Posts tagged Windows 8 event – review

On the 19th of January we organised our first event for the year 2012. After the registration opened we were over booked within two days and had to disappoint a lot of people, sorry for that!

But…. This meeting was really, really great! With a fully loaded room (people were even sitting on the stairs), great speakers with great sessions and a very satisfied crowd we must be very happy and satisfied, and we are!

Specials thanks to our sponsors: Altaro, VEEAM, Inovativ, PQR, Wortell and Microsoft! Without their support it was not possible to organise this event. Also a special thank to our German friends Carsten Rachfall en Jan Kappen who have recorded all sessions. These video’s will be published very soon, so keep an eye on for links to these recordings.

We will also thank our guest speakers Aidan Finn and Ronald Beekelaar. Both of them were from overseas! They both have given a great session with a lot of immersion into Windows 8!

Last but not least we will thank the visitors for attending this event. We hope that you all come again to our next event!

Here are the presentations of this great event:

Keynote – Jaap Wesselius and Peter Noorderijk

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Networking – Aidan Finn

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Storage – Hans Vredevoort

Windows 8 DDDD – Ronald Beekelaar

SCVMM 2012 – Maarten Wijsman

Cheers, Peter

Windows 8 Storage and Hyper-V – Part 2: VHDX and PowerShell

This blog is part of a series that started with Windows 8 Storage and Hyper-V Part 1 – Introduction:


If you have been working with any of the Microsoft virtualization products, you are familiar with the Virtual Hard Disk format. VHD was introduced with Microsoft’s acquisition of Connectix and their Virtual PC product in 2003.  Seven years ago Microsoft decided to make the VHD Image Format Specification available to third parties under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.

In June 2005 Microsoft promised that the VHD file format would have a future well beyond the then prevalent virtualization products ….. and boy did they keep their promise!

The Microsoft VHD file format specifies a virtual machine hard disk that can reside on a native host file system encapsulated within a single file. The format is used by Virtual PC 2007, Virtual Server 2005 R2 and Hyper-V and the format will be used by future versions of Microsoft Windows Server that includes hypervisor-based virtualization technology. Beyond that, the VHD format is broadly applicable, because it is agnostic to the virtualization technology, host operating system, or guest operating system with which it is used.

Customers and partners who invest the VHD file format will have a clear path forward to future Windows virtualization technologies. In addition, Microsoft plans to design its systems management tools around the VHD file format for improved patching and manageability.


Since the release of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the VHD format became even more versatile when Microsoft promised not only to standardize the variety of container files, but also introduced native VHD. This technology made it very easy to boot from VHD and have multiple operating systems on one machine. Since then VHD’s could not only be created via the Hyper-V manager but also via the inbox Disk Manager and Diskpart. Because the VHD format was opened up a multitude of VHD tools surfaced (vhdtool, disk2vhd, wim2vhd and many more). There was no easy way to just mount the VHD from the command line so 3rd parties jumped on this as well. I should not forget to mention James O’Neill’s awesome Hyper-V PowerShell Management Library which he created when he still worked for Microsoft.

The VHD related commands in that library are:
Get-VHDDefaultPath, Get-VHDInfo, New-VHD, Compact-VHD, Test-VHD, Convert-VHD, Merge-VHD, Mount-VHD, Unmount-VHD


During the \build conference we learnt that Microsoft will introduce a new advanced version of the Virtual Hard Disk format called VHDX in Windows 8 (both client and server). What do we currently know about this VHDX?


Windows 8 Storage and Hyper-V – Part 1: Introduction

If you are a server, storage or network vendor, please also read the last section.

Now that the Windows Server 8 beta can be expected any time now – but promised before the last week of February 2012 – it might be a good idea to start looking at several of the groundbreaking storage related technologies that could turn up in Windows 8. I stress the word could because we must always be careful since functionality shown in Pre-RTM builds is never guaranteed to be in the GA release.

I am planning to write a couple of blogs about Windows 8 Storage which in many cases is related to the new version of Hyper-V.

If you are running a SAN but also if your company simply can’t afford a SAN, chances are that you will see significant performance increases when reading, writing, copying, moving data with Windows Server 8. In-box storage manageability with PowerShell will strongly contribute to making Windows 8 Storage one of the major pillars of the Microsoft Private Cloud Fabric. As I have looked at it so far, storage is handled extremely well in Windows Server 8. Mind you this is only what I have determined based on what I have heard and seen on \build and have personally tested since September 2011 with the Windows 8 Developer Preview.

This edition is not at all intended to be stable and testing with de Developer Preview is a true challenge. As a preparation for the event with several sessions on Windows Server 8, I wanted to try out and show some unique new functionality for moving living Hyper-V guests between different types of storage. I had time for building up the pre-requisites and was able to successfully show a Live Storage Migration of a guest between two SMB2 shares on a ScaleOut File Cluster. But there were several other Live Storage moves that I tested but also want to explore further:

  • Live Storage Migrate a guest from USB disk to a local disk
  • Live Storage Migrate a guest from a local disk to a new Windows 8 Pool and Spaces virtual disk
  • Live Storage Migrate a guest from local disk to shared storage on a single host
  • Live Storage Migrate a guest from a shared disk on a single host to a shared disk on a Windows 8 Hyper-V cluster
  • Live Storage Migrate a guest from a shared disk on a cluster to a CSV version 2 volume on the same cluster
  • Live Storage Migrate a guest from any location to an SMB2 file share on a ScaleOut Fileserver with Continuously Available Shares
  • Live Storage Migrate a guest between two SMB2 file shares on the same Windows 8 Hyper-V cluster while the ScaleOut Fileserver cluster is moved between nodes.
  • Live Storage Migrate a guest between an SMB2 file share used by one Windows 8 Hyper-V cluster to another Hyper-V cluster or even to another SMB2 file share on another server.

Am I now running out of options?  On the contrary, I have only just started!


Jaap Wesselius interviews Hans Vredevoort on Windows 8

Just before //build/ NGN invited the crew over for a series of interviews. Jaap Wesselius who originally started the Hyper-V usergroup accepted the role of the interviewer. Peter Noorderijk, Maarten Wijsman and myself were asked to answer Jaap’s questions.  Before you start clicking the links …. the interviews are in Dutch, so unless you want to pick up a few words of our beautiful language, head over to some of the other interviews that fellow MVP Carsten Rachfahl held with me this year:

In one of the previous blog you might already have seen the link to the interview with Peter Noorderijk’s on Hyper-V:


Today also my interview was published on the site of our NGN friends:

Topics: Windows 8, Hyper-V v3, storage, networking, live storage migration, VMM 2012


We expect the 3rd interview by Jaap with Maarten Wijsman to be published in the near future.

Camera work and editing by Ed Wens

Hyper-V interview video’s in cooperation with NGN

A couple of weeks ago the 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

Video: Interview with Hans Vredevoort at TEC2011 on Hyper-V V3 and Storage

Carsten Rachfahl took another opportunity to interview me after my presentation Hyper-V Storage Deep Dive at The Experts Conference 2011 in Frankfurt.

The subject: Hyper-V V3 and Storage

Carsten’s blog can be found here:

HTML5 Video:


The Experts Conference 2011

In the past week I attended TEC Europe 2011 in Frankfurt and presented a Hyper-V Storage Deep Dive session for a small but highly specialized audience. TEC2011 is certainly not known for its sheer size but because of its small size it is very easy to get into touch with both other speakers and visitors. My and inovativ colleague Jaap Wesselius was also present and he presented for the third consecutive year. So that must mean something. Jaap presented a number of topics around Exchange, Hyper-V and instructed an Exchange 2010 Availability workshop.

My presentation was part of the Cloud and Virtualization track. This track was a mixture of private cloud management, server virtualization, application virtualization, desktop virtualization, identity, software as a service, infrastructure as a service, PowerShell, etc. I really enjoyed the depth of most presentations and talking to a good number of friends I normally only meet on the social media platforms.


My presentation dived into 10 storage topics related to Hyper-V which were analyzed on both their strengths and weaknesses and compared to what will be available in Hyper-V version 3 in Windows Server 8.

  • Hyper-V Virtual Disks
  • Hyper-V Shared Disks
  • Hyper-V Snapshots
  • Cluster Shared Volumes
  • Live Migration
  • Storage Migration
  • Hyper-V Data Protection
  • Cluster Storage Validation
  • SCSI-3 Reservation/Registration
  • Storage Configuration with PowerShell

You can download the PowerPoint including some of the PowerShell 3 scripts I used for configuring in a Windows
Server 8 Hyper-V and File Server Cluster:

My next presentations will be at Experts Live – Cloud Edition on November 22nd, 2011 and our own big event on January 19th 2012


Left to right: @hvredevoort @jaapwess @workinghardinit @hypervserver @rickslager

How to Boot from VHD with Windows 8 Developer Preview

I received a tweet from Jeffery Hicks that many of you want to know how I did the boot from VHD with Windows (Server/Client 8. Here we go!



Windows Server 8 Hyper-V new features

Too cool to ignore: reblog from WindowsITPro Michael Otey:

At the recent Windows Server Workshop at the Microsoft campus in Redmond Washington Jeff Woolsey, Principle Program Manager Lead for Windows Virtualization in the Windows Server and Cloud division presented the new features in the next version of their Hyper-V virtualization platform. In the introduction to the workshop Jeffery Snover, Distinguished Engineer and the Lead Architect for the Windows Server Division made the bold statement that with Microsoft it’s the third release is where Microsoft really gets it right and with regard to what Microsoft demonstrated in the next version of Hyper-V this is definitely true. The upcoming Hyper-V 3.0 release that’s included in the next version of Windows Server has closed the technology gap with VMware’s vSphere.

Hyper-V 3.0 Scalability

The days when Hyper-V lagged behind VMware in terms of scalability are a thing of the past. The new Hyper-V 3.0 meets or exceeds all of the scalability marks that were previously VMware-only territory. Hyper-V 3.0 hosts support up to 160 logical processors (where a logical processor is either a core or a hyperthread) and up to 2 TB RAM. On the VM guest side, Hyper-V 3.0 guests will support up to 32 virtual CPUs with up to 512 GB RAM per VM. More subtle changes include support for guest NUMA where the guest VM has processor and memory affinity with the Hyper-V host resources. NUMA support is important for ensuring scalability increases as the number of available host processors increase.

Multiple Concurrent Live Migration and Storage Live Migration

Perhaps more important than the sheer scalability enhancements are the changes in Live Migration and the introduction of Storage Live Migration. Live Migration was introduced in Hyper-V 2.0 which came out with Windows Server 2008 R2. While it filled an important hole in the Hyper-V feature set it wasn’t up to par with the VMotion capability provided in vSphere. Live Migration was limited to a single Live Migration at a time while ESX Server was capable of performing multiple simultaneous VMotions. In addition, vSphere supported a similar feature called Storage VMotion which allowed a VM’s storage to be moved to new locations without incurring any downtime. Hyper-V 3.0 erases both of these advantages. Hyper-V 3.0 supports multiple concurrent Live Migrations. There are no limits to the number of concurrent Live Migrations that can take place with Hyper-V 3.0. In addition, Hyper-V 3.0 also provides full support for Storage Live Migration where a virtual machine’s files ( the configuration, virtual disk and snapshot files) can be moved to different storage locations without any interruption of end user connectivity to the guest VM.

Microsoft also threw in one additional twist that vSphere has never had. Hyper-V 3.0 has the ability to perform Live Migration and Storage Live Migration without the requirement of a shared storage on the backend. The removal of this requirement really helps bring the availability advantages of Live Migration to small and medium sized businesses that came afford a SAN or don’t want to deal with the complexities of a SAN. The ability to perform Live Migration without requiring shared storage really sets Hyper-V apart from vSphere and will definitely be a big draw – especially for SMBs that haven’t implemented virtualization yet.

VHDX, ODX, Virtual Fiber Channel & Boot from SAN

Another important enhancement with Hyper-V 3.0 was the introduction of a new virtual disk format called VHDX. The new VHDX format breaks the 2TB limit that was present in the older VHD format and pushes the maximum size of the virtual disk up to 16 TB per VHDX. The new format also provides improved performance, support for larger block sizes and is more resilient to corruption.

Hyper-V 3.0 also supports a feature called Offloaded Date Transfer (ODX). ODX enables Hyper-V to take advantage of the storage features of a backend shared storage subsystem. When performing file copies on an ODX enabled SAN the OS hands off all of the data transfer tasks to the SAN providing much high file copy performance with zero to minimal CPU utilization. There is no special ODX button. Instead ODX works in the backend. ODX requires the storage subsystem to support ODX.

Companies that use fiber channel SANs will appreciate the addition of the virtual Fiber Channel support in the Hyper-V guests. Hyper-V 3.0 guests can have up to four virtual fiber channel host bus adapters. The virtual HBAs appear in the VMs as devices very like virtual NICs and other virtual devices. Hyper-V VMs will also be able to boot from both fiber channel and iSCSI SANs.

Extensible Virtual Switch & NIC Teaming

In keeping par with the sweeping changes in Hyper-V’s compute capabilities and storage Microsoft also made a some of significant enhancements to Hyper-V’s networking capabilities. First, they updated the virtual switch that’s built into the Hyper-V hypervisor. The new virtual switch has a number of new capabilities multi-tenant capability as well as the ability to provide minimum and maximum bandwidth guarantees. In addition to these features the new virtual switch is also extensible. Microsoft provides a API that allows capture, filter and forwarding extensions. To ensure the high quality of these virtual switch extensions Microsoft will be initiating a Hyper-V virtual switch logo program.

Another overdue feature that will be a part of Windows Server 8 is the built-in ability to provide NIC teaming natively in the operating system. VMware’s ESX Server has provided NIC teaming for some time. Prior to Windows Server 8 you could only get NIC teaming for Windows via specialized NICs from Broadcom and Intel. The new NIC teaming works across heterogonous vendor NICs and can provide support for load balancing as well as failover.

The Magic Number 3

As Jeffery Snover pointed out three does seem to be the magic number – at least for Hyper-V. Hyper-V 3.0 brings Microsoft’s virtualization on par with VMware’s vSphere. Businesses that are just getting into to virtualization or those businesses that may be bulking at VMware’s latest price increases will find Hyper-V to be a very cost effective and highly competitive alternative.

Windows Server 8 will bring us this!

Well as I said in my previous blog I expect a lot of new details around Windows Server 8. The wave of new Windows 8 features that Microsoft announced yesterday is impressive and while watching the keynote I almost get a buffer overflow Emoticon met brede lach. Today It’s time for Windows Server 8 news, are you ready for some really cool stuff?

Windows Server Core

Microsoft introduced Windows Server Core in Windows Server 2008 and this continues in Windows Server 2008 R2. During the setup of your server you had to choose between the GUI or the Core version. Personally I like the Core version because it’s faster, more secure, needs less patching and so on. However sometimes it was a challenge to configure things within the OS like NIC bindings e.g. Over the time there appeared tools for managing Server Core (see also this and this blog). The command line scares many admins because of the unknown territory of CLI. Windows Server 8 will change this: In Windows Server 8 you can turn the GUI on and off whenever you want. So there is no reason anymore to choose the GUI version for a Hyper-V host. You can run Server Core and when you need to configure something you can turn on the GUI configure your stuff and turn the GUI off again!

Virtual Machines on a File Server

Yes you read that correctly. With Windows Server 8 it’s possible to store virtual machines on a Windows file server! This is made possible through the updated file server protocol SMB 2.2. This means that it is not a requirement anymore to make use of a SAN system when you build a Hyper-V cluster. You can simply point your nodes in the cluster to the file share where the VM is placed. I really wonder how this performs and how reliable it is. However this will give the small sized business the opportunity to easily build a high available Hyper-V environment.

Hyper-V Replication

This feature is already announced in the early summer of this year. Because it’s a very interesting feature I will mention it again. Hyper-V Replication makes it possible to replicate a virtual machine to another Hyper-V host without the need for expensive storage hardware and replication software. This even can be a virtual machine that is stored on local storage. The network connection between the host could be a one gigabit Ethernet link. If you have a large virtual machine that would take hours or days to replicate over your network it is also possible to do the first replication to a portable drive. Transfer this drive to the other host, copy the replica to the host and from then only replicate the changes. So this will give you the possibility to implement a disaster recovery site without the need to spend a lot of money.

NIC Teaming

In Windows Server 2008 (R2) Microsoft does not support NIC teaming but instead directs you to the OEM hardware vendor. This was a great disadvantage and a lot of people has complained about this. Well Microsoft has heard all these complaints. In Windows Server 8 we don’t need NIC teaming software anymore! The Operating System will do the job!!! Great isn’t it? It doesn’t matter if you use two or more different NICs for different vendors. These can all be teamed by the OS. The OS will do bandwidth management, failover management and will also improve throughput.

Domain controllers that are virtualization-aware

Snapshotting a virtual machine with the domain controller role is absolutely unsupported. The restore snapshot method will likely cause a rollback in the update sequence number (USN) used to track changes in Active Directory. When a USN rollback occurs, the contents of the Active Directory databases on the improperly restored domain controller and its replication partners may be permanently inconsistent… But thins will change with Windows Server 8!!!!!

On top of Windows Server 8 you can install a virtual machine with the Domain Controller role and AD will be virtualization aware. It even understand what needs to be done when a DC goes back in time (revert a snapshot). There is even an option DC cloning. When you setup a virtual DC you can make this DC clone-able.

Hyper-V scalability

Hyper-V in Windows Server 8 is more scalable then it was ever before:

  • In the beta a Hyper-V host support up to 160 CPU cores;
  • 2 TB of RAM
  • 4000 virtual machines per cluster
  • 63 nodes per cluster

Virtual machines will support up to 32 virtual CPU’s and 512 GB of RAM. There also will be a new virtual harddisk format VHDX. VHDX should be faster and can exceed the 2 TB size limit of a VHD file.

De-Duping on storage and network

Windows Server 8 can dedup files within a VHD file. So If you have some VHD files with all a Windows Server 8 installation on it identical files will be deduped to save storage! This will also happen when you copy a number of files between two Windows Server 8 host the network stack will do dedupping as well.

That’s it for now… Windows Server 8 add some very nice features which are not available in other hypervisors. Until today Hyper-V was always a step behind the other hypervisor but Windows Server 8 will change this and take a leap ahead of its competitors!

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