Bin file left on Hyper-V VM

We have an upgraded Hyper-V cluster from 2012 R2 to 2016 and I wanted to make some more space on the volume that it resides on so I started looking on the settings of the VMs. As I concluded in another blog post there can be a discussion about if we really need the setting of “Save VM state” for the VM´s in a Hyper-V cluster. It is viable to have this setting on VM´s that reside on a standalone host and if doing maintenance it saves the state of the VM during host reboot.

So what is the thing here, well some of the VM´s in this cluster have got their VM version upgraded to 8.0 but some was still on 5.0. If i just check on the SC VMM I could find the VM´s configured with “Save VM” and amount of storage that they consume.

But when checking the storage where the VM reside I noticed that the value above did not match the size. With the following PowerShell I check for the files that have the ending of .bin (2012 r2 and older format) and also .vmrs (that is the 2016+ format)

Apparently some of the VM´s that have been upgraded from 5.0 have their bin file still in the subfolder.

To fix this I did a report of the files and then a delete, as the file is not in use in a 8.0 VM I could do it when it was online

Running the following on your VM´s disable the “SaveVM” and if you then upgrade to VM version 8.0 after that you will not get a duplicate issue 🙂

Happy HyperVing out there

Windows Server 2019 on Hyper-V 2016

Now finally Microsoft have updated the misleading documentation on supported guest os within Hyper-V. This is quite important as some people tend to get stuck on small details and as my good friend Didier wrote on his blog, Hyper-V supports guest OS n+1, although that now gets a bit altered with the semi-anual releases.

old doc page

Now the docs page is updated and shows the following:

updated docs page

Automatic VM activation heads-up!

There is though a small or big thing that needs to be considered if you have an environment with Hyper-V servers and utilize the AVMA. If you plan to deploy Server 2019 guest VM´s there is no way to get them auto activated on a 2016 Hyper-V host.

If you are a bit more old fashioned and utilize a KMS you will just need a KMS server that is newer than 2012 as the key for 2019 needs the KMS to be hosted on at least a 2012R2 Windows Server!

Upgrading my homelab to Server 2019

My homelab environment consists of two Intel NUC and I have been playing around with the insiders previews of Server 2019 on one of them and the other one was running Server 2016.

As you might know there is a bit of a hustle of the nic drivers with the server versions of Windows and the Intel NUC´s so there are some steps to get it working. I had some issues where the nic failed during in-place upgrade between preview versions of 2019 and as I do not have a KVM I had to move the NUC to a monitor and fix it. To get the drivers in I had to set the server into test mode:

After I did this and rebooted the server I could update the nic drivers that I already had modified as per this blog post.

I wanted to test and update my 2016 server with an in-place upgrade without moving it from the closet and as a precaution I changed to test mode first and then started the update…

After the upgrade went through successfully I changed back to non-test-mode:

I had a small issue with the Windows Update after the upgrade and it would not finish installing the CU of 2018-12… As a mitigation if this I went for the command line tool of System File Checker, SFC and the parameter /Scannow I also did a Dism repair and after these two successfully ran I could continue with the Windows Update!


Happy NUC-playing with 2019 🙂

Testing Altaro VM Backup v7.6

For taking care of my backups on my lab environment I have tested and updated to the new Altaro VM Backup to version 7.6 that now have some really nice features:

  • Augmented Inline Deduplication
  • Continuous Data Protection (CDP)
  • Concurrency
  • Offsite Backup Replication
  • Grandfather-Father-Son Archiving (GFS)
  • Cloud Backup to Azure

Setup and updating

In the console there is a check update and when pressing that I get redirected to the download page on Altaro

Installing the update keeps the settings and license so no fuzz there!

Configuring is really easy and getting the backup up and running was a breeze. Altaro have made it easy with good info and guidance on schedules and configurations needed!

Management

After Install of the mother I see in the console that my agent on the other Hyper-V server needs to be updated also to work properly.

Offsite backup and restore

One really nice feature is the Cloud Backup to have a storage account in azure as offsite location where the backups can be sent. I can set the storage account to cool and thus save a bit on the cost!

Start up with creating a storage account in Azure at a preferred region. As I already have backup onsite I do not need geo-replication within Azure also

After setup in Azure you need to configure Altaro Backup and add an offsite location.

Once I have setup the offsite storage I can then add a backup to be replicated there. And doing a restore from an Azure storage account took about 7 minutes for a 12 GB VM, I have in my lab a 250 Mbit broadband connection and the other side will probably not be the limiting factor 🙂

Cloud Management

Another great feature that can be configured is the Altaro Cloud Management Console that makes it easy to stay on top of your backups and you can reach it from anywhere with a browser!

Reporting

To set up backup reporting via email I can utilize a Office 365 account and the smtp.office365.com

Once setup I can expect an backup report every morning at 8 AM

Summary

Getting the Altaro Backup solution up and running is really straight forward and easy! I have not yet tested it in a large scale environment yet but it seems really great and have as I described above some very good features!

For us that have an automation approach we can connect to the Altaro Rest API to check and do stuff for larger environments. Being an MSP and having BaaS is crucial as a competitive offer and the licensing for Altaro Backup in an MSP scenario goes into number of VM instead of CPU

I urge you to take it for a test run and see for your selves!


Announcing the Windows Server Summit 26 of June

On the 26 of june Microsoft will have a half of a day summit on Windows Server that you do not want to miss!

The agenda will have four different tracks

  • Hybrid: We’ll cover how you can run Windows Server workloads both on-premises and in Azure, as well as show you how Azure services can be used to manage Windows Server workloads running in the cloud or on-premises.
  • Security: We know security is top of mind for many of you and we have tons of great new and improved security features that we can’t wait to show and help you elevate your security posture.
  • Application Platform: Containers are changing the way developers and operations teams run applications today. In this track we’ll share what’s new in Windows Server to support the modernization of applications running on-premises or in Azure.
  • Hyper-convergent Infrastructure: This is the next big thing in IT and Windows Server 2019 brings amazing new capabilities building on Windows Server 2016. Join this track to learn how to bring your on-premises infrastructure to the next level.

Agenda with times and speakers:

here you can find the link to the summit and download a reminder

Set powerplan to High Performance on VM´s

The recommendation stated is that for virtual machines running on either VMware or Hyper-V should be configured with a High Performance power plan.

Looking at Microsoft Azure VM´s they are set as High Performance by default:

In my Hyper-V lab you can see that I have balanced set and when using the powerplan powershell module I created you can also change it to high perf

If you save the following powershell functions in a folder on c:\program files\windowspowershell\modules\powerplan you can then import it as the screendump and utilize it either on a local server or remote server.

 

Honolulu have been released as Windows Admin Center (WAC)

In the agile world we live in now Microsoft have released their new administration tool for servers formerly called Honolulu which was the project name and it is now by marketing named as Microsoft Windows Admin Center

I am running it on a Windows Server 2019 (core) build 17639

Using the AD module from Patrick Grünauer I can via the PowerShell remoting see viable information from the AD controller in WAC,

To manage a 2016 Hyper-V Server with WAC you need to add some features and roles

  1. Enable Remote Management.
  2. Enable File Server Role.
  3. Enable Hyper-V Module for PowerShell.

And the following OS can be managed by WAC:

Version Managed node via Server Manager Managed cluster via Failover Cluster Mgr Managed HCI cluster via HCI Cluster Mgr (preview)
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) or newer Yes (via Computer Management) N/A N/A
Windows Server 2019 (insider builds) Yes Yes Yes
Windows Server, version 1709 Yes Yes No
Windows Server 2016 Yes Yes Coming soon
Windows Server 2012 R2 Yes Yes N/A
Windows Server 2012 Yes Yes N/A

Note:

Windows Admin Center requires PowerShell features that are not included in Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. If you will manage Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 with Windows Admin Center, you will need to install Windows Management Framework (WMF) version 5.1 or higher on those servers.

Type $PSVersiontable in PowerShell to verify that WMF is installed, and that the version is 5.1 or higher.

If WMF is not installed, you can download WMF 5.1.


Windows Server (2019) vNext LTSC build 17623 released

Today the preview version of vNext LTSC (Windows Server 2019) build has been released on Windows Server Insider and now you can download and test the features and system.

Some info from the tech community site:

Extending your Clusters with Cluster Sets

“Cluster Sets” is the new cloud scale-out technology in this Preview release that increases cluster node count in a single SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center) cloud by orders of magnitude. A Cluster Set is a loosely-coupled grouping of multiple Failover Clusters: compute, storage or hyper-converged. Cluster Sets technology enables virtual machine fluidity across member clusters within a Cluster Set and a unified storage namespace across the “set” in support of virtual machine fluidity. While preserving existing Failover Cluster management experiences on member clusters, a Cluster Set instance additionally offers key use cases around lifecycle management of a Cluster Set at the aggregate.

Failover Cluster removing use of NTLM authentication

Windows Server Failover Clusters no longer use NTLM authentication by exclusively using Kerberos and certificate based authentication. There are no changes required by the user, or deployment tools, to take advantage of this security enhancement. It also allows failover clusters to be deployed in environments where NTLM has been disabled

Encrypted Network in SDN 

Network traffic going out from a VM host can be snooped on and/or manipulated by anyone with access to the physical fabric. While shielded VMs protect VM data from theft and manipulation, similar protection is required for network traffic to and from a VM. While the tenant can setup protection such as IPSEC, this is difficult due to configuration complexity and heterogeneous environments. 

Encrypted Networks is a feature which provides simple to configure DTLS-based encryption using the Network Controller to manage the end-to-end encryption and protect data as it travels through the wires and network devices between the hosts It is configured by the Administrator on a per-subnet basis.  This enables the VM to VM traffic within the VM subnet to be automatically encrypted as it leaves the host and prevents snooping and manipulation of traffic on the wire. This is done without requiring any configuration changes in the VMs themselves.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection

Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard

If you have not signed up for the insiders do so now and start playing with this new release, I am in the works of upgrading my lab!

My experience with AzureStack in a multinode setup part 6: IaaS VM and AVMA

As I described earlier I had an eval image in my marketplace that I used to provision servers and I wanted some of them to be converted so they could be correctly activated and reconfigured away from eval.

The AzureStack uses the function within Hyper-V for the VM´s that is called Automatic Virtual Machine Activation and as you can see in the device manager the device Microsoft Hyper-V Activation Component and the VM´s should have the appropriate AVMA key on them and if the host is licensed with the right key the VM will activate automatically.

On this page you can find the keys you need for the different guest-OS that it can be used with!  A Windows Server 2016 AVMA host can activate guests that run the Datacenter, Standard or Essentials editions of Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Utilizing the DISM command I can check what license I had and then use DISM /online /Set-Edition:ServerDatacenter /ProductKey:xxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxx-xxxx /AcceptEula

If you just want to change a key and not versions you can utilize the slmgr /ipk <AVMA_key> instead of the DISM!

 


Add 2016 shared vhds to VMs fail with backend SOFS running Windows 2012 R2

We are doing some work in adding functionality and found an issue today! We have quite a few workloads running on a converged setup with Hyper-V nodes accessing storage from Scale-Out File Servers.

In our lab environment we have Hyper-V running on Server 2016 and these get their storage from SOFS and they currently run 2012 R2. For ordinary VM´s that has not been a problem. Now we wanted to get the VHD Scale sets (enhanced shared VHDX) set up for guest clusters running guest OS win 2016.

The documentation says not so much more than you need storage residing on a SMB or CSV volume, but when trying to add a VHDs file we get an error stating that the SOFS server does not recognize the file format of the vhd set and think it is a reserved file for windows!

 

Using a SMB share from a bunch of 2016 Scale Out File Servers gives no errors

So upgrade those SOFS servers first and you will not run into problem 🙂