Update (16 April 2014): see bottom of blog
I recently blogged about Windows Server 2012 R2 Update. As usual any update and certainly an update as large as this, has some risks. Therefore we usually advise to postpone Windows Updates, Update Rollups an Hotfixes and leave a couple of weeks before deploying updates in production. Always test in a lab if you can and if you can’t, keep an eye on the forums and the blogs from MVP’s specializing in the related technology.
Testing Host Level Hyper-V Backup
This weekend I came across a tweet from Richard Skinner who reported an issue related to Veeam Backup & Replication and Hyper-V Backup after applying the Windows Server 2012 R2 (Spring) Update. Meanwhile, Veeam had already confirmed the problem and was working frantically into the weekend to fix this nasty problem.
I decided to report a support case with Veeam as well, even though I’m only running it in a Windows Azure Pack lab. I found that the problem was easily reproducible, but only if VSS was enabled in the backup job.
The Problem: Using Hyper-V Checkpoints
When this selection is made as an alternative to Veeam’s default changed block tracking (CBT), the backup fails because it cannot deal with the file path of the checkpointed VHDX files. When you zoom in on the directory of a VM that is being protected, as soon as VSS kicks in, a checkpoint is made of the active disks. This causes the writes to be redirected from the VHDX to a corresponding AVHDX file which makes it possible for the backup software to take a clean and ‘frozen’ copy of the virtual hard disk. When the backup is ready, the written data to the AVHDX file is merged back into the VHDX file. Only briefly you’ll see n AutoRecovery.avhdx file created which is deleted when it is ready with the merge operation.
Important: Microsoft started to coin the term checkpoint in VMM. After Hyper-V had used the term Snapshot for a long time, this changed with Windows Server 2012 R2. We can now better distinguish between VSS snapshots and Hyper-V checkpoints. Backup software now uses Hyper-V checkpoints just as in Hyper-V Replica.
If you want to read more about the changed method of Hyper-V backup in Windows Server 2012 R2, please take a look at fellow MVP Aidan Finn’s post:
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Microsoft at MMS 2012 announced a new toolkit for mass conversion of VMware VM’s to Hyper-V. VMMT is wizard based conversion tool aimed at conversion from VMware to the current version of Hyper-V. Windows Server 2012 support is still under development.
Please note that this is a different tool from the Microsoft Solution Accelerator called Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter.
If you are only converting a dozen or so VM’s it is not worth your while. However if you have 100+ Windows and Linux VM’s in your environment this tool is for you. The target customer has multiple hypervisors, wants to move to Hyper-V and has primarily a Windows workload.
VMMT as it is called uses a combination of existing products and custom scripts:
- vCenter & vSphere
- Veeam Backup and Reporter
- Orchestrator 2012
- Virtual Machine Manager 2012
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The first day of MS TechEd is a busy day for new product announcements. Just to recap a few:
5nine Software, innovative provider of Microsoft Hyper-V Data Management, Security and Compliance solutions for Virtual Datacenter environments, Cloud and VDI has announced today a Beta Preview Program for its 5nine Management and Security Suite for Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Providers.
5nine Suite includes new version 3.0 of 5nine Virtual Firewall for Hyper-V, 5nine ‘Easy V2V’ and Monitoring, High Availability Management and Backup Solutions designed primarily for Microsoft Hosting/Cloud Services Partners. 5nine Suite was specifically built to meet Major Management and Maintenance requirements of Hyper-V Cloud Providers, such as Scriptability, Scalability, with Data Center being a Management Unit (with up to 16- node Hyper-V clusters), in accordance with Microsoft DDC Alliance Best Practices
StarWind Software presents a free version of their iSCSI SAN solution:
Host operating systems: any modern Microsoft Windows OS is supported.
Works with all the leading Hypervisor vendors: VMware, Microsoft, VMware.
Data De-duplication (fully supported, variable block size). Data Deduplication is a specialized mechanism of data-reduction, reducing storage capacity requirements by eliminating duplicated data within and between files.
Unlimited storage capacity & Unlimited number of supported concurrent iSCSI connections.
Full Production use is allowed.
Support. Free version is covered with a basic support plan (an open public community forum). Support upgrades are available for paid per-incident plans or switching to any commercial version with extended functionality where an annual support plan is included.
Caching. StarWind has a multi-level cache mechanism implemented. The cache can use gigabytes of RAM and converts it into to extremely fast level 1 write-back or write-through cache, providing superior storage performance over many conventional SANs.
CDP (Continuous Data Protection) and Snapshots that are completely compatible with VSS (Volume Snapshot Services).
VTL (Virtual Tape Library) and WAN replication are offered as paid upgrade options.
iSCSI boot is fully supported with iSCSI boot capable NIC.
Further details at the website