, the EMEA MVP team, my book and blog readers, the Windows Server and System Center product teams, my colleagues and my family who’ve all made this possible.

This morning my new colleague at INOVATIV, Marc van Eijk had to remind me that my MVP was due. I had simply been too busy after TechEd and had forgotton all about it. Then again I did not think of my re-award until Microsoft sent me this email message:

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Looking forward to another great year being part of a superb community!

Updated: Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and Cluster Hotfixes and Updates

Update June 26, 2013: Cristian Edwards notified me that he has updated the script to now support using a cluster name. That will save you some typing if you cluster counts 64 nodes. See end of blog

Update July 1, 2013: Great to see that Niklas Akerlund and Trond Hindenes made great extensions on the update script:

Recently I was contacted by Frank Lesniak who informed me that he had updated the Technet Wiki which keeps an up-up-to-date list of hotfixes for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. Because the list was getting longer and longer, also several items had already been updated by a newer version (solving new problems, causing new ones too I’m afraid). Frank did a great job reorganizing the WiKi and there is now a split between the active updates and the superseded updates. The list of superseded updates also describes by which update it is replaced.

In a previous blog I drew your attention to a great script by Cristian Edwards who wrote HyperV2012UpdatesCheck.ps1 which gives you a quick overview of the installation status of an update for one or multiple servers. The script uses two XML files. For your convenience I have updated both XML files to reflect all updates till June 22, 2013.

You can download these files here

I also updated the Windows Server 2012 Cluster list based on the official TechNet article “Recommended hotfixes and updates for Windows Server 2012-based Failover Clusters” which is maintained by the Failover Cluster product team.

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Hyper-V: Update List for Windows Server 2012
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/15576.hyper-v-update-list-for-windows-server-2012.aspx

Recommended hotfixes and updates for Windows Server 2012-based Failover Clusters
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2784261

See Cristian’s blog for the updated script:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/cedward/archive/2013/05/31/validating-hyper-v-2012-and-failover-clustering-hotfixes-with-powershell-part-2.aspx

Windows Server and Hyper-V: What’s Next?

We already know that we wouldn’t have to wait four years to get significant new features in Windows Server & Hyper-V. Looking at the list of builds since the first version of Hyper-V, we can observe there were considerable intervals between the releases of Windows Server 2008 (R2) and Windows Server 2012.

We’ve seen three major releases of Hyper-V since June 2008. If development progresses well, we might even see an updated version of Hyper-V within only about 1 year from GA of Windows Server 2012. The Windows Server 2012 operating system was already packed with spectacular new functionality and scalability with major focus on the Hyper-V and Cloud OS feature set.

Builds of Windows Server including Hyper-V

  • 2008 (February 4) – RTM Windows Server 2008 SP1 – February 2008 (with beta version of Hyper-V)
  • 2008 (June 26) – Release of Hyper-V 1.0 which shipped as a free download
  • 2008 (October 24) – Release of first Service Pack SP2
  • 2009 (July 22) – RTM of Windows Server 2008 R2 including Hyper-V 2008 R2
  • 2009 (August 19) – General Availability of Windows Server 2008 R2 including Hyper-V 2008 R2
  • 2009 (October 22) – Release of Windows Server 2008 R2 including Hyper-V 2.0
  • 2011 (February 9) – RTM of SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2
  • 2011 (February 22) – General Availability of SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2
  • 2011 (September 9) – Developer Build of Windows Server 8
  • 2012 (March 1) – Beta of Windows Server 8
  • 2012 (August 1) – RTM of Windows Server 2012 including Hyper-V 3.0
  • 2012 (September 4) – General Availability of Windows Server 2012 including Hyper-V 3.0
  • 2013 (June ?) – On May 14 Microsoft’s Tami Reller, head of marketing and finance for Windows announced that Windows Blue would be officially called Windows 8.1. A public preview of the software would be available on June 26th. There was no mention of the official name for Windows Server Blue and whether a public preview would be available on the same day as Windows 8.1

When Windows Server 2012 became generally available, the System Center Suite was not able to support the new OS until its SP1 release (RTM – December 16, 2012, GA – January 2, 2013). The new OS was even so feature rich that System Center 2012 SP1 was unable to include all of the treasures in Windows Server 2012. For example features like Hyper-V Replica and Virtual Fibre Channel can still not be managed from within Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1.

Questions, Questions, Questions

If there is a new Server OS version just around the corner …. What will this mean for Hyper-V?  How will it impact Windows Azure Services for Windows Server (WASfWS)? And what will this mean for the successor of System Center 2012 SP1?  Will the management suite be able to manage all of features of the new operating system?  To what extent will Private, Hosted and Public Cloud be more aligned in the CloudOS? What’s with SMB3? What’s with Software Defined Networking (SDN) and how about the storage integration direction Microsoft is taking? Will Microsoft be able to set itself apart from the competition even more than it did with Windows Server 2012?

In other words, there are plenty of questions that remain to be answered. There’s a very good chance that some or maybe all of these questions will be answered during the live streamed TechEd North America 2013 keynote in New Orleans by Brad Anderson.

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Keep an eye on this blog because we will soon announce a joint event by the System Center User Group (SCUG.nl) and Hyper-V.nu which will focus on the expected new exciting releases.

 

Validating Hyper-V 2012 and Failover Clustering Hotfixes and Cumulative Updates

Some time ago I blogged about a great TechNet Wiki listing available hotfixes and updates for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and Failover Clustering:

As many of you know, keeping your Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V clusters up-to-date has become a whole lot easier with Cluster Aware Updating, which assists not only in a managed installation of relevant Windows Updates such as the monthly cumulative updates, but also for any relevant hotfixes or even BIOS/device driver updates. Fellow Hyper-V MVP Didier van Hoye aka @WorkingHardInIT has published a number of interesting blogs on this topic.

It can still be a laborious task to verify which updates and hotfixes have already been installed on your servers and which are missing. Once again my Twitter feed proved very helpful. Someone had noticed a great blog by Cristian Edwards, dealing exactly with this problem.

Using two XML files with entries for each hotfix class (Hyper-V or Cluster), you can simply check your servers by issuing this PowerShell script:

.HyperV2012UpdatesCheck.ps1 server1, server2, serverX

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Of course you are still responsible for selecting only those hotfixes that apply to your configuration. Windows Server 2012 cumulative updates should always be installed.

You can download the PowerShell script from Christian Edwards’ blog.

 

It was a great, great, great, great Hyper-V.nu event

The 16th of April 2013 was a really great day for the Hyper-V.nu crew. After a couple of months of preparation we were all looking forward to this next Hyper-v.nu event. It was exciting also… Will all subscribers visit the event, will the visitors like the location, the lunch and the sessions, and so on.

Now some days after the event we can conclude that everything was great. Amply 100 visitors has visit the event, the visitors were really satisfied about the location, the reception, the lunch, the coffee, the presenters, the presentations actually about the whole event! ….and that’s great to see and hear!

A special word of thanks to VX Company, they facilitate a great location and were very hospitable. Also many thanks to the sponsors: Amsio, Comparex, Duvak, Imara ICT, Inovativ, Savision and Wortell.

Then our ‘Beast from Belgium’ Glimlach Didier van Hoye aka WorkingHardInIT. Still suffering from a jetlag he came over to the Netherlands and present a top session, with deep technical content and a good sense of humor! Thank you Didier!!

Last but not least we thank all visitors for this great event, you all made this a great success.

The presentations are online and you can find them on the following locations:

See you all on our next event!

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation and Configuration Book

If you are in some way dealing with Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2 and probably now exploring Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, you are by no means able to avoid the blogs, whitepapers, books and tweets written by Aidan Finn. In 2010 Aidan asked me to be a technical editor for his Mastering Hyper-V Deployment which I gladly accepted. It was a great step-by-step for implementing Hyper-V R2 and several of the important System Center components. The book was co-authored by Patrick Lownds, Hyper-V MVP and datacenter expert working for HP in London.

About a year later, Aidan approached me again asking if I would be willing to contribute to another book called Microsoft Private Cloud Computing and I did not think about refusing (or should I have). It was my first experience as an author and I wrote up the Fabric chapters of VMM 2012. Aidan laid a nice foundation with his lucid Cloud introduction chapters, Patrick focused on the service management functionality and the VMM Library while Cloud and Datacenter MVP, Damian Flynn wrote a couple of brilliant chapters on private cloud management and integration with App Controller, Service Manager and Orchestrator. It was a fine job we completed in early 2012, the book was published just before the beta of SP1 was announced. We simply didn’t have the opportunity to wait until SP1 was out and digest and explain all the new features that arrived with Windows Server 2012. Fortunately Damian has joined Nigel Cain (who is a Senior Program Manager for Windows Server and System Center) to write a blog series on Technet in eight installments between Jan 2013 until July 2013, just to explain the new Virtual networking technology in VMM 2012 SP1

Another year came and here was Aidan again, asking me to join him on his new venture: the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation and Configuration Guide. Although I really liked the subject and wanted to go into great depth to learn all this cool stuff, I was simply too busy doing all those great Hyper-V and System Center projects for Inovativ. Our family was also heavily burdened by the unfortunate adventures of one of my sons, which more or less influenced me most of 2012.image Writing a book was out of the question.

Convincing as Aidan can be, he said he had his author team complete, again with Damian Flynn and Patrick Lownds plus Michel Luescher, “a virtualization junkie working as a consultant at Microsoft” as he calls himself. The only omission was a technical editor fit for the job. And that’s why he asked me.

I am more than honored to be mentioned quite extensively in the Acknowledgements of the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V book by each and every author. I really felt like being part of the author team but in the role of both learning, correcting but most of all improving. I remember advising Aidan to split one chapter into two because it was approaching 100 pages, more than twice as much as they had anticipated.

Having been the first reader (and I read the chapters multiple times), I can truly say this is a superb book that anyone interested in the technical secrets of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V should buy. I can guarantee you will not one day regret having bought this book. There were moments I wanted to cry out how good these chapters were, thrilled by the sheer excellence of the product and the very talented explanatory writing in the 600 pages of this Must-have-Hyper-V-version-3 book.

The book can be pre-ordered now and will be published on March 25th. The European release will be April 5th. See the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Book Release FAQ.

I will not wait till my free copy arrives (Sybex, hope you are reading this) as I have already pre-ordered it myself, but wouldn’t mind a few extra copies to give away.

Last tickets for Hyper-V.nu event up for grabs

imageAs you can see from the screenshot, only a few tickets are left for the Hyper-V.nu event on April 16th, 2013. The event will be presented in Dutch which is unfortunate for several of our followers in the neighboring countries who wanted to attend. I hope to convince my fellow speakers to present in English again so the last 15 tickets could have been easily sold by now. The event is free by the way.

If you already know you cannot make it, please return your tickets!

Thanks!

Hans

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Dell Compellent and Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX)

I just finished a remote support session for a customer in New York. My task was to check a Windows Server 2012 cluster using PowerEdge M620 blades with 4x10GbE connected to a Dell Compellent (6.3.1 firmware).

I just had a small window of opportunity to create a fixed sized VHDX (25GB and 250GB).

new-vhd -path C:ClusterStoragevolume125GB.vhdx -size 25GB –fixed

new-vhd -path C:ClusterStoragevolume2250GB.vhdx -size 250GB –fixed

Both completed in under 3 seconds. Wow!!! 

ODX in its purest form.

So let me reiterate my advice to new SAN array buyers. The first question you should ask your SAN vendor. Does it support ODX?  If the answer is negative or if they promise ODX in their next release, just tell them to take a hike and move on to a capable SAN vendor.

 

 

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