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Posts tagged Windows Server 8
Last year I speculated about a number of possible names for the next version of Windows. Windows Server 2012 was just one of them. Now we now that the quotes around the number 8 were not for nothing. The official name for Server is Windows Server 2012 which is matching very well with System Center 2012 and SQL Server 2012. How surprising!
The new “cloud-optimized OS” is due out later this year.
Read more in Mary Jo Foley’s blog:
This is another installment in my series on Windows 8 Storage & Hyper-V. Previous blogs in the series can be found here:
Another promising new storage functionality that can be found in Windows Server 8 is the new transparent fast copy feature called Offload Data Transfer or ODX. If you know VMware’s vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI), you probably know where to place ODX because it is more or less in the same league.
What’s the Challenge?
If you have a large Hyper-V guest with multi-Terabyte VHDX files, it depends on the amount of memory, the activity of the VM and the available bandwidth how long it takes to Live Migrate that VM to another node in your Hyper-V cluster. However, it is an entirely different story if you also need to move these very large VHDX files from one disk to another, from one array to another, from one cluster to another or even from one cloud to another. It would take ages doing this the classic way. Every read and every write including its confirmation would have to go through the sending server and the receiving server. Even if there would only be one Hyper-V server involved (copying between two CSV’s on the same server) this is highly inefficient. After all the VHD(X) is already on the storage array. Why let the data travel all the way from CSV1 through server A to server B and then back to CSV2 again? Why would the data have to leave the storage array at all?
In the last blog in my series on Windows 8 storage I already touched upon creating a VHDX with PowerShell 3.0 in Windows Server 8. In this blog I will focus on the subject a little bit more, showing the myriad ways of creating VHDs and show you some powerful commands to create multiple VHD files in Windows Server 8.
Here are a number of methods for creating a VHD:
The WMI Method
Three years ago Taylor Brown in his blog “Hyper-V WMI Using PowerShell Scripts” demonstrated how we could create a VHD using a Hyper-V WMI method. Back then we did not have a Hyper-V PowerShell module as we now have in Windows 8. Borrowing from his work this is how we could accomplish our goal:
On the 11th of April I will present a webinar for Savision about The Top Three Things You Need to Know about Hyper-V in Windows 8. I will address the folowing subjects:
- Storage – We’ll review the new VHDX virtual disk format, Clustered Shared Volumes version 2 and Live Storage migration
- Networking – Learn about the new NIC teaming options and other network improvements.
- Disaster Recovery – is made easy with Hyper-V replica. We’ll look at what it is and what it does!
You can follow the webinar at two different times:
- for Europe – 3PM CET
- for America – 2PM EST
Register now for this outstanding webinar
This poster provides a visual reference for understanding key Hyper-V technologies in Windows Server “8” Beta and focuses on Hyper-V Replica, networking, virtual machine mobility (live migration), storage, failover clustering, and scalability.
You can download the poster from the Microsoft download site.
We all know that PowerShell is a very important component of Windows Server 8. You’ll need PowerShell to build, administer and troubleshoot your environment. This is also the case for Hyper-V features.
Microsoft published a list of PowerShell CMDLETS for managing Hyper-V Replicas. This list may not be wanting on Hyper-V.nu so here it is:
I expect many of you have tried out the new version of VMM 2012 that will be generally available before long. It is an incredible piece of software that I have blogged about several times just after the first general beta since it arrived about one year ago. But there is one thing it cannot do: manage Windows Server ‘8’.
Now that the bits of Windows Server 8 are available to everyone, it is very good news that Microsoft has released the Community Technology Preview (CTP) of System Center 2012 for Windows Server ‘8’ Beta support. The focus of this CTP is on VMM and DPM in combination with Hyper-V and is therefore not aimed to work with all the other System Center 2012 modules. It essentially focuses on managing the fabric of your private cloud including Windows Server ‘8’.
These are the capabilities you can try out:
- Hyper-V Network virtualization
- Hyper-V VM’s on an SMB2.2 file share (on a Windows 8 file server or scale out file cluster)
- VHDX format
- Live Storage Migration
- Live Migration without shared storage
- VM protection on CSV 2.0 volumes
- VM protection on remote SMB2.2 file shares
- Protection of de-dup enabled file share volumes
System Center 2012 CTP for Windows Server ‘8’ Beta Support can be downloaded here:
Remember that this CTP is not even beta so only run this in a test environment!
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 Hyper-V.nu 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
Cluster Shared Volumes
Hyper-V Data Protection
Cluster Storage Validation
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: http://bit.ly/qeO2Z3
Left to right: @hvredevoort @jaapwess @workinghardinit @hypervserver @rickslager
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 . 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.
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.
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 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!
When Sinofsky detailed the different teams that are building Windows 8, I noticed that Storage and File Systems are one and the same group. Beneath you see a list of the most important teams in my opinion that will leverage the Microsoft Private Cloud which is built around Hyper-V and System Center 2012. The release of Hyper-V version 3 in Windows Server 2012 or Server “8” as we still have to call it, will be the cream on the cake and will boost the Microsoft Private Cloud even further. What we have seen so far is much higher virtual CPU’s in guests and awesome Hyper-V Replication technology. Add to that a decent file system and new storage innovations, both in the host and in the guest, we are ready for primetime. What will happen to CSV? What will happen to the scalability of the Hyper-V cluster?
We will soon find out! The Build Windows 2011 developers conference will unveil what all these product teams have invented. I really can’t wait! Because the conference is sold out, I plan to reserve time for the live streams instead.