Posts tagged System Center

System Center VMM 2012 R2 Bare Metal Deployment with Converged Fabric and Network Virtualization – Part 1 Intro

Windows Server 2012 introduced a whole new spectrum of networking configurations with NIC Teaming and QoS. In previous versions the possibilities were limited but this also meant you had a limited amount of choices to make. These new features provide a huge amount of possible configurations, but it also requires you to make more decisions. Most of the configuration of NIC Teaming, Virtual Switches and QoS must be done with PowerShell. Which is great since a single PowerShell script can be reused on multiple hosts. This has proven to be a good solution for configuring converged networks in Private and Hosted Clouds.

Network Virtualization

With Windows Server 2012 Microsoft introduced another feature called Network Virtualization. This feature enables abstraction of the virtual machine network from the physical network and is interesting for isolating tenants or departments, especially when the amount of tenants or departments grow. The downside of network virtualization in Windows Server 2012 is that no inbox gateway is provided to get traffic out or in to these virtual networks.

System Center VMM 2012 SP1 Networking

System Center Virtual Machine Manager is playing a central role on implementing and managing all the component that builds the fabric and the services on top of that fabric. Networking is an important part of the fabric which is reflected in the networking functionalities in System Center VMM 2012 SP1. A lot of system administrators have a hard time to see through the networking objects in VMM and how these objects relate to each other. I can’t blame them. It is complex since there are so many pieces in the puzzle. But once you get to see the big picture it is very logical.

Logical Switch

In System Center VMM 2012 SP1 the logical switch was introduced. In essence this is a central location where you can define capabilities and settings for a network configuration that could be used to enable these capabilities on multiple host. On top of a central location for configuring the settings, deploying a logical switch also gives you the possibility of host compliance. System Center VMM allows you to compare the settings on an individual host to the logical switch and if they are not compliant perform remediation on the host.

High Level Overview

In theory we no longer need to use the scripts we built. We can replace it with the logical switch. Unfortunately in practice this has proven to be quite a challenge.

A lot of issues not only prevented us from using the logical switch it even created some reluctance towards it. I know you have at least tested one bare metal deployment, trying to create a team with a vSwitch, which contained a vNIC for Management, a vNIC for Live Migration and a vNIC for Csv. The System Center VMM job failed at the end and your network configuration on the host ended up in some funky state. You probably deleted the whole network configuration and pulled out the trustworthy PowerShell script again. Another downside of the logical switch in VMM is that it can only create a NIC Team with a vSwitch on top of that. There is no possibility to create a native NIC Team with tNICs.

Common Design

The most common design we see at customers is two NIC Teams for a single Hyper-V host that is part of a cluster.

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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.

 

My Hyper-V Wishlist of 2011

While cleaning up my mailbox, I found a note to myself dating June 2011 about a few feature requests for the next version of Hyper-V and VMM. While talking to customers throughout the year, I often hear about and collect suggestions and product improvements which I can then pass on to the Hyper-V and System Center Product team. In retrospect most items on my list have become a reality in Windows Server 2012 and much, much more!

Online VHD growth and shrink has not yet been realized (although a 64TB dynamic disk supporting unmap pretty much covers all you can desire).

Perhaps the last item on the list is only partly covered by Hyper-V Replica but needs some additional automation or services to make this a complete Recovery solution that could make it even better than RSM. As we know Microsoft is on the right path and a flood of companies are getting really interested in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and System Center 2012 SP1.

Thanks Hyper-V and System Center product teams for listening.

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Removing a non-existent VMM Library Server

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.

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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.

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The Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2012 Has Launched

You can participate in the survey HERE

 

Just over a year ago, we asked people to answer 80 questions about their intentions and implementations of Hyper-V and System Center in The Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2011. We learned a lot about how people were using Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and System Center 2007-2010.  Back then, we knew just 2 things about Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and System Center 2012 was still pre-release.  But now, both are generally available, and we want to learn about:

  • Have you learned about these new technologies?
  • Do you already use them?
  • Are you planning on using them?
  • How do you plan to use them?

Once again, this is a completely independent survey, run by 3 MVPs (me, Aidan Finn, and Damian Flynn), and Microsoft has had no input or involvement. They might help us promote it – because we do know that our findings were read by them and some of the information was a surprise for them.

The goal of the survey is to learn. We’re all bloggers and speakers and we want to deal with what’s relevant. You’re interested in seeing what other people are doing. We all want to learn from each other and we learned a lot last year.

This is a perfect time to speak – if Windows vNext development is like that of Windows Server 2012, then they’ll be spending the next 10-12 months talking, learning, etc. And the same might happen post-SP1 for System Center 2012.

So we ask you to:

  • Respond to the survey and answer all the questions.  There are 72 questions.  I know, it’s a lot but there’s a lot of stuff to ask about.  We’ll only be using complete responses.
  • Share the survey with colleagues, customers, on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn, MySpace, or whatever work-related social network you are on.  We got an amazing response last year and we want to beat that.  The more responses we can use, the more reliable the data will be.

Thank you in advance for taking the 10-15 minutes to respond to the survey.

BTW, we don’t ask for or want any personal data or email addresses. No individual response will be shared.  We will only be sharing aggregate information, e.g. X people responded with Y answer.

The survey will close on December 1st 2012

System Center 2012 SP1 beta Documentation

Here is a list of updated documentation for the recently announced System Center 2012 SP1 beta

System Center TechCenter:

TechNet Library:

  • Added the Technical Scenarios node
  • Added What’s New topics for all components
  • Updated deployment guides for all components
  • Delivered over 200 new or updated “How-to” topics for the SP1 Beta improvements
  • Delivered new SP1 cmdlet reference and updateable PowerShell help for VMM and CM
  • Updated the MP Guides for Windows Server 2012 and IIS

MSDN Library:

TechNet Wiki: In addition to the technical scenario content called out above, we also

Download Center: Updated all the off-line guides, and applied standard formatting to reinforce the single product message.

Big day for System Center and Microsoft Private Cloud

Don’t miss the big public webcast about System Center 2012 & Microsoft Private Cloud with Satya Nadella (President of Server and Tools) and Brad Anderson (CVP of System Center and Management).

The new System Center 2012 vision will be laid out in full detail!

Register for it here:
http://www.microsoft.com/business/events/en-us/PrivateCloudExec

Date: January 17th 2012
Time: 17:30h CET

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Hyper-V interview video’s in cooperation with NGN

A couple of weeks ago the Hyper-V.nu team visited the Netwerk Gebruikersgroep Nederland (NGN) to record some interviews about Hyper-V. The NGN record and edit the video’s. Jaap Wesselius interviewed Hans Vredevoort, Maarten Wijsman and me. The first of the three video’s is just published online at the site of NGN.

You can watch the video here

Virtualization Career Training

UPDATE October 20th 2011: Here is a link to the video: http://t.co/v1xAMV6x

On Tuesday, October 4th Technical Evangelists Symon Perriman and Rick Claus are hosting an online conference on Virtualization Career Training with Microsoft Learning.  This half day virtual event (8am – 11am PST) will offer a Level 100 to 200 introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about Microsoft Virtualization and how it can help their career.  It is free and public so sign up for this warm-up for the Jump Start event on October 6th.

  • Module 1Technology: Learn about Microsoft’s virtualization technologies, how they work, and the future roadmap to the Cloud!
  • Module 2Career: Understand the importance of virtualization and Private Cloud, and how it can make or break an IT Professional’s career!
  • Module 3Certification: Get prepared for your next steps towards a virtualization career by understanding and preparing for the Microsoft 70-659 Technical Specialist exam, Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization.

Learn More: http://mctreadiness.com/MicrosoftCareerConferenceRegistration.aspx?pid=270
Register: http://mctreadiness.com/MicrosoftCareerConferenceRegistration.aspx?pid=288

Instructor Bios:  http://mctreadiness.com/MicrosoftCareerConferenceRegistration.aspx?pid=287

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Results of The Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2011 (part 2)

In yesterdays blog I started with the first part of my analysis of the Hyper-V Survey:

  • Why Hyper-V?

  • Hyper-V Implementation

The second part focuses on these three topics of the survey:

  • Systems Management

  • Private Cloud?

  • The Year is 2012

 

SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT

In this part we want to learn how people are managing their Hyper-V servers. Somehow I was not surprised to see that over 56% use System Center Virtual Machine Manager as their primary management tool. Many will be pleasantly surprised if they see what VMM 2012 can do for them! There are still a number of tasks you can only do (efficiently) in Hyper-V Manager or Failover Cluster Manager. So the 38% is understandable too.

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