Poster: Networking in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 added a lot new networking features. Some of those can be difficult to understand and to configure. Microsoft published a nice poster showing all the network features and configuration steps.

For an overview of blog articles explaining those new features see this post.

This poster for VMM in System Center 2012 SP1 can help you:

  • Plan your VMM networks using a logical view of VM networks, logical networks, and logical switches using a variety of configurations including VLAN-based configuration, no isolation, network virtualization, external networks, and with no virtual networking.
  • Configure networking in VMM using configuration steps by roles including fabric administrators, tenant administrators, or by any user.
  • Understand the network object model with diagrams of objects showing the relationships between objects.
  • Extend VMM with options including using a vendor network-management server with extensions, connect a VM network to other networks by configuring the VM network with a gateway, and load-balance requests to VMs that make up a VMM service tier by adding a load balancer to VMM.

download the poster here.

SCVMM2012SP1-poster

Storage issues on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. Microsoft struggling to fix!

Storage is a crucial component of any virtualization platform. Issues on storage will have an effect of performance and availability of virtual machines.

In Windows Server 2008  Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) had a couple of issues. I remember redirected io issues during backup operations, the way iSCSI is used to handle reservations of volumes (see this issue) and third party drivers (McAfee Antivirus, see this issue) could harm performance and/or reliability.

It is always a  good idea to fully test your backup solution before implementing Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V in your production environment.

Microsoft improved quite a bit on CSV storage in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. Also integration between storage arrays and Hyper-V was improved. ODX or  Offloaded Data Transfers improve copy performance by offloading the data copy to the storage array instead of doing the work by the Hyper-V host.

ODX enables a large improvement in duration on actions like a storage migration or regular copy of a file.

However still some issues are being noticed.

One of the issues is related to ODX. As ODX is a new interfacing technology it needs to be implemented in the storage array firmware. Not all storage vendors support ODX at the moment. However ODX is default enabled in Windows Server 2012. This might cause issues. Read Aidan Finn blogpost titled Enabled ODX In Hosts With Non-Supporting SAN Can Cause CSV Stability Issues on this.

Veeam Backup & Replication does not like ODX either. It will disable ODX as can be read in this thread. VeeamFCT is a service installed on each Hyper-V host which VMs are protected by Veeam Backup & Replication. It handles Changed Block Tracking (CBT) by installing a driver (VeeamFCT.sys) so only changed blocks of data in the virtual machine disk file are processed during backup. Veeam is working on a fix as can be read in this thread.

Last but not least there has been a major issue on backup of CSV. This could cause VMs to go in pause of CSV volumes to go offline. Microsoft needed several patches to get this fixed and it still seems to be not fixed for all users. I blogged about this here.

An overview of fixes:

KB2799728 did not fix the backup issues as it had a memory leak .
workaround is to de-install the KB2799728 and enable per host and lun serialization in dpm ( http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh757922.aspx )

Then Microsoft released KB 2813630 ( available here.) which is supposed to solve both backup issue and memory leak. However users in this Microsoft forum are complaining that this fix of fix does not fix the issues either. They are awaiting v3 of KB2813630.

update June 13
Around the 15th of May Microsoft released a new, important bugfix which solved many issues. Read my post for more information.

 

Free Hyper-V event in the Netherlands at April 16

The Hyper-V.nu user group in the Netherlands will host a FREE event presenting 5 technical sessions on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012.

Hyper-V.nu is the Dutch Microsoft Server Virtualization User Group that was founded in 2008. The goal of this user group is sharing knowledge acquired through experience and interacting with the Hyper-V community worldwide. The User Group organizes events with international attraction, usually reinforced with standout speakers in the community.

The event will take place on Tuesday April 16 and be hosted at VX Company in Baarn. Below the agenda.  All sessions will be presented in Dutch.

Be quick to register here. At the time of writing 94 places were available.

Start is at 09:30

location:

VX Company
8 Baarnsche Dijk
3741 LR Baarn
Netherlands

 

hyper-v-event

StarWind offers massive discount countdown on HA products

starwind-discount

StarWind Software offers a great discount during the month of March. Discount starts at 31 % at March 1 and will go down to 1 % on March 31.

StarWind makes software which delivers functionality of SAN without the associated high costs of a SAN. Basically local storage of servers is presented to virtual machines in such way features like High Availability and Live Migration are available. StarWind solutions are targeted at the small and medium businesses (SMB).

To claim the discount, use  promo code:STARMARCH312013_MB18 when registering for a quote.
Everybody who buys any StarWind HA product till the end of March using this promo code, will get not only a discount but the 2nd year ASM (Annual Software Maintenance) for free.

More information on the discount deal here.

The discount is given on two products:

StarWind iSCSI SAN & NAS is the storage hypervisor that creates fault-tolerant and high performance storage within minutes. This is a truly hardware-agnostic solution that can be installed on any commodity server. This robust software is a perfect fit for SMBs that need to create highly available shared storage without large investments.

StarWind Native SAN for Hyper-V is the best option for you if you want to take full advantage of Live Migration and High Availability but don’t want to spend money on expensive hardware SAN.  StarWind Native SAN for Hyper-V allows building a reliable, fast and easy-to-manage shared storage in the existing infrastructure, which makes this solution affordable for the small and midsize business.

The image below shows a setup of StarWind iSCSI SAN.

starwind-iscsi-san

The chart below shows the given discount.

starwind

Cisco Nexus 1000V for Hyper-V public beta and webinar

At March 6 Cisco will introduce the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V during a webinar. Also you can participate in a Public Beta program.  Damian Flynn was first to blog about this.

For VMware vSphere virtual networking the VMware supplied virtual switches can be used (standard and distributed switches). However those switches lack the management interfaces of physical Cisco switches. In large environment in which management of networking, storage and servers is strictly divided in teams VMware virtual switches could be limited. Cisco has been delivering a virtual switch for VMware vSphere which is based on the physical switches of Cisco. Same interface, same management, same features.

Cisco offers two editions of the Nexus 1000V for vSphere: Essentials which is free and Advanced which has a price tag. Read more here.

This virtual switch, the Nexus 1000V will soon be available for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V with SCVMM 2012 SP1 as well.

The features are:

  • Advanced virtual machine networking based on Cisco NX-OS operating system and IEEE 802.1Q switching technology
  • Cisco vPath technology for efficient and optimized integration of virtual network services
  • Tight integration with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1
  • Layer 2 Switching with Transmit side Rate Limiting
  • Security Policy Mobility, inbuilt support for Private VLANs with local PVLAN Enforcement
  • Provisioning Port Profiles with deep Integration with SCVMM
  • Traffic Visibility, including VM Migration Tracking, NetFlow v.9 with NDE, Cisco Discovery Protocol v.2
  • And so much more

Join Cisco Gunnar Anderson (Cisco), Appaji Malla (Cisco) and Damian Flynn on Wednesday March 6th at 9am PST as they present the Nexus 1000V, Overview some of the amazing features which this solution enables, and most importantly share the details on how you can start working with the Beta Release right away.

Using or looking at Hyper-V for your workloads?  Learn how the Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual access/distributed switch can help simplify your Hyper-V virtual environment through a non-disruptive operational model, policy based provisioning, and a strong services ecosystem.  You will learn about the Cisco Nexus 1000V architecture, how it integrates with Microsoft’s System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and the rich networking capabilities it brings to Hyper-V environments.

The webinar starts at:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 6:00 pm  Europe Time (Amsterdam, GMT+01:00)
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:00 pm  Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 5:00 pm  GMT Time (London, GMT)
Thursday, March 7, 2013 2:00 am  Japan Time (Tokyo, GMT+09:00)

Follow this link to register for the launch.

If you want to participate in the  Cisco Nexus 1000V for Microsoft Hyper-V Beta program, click here. Or send an email to beta-n1kv-hyperv@cisco.com with in the Subject field: ATTENTION: N1KV/Hyper-V Beta Feedback

Microsoft releases 2nd bug fix to fix issues on CSV backup of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V

update June 2013:

at June 19 I blogged about another update released by Microsoft which solved several storage related issues. Read more here.

——————————————————————————————————-

Microsoft customers using Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V had serious issues when back-ups were made of virtual machines running on CSV volumes of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosts.

Virtual machine enters a paused state or a CSV volume goes offline when you try to create a backup of the virtual machine on a Windows Server 2012-based failover cluster. This issue also occurs when you try to create a snapshot of the virtual machine by using a backup software that uses the Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider

This happens with any backup tool including Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2012 SP1 and Veeam Backup & Recovery v6.5

Initially Microsoft released a hotfix which was supposed to solve this issue. However applying the hotfix resulted in a serious memory leak  which could lead to no available memory for virtual machines.

Background information on this can be read at Hyper-v.nu , Technet forum and SCDPM blog of Matthijs Vreeken.

At Saturday February 16 the Windows team has  released a V2 of the fix to address CSV backup issues and is available for download. This will address the known memory leak issue along with some other issues that were discover during testing.

This fix supersedes the original fix and includes all fixes contained in the original.

Virtual machine enters a paused state or a CSV volume goes offline when you try to create a backup of the virtual machine on a Windows Server 2012-based failover cluster.

Download the hotfix at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2813630

The Windows team is investigating other issues found during testing and not included in this release. However they wanted to get this fix published since the memory leak issue is fixed and provide immediate relief.

Microsoft Virtual Machine Migration Toolkit for VMware vSphere to Hyper-V migrations

Microsoft is doing its best to provide customers and partners with the right tools and knowledge to migrate from VMware vSphere to  Hyper-V infrastructures.

One of the challenges of this type of migration is the conversion of the virtual machines. vSphere is using a different virtual disk format and a different host-VM integration tool than Hyper-V does. So you need to do a Virtual to virtual (v2v) migration.

vmmt Read more of this post

Test drive the Windows Cloud OS for free

Microsoft has as strong focus on the hybrid cloud: a mixture of public and private cloud infrastructures. The vision is delivered by solutions like Windows Azure, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.

Azure and Windows Server 2012 bring in the hypervisor part, System Center 2012 sP1 the management of virtual machines running on one or both hypervisors. These solutions provide customers with one consistent platform for infrastructure, apps, and data – spanning customer datacenters, hosting service provider datacenters, and the Microsoft public cloud.

To enable a consistent user interface for the self service portal when Windows Server 2012 is used, the Azure Services for Windows Server are used. This has a Service Management Portal and Service Management API which turns a cloud based on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V into the Azure look and feel and API-connectivity.

azure-screen01-big

Microsoft has a blog published in January 2013 explaining what Cloud OS exactly is.

Amsio, managed hosting provider, lauched the first  private cloud in Europe based on Microsoft Windows Cloud OS at February 6 2013. Amsio offers a free three month trial of this private cloud. Included is the use of two full virtual private servers running Linux or Windows and 100 GB of high performance storage.

Register for the trial at http://testthecloud.nl/Index.aspx

Windows 2012 Hyper-V VMs enters a paused state or a CSV volume goes offline during back-up

My co-worker Matthijs Vreeken writes about a serious issue when backing up CSV 2.0 volumes on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. Host-based backups could bring down most of the VMs on the volume. This can be a serious show stopper if you plan to migrate to Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

In this scenario, one of the following issues occurs:

  • The backup is created, and the virtual machine enters a paused state.
  • The CSV volume goes offline. Therefore, the virtual machine goes offline, and the backup is not created.
  • VMs stop responding while the backups runs

More info here

Free e-book: Understanding Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012

Veeam has a free e-book available on Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012.

The Hands-on Guide: Understanding Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 gives you simple step-by-step instructions to help you perform Hyper-V-related tasks like a seasoned expert.

The first 5 chapters (180 pages) are available for download now. Other chapters will be added soon.

You will learn how to:

  • Build clustered Hyper-V deployment
  • Manage Hyper-V through PowerShell
  • Create virtual machine replicas
  • Transition from a legacy Hyper-V environment, and more

Content

Chapter 1. An Introduction to Hyper-V 3.0
Chapter 2. Failover Clustering
Chapter 3. Migrations
Chapter 4. Managing Virtual Machine Failover
Chapter 5. PowerShell Management

Coming soon:
Chapter 6. Virtual Machine Management
Chapter 7. P2V conversions
Chapter 8. Replication
Chapter 9. Hyper-V Management
Chapter 10. Networking
Chapter 11. Automation
Chapter 12. Backup

Download here

veeam-ebook

System Center 2012 SP1 available for download on TechNet and MSDN

Today Microsoft released System Center 2012 SP1. It is available for download at TechNet and MSDN. Mind this is only available for evaluation, testing and development (NO PRODUCTION)!

Mind those who installed Beta or pre-Beta of SP1 will need to reinstall SP1.

SP1 is not just a regular Service Pack containing hotfixes. It has A LOT of new features.

The new features of SP1 for System Center Virtual Machine manager are:

  • Support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
  • network virtualization. Ability to share the same IP-subnets by multiple tenants.
  • logical switch. Like a distributed switch in VMware vSphere. Configure policies once and apply to multiple hosts.
  • support voor VHDX fileformaat (<64 TB)
  • Ability to convert VHD to VHDX, use VHDX as base Operating System image
  • support for SQL 2012 Availability Groups
  • management of VMware vCenter 5.0 and ESX 5.0 hosts
  • Plugins for the SCVMM console
DPM 2012 now supports  Cluster Shared Volumes  2.0
App Controller is able to manage  Azure, private en public clouds
For a complete overview of new features in SCVMM 2012 SP1 click here.

More information and lots of links at hyper-v.nu

HP Cluster Extension now supports Windows Server 2012 and CSV

Begin December 2012 HP announced that HP Cluster Extension (CLX/3PAR 3.00.00) will support Windows Server 2012.

The sofware also supports Failover capabilities for Windows Server 2012 Clustered Shared Volume (CSV) disks.

See the quick specs document here.

HP Cluster Extension (CLX) software offers protection against system downtime from fault, failure, and disasters. It enables flawless integration of the remote mirroring capabilities of HP Continuous Access or Remote Copy with the high-availability capabilities provided by clustering software in Windows. This extended-distance solution allows for more robust disaster recovery topologies as well as automatic failover, failback, and redirection of mirrored pairs for a true disaster tolerant solution.

CLX provides efficiency that preserves operations and delivers investment protection. The CLX solution monitors and recovers disk- pair synchronization on an application or VM level and offloads data replication tasks from the host. CLX automates the time-consuming, labor-intensive processes required to verify the status of the storage as well as the server cluster, thus allowing the correct failover and failback decisions to be made to reduce downtime. HP Cluster Extension offers protection against application downtime from fault, failure, and disasters by extending a local cluster between data centers over large geographical distances.

I found none other technical information on the Cluster Extension software support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V  using cluster shared volumes. I guess this is a matter of time.

Dell EqualLogic adds support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V storage integration

At November 29 Dell released the  EqualLogic Host Integration Tools (HIT) for Microsoft v4.5 Early Production Access. Main new feature is support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

Auto-Snapshot Manager (ASM) is used to create storage volume snapshots which are application consistent. Before a storage snapshot is made, ASM makes sure a VSS snapshot is made of the VMs running on the volume which needs to be snapshot.

HIT/ME now supports Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. With Windows Server 2012, Smart Copies of the cluster shared volume (CSV) are now application consistent, not just file system consistent. You no longer need to install ASM/ME in the Hyper-V VMs; you only need to install it on the cluster nodes.

Download can be done at https://support.equallogic.com/Downloads are restricted to Equallogic customers having a login and password.

HIT/Microsoft v4.5 Early Production Access includes the following features and updates:

Support for Dell EqualLogic PS Series Firmware v6.0 features:

  • Synchronous Replication
  • Snapshot space borrowing
  • Volume undelete (recovery bin)
  • Single Sign-On
  • Support for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Windows 8, including a new EqualLogic Storage Management Provider (SMP) for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Windows 8
  • Support for rethinning thin-provisioned volumes from Microsoft  Windows. Rethinning can reduce the amount of storage in use by a volume on the Dell EqualLogic PS group.
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010 SP1 and 2007 SP3 protection
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and 2008 protection
  • Microsoft Exchange 2010 and 2007 protection
  • Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 and 2008 protection
  • New PowerShell Tools, including support for Single-Sign-On to PS Series Groups using Active Directory domain credentials

Enhancements to the ASM/ME GUI:

  • Remote management of Dell EqualLogic MPIO settings in ASM/ME
  • More granular control of included / excluded SAN interfaces for Dell EqualLogic MPIO in ASM/ME
  • Cross-host summary views in ASM/ME
  • Configure access to multiple PS Series Groups in ASM/ME
  • Backward and Forward Navigation of previously viewed ASM/ME settings and pages
  • Configuration Warning Wizard

DellHIT45

Altaro giving all Hyper-V admins 50 free licenses of their desktop backup solution – End December 24th

Altaro, developers of Altaro Hyper-V Backup, are giving something back this holiday season and are giving every Microsoft Hyper-V admin 50 licenses of their desktop backup software, that’s up to $2,000 worth of software.

I did a review of Altaro Hyper-V Backup v3.5 earlier in August.

There’s no catch! All you need to do is send them a screenshot of Hyper-V that proves that you use Hyper-V and they will send you the licenses which you can use on your own machines or give out to friends, family or colleagues, to use at work or home.

The giveaway ends on Dec 24th 2012.

To claim your 50 licenses check out http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/50-free-pc-backup-licenses-for-all-hyper-v-admins

To check out their Hyper-V portal check out http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/

For more info about Altaro Hyper-V Backup check out http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v-backup/?LP=Xmas

Microsoft TechDays 2012 Switserland presentations online

Microsoft Switzerland’s largest technology event took place for the 9th time this November in Lausanne and Basel. At both locations TechDays 12 Switzerland offered two full days of high quality content for software developers, architects and ITPros. The reason for two events in the same country is the language used at the event:

Lausanne: French (Primary) and English
Basel: German (Primary) and English

Some examples of  ITPro sessions are about Exchange, SQL 2012 , Lync, BizTalk and Hyper-V/SCVMM.

The slides of the sessions are available online. Most of the slides are in English language.

Recordings of the sessions should be made available soon at Channel9.

To download the slides, click here.

TechDays Microsoft 2012 Switserland ITPro

Some examples for sessions on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and SCVMM.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V – The next chapter
System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager
Verwandlung einer VMware vSphere Infrastruktur in eine Private Cloud mit System Center 2012
Windows Server 2012 Storage

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