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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.
Update October 21st, 2011 (see bottom)
Let’s assume the following scenario:
- You have a Hyper-V R2 SP1 cluster that has three or more nodes
- You are using Cluster Shared Volumes
- You learnt about the Cluster Validation problem that was solved by KB2531907 back in May 2011, which prevented the “Failed to get SCSI page 83h VPD descriptors for cluster disk <number> from node <node name> status 2” error after running the Validate SCSI Vital Product Data. It also solved the “Disk with identifier <value> has a Persistent Reservation on it. The disk might be part of some other cluster. Removing the disk from validation set” error when running the List Potential Cluster Disks test. The hotfix resolves an issue in which the storage test incorrectly runs on disks that are online and not in the Available Storage group. The problem can also be caused by other issues such as storage problems or an incorrect configuration which means you have to check your storage configuration and check related events on your Hyper-V hosts.
- You want to add more capacity and add a new Hyper-V host.
Because I don’t want to copy Michel de Rooij’s blog I will simply make a reference to his blog. Many of us know that the Unified Messaging role was not supported for Virtualization and that the Exchange 2010 Mailbox Role if used in Database Availability Groups was not supported if implemented on top of Hyper-V, VMware or XenServer host failover clustering. So in a Hyper-V environment we were unable to use Live Migration (although I know many who went against that policy).
With the release of a new whitepaper on virtualizing Exchange this now seems to have changed. Michel explains further in his blog.
Many of us have delayed installing Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 on HP ProLiant Servers until guidance from HP became available. While writing my blogpost Preparing for upgrading your Hyper-V R2 cluster to SP1 about two months ago I was unable to find any details. Searching for an updated BladeSystem Matrix Compatibility guide, I stumbled upon the long expected HP Integration Note: Implementing Microsoft Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 on HP ProLiant and Integrity servers.
Several hotfixes have been issued after the formal release of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. There was one particular hotfix in the making that we have really been waiting for. Many enthusiastic installers of SP1 in Hyper-V clusters with 3 or more nodes would face a problem with Cluster Validation. See the thread for more details.
We are glad that the hotfix has been made available today:
KB2531907 Validate SCSI Device Vital Product Data (VPD) test fails after you install Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
A nice blog called Working Hard In IT by Didier van Hoye, describes all post SP1 hotfixes and can be found here.
Here are two RemoteFX hotfixes:
This culminating blog in a series on SCVMM 2012 shows how to create a Hyper-V R2 cluster in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012. With the arrival of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, cluster creation has almost become a trivial job, largely because of the excellent Cluster Validation Wizard. The previous blogs showed us what preparations to make before we could perform a successful bare metal deployment. One moment you have 16 unconfigured blades, the other you have 16 fully installed Windows Server 2008 R2 hosts including the Hyper-V role. All that is left is to build a cluster from them … the easy way!
Because I didn’t have 16 available blades I had to settle for only two. But you’ll get the idea despite of this.
In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 assigning memory to virtual machines is a static process. When you assign 4 GB to a virtual machine it uses these 4 GB, no more, no less. When not all of this memory is used than it’s bad luck. Once assigned it cannot be used for other purposes. So, when you have a Hyper-V host with 32GB of memory, you can create 15 virtual machines each configured with 2 GB of memory. The last 2 GB will be used by the parent partition itself.
New in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 is a feature called “Dynamic Memory”. This feature can assign more memory to a virtual machine (while running) when the virtual machine needs more memory. It can also remove memory from the virtual machine when this memory can be used for other virtual machines.
Some people think VMware’s and Microsoft’s approaches to dynamic memory is exactly the same. In this article I explain both the similarities and the differences. Read More….
Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 with SP1 included is now ready for download:
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows® 7 with SP1 enables IT administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on computers that are running Windows Server® 2008 R2, Windows Server® 2008, or Windows Server® 2003, from a remote computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows 7 with SP1.
**Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 with SP1 can be installed ONLY on computers that are running the Enterprise, Professional, or Ultimate editions of Windows 7 or Windows 7 with SP1.**
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 with SP1 enables IT administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on remote computers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 (and, for some roles and features, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003) from a remote computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows 7 with SP1. It includes support for remote management of computers that are running either the Server Core or full installation options of Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2, and for some roles and features, Windows Server 2008. Some roles and features on Windows Server 2003 can be managed remotely by using Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 with SP1, although the Server Core installation option is not available with the Windows Server 2003 operating system.
This feature is comparable in functionality to the Windows Server 2003 Administrative Tools Pack and Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1).
When upgrading from SCVMM2008R2 RC version to SP1 you need an additional tool that changes the database used by the RC version.
The tool is called UpgradeVMMR2SP1RC.exe and can be downloaded here.
Before you start make a backup of your SCVMM database! After this run the tool and than upgrade the Server component of SCVMM2008R2. The other components can be upgraded in the same way the RC version is installed.
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 SP1 RC Upgrade Tool
Use this tool to upgrade your VMM 2008 R2 SP1 RC database.
Usage: UpgradeVMMR2SP1RC.exe -server -database
Example (named SQL instance):
UpgradeVMMR2SP1RC.exe -server VMMDB01\MICROSOFT$VMM$ -database VirtualManagerDB
Example (default SQL instance):
UpgradeVMMR2SP1RC.exe -server VMMDB01 -database VirtualManagerDB
A full description in how to use this tool can be found here: Migrating to VMM 2008 R2 SP1 from VMM 2008 R2 SP1 RC.