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  • Microsoft Azure
  • Virtual Machine Manager

Category: Windows Server 2008 R2

CLIXML Export Import

Save PowerShell Object to file for Remote Troubleshooting

This is not something new to the most of you PowerShell guys out there, but still there are a lot of IT Pros which do not know about this. Sometimes we have to do some remote troubleshooting without having access to the system itself. The thing you can do is to let the customer send you some screenshots but that doesn’t really show everything and maybe you have to contact the customer like 100 times to get the right information. A better solution is to let the customer to run a PowerShell command or script and send you the output. But even a text file or screenshot of the PowerShell output is not the best solution. If you get a lot of text in a TXT file it is hard to sort it and maybe there are some information missing because the txt output does not include all information of the PowerShell object.

I have started to use a simple method to export PowerShell objects to a XML file and import the object on another system. This can be done by the PowerShell cmdlets Export-Clixml and Import-Clixml.

What I do is, I tell the customer to run the following command to generate a XML with the PowerShell objects about his disks for example.

After I got this XML file, I can import it here on my local system and can work with it as I would be in front of the customer system.

CLIXML Export Import

As I said, this is nothing new but this can save you and your customer some time. Of course this works with other objects not just disks ;-) For example you can get Cluster Configurations, Hyper-V Virtual Switch Configurations and much more.

 

 



Windows Server 2012 Logo

Recommend Hotfixes and Updates for Hyper-V and Failover Clusters

I the last couple of releases I always posted the pages where you could get the list of Recommended Hotfixes and Updates for Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters and List of Hyper-V and Failover Cluster Hotfixes for Windows Server 2012. I want to upgrade the post with the links for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. So you can find all updates from a single site.

Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2008 R2

Feel free to share this page and I always recommend to get the latest hotfixes when you are deploying a new Hyper-V or Scale-Out File Server environment. And definitely check also Aidan Finns blog from time to time where he does some deeper look at the Knowledge Base articles for Hyper-V.

 



Server Posterpedia

Microsoft Server Posterpedia Windows 8.1 App just updated

Some days ago Microsoft released some of the new architecture poster for Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V. Today Microsoft released an update in the Windows App Store for their Server Posterpedia App including the new Hyper-V 2012 R2 posters and some design changes.

Server Posterpedia is an interactive app that uses technical posters as a reference for understanding Microsoft technologies. This app includes all the reference posters from different Microsoft Server Technologies such as Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Exchange or Windows Azure. The great thing about this App, you can not only checkout the different posters and zoom in, if you click on a specific topic for you get directly linked to the right TechNet article. This can help find some TechNet references really easy and fast.

You can get the Server Posterpedia App in the Windows Store. and you can get some more information about this awesome App on my blog: Microsoft Server Posterpedia Windows 8 App or on serverposterpedia.com.



System Center Logo

System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager Update Rollup 4 available

Microsoft just released Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2012 SP1 which includes updates and fixes for Virtual Machine Manager, Service Manager, Operations Manager and App Controller.

Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2012 Service Pack 1

The Update Rollup 4 for Virtual Machine Manager includes fixes for 28 issues. The Update Rollup includes fixes for the Virtual Machine Manager Server, Console and Agent.

Issue 1
For scale-out file servers, if one of the file server nodes is offline, Virtual Machine Manager cannot discover or register the scale-out file shares.

Issue 2
Virtual Machine Manager cannot deploy port profiles if one of the port profile’s maximum size is reached.

Issue 3
The Virtual Machine Manager Service crashes when there is an empty value for the vNICperf counter.

Issue 4
A “RunAs” account cannot be defined by using a service setting and cannot support the validation for network load balancing.

Issue 5
New virtual machines cannot be created from a library virtual machine if that library virtual machine has a snapshot on it.

Issue 6
In some cases, if a user imports a user interface add-in, the user might be unable to access the Virtual Machine Manager Server connection because the PowerShellContext property is null.

Issue 7
System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Virtual Machine Manager cannot be uninstalled if any previous Update Rollup is applied to the system.

Issue 8
Virtual machine creation fails because the VMNetworkServiceSetting property cannot be set.

Issue 9
A new virtual machine deployment together with multiple pass-through disks may fail because Virtual Machine Manager cannot locate the boot or system volume during the installation of virtual guest services.

Issue 10
The Virtual Machine Manager Service may crash when it tries to discover a virtual machine on specific Storage Area Networks (SAN) storage.

Issue 11
In some cases, Virtual Machine Manager cannot update the VMWare host, the virtual machine or networking information.

Issue 12
Virtual Machine Manager tries to reset a virtual local area network (VLAN) ID when there is no change in the virtual machine network (VM network) or virtual machine subnet (VM subnet) of the network adapter.

Issue 13
When you migrate the storage of an online highly available virtual machine (HAVM), the cluster resource for the storage is not updated.

Issue 14
Virtual Machine Manager may report 0-percent CPU usage or 0 kilobytes (KB) available memory on the Hyper-V host.

Issue 15
Failed or canceled cross cluster migration does not clean the highly available virtual machine (HAVM) resource that is left in the target cluster.

Issue 16
The Virtual Machine Manager Service may crash because of Foreign Key violations in the tbl_ADHC_FibrePort table. This can be caused by a port that is deleted by Virtual Machine Manager before mapping is added.

Issue 17
Forecasting reports do not work if you use Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) 2012.

Issue 18
A Server Message Block (SMB) protocol dialect shows 30,000 network-attached storage devices when Virtual Machine Manager is run on a German locale.

Issue 19
You try to create a virtual machine by using a virtual machine template. When you use some specific virtual hard disks (VHDs), the virtual machine creation may fail at the “Install VM component” step.

Issue 20
VMware templates imported from the Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Service Pack 1 console that are deleted from the Virtual Machine Manager console are put in the “Missing” state.

Issue 21
When a Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) channel is used after having aborted, the Virtual Machine Manager Service may ultimately crash.

Issue 22
You migrate a virtual machine with live migration. If you then migrate the virtual machine with stopped migration (for example, the source location does not exist in the target host), the migration fails. Additionally, you receive the following error message:

Failed to change smart paging store for virtual machine.

Issue 23
You change the Preferred Owners and the Possible Owners settings of a highly available virtual machine (HAVM). When you migrate the HAVM from a cluster to a stand-alone host, the Virtual Machine Manager Service may crash.

Issue 24
When you run a physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion or a virtual to virtual conversion (V2V), the conversion wizard should use the virtual machine network (VM network) parameter in the network adapter cmdlet instead of the logical network parameter.

Issue 25
When unmasking a logical unit number (LUN) to the host, you may receive the following error message:

Fibre Channel – SM_RC_NOT_ENOUGH_SPACE

Issue 26
You receive an error when you add a storage pool to Virtual Machine Manager. This problem occurs if the logical unit number (LUN) of the storage pool is part of multiple storage pools.

Issue 27
After you install the Microsoft .NET Framework security update 2840632, some of user interface (UI) controls may not work.

Issue 28
Servicing services that were deployed before Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 was applied might fail after Update Rollup 3 is applied.



Export Templates from Virtual Machine Manager Settings

Export and Import Virtual Machine Manager Templates

If you are working with System Center Virtual Machine Manager and you want to export and import your existing VM or Service Templates. I have a customer scenario where we have two VMM installations. They are using System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestrator, Serivce Manager to deploy new customer environments for their premium SaaS (Software as a Service) hosting solution where they deploy Lync, Exchange and SharePoint fully automated. Here we have a development environment where they test new System Center Orchestrator Runbooks and new Templates in Virtual Machine Manager. After they have a working RunBook with working Templates they export the templates from the dev VMM and import them in the production environment.
Because I was surprise how great this works and I think not a lot of people know about this feature, I created this short step-by-step guide.

Export Templates from Virtual Machine Manager

First select the Templates you want to export and click on the Export button on the Ribbon bar. You can also do a multiple select to export multiple templates.

Export Templates from Virtual Machine Manager

You can than configure the export, with a location, password.

Export Templates from Virtual Machine Manager Settings

 

You can also select what physical resources which should be exported with the template. For example if you are using the same VHD or VHDX for multiple templates you may want to export this resource only once to save some space.

Export Templates from Virtual Machine Manager physical resources

The export will look kind of like this. The XML files are the templates with the configurations, and in the folders are the physical resources like VHDs, XMLs or other stuff.

Exported Templates from Virtual Machine Manager

Import Templates in Virtual Machine Manager

To import a template just select the exported XML file.

Import Templates in Virtual Machine Manager

You can change or setup the resource of the template, for example you can select an already existing VHD from your Library or an already existing Run As account.

Import Templates in Virtual Machine Manager resources

And you can set the location for the new imported resources (VHDs,…)

Import Templates in Virtual Machine Manager resource location

I hope this shows you how easy an export and import of a Service or VM Template from System Center Virtual Machine Manager is. I like especially how SCVMM handles the additional resources, so you don’t have to import the same VHD every time and you can change Run As accounts very easily.

 

 



Veeam

Veeam Backup & Replication v7 is Here!

Veeam just released their new flagship product Veeam Backup & Replication v7. The first release of the Veeam Backup & Replication was 5 years ago and Veeam did a lot of updates and improvements to their suite.

Innovation

v7 brings two innovations: Built-In WAN Acceleration and Backup from Storage Snapshots. While the “labels” of these features may not seem innovative, the technology behind them is. Our Built-In WAN Acceleration was developed from the ground up to work specifically with our backup file and data format. Our WAN acceleration is designed to help you save time and money when you need to get your backups offsite. Additionally, we’ll be bringing our WAN acceleration to replication jobs in a future release.

Backup from Storage Snapshots may seem like an “easy” task but once you take a look at what’s required in vSphere, you know it’s not. A standard approach to using storage snapshots on vSphere is to promote the snapshot to a LUN and temporarily attach it to a dedicated host…this operation alone can take up to 5 minutes and your backup hasn’t even started yet. Our engineers were able to get around this time-consuming task and further accelerate the backup by being able to leverage some key technology in vSphere and we know you’ll be impressed once you see it in action.

Features

v7 is packed full of features. We’ve already announced seven of the most disruptive features but the What’s New document contains many more. It seems that everyone has their “favorite” new feature in v7 although tape support seems to be close to the top for everyone. Personally, I’m excited about our vCloud Director support. We’ve been working on vCD support for a while but it was “not quite good enough” to make it into a previous release. I’m confident that our vCD support is second to none and when you see how easy it is to use, I’m sure you’ll agree. A big feature for our Hyper-V customers is the inclusion of Virtual Labs for Hyper-V. Now Hyper-V customers have access to SureBackup Recovery Verification, U-AIR and the On-Demand Sandbox capability that our VMware users have enjoyed for 3 years. There are a lot of other features and I’d love to hear what your favorite new feature is in the comments section.

 

Get more information about the Veeam Backup & Replication v7 on the Veeam Blog or on the product page.



Hyper-V Host Patching – Cluster Aware Updading vs. Virtual Machine Manager Fabric Patching

Windows Server 2012 Logo

In the past weeks I was giving a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V workshop to customers and as we went to the Hyper-V host management I talked about how you can update your Hyper-V infrastructure and how you can automatically update your Hyper-V cluster.

If we do not think about System Center Orchestrator we have basically two solutions to fully upgrade our Hyper-V clusters first is the System Center Virtual Machine Manager Fabric Patching which is available since System Center 2012. The second one is a new one called Cluster Aware Updating which is included in Windows Server 2012.

Both solutions do basically the same thing and using the same concept:

  1. Scanning the Hyper-V host for updates
  2. Putting the first node in maintenance mode and pause the node in the cluster
  3. Moving all virtual machines to other nodes of the cluster
  4. Installing the patches
  5. rebooting the server
  6. checking if all services are up again
  7. stop the maintenance mode
  8. start doing the same with the next node

This is basically what both solutions are doing, but there are small differences between them and both have advantages and disadvantages.

Cluster Aware Updating (CAU)

  • Moving not only virtual machines to other nodes, it does also move other cluster roles and cluster disks to other nodes
  • Cluster Aware Updating can use different update sources (Windows Update, Microsoft Update, WSUS, SCCM,…)
  • You can apply hotfixes via CAU
  • Cluster Aware Updating has APIs for third party vendors
  • You can do driver or firmware updates via CAU
  • You can schedule it via Self-Updating mode
  • Run pre- and post-scripts
  • Update Approval process over WSUS or SCCM
  • Only supporting Windows Server 2012
  • Coordination via cluster role

System Center Virtual Machine Manager

  • Does only move virtual machines to other nodes
  • Needs a WSUS server where the updates come from
  • Only updates which can be installed via WSUS
  • Virtualization (Fabric) Administrator will create update baselines and approve updates
  • Not third-party integration
  • Log – logs which administrator approved the updates
  • Integration in System Center Operations Manager, sets host in maintenance mode on SCOM so no alerts are generated.
  • Role based update management
  • Supports Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.
  • Coordination via Virtual Machine Manager

Both solution do a great job and can of course be extended by using Windows PowerShell, System Center Orchestrator or third-party products.

The two main differences are Windows Server 2012 Cluster Aware Updating is definitely the newer solution with extensibility for third-party solutions with support for other cluster roles not just Hyper-V. Where System Center Virtual Machine is the clear winner, is where you have security roles in place and you need logs and other security features. And System Center Virtual Machine Manager has also a connection to System Center Operations Manager which lets you set Hyper-V nodes to maintenance mode.