Unable to deploy A5, A6 or A7 size Windows Azure virtual machine using App Controller 2012 R2

System Center App Controller 2012 R2 is a self service portal which can be used to deploy virtual machines on on-premise clouds managed by System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Service Provider Clouds using Windows Azure Pack  and Windows Azure.

Windows Azure offers so called t-shirt sized virtual machines. These have a Microsoft determined number of virtual cores and  virtual memory size. The size of virtual machines is identified as extra small, small, large etc. Recently Microsoft started to offer large sized virtual machines which are identified as A5, A6 and A7.

Using App Controller 2012 R2 the virtual machine / instance  size A5 , A6 and A7 are missing in the dropdown list showing available virtual machine sizes for deployment.

azure-instance-size

This is caused by a limitation of App Controller 2012 R2. App Controller maintains a hard coded list of virtual machine sizes that it is able to deploy. A5, A6 and A7 are not in that list. Future new instance sizes available in Azure will not available either as long as the code of App Controller is not updated by Microsoft. This issue is caused by the service management API which is queried by App Controller. This API does not allow to query for available virtual machine sizes hence the hardcode virtual  machine sizes.

Virtual machines sized A5, A6 or A7 can be managed by App Controller. Deployment however of instances with these sizes should be done using the Azure Management Portal, Visual Studio, Azure command-line tool or PowerShell.

Free ebook: Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2

Microsoft published a new free ebook titled:  Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2. The book is currently available in PDF format only. Mobi and ePub format will be available soon. The ebook has 155 pages and provides a high level overview of Microsoft Cloud OS and System Center 2012 R2 is particular. Each chapter has an overview of one of the components of System Center. Content of each chapter includes an introduction, some screenshots, a Microsoft expert writing about new features and links to more information.

This ebook provides a good insight into System Center 2012 R2 and is highly recommended for those who are looking for an easy to consume total overview.

Download here.

Free ebook: Microsoft System Center: Cloud Management with App Controller

Microsoft released a new free ebook titled “Microsoft System Center: Cloud Management with App Controller”. The book has 5 chapters and 106 pages. It describes how to install App Controller, how to manage public, private and hybrid cloud.

The ebook is available in PDF, Mobi en ePub formats. Download here.

ebook-cloud-management-with-app-controller

Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 App Controller is uniquely positioned as both an enabler and a self-service vehicle for connecting clouds and implementing the hybrid computing model. In Microsoft’s cloud computing solutions, both System Center and Windows Azure play critical roles. System Center can be used to transform enterprise IT from a device-based infrastructure and deployment strategy to a service-based user-centric consumption model based on private cloud computing. Windows Azure on the other hand is a subscription-based public cloud platform that enables the development, deployment, and management of cloud solutions. App Controller is the glue that unifies these two platforms by providing a single interface that enables administrators to perform complex operations without overwhelming them with the underlying technical complexities involved.

This book serves as an introduction to implementing and managing the hybrid computing solutions using App Controller. It describes the basic concepts, processes, and operations involved in connecting, consuming, and managing resources that are deployed both on and off premises. Each chapter provides a concise, self-contained walkthrough for a specific aspect of managing private, public, and hybrid clouds using App Controller.

While cloud computing is still evolving, the hybrid approach will likely continue to emerge as the go-to IT computing model for the foreseeable future. Using App Controller to strategically connect both on-premises System Center private clouds with off-premises deployments in both Windows Azure and third-party cloud hosting providers enables new scenarios, develops new possibilities, and offers exciting new opportunities that can help IT transition better into the next generation of enterprise computing.

Microsoft IaaS Product Line Architecture Guides on Server 2012 and System Center 2012

Microsoft published two very interesting documents which assist in designing and understanding  Infrastructure as a Service based on Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service Product Line Architecture Fabric Architecture Guide (Windows Server 2012).
    This 112 pages document provides specific guidance for developing fabric architectures (compute, network, storage, and virtualization layers) of an overall private cloud solution. All of the Windows Server 2012 features are discussed.
    Very much recommended reading if your task is to design a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V infrastructure.
    Download here.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service Product Line Architecture Fabric Management Architecture Guide (System Center 2012)
    Fabric management is the concept of treating discrete capacity pools of servers, storage, and networks as a single fabric. The fabric is then subdivided into capacity clouds, or resource pools, that carry characteristics like delegation of access and administration, SLAs, and cost metering. Fabric management allows centralizing and automating complex management functions that can be carried out in a highly standardized, repeatable fashion to increase availability and lower operational costs.
    This document discusses sizing, databases used for the various System Center components, requirements like vCPU, RAM and storage for System Center components, ITIL and MOF. It also describes at a functional level features of System Center.
    The document also has a picture showing all System Center connections.
    Download here.

 

The goal of the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) product line architecture (PLA) is to help organizations develop and implement private cloud infrastructures quickly while reducing complexity and risk. The IaaS PLA provides a reference architecture that combines Microsoft software, consolidated guidance, and validated configurations with partner technology such as compute, network, and storage architectures, in addition to value-added software components.

The private cloud model provides much of the efficiency and agility of cloud computing, with the increased control and customization that are achieved through dedicated private resources. By implementing private cloud configurations that align to the IaaS PLA, Microsoft and its hardware partners can help provide organizations the control and the flexibility that are required to reap the potential benefits of the private cloud.

The IaaS PLA utilizes the core capabilities of the Windows Server operating system, Hyper-V, and System Center to deliver a private cloud infrastructure as a service offering. These are also key software components that are used for every reference implementation.

system-center-connections

 

Recorded MMS 2013 sessions available and how to download for offline viewing

Microsoft Management Summit 2013 is being held at Las Vegas. MMS brings together the brightest IT professionals from around the world to increase their technical expertise through an intensive week of training led by experts in desktop, device management, datacenter, and cloud technologies.

A large selection of the breakout sessions presented live in Las Vegas will be available as recording free on Internet. For an overview see Channel 9. 

It is possible to download the video recordings so you can watch them offline.

Stefan Roth wrote a nice script. See his site for a detailed description on how to download.

See for another download script the Infoworks.tv site.

Update April 17: Phil Pritchett made some adjustments to the script of Stefan Roth. This script downloads also the Powerpoint presentations and makes the filename the name of the the breakout session instead of a name like AM-B301.

MyITforum has a posting about this script.

Download the scripts  here.

download MMS2013 sessions

download MMS2013 sessions

Disaster Recovery of on-premise Hyper-V virtual machines using Windows Azure Recovery Services

Update April 11: This new service is not DRaaS. Customers still need two datacenters running Hyper-V and SCVMM 2012. Hyper-V Recovery Manager which runs in Azure does orchestration and testing!

Currently in limited Preview program  is a new service of Microsoft Windows Azure which enables Disaster Recovery Orchestration for Hyper-V. This post will give some details on this new service.

Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager helps you protect System Center Virtual Machine Manager private clouds in the event of service outage. You can build recovery orchestration plans using this feature and test your plans periodically to ensure high level of preparedness for unplanned downtime or a planned event like data center load balancing.

Introduction
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V has a nice feature called Hyper-V Replica. It enables  replication of virtual machine disk files to another location for disaster recovery purposes. This feature is available at no additional cost, making DR a lot more cost effective compared to using third party tools. The feature is also very simple to setup and use.

One of the services currently in Limited Preview is part of ‘Azure Recovery Services’ and is named  Hyper-V Recovery Manager Vault. It can be enabled by selection of Cloud Services in the Azure Management portal. You cannot use it immediately. There is a queue at the moment.

hyper-v-recovery-manager-vault

Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager helps you protect System Center Virtual Machine Manager private clouds in the event of service outage. You can build recovery orchestration plans using this feature and test your plans periodically to ensure high level of preparedness for unplanned downtime or a planned event like data center load balancing.

This post at windowsazure.com titled Configure Windows Azure Recovery Services to provide a Hyper-V recovery environment explains how to setup replication.
The text below is taken from the Azure website.

Hyper-V Recovery Manager (Preview)

Orchestrate protection and recovery of private clouds

Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager can help you protect important services by coordinating the replication and recovery of System Center 2012 private clouds at a secondary location.

Automated protection

System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager private clouds can be protected through automating the replication of the virtual machines that compose them at a secondary location. The ongoing asynchronous replication of each VM is provided by Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replica and is monitored and coordinated by Hyper-V Recovery Manager.

Orchestrated Recovery

The service helps automate the orderly recovery in the event of a site outage at the primary datacenter. VMs can be brought up in an orchestrated fashion to help restore service quickly. This process can also be used for testing recovery, or temporarily transferring services.

Note: This limited preview program is available to a small group of customers in specific geographic locations1 using Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1. However, we are always on the lookout for additional customers who will provide us with interesting and actionable feedback. If you would like to be considered for this program please complete the Microsoft survey located here. Thank you in advance for your responses! We will only be contacting those of you that have been accepted to participate.

1 Only customers located in the following countries will be considered: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Australia, Japan, India, New Zealand. Data for this Preview feature will be stored only in the Azure datacenters located in the United States

Only customers located in the following countries will be considered: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Australia, Japan, India, New Zealand. Data for this Preview feature will be stored only in the Azure datacenters located in the United States.

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

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 networking explained

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 (SCVMM 2012 SP1) added a lot of new features for networking. For example a logical switch which simplifies the deployment and configuration of virtual switches in your Hyper-V environment.

However those new features can be a bit difficult to understand. Lots of new terms are being used. Especially virtual networking in which VMs can move around Hyper-V  infrastructures without changing IP-configuration is difficult to configure.

Microsoft and several bloggers made postings explaining SCVMM 2012 sP1 networking. A selection of the most interesting:

Using System Center 2012 SP1 – Virtual Machine Manager Logical Switch with Hyper-V (Thomas Maurer)

Basic Hyper-V Networking in System Center 2012 SP1 – Virtual Machine Manager (Thomas Maurer)

Networking in VMM Illustrated Overview (Technet.com) Lots of diagrams and explanation about networking.

A Different Perspective on VMM 2012 SP1 Networking (Technet.com) showing illustrations and having links to other postings.

System Center: Virtual Machine Manager Engineering Blog
Networking in VMM 2012 SP1 – Logical Networks (Part I)
Virtual Networking in VMM 2012 SP1 – Part 1

When things go wrong, check this list of knowledgebase articles

List of Public Microsoft Support Knowledge Base Articles for System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager Service Pack 1

System Center Universe 2013 presentations available

System Center Universe is a one-day globally available technical event featuring Microsoft        product gurus and community experts who will highlight the interaction of the Microsoft System Center 2012 suite and other Microsoft-based products and solutions.

System Center Universe was held at January 31, 2013. It was possilbe to attend in person and watch live over the internet.

The session agenda for 2013 is listed below. The Q&A session at the end of the day was interesting. The panel discussed for example the use of Microsoft Silverlight in the System Center portals. Other Microsoft portals are built on HTML5. Surface RT does not support Silverlight.

If you already use  or are interesting in using System Center these sessions are very much recommended! Good technical stuff and you will learn a lot from insiders!

The agenda is listed in chronological order. Makes searching the videos a bit easier!

  • Service Pack 1 (SP1) Presentation and Demos•Presented by Wally Mead
  • Mobile Device Management with Windows InTune•Presented by Dan Andersen
  • Advanced System Center Reporting•Presented by Travis Wright
  • Rocking VMware and Hyper-V Data Protection with Veeam Backup and Replication•Presented by Chris Henley
  • Manage Your Virtual Environment with System Center and Veeam Management Pack for VMware•Presented by Chris Henley
  • Exploring the Dark Side of the Moon with OpsMgr•Presented by Maarten Goet
  • Super-charge your Service Manager with the Cireson Total Management Suite•Presented by Paul Sutton, Shaun Ericson, and Travis Wright
  • Introduction to Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service•Presented by Joey Snow
  • An Orchestration Odyssey•Presented by Pete Zerger
  • Q&A with Panel of Experts
    Live and Virtual attendees will have the opportunity to ask the panel of experts questions live and via twitter

The video recordings are available here. The day has been split into 4 different recordings. So you might have to search a bit into the video for the start of a particlar session you are interested in.

7 of the presentations given at System Center Universe are available in Powerpoint. Download from here.

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