Category: Windows Server 2008 R2

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Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2

Summary: Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack now available

Yesterday Microsoft released a new Update Rollup for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack called Update Rollup 5. Update Rollup 5 has a lot of fixes and new features especially for Windows Azure Pack and System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Data Protection Manager.

Components that are fixed in this update rollup

  • Data Protection Manager (KB3021791)
    • Protect SharePoint with SQL Always on Configuration
    • Protect SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, and Windows Client workloads to Microsoft Azure by using Data Protection Manager
    • Support for multiple retention ranges for long-term backup on Microsoft Azure
    • Ability to transfer initial backup copy offline to Azure
    • Support for protecting Microsoft workloads that are hosted in VMware
    • Display missed SLA alerts on the Data Protection Manager console
    • Enhanced reporting with Data Protection Manager central console
  • Operations Manager (KB3023138)
  • Service Manager (KB3009517)
  • Virtual Machine Manager (KB3023195)
    • Differencing disk as an option in the Windows Azure Pack VMRole deployment
    • New operating system support
    • New ExplicitRevokeRequired parameter to control IP address management when Grant-SCIPAddress is used
    • Support for SQL Server 2014
    • Azure Site Recovery
  • Windows Azure Pack (KB3023209)
    • Adds support for SQL Governor in the SQL Server Resource Provider.
    • Adds administrator support for disabling native Network RP to allow for third-party network provider
    • Provides detail on Virtual Machine Memory type, Memory Startup and Maximum values in the Tenant Portal.
    • Fix to the Get-MgmtSvcRelyingPartySettings PowerShell cmdlet.
    • Fix to the issue of failing to establish Remote Desktop Connection to virtual machines put behind a Network Address Translation (NAT) device.
    • Fix to the Attached Network dialog box where the network entries in the list were disabled.

As you can see you get several new feature with Update Rollup 5. In Data Protection Manager you finally get support for SharePoint, Exchange and Windows Client workload protection to Microsoft Azure, and support for workloads running on VMware infrastructure. Virtual Machines Manager not only brings new features such as support for the Virtual Machine Manager Database to run on SQL Server 2014 it also includes a lot of fixes and a security update (3035898
MS15-017: Vulnerability in Virtual Machine Manager could allow elevation of privilege: February 10, 2015). Some of the most interesting fixes for me are:

  • DHCP extension: Currently, users have to manually update the DHCP extension after update rollup installation on all hosts. This is now automated. After the DHCP extension is replaced in the Virtual Machine Manager server’s installation folder to the latest version, Virtual Machine Manager automatically checks the DHCP extension against all hosts. If the host has an older version of DHCP extensions, the agent version status will be displayed as “DHCP extension needs to be updated in host properties on the Status page.” The user calls the update agent and updates the DHCP extension on the Hyper-V host in the same way that the user did this for the Virtual Machine Manager agent. Also, if the VSwitch is a logical switch, the status will be shown in “logical switch compliance.” The user can remediate the logical switch. This will also update the DHCP extension on the host.
  • Bare-Metal Deployment: If a physical computer profile is created by using vNic (and by using a virtual machine network) and if there are more than one hostgroup for a logical network that also has that virtual machine network when you add a host resource on the “Provisioning Options” page, the host profile will be displayed for only one host group. The profile won’t be displayed for the rest of the host groups.

For Windows Azure Pack also includes some important fixes and improvements on of the is in the Tenant Portal, users can now see details on Virtual Machine Memory type, Memory Startup and Maximum values.

Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2 brings a lot of new features and important fixes to the table, however before deploying the fixes in your production environment, I recommend to test the Update Rollup and maybe wait for some reports about issues from other users.



Licensing Microsoft Server in a Virtual Environment

Altaro Hyper-V Licensing Microsoft Server in a Virtual Environment webinar recording available

Together with Altaro I did a webinar on “Licensing Microsoft Server in a Virtual Environment” together with Andy Syrewicze (Microsoft MVP Hyper-V). Now the recording of this webinar is now available. You can also download the free eBook for Licensing Microsoft Server in a Virtual Environment from Eric Siron.



Azure Backup Agent

How to Backup a Windows Client to Microsoft Azure

Today Microsoft announced that Microsoft Azure Backup now not only supports Windows Server or System Center Data Protection Manager, it also support Windows Clients, including Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

To backup your Windows Client machine you have to go to the Azure Portal and create a new Backup Vault.

Create Azure Backup Vault

After that you have to download and install the Microsoft Azure Backup agent and the vault credentials which are needed to register the machine to your Backup Vault.

Azure Backup Agent

Now during the installation of the Azure Backup Agent you have to use the vault credential file to register your server. There are two different ways of registering machines to the backup vaults that store data:

  • Option #1: Register one machine per backup vault. The backup vault is created under Recovery Services in your Azure subscription. Please be aware that only 25 backup vaults can be created per subscription using this option. If you have more machines to backup to Azure, please use the second option.
  • Option #2: Register multiple machines to the same vault. This enables up to 50 machines to be registered with a single backup vault.

In both the options, access to the backup data is controlled using an encryption passphrase. At the time of registering a machine to a backup vault, an encryption passphrase is provided by the user – and this is used to encrypt and decrypt the data being backed up. With different encryption passphrases being used for different machines, isolation is guaranteed.

 

In both the options, access to the backup data is controlled using an encryption passphrase. At the time of registering a machine to a backup vault, an encryption passphrase is provided by the user – and this is used to encrypt and decrypt the data being backed up. With different encryption passphrases being used for different machines, isolation is guaranteed.

Azure Client Backup

Now you can see your machine in the Azure Portal in the recovery vault. After the Agent is installed you can launch the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent to configure your backup.

Microsoft Azure  Backup

After the first Backup is done, you can also start recovering data from Azure.

Azure Backup Recover Data

Some notes:

  • If you are running Azure Backup on your notebook or tablet, the backup will only run if the computer is not on battery mode. If your notebook is running on battery the backup will run the next time the machine is connected to a power source.
  • If you pick the backup time of your machine make sure the machine is not shutdown during that time.


Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0

Microsoft releases Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0

Microsoft today released the next version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC). (MVMC) is a Microsoft-supported, stand-alone solution for the IT pros or solution provider who wants to convert virtual machines and disks from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts and Microsoft Azure.

In MVMC 3.0 Microsoft adds the ability to convert a physical computer running Windows Server 2008 or above server operating systems or Windows Vista or above client operating systems to a Virtual Machine. This feature was highly claimed by the community, since the P2V (Physical to Virtual) Migration feature was removed in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2.

MVMC can be deployed with minimal dependencies. Because MVMC provides native support for Windows PowerShell, it enables scripting and integration with data center automation workflows such as those authored and run within Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 or Service Management Automation. It can also be invoked through the Windows PowerShell command-line interface. The solution is simple to download, install, and use. In addition to the Windows PowerShell capability, MVMC provides a wizard-driven GUI to facilitate virtual machine conversion.

This tool can not only help you to migrate from VMware or physical computers to Hyper-V, it also allows you to directly upload the Virtual Machine to Microsoft Azure.

MVMC3 migrate to Hyper-V or Azure

You can get the new version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 in the Microsoft Download Center.



Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE

Veeam Announces Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE

This week I had the chance to be in Las Vegas at the VeeamON 2014 conference and so far it was an absolutely great event, but I will write about that in another blog post. Veeam also did announce the Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE which allows you to backup not only Windows based notebooks, tablets and desktops, it also allows you to backup physical Windows Server machines, which will make a lot of people very happy. Veeam points out that this will be a free release of a standalone product which will not be integrated in to the Veeam Suite. This means there will be no central management console which kind of makes it not useful for large scale deployments. But for highly virtualized environments this can be a great solution to backup a few of your remaining physical servers.

One More Thing

A beta version of Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE will be released in November and Veeam is looking for feedback. If you want to know more about it checkout Mike Resseler’s (Product Strategy Specialist for Veeam and Microsoft MVP) blog post.

Veeam Endpoint Backup Free



SCVMM Bare-Metal Fails

Add drivers to SCVMM Bare-Metal WinPE Image

A long time ago I wrote a blog post on how you can use System Center Virtual Machine Manager Bare-Metal Deployment to deploy new Hyper-V hosts. Normally this works fine but if you have newer hardware, your Windows Server Image does may not include the network adapter drivers. Now this isn’t a huge problem since you can mount and insert the drivers in the VHD or VHDX file for the Windows Server Hyper-V image. But if you forget to update the WinPE file from Virtual Machine Manager your deployment will fails, since the WinPE image has not network drivers included it won’t able to connect to the VMM Library or any other server.

You will end up in the following error and your deployment will timeout on the following screen:

“Synchronizing Time with Server”

SCVMM Bare-Metal Fails

If you check the IP configuration with ipconfig you will see that there are no network adapters available. This means you have to update your SCVMM WinPE image.

First of all you have to copy the SCVMM WinPE image. You can find this wim file on your WDS (Windows Deployment) PXE Server in the following location E:\RemoteInstall\DCMgr\Boot\WIndows\Images (Probably your setup has another drive letter.

WDS SCVMM Boot WIM

I copied this file to the C:\temp folder on my System Center Virtual Machine Manager server. I also copied the extracted drivers to the C:\Drivers folder.

After you have done this, you can use Greg Casanza’s (Microsoft) SCVMM Windows PE driver injection script, which will add the drivers to the WinPE Image (Boot.wim) and will publish this new boot.wim to all your WDS servers. I also rewrote the script I got from using drivers in the VMM Library to use drivers from a folder.

Update SCVMM WinPE

This will add the drivers to the Boot.wim file and publish it to the WDS servers.

Update WDS Server

After this is done the Boot.wim will work with your new drivers.

 

 

 

 

 



Microsoft System Center Logo

Technical Documentation for Getting Started with System Center 2012 R2

Marcel van den Berg just posted a blog post about the availability of the Technical Documentation for Getting Started with System Center 2012 R2 which was just released by Microsoft. The Technical Documentation covers the Support Matrix and Upgrade Sequence for System Center 2012 R2.

System Center 2012 R2 Requirements

You can download the documents on the Microsoft Download website.