Altaro VM Backup with support for Windows Server 2016

I have been trying out the Altaro VM Backup in my lab. It is a Backup solution that have been around for quite a while but also got support for VMware which was not part of the product in the start! Quite a few companies have both Hyper-V and VMware and having different backup solutions is not viable and place a burdon on the backup admins!

They have several very nice features:

Backup and Replication features

  • Drastically reduce backup storage requirements on both local and offsite locations, and therefore significantly speed up backups with Altaro’s unique Augmented Inline Deduplication process
  • Back up live VMs by leveraging Microsoft VSS with Zero downtime
  • Full support for Cluster Shared Volumes & VMware vCenter
  • Offsite Backup Replication for disaster recovery protection
  • Compression and military grade Encryption
  • Schedule backups the way you want them
  • Specify backup retention policies for individual VMs
  • Back up VMs to multiple backup locations

Restore & Recovery features

  • Instantly boot any VM version from the backup location without affecting backup integrity.
  • Browse through your Exchange VM backup’s file system and restore individual emails
  • Granular Restore Options for full VM or individual files or emails
  • Retrieve individual files directly from your VM backups with a few clicks.
  • Fast OnePass Restores
  • Restore an individual or a group of VMs to a different host
  • Restore from multiple points in time rather than just ‘the most recent backup’
  • Restore Clones

They do also have a REST api that can be utilized for automation which in todays world is a requirement for most business because of their standardisation and automation work to get better quality and speed.

The VM Backup Installation and configuration

It is very easy to get started with Altaro VM Backup.

And once finished you can start the management console to configure the backups and also the repositories

The console is very easy to find your way around in and configure advanced settings

For the trial there are no limits so you can test it for all your VM´s in 30 days. You can also download the Free Hyper-V Backup or the VMware version. You will be able to back up 2 VMs for free forever.

Altaro has still a license that is not bound to cores or cpu and uses a host license instead!

VMM 2012 R2 support for Windows Server 2016 guest OS

So I am working on a customer and their path of upgrading to 2016 versions. The first step was to make sure that the VMM 2012 R2 server was updated to latest UR and that I can deploy guest vm´s with 2016.

After the update of VMM to UR11 I checked the list of OS,

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So to be able to see the 2016 as a guest OS i have to add a hotfix and that took some time but what ever you do, do not cancel but wait and wait and wait and the never ending progress bar will eventually go away 😉 . And yes you have to add one hotfix for the console and one for the vmm server!

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And once that is applied,

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Good luck in your upgrading story !

 

 

AzureStack TP2 – deploy experience

During Ignite 2016 in Atlanta, Microsoft announced the technical preview 2 of AzureStack and finally now this friday I got my hardware available (the dang server was not responding on the ILO port and I had to go to the datacenter to give it a kung-fu-devops-kick) so I could deploy the new bits.

First things first! Read the documentation about how to proceed and you will more likely succeed in your deployment!

The download for AzureStack is 20 GB so if you have a slow internet connection it will take some time!

Before getting started i suggest you to run the pre-check script that can tell you if there is some immediate issues,

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And then you can unpack and follow the instructions to prepare to vhd-boot into the cloudbuilder disk with the next script:

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Once rebooted you want to make sure that you only have one nic enabled and then kick of the deployment which will take about 2-3 hours if you have a decent hardware like me 😛

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As you can see the install process uses both desired state and powershell direct (which is a lovely feature in Hyper-V 2016)

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And if you are patient and then log in as a azurestack\AzureStackAdmin on the physical machine you will see the status of the deployment. Do not log in as a local user on the server and try to start the deployment again!

Hopefully you will end up with the same result as me:

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And then you can log in to the VM MAS-CON01 to connect to the portal,

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Maybe I was lucky but I believe that the Stack-Team has done some serious work since TP1 and the deployment process have been thoroughly developed, tested and works really good now.

Good luck in your deployment of Azurestack TP2!

 

Upgrade to Windows Server 2016 TP5 – Live migrate from TP4

So the day have come when finally the new TP5 bits have been released! And I of course downloaded and wanted to test to upgrade one of my hyper-v servers in my home lab.

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Once installed I tried to migrate a VM from the hyper-v manager at the new TP5 node, I had of course set up kerberos and delegation before but still it gave me an error. To see if it was just in the GUI or also in PowerShell I tried the same move and got the same issue

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 23.26.57

So powershell remoting to the rescue to test that I could live migrate my VM´s from the TP4 to the TP5 and that worked nicely. I will dig some more into if there is an issue with the AD objects or what causes this and do an update if I find anything…

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 23.27.44

happy testing!

 

SC VMM bare metal deploy with UEFI enabled host

During last week I was working on some bare metal deployment on some Hyper-V hosts with System Center VMM. We had deployed them before using legacy boot but now we had updated the BIOS to latest version and got into some trouble.. Maybe it was because of the HPE instead of the HP 😉

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During the deployment the WinPE got an error and could not connect to the VMM server,

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We tried to update NIC drivers and stuff on the WinPE image but that did not help. During the testing we started the server and configured it to boot with EFI instead of legacy boot and olala it worked to connect to the VMM server but thus as the Hyper-V VHD was MBR we got the following error:

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 15.41.29

The easiest way I could think of right there and then was to create my new GPT based VHD to boot the Hyper-V host with a powershell convert script from the original MBR vhd. The script required to be run on a Hyper-V host so I connected to one of the Hyper-V nodes in the test cluster and ran the script on a patched VM that was sysprepped:

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 16.02.48

And once that was done I had to update the Physical profile to set the disk to GPT instead of MBR:

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And now the deployment worked nicely all the way!

 

Configure VM Network settings from the host using Hyper-V 2016

Today I used Ravikanth script for configuring an VM´s NIC settings from the host and can confirm that it works nicely also on a Hyper-V Host with 2016 TP4 and a full-GUI VM and also with VM´s running Nanoserver 🙂

There is a cmdlet in the Hyper-V PowerShell module that is named: Set-VMNetworkAdapterFailoverConfiguration although that configures only the nic for the Hyper-V replicated VM and cannot be used on a ordinary vm. So using the function from Ravi I set the VM´s configuration using the Hyper-V WMI virtualization namespace.

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And trying to set it on a Nano server also works nicely

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 15.19.58

 

SCVMM Bare-Metal Deploy errors and PXE error 21164

I was working with a customer yesterday and trying out bare-metal deploy of a Image for their Hyper-V servers, and in this case a brand new Dell R730 with nice specs 🙂

During the deployment we got some errors that we had to handle and I wanted to highlight them so that you can handle them if they appear in your environment one day!

First of we had some issues to enable the NIC to respond to PXE but that had more to do with where to find stuff in the bios and iDRAC settings 😉

But once that was fixed we got the following error and I have already mentioned that in a blog post earlier.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 13.09.47

So trying to update the WinPE image got us into some more trouble, as you can see on the following screen dump. This was a new one that I have not seen before, checking the folders I could not find any strange things but…

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 15.25.55

I tested to restart the VMM service just in case and the same error appeared and thus I thought that it might go away if I remove and add the PXE server again and yes that worked!

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 15.26.05

And after this we were able to deploy a physical servers as a Hyper-V host!

Creating VM´s with configuration version 5.0 on Hyper-V 2016 TP4

Creating a VM in the GUI on a Hyper-V manager with Windows Server 2016 TP4 makes a VM configuration 7.0 by default and once that is done it is not possible to move the VM to a Hyper-V 2012 R2 box.

So if you have a mixed environment and want to be able to move those VM´s to a 2012 R2 Hyper-V box you will have to use powershell to create that VM instead of the GUI. One alternative way is to create them on that 2012 R2 box and then move it to the 2016 but that is not as cool  😉

in the New-VM cmdlet there is a parameter -Version that you can use and set the configuration version to 5.0 instead of 7 and thus enabling it to be compatible with the older version of Hyper-V.

I have two examples in the screendump below where you can see the result,

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 13.43.46

My friend Didier has made a blog post about how you upgrade the configuration version if you do not need this backward compatibility and some new features requires the configuration version 7.

Trying to do a Checkpoint on a VM resulting in error 12700

Today I helped a customer that have issues with their new VM´s and doing backup using Veeam and also trying to do Checkpoints within VMM on their Hyper-V 2012 R2 environment.

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Looking at the error message from VMM it showed quite clearly that it was just one of the VHDx that was having the issue and looking at where it was residing it showed the reason:

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 11.43.59

The file was residing on its own in a CSV volume and directly in the root folder, and as stated in the blog post from the Core Team the VM worker process (VMMS) does not have the relevant permissions on that level and thus getting a access denied error when trying to do a checkpoint.

So how do you solve it? By either manually or with live storage migration moving it into a subfolder which will give the right ACL´s and thus giving the VM worker process rights to create a avhdx file in that folder.

So watch out when you create new VM´s that you actually put all of the virtual disks that belong to it inside folders on those CSV´s!