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  • Hyper-V 2016
    What's new in Hyper-V 2016
  • Microsoft Azure
    Microsoft Azure

Category: Windows Server

Hyper-V Manager ins Azure Server Management Tools SMT

Manage Hyper-V from Azure Server Management Tools

Microsoft released an updated to the Azure Server Management Tools (SMT) and this improves some of the existing tools such as File Explorer and Device Manager. But the big announcement here is, that you now can manage your Hyper-V Server and Virtual Machines directly from Microsoft Azure from where ever you are. This is one of the great examples of using cloud solutions to extend your on premise environment, By using Management as a Service you basically don’t need to updated anything, you just got this new feature available in the Azure portal and you can start using it.

In this update to the Server Management Tools, Microsoft supports the following VM management functionality:

  • Start/Shutdown/Turn off/Pause/Resume
  • Save State/Delete Saved State
  • Take/Apply & rename checkpoints

You can see the Virtual Machines on which are running on the Hyper-V server

Hyper-V Manager in Azure SMT

You can also do basic management of checkpoints

Hyper-V VM in Azure SMT

If you want to know more about the Server Management Tools (SMT) check out my blog post: Manage Nano Server and Windows Server from Azure using Remote Server Management Tools

 



Microsoft Technical Summit

Speaking at Microsoft Technical Summit 2016 in Darmstadt Germany

After some great events like ITDEV Connections in Las Vegas, E2EVC in Rome and ExpertsLive in Amsterdam, I will also speak at the Microsoft Technical Summit 2016 in Darmstadt, Germany. The Microsoft Technical Summit will be the Microsoft IT event in 2016. This time it will be in Darmstadt from December 6-8. In my session I will speak about the new Nano Server deployment option in Windows Server 2016.

Nano Server - The Future of Windows Server

Nano Server is the future of Windows Server. With Nano Server Microsoft created the foundation for Windows Server for the next years. In this session you will get an overview about Nano Server and see some great live demos how you can deploy, manage and operate Nano Server as well as creating applications for it. Get a better understanding of Nano Server and see how you deploy, manage and operate it.

This will be more the last conference I will be speaking in 2016. I am really looking forward and hopefully see you there.



ExpertsLive

Speaking at ExpertsLive 2016 in Amsterdam

Last year I had the chance to speak for the first time at ExpertsLive.nl in Amsterdam. Today I am proud that I will be speaking at ExpertsLive.nl again this year. Next week I will be presenting in two session about Windows Server 2016 together with Michael Rüefli.

Also check out the Savison blog post about ExpertsLive from Isidora Katanić and me: Empower your knowledge at Experts Live 2016!

Presenting ExpertsLive

Greatest Server OS Hits; best of Server 2016

In this presentation we will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations including: •Hyper-V 2016 features •Nano Server •Storage Spaces Direct •Storage Replica •Windows Server Containers •And more

The future of your datacenter: Nano Server and Container

Nano Server is the future of Windows Server. With Nano Server Microsoft created the foundation for Windows Server for the next 20 year. In this session you will get an overview about Nano Server and see some great live demos how you can deploy, manage and operate Nano Server as well as creating applications for it. Get a better understanding of Nano Server and see how you deploy, manage and operate it.



E2EVC Lisbon

Speaking at E2EVC 2016 Rome

I just came back from the Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond and this week I will travel to Rome for the Experts 2 Experts Virtualization Conference. On Friday I will talk about Windows Server 2016 and what is new in the RTM versions.

The best of Windows Server 2016

The best of Windows Server 2016 – RTM. Join this session for the Best of Windows Server 2016 — The New Foundation of your Datacenter. You’ll be one of the first to know about new, exciting improvements that are coming in Windows Server 2016 and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job.

E2EVC Virtualization Conference is a non-commercial, virtualization community event. The main goal of the E2EVC is to bring the best virtualization experts together to exchange knowledge and to establish new connections. E2EVC is a weekend crammed with presentations, Master Classes and discussions delivered by both virtualization vendors product teams and independent experts. I am happy to be part of the community and listen to other industry leading experts.

I am looking forward to the E2EVC and hopefully see you in Rome.



Azure Nano Server PowerShell Package Management

How to deploy Nano Server in Azure

In some other post I have written how you can deploy a Nano Server on premise using PowerShell or the Nano Server Image Builder. In this post I will quickly show you how you can setup a new Nano Server in Microsoft Azure.

To deploy Nano Server in Azure, Microsoft offers you a Nano Server Image in the Marketplace.

Using the Azure Portal to deploy Nano Server on Microsoft Azure

There are also several ways you can deploy Nano Server, for example using the Azure Portal or PowerShell. First this will show you how you can create a Nano Server Virtual Machine using the Azure Portal.

Nano Server on Azure Marketplace

Simply follow the steps to create a new Azure Virtual Machine.

Nano Server on Azure VM Size

The most important part is to configure the Network Security Groups to allow PowerShell Remoting since Nano Server does not support RDP. There are two options to do this, using WinRM over http (5985) or using WinRM using https (5986). To be honest in production you should only use https, but for some demos or if you are configuring Nano Server to be used over a VPN you can also use WinRM over http. I also recommend that you remove the RDP port rule, since this is not really necessary. If the WinRM rule in the network security group is not already there, just create it. For easy setup you can use 5985 if you want to use SSL you will require additional steps.

Nano Server on Azure Network Security Groups NSG

Follow the rest of the wizard to deploy the new Nano Server VM. After the VM is created you will see it in the Azure Portal. You can now use the IP address to connect to the virtual machine using PowerShell remoting. If you don’t have a VPN connection to the Azure VM Network you will need to use the public IP address, if it is connected trough a VPN or from another machine running in the same VM Network, you can use the internal IP address. In my demo case I am using the public IP address to connect to the virtual machine. To make it easier I also created a Public DNS name for this Azure IP address.

Nano Server on Azure Public DNS Name

To connect to your Nano Server you also have to setup PowerShell Remoting on your machine and add the host to your trusted hosts group.

You can now connect to your Nano Server running in Azure.

Nano Server PowerShell Remoting Azure VM

Using the Azure PowerShell module to deploy Nano Server on Microsoft Azure

First you have to install the Azure PowerShell Module and get the NanoServerAzureHelper PowerShell Module (NanoServerAzureHelper_20160927) this will help you with the setup.

Time to fire up PowerShell and login to Azure

First create a new Azure Resource Group and a Key Vault if you don’t have them already available. The key vault will be helping you to use SSL configuration for your PowerShell remoting.

Import the NanoServerAzureHelper PowerShell module which you have downloaded before.

NanoServerAzureHelper PowerShell Module

This will give you some new PowerShell cmdlets to deploy Nano Server quickly on Azure.

The most important for creating new Nano Server VMs in Azure is simply the New-NanoServerAzureVM.

New-NanoServerAzureVM

Create a new Nano Server VM in Azure using the following PowerShell command:

New-NanoServerAzureVM Create Nano Server VM

To connect you can get the public IP address for the system you deployed and connect to it

 

Using PowerShell Package Management to Install Roles and Features on Nano Server

Since in Nano Server does not include any roles per default you can now use PowerShell Package Management to installed Nano Server Packages on your Azure Virtual Machine.

Azure Nano Server PowerShell Package Management

If you want to know more about PowerShell Package Management on Nano Server, check out my blog post. If you want to know more about Nano Server in general check this post here: Nano Server – The future of Windows Server – Just enough OS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



VCNRW Nano Server and Container

Nano Server – The future of Windows Server – Just enough OS

Finally, Microsoft released Windows Server 2016 and with Windows Server 2016 we also get the first version of Nano Server. I had the opportunity to speak on several different events and conferences about Nano Server, so I tried to create a quick summary of my presentation in this blog post.

Nano Server installation option Just enough OS

Nano Server - Just enough OS

Nano Server is a redesign version of Windows Server which is very lightweight, very small footprint and fully remote managed and it is designed to solve some of the datacenter challenges we have today. Nano Server is a headless, 64-bit only deployment option of Windows Server. Microsoft basically removed all components from the base image. Roles and feature are not directly included in the base image and they have to be added while creating a new Nano Server Image or online using PowerShell Package Management. Not even the drivers are included in the base image, since you don’t want the physical drivers in a virtual machines, and you don’t want the virtual drivers on a physical machine This is also the reason why Nano Server does not show up during the installation dialog when you boot the Windows Server 2016 ISO file.

Nano Server Key Scenarios

The first version of Nano Server is designed for the following key scenarios:

  1. Born-in-the-cloud applications – support for multiple programming languages and runtimes. (e.g. ASP.NET Core, C#, Java, Node.js, Python, etc.) running in containers, virtual machines, or on physical servers.
  2. Microsoft Cloud Platform infrastructure – support for compute clusters running Hyper-V and storage clusters running Scale-out File Server and Storage Spaces Direct.
  3. But Microsoft also added some other roles like DNS and IIS to the Nano Server and we can expect more roles and features in the future.

In this version Nano Server will of course not replace Windows Server Core and Windows Server (Full or Server with Desktop Experience), but it will be definitely be they way going forward.

Nano Server Footprint

Nano Server has a very small foot print, The default WIM file has a size around 170 MB and if you create a Nano Server VHD or VHDX file it can be only around 400 MB in size. If you add more roles, features and drivers the size of the image gets bigger, but even if you add more stuff the size will be around 800 MB for an Hyper-V server including the Hyper-V role, Failover Clustering Feature, DCB feature, Physical OEM drivers and additional network adapter and storage controller drivers. If you compare Nano Server to Windows Server you can see some of the following changes:

  • 93 percent lower VHD size
  • 92 percent fewer critical bulletins
  • 80 percent fewer reboots

Nano Server Servicing Improvements

Nano Server Servicing Improvments

Nano Server Deployment Improvements

Nano Server Deployment Improvments

This not only reduced deployment time and gives you some operational improvements, it also reduces the attack surface by a lot and this is a huge security improvement.

To achieve these results, Microsoft removed some parts of Windows Server such as:

  • GUI stack
  • 32 bit support (WOW64)
  • MSI support
  • RDP
  • Some default Server Core components
  • Basic OEM Drivers
  • and more

Nano Server Management

By removing the User Interface stack, Microsoft made this server to a true headless server, without any login screen or RDP support. By removing the Graphic User Interface, Windows Administrator have to learn new ways how they manage servers, or better use existing ways to manage a Nano Server environment. The answer is simple and is the best practice for managing servers for a long time called Remote Management. Nano Server will offer some advanced remote Management features such as:

  • WMI
  • PowerShell Remoting
  • PowerShell Direct
  • PowerShell Desired State Configuration
  • RSAT Tools (Server Manager, Hyper-V Manager, Failover Cluster Manager, …)
  • System Center and other Management tools
  • Server Management Tools (Azure Web-based management tools to replace local inbox management tools)

With that, existing Remote Management Tools, such as Server Manager and other RSAT tools, will continue to work. But Microsoft also improved PowerShell Remoting and introduces the Azure Serivce for Server Management Tools.

Server Management Tools

Microsoft Azure Server Management Tools Topology

This service allows you to manage your servers directly from Azure using a web-based HTML5 portal. I personally think that this could also replace Server Manager and allows you to easily manage non-GUI servers such as Windows Server Core and Nano Server.

Azure Remote Server Management Nano Server

If you want to know more about the Sever Management Tools, check out my blog post: Manage Nano Server and Windows Server from Azure using Remote Server Management Tools

The Server Management Tools do not only support Nano Server, they also support Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 with WMF 5.0 and higher.

Remote Manage Nano Server with PowerShell

Nano Server PowerShell Remoting

The simplest way to manage Nano Server is by using PowerShell Remoting using for exmaple the following command.

If you are directly on a Hyper-V Server you can also use PowerShell Direct which allows you to directly connect to a Virtual Machine using the Hyper-V VMBus.

If you want to know more about Managing Nano Server check out the following blog posts How to Remote Manage your Nano Server using PowerShell or Hyper-V PowerShell Direct.

Manage Nano Server using System Center

Nano Server can also be managed using System Center Virtual Machine Manager and System Center Operations Manager. With SCVMM you can deploy new Hyper-V and Storage Spaces Direct hosts as well as Virtual Machines.

Deploy Nano Server

To deploy Nano Server as a virtual machine or as a physical host you have to create a new Nano Server Image. For this you have basically have two option. The first one is using the built in Nano Server Image Generator PowerShell module and the second option is the Nano Server Image Builder UI wizard.

Nano Server Image Generator PowerShell module

New-NanoServerImage

The Nano Server Image Generator PowerShell module allows you to create new Nano Server Images. You can find this on the Windows Server 2016 media in the Nano Server folder. Here is a quick example how to create a new VHDX using the PowerShell module.

Nano Server Image Builder

Nano Server Image Builder

The Nano Server Image Builder is a UI based wizard to create Nano Server Images in VHDX, VHD, WIM or ISO to install Nano Server on all possible systems.

The Nano Server Image Builder can help you with the following tasks:

  • Graphical UI to create Nano Server Images
  • Adding drivers
  • Choose Windows Server Edition
  • Adding roles and features
  • Adding drivers
  • Adding updates
  • Configuration of Network Settings
  • Configuration of Domain settings
  • Set Remoting Options
  • Create an ISO file to boot from DVD or BMC (remote connection like HP ILO)

First download and install the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) and the Nano Server Image Builder.

If you need more information about deploying Nano Server check my blog post about Create a Nano Server using the Nano Server Image Builder and How to create a Nano Server Image using PowerShell.

Nano Server Packages

Nano Server Packages

Roles, Features and Drivers live outside of the basic Nano Server Image have to be added while creating the Nano Server Image or after that using PowerShell Package Management.

You can find and install Windows Packages from the online package repository by using the NanoServerPackage provider of PackageManagement (OneGet) PowerShell module.

Troubleshooting Nano Server

Nano Server Recovery Console

Hyper-V Nano Server Console

When you boot Nano Server you can not really login to Nano Server and browse the file system. What you can do is login to the Nano Server Recovery Console which allows you to do some basic tasks:

  • Shows computer info like Name, IP Configuration, OS Version and more
  • Reset Networking to DHCP
  • Reset basic Windows Firewall rules
  • If the Server is a Hyper-V Server you can see the VM running on the system and remove the Virtual Switch

Sysinternals for Nano Server

Sysinternals for Nano Server

There is also a Sysinternals version for Nano Server.

Nano Server over a serial port with Emergency Management Services

Emergency Management Services (EMS) lets you perform basic troubleshooting, get network status, and open console sessions (including CMD/PowerShell) by using a terminal emulator over a serial port. This replaces the need for a keyboard and monitor to troubleshoot a server.

You can include this using the following cmdlets

Nano Server Servicing

Nano Server Servicing

Windows Server are usually from the Long Term Servicing Branch and have 5 + 5 years of servicing and only get security and quality fixes, no new features. In Windows Server 2016 Server Core and Server with Desktop Experience follow this traditional servicing model. Nano Server on the other hand will be in a new servicing branch called Current Branch for Business (CBB).

  • Nano Server will not have an LTSB with Windows Server 2016 and therefore not have 5+5 years of servicing
  • Nano Server installations will have to move forward to future CBB releases of Nano Server to continue to be serviced
  • Licensing Nano Server will require Software Assurance (SA)
  • Installation of new CBBs are always controlled by administrators, no forced upgrades

Nano Server Key Wins

  • Easy and fast to deploy
  • Lightweight
  • Easily integrates with our automated approach
  • Reduces attack surface
  • Works with existing deployment tools (WDS, SCVMM, SCCM and boot from VHDX)
  • Reduces operational overhead
  • Highly stable
  • Delivers on scale and performance

Conclusion

In my opinion the effort Microsoft does with Nano Server really makes sense and will help Service Providers as well as Enterprise companies to deploy clouds even faster, more secure, more efficient and with less management overhead. Of course it is still early and Nano Server may not fit every case and scenario today, but definitely in the future.

 

 

 



Windows Azure Pack Version PowerShell

Verify installed Windows Azure Pack version

If you want to check which version of Windows Azure Pack is installed or if you want to find out which Update Rollup of Windows Azure Pack is installed you can simply do this using two ways.

You can check the version of the installed Windows Azure Pack components on each server, using the Control Panel – Programs and it shows you the installed components:

Windows Azure Pack Version

You can also use the following PowerShell command to check the installed Windows Azure Pack server

Windows Azure Pack Version PowerShell

You can now compare the version numbers in this list an you can see which Windows Azure Pack Update Rollup is installed. Every component on every sever has to be checked.

Windows Azure Pack (links to KB articles) Version number Build Date
Update Rollup 10 3.33.8196.14 04/20/2016
Security Update Rollup 9.1 3.32.8196.12 3/2/2016
Update Rollup 8.1 3.29.8196.0 11/16/2015
Update Rollup 8 3.28.8196.48 10/28/2015
Update Rollup 7.1 3.27.8196.3 8/25/2015
Update Rollup 7 3.25.8196.75 7/31/2015
Update Rollup 6 3.24.8196.35 4/28/2015
Update Rollup 5 3.22.8196.48 2/10/2015
Update Rollup 4 3.19.8196.21 10/21/2014
Update Rollup 3 3.15.8196.48 7/22/2014
Update Rollup 2 3.14.8196.32 4/16/2014
Update Rollup 1 3.12.8198.0 1/20/2014
RTM release 3.10.8198.9 9/16/2013

If you need more information please check the following Microsoft TechNet article: Install Windows Azure Pack updates and verify versions

Thanks to Fulvio Ferrarini (itnetX) which helped me with this blog post.