Windows Server 2016 “Core” in Azure with a [small disk]

As it is known we should use Windows Server 2016 foremost and as often as it is possible and try to not use with a “Desktop Experience” unless it is really necessary! Of course it makes total sense if you are deploying a RDS solution but if you deploy a AD DC and file servers then naaaee….

In Azure it is not just called Windows Server 2016 and searching in the marketplace you can see that there the name core is the denominator

And it kind of make sense that the Server without GUI can and should use the Small disk option that is to be used with the new managed disks so you have to dig a bit deeper and search for small and then you find those:

Deploying with CLI or powershell with a template need the right SKU to get the core :

Unfortunately Azure have the core as a name but should instead use the “Desktop Experience” on the other one instead so it was consistent with the install of regular OS deployments in a datacenters..

And the system drive is 30 GB large

happy deploying!

 

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!

Lets try to get SMB1 to die …. at least in my lab..

This last weekend there have been quite a buzz about the ransomware that been spreading like the plague based on the fact that there are still so many unpatched servers and clients running windows from the stone age. We can also discuss for a while why in Windows 10 and Windows server 2016 the SMB1 protocol is still enabled and needs to be turned off? One alternative could have been to say that if you want to use this 30 year protocol you would need to enable it and thus knowing the risk and taking that into account when deciding for the legacy track

One way of beeing safe is to of course turn of the computer but that works how long?

In my lab environment I have the luck to only use WIndows 2012 R2 and above, I need to get the computers from the AD and also remove the FS-SMB1 role. The quickest way is to just disable the SMB1 protocol, you know there are users in an ordinary world that kind of does not want servers to be restarted whenever and removing the feature does need a reboot…  So first disable the protocol now and then remove the role when it is time to do the magic reboot

 

Replace a AD DC without gui and using PowerShell Direct

So in my home lab I had a DC going out of time (it was a technical preview of 2016) and needed to be replaced and I wanted to do it the right way and not login to the console/gui on the actual DC to it once during the removal and deploy of a new one!

So firstly I had to decommission it as a DC and then I created a new image from the media

After this I started the new DC-VM, to use the PowerShell Direct I had to activate the “Guest Service Interface”. one cool thing is when using PowerShell direct I can set the IP address on the NIC within the VM without getting disconnected as I would have been otherwise if using a ordinary powershell remoting session!

When the DCPromo was successfull I could check on the node that it was replicating okay

Looking at the deployment of Azurestack it is during the process utilizing PowerShell Direct and it is a killer feature 😀

Happy PowerShelling!

Updating Pester module to 4.0.2

I was going to do some Operational Testing development in an environment and did see that the new Pester 4.0.2 RC had been released on the PowerShell Gallery!

Woop Niiice, but ey I had already on my newly provisioned Windows Server 2016 the version 3.4.0 of the module and when trying to install from the gallery it complains about the catalog signing..

I wanted to uninstall the 3.4.0 but that one had not been installed with the PowerShell Get so I could not use the Uninstall-Module -Name Pester

So I used the Remove-Item instead, looking at the module base path I could use that one for removal of the folder and files of the 3.4.0 module and then install the 4.0.2

Now back to creating some lovely test files but this time with the 4.0.2 RC version 🙂

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,

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-11-00-48

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!

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-11-33-19

And once that is applied,

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-11-43-52

Good luck in your upgrading story !

 

 

Installing System Center VMM 2016 and SQL 2016 on Windows Server 2016 Core

I am a firm believer that Servers should not be used for the wrong things and thus I have now installed the new System Center VMM 2016 on a Windows Server 2016 Core.

In my home lab I do not have so many hosts so I have used the opportunity to install the SQL 2016 on the same core instance.

As I am installing the SQL on the same machine I had to enable the .net 3.5/2.0 feature on this server and yes I know and can´t agree more, please remove this requirement dear SQL team and move to the future!

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-13-53-46

SQL 2016 does not support installing via the wizard on server core so I used the command line way (by the way based on this information req page it is not supported on Windows 2016 core yet 😉 )

Although it is not supported with the wizard for sql install on core it do show some progress through a graphical dialog…

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-14-07-10

So once that was up and running I installed the ADK for windows 10, and I used the one for Windows 10 1607.

And then I could start the VMM install. And yes there is a command line way of installing the VMM but this time I wanted to see if I could use the wizard in core!

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-14-26-54

During the installation the wizard complained about my memory that I had assigned to the VM that I was installing on and I could with the superduperfeature in 2016 add more to the running VM without doing any stop and start!

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-14-44-54
screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-14-45-14

After that I had no more issues and the installation completed successfully!

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-15-01-15

Well once installed I had to do some patching as at the same time VMM 2016 was released Microsoft also announced the availability of CU1 🙂 and trying to use the short cut from the installation dialog fails on a Server core as those GUI parts are not present! I can though use the Sconfig and the “Download and install updates” option to get the updates I want…

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-23-21-27

Happy playing!

Going from Windows Server 2016 Eval to GA license

Today You might have seen that Windows Server was released and available from Volume center and MSDN etc.

I had previously reinstalled my Hyper-V node at home with a new 2016 eval media and now I wanted to activate it with a license to not have it time out in 170 days

Going into the control panel and trying to change keys was not the way to do it!

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-22-20-05
screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-22-22-51

Reading about how to do it in 2012 R2 gives a hint that I should use DISM to set the new key instead

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-22-46-12

And then after two reboots I log in and can verify that my license have been applied 🙂

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-22-51-16

And if you wonder about 2016 KMS keys you can find them on technet on this link!