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Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 available

Today Microsoft released Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2. With the release Microsoft did not only fix some bugs they also added some features. Especially Data Protection Manager (DPM) and Virtual Machine Manager got some new features and fixes which will help especially in large scale Cloud and Virtualization deployments.

Data Protection Manager

Features

  • Scalable VM backup
    This update rollup improves the reliability at scale for Virtual Machine (VM) backups on Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012 R2 infrastructures. This feature is supported on both Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and scale-out file server (SOFS) storage configurations for VM.
  • Backup and consistency check windowImportant This feature is supported only for disk protection for VM data sources.This feature, configured through Windows PowerShell, enables specific time windows to restrict backup and consistency check (CC) jobs. This window can be applied per protection group and will limit all jobs for that protection to the specified time window.After the backup job has ended, all in-progress jobs can continue. Any queued jobs outside the backup and consistency jobs will be automatically canceled.This feature affects only scheduled jobs and does not affect specific jobs that are triggered by the user.Windows PowerShell script examples

    are available on Microsoft TechNet. These examples show how to use PowerShell cmdlets to create the backup and consistency window.

    Notes

    • This feature is not supported for tape or cloud protection jobs.
    • This feature is not supported for non-VM data sources.
    • Setting these windows is the same as running a Modify Protection Group workflow.
  • Support for synthetic fiber channel-to-tapeThis update rollup introduces support for the synthetic fiber channel-to-tape process. Follow the tape certification process

    for third-party tape devices when you use Data Protection Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

 

Fixes

  • A backup of a mirrored SQL instance fails if the principal SQL instance that was first backed up is now the mirror.
  • DPM console crashes while a recatalog or “mark as free” operation is performed on an imported tape.
  • The MSDPM service crashes when protected data sources have long names.
  • The DPMRA service crashes during replica creation when the database name on one of the SQL instances matches or is a substring of a SQL instance name that is hosted on the protected server.

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager

Virtual Machine Manager

Features

  • This update includes a Linux guest agent upgrade to support the following new operating systems:
    • Ubuntu Linux 14.04 (32-bit)
    • Ubuntu Linux 14.04 (64-bit)
  • This update also includes the following:
    • Host DHCP extension driver upgrade
    • Several performance improvements
    • Several Management Pack package improvements

 

Fixes

  • Total storage for a User role is reported incorrectly. For example, the User role can use only half of the allowed quota.
  • A host cluster update fails intermittently because of a locked job.
  • Virtual machine (VM) refreshers do not update highly available virtual machines (HAVMs) after failover to another node.
  • A cluster IP address for a guest cluster configuration in a Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) environment is not updated correctly by using HNV policies during failover. For more information about this issue, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    2981736

    The cluster IP address in an HNV environment is updated incorrectly during failover

  • Server Message Block (SMB) shares may not be usable by high availability (HA) workloads if they are also connected to stand-alone hosts.
  • Storage objects discovery does not occur on a Virtual Machine Manager server if the discovery item is too big.
  • A Virtual Machine Manager job that assigns network service backend connectivity fails.
  • Enable maintenance mode fails when you evacuate failed-state VMs.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager service cannot be restarted because of database corruption.
  • The ZH-TW language incorrectly appears in the tooltip of the VM Network icon.
  • Library refresher rewrites the alternative data stream on every file during every update.
  • For iSCSI hardware storage-based array, when the MaskingPortsPerView property option is set to “multi-port per view,” the target endpoint is not obtained as the port address.
  • The virtual hard disk (VHD) is left in the source folder after storage migration is completed.
  • The addition of a bandwidth limitation to an existing virtual private network (VPN) connection is not added to the generated script.
  • A VM that is attached to an HNV VM network loses connectivity when it is live migrated to another node in the failover cluster that is not currently hosting other VMs that belong to the same VM network.
  • VM network shared access is lost after a service restart or an update interval.
  • The Remove-SCFileShare command fails for a network-attached storage SMI-S provider.
  • Setting the template time zone to UTC (GMT +0:00) is incorrectly displayed as “Magadan Standard Time.”
  • The System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager crashes when you add groups that contain the at sign (@) character in User roles.
  • VM deployment fails in a VMWare environment when you have virtual hard disk (.vmdk) files of the same size in your template.
  • Deployment of an application host on HAVMM fails and generates a 22570 error.
  • Live migration of an HAVM cross cluster creates a duplicate VM role in the target cluster.
  • An error occurs when you apply physical adapter network settings to a teamed adapter.
  • A VMM agent crashes continuously when the HvStats_HyperVHypervisorLogicalProcessor query returns a null value.
  • A host refresh does not update the VMHostGroup value of a VMWARE cluster after the cluster is moved from VCENTER.
  • VMM reports an incorrect Disk Allocation size for dynamic VHDs that are mapped to a virtual machine.
  • A VMM service template script application does not work for a self-service role.
  • VM creation fails if Virtual Machine Manager undergoes failover during the creation process.
  • The Access Status value of a file share is incorrect in the user interface.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager service crashes because of an invalid ClusterFlags value.
  • VMs cannot be deployed from a service template to a cloud across multiple host clusters (multiple datacenters).

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager

Orchestrator and Service Management Automation

Fixes

  • When a runbook calls other runbooks, Service Management Automation (SMA) concatenates all the participating runbooks into a single script and then passes the script to the PowerShell Workflow engine for compilation. The resulting script may contain multiple signature blocks, and SMA receives a compilation error from the Powershell Workflow.
  • When child runbooks contain a signature block, the child runbooks cannot be compiled into inline runbooks. If there is more than one signature block, the resulting runbook will be corrupted.
  • Cmdlets should request information from the server, up to a limit on the number of records that are returned, and then request the next “page” of records, until all records are retrieved.
  • When a Windows PowerShell user uses the Set-SmaCertificate cmdlet, the user cannot receive private key information when he or she uses the Get-AutomationCertificate activity.
  • The Automation menu stops working in Administrator Portal, and you may notice that the Orchestrator ODATA API controller cannot return Modules data. Additionally, you receive the following error message:
    Microsoft.Data.OData.OdataInnerError
    Message: The file exists.
    TypeName: System.IO.IOException
  • Service Management Automation (SMA) resources are paged. The cmdlets have to evaluate the response from the web service for the presence of a continuation token and then make a sequence of ListNext web requests if a continuation token is present.
  • SMA may not return the latest job ID for the runbook. The Invoke-ConfiguratorRunbook activity will have the job ID when it calls the Start-SMARunbook cmdlet, and the job ID should be returned to the caller. This occurs because SMA does not return the most recent job for a runbook. This issue occurs occur in a multiple-run scenario. If the configurator passes the first run, this issue has no effect.
  • The Orchestrator Runbook Service (RunbookService.exe) may crash, and you receive the following error message:
    Application: RunbookService.exe
    Framework Version: v4.0.30319
    Description: The process was terminated due to an unhandled exception.
    Exception Info: System.ServiceModel.CommunicationException
  • If a runbook is large enough to exceed the default Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) channel size, an exception occurs. This issue causes the job to be stuck in the “New” state.
  • When Update Rollup 2 is uninstalled, the connection properties to the instance of Microsoft SQL Server are cleared.

 

 

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator

Service Manager

Fixes

  • The Microsoft Systems Center 2012 Operations Manager configuration item (CI) connector does not retrieve disk mount point information for the Service Manager database.
  • When a service request is created from a request offering in the console and when every user prompt is of the Simple List prompt type, the console shows options from all simple lists in each user prompt.
  • When you try to close a customized change request, you cannot close the change request, the task throws an error, and the close is not actioned.
  • MPSync job failures that are logged to the event log do not contain enough information to allow for a quick diagnosis of the problem.
  • All Service Manager workflows may stall when any invalid XML characters (control characters) are used in a work item property.
  • Using the “Set First Response or Comment” task in a service request creates a “Private” flag that cannot be used for evaluation in a notification action log or a user comment update. This behavior occurs because the private flag is undefined.
  • If the configuration management database (CMDB) is down (that is, if it is offline or unable to connect because of network issues) at the time that the Health service is restarted and if the CMDB continues to be offline for a long time, the Health service may enter an unrecoverable state even if the database comes online again later.
  • Configuration Manager Connector synchronization may stop after Update Rollup 2 for Service Manager 2012 SP1 or Update Rollup 6 for Service Manager 2012 R2 is applied. This issue occurs when the connector tries to synchronize malformed or incomplete software version information from the Configuration Manager database.

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager

Operations Manager

Fixes

  • A deadlock condition occurs when a database is connected after an outage. You may experience this issue may when one or more HealthServices services in the environment are listed as Unavailable after a database goes offline and then comes back online.
  • The Desktop console crashes after exception TargetInvocationException occurs when the TilesContainer is updated. You may experience this issue after you leave the console open on a Dashboard view for a long time.
  • The Password expiration monitor is fixed for logged events. To make troubleshooting easier, this fix adds more detail to Event IDs 7019 and 7020 when they occur.
  • The Health service bounces because of high memory usage in the instance MonitoringHost: leak MOMModules!CMOMClusterResource::InitializeInstance. This issue may be seen as high memory usage if you examine monitoringhost.exe in Performance Monitor. Or, the Health service may restart every couple of days , depending on the load on the server.
  • The Health service crashes in Windows HTTP Services (WinHTTP) if the RunAs account is not read correctly.
  • Windows PowerShell stops working with System.Management.Automation.PSSnapInReader.ReadEnginePSSnapIns. You may see this issue as Event ID 22400 together with a description of “Failed to run the Powershell script.”
  • The PropertyValue column in the contextual details widget is unreadable in smaller widget sizes because the PropertyName column uses too much space.
  • The update threshold for monitor “Health Service Handle Count Threshold” is reset to 30,000. You can see this issue in the environment, and the Health Service Handle Count Threshold monitor is listed in the critical state.
  • An acknowledgement (ACK) is delayed by write collisions in MS queue when lots of data is sent from 1,000 agents.
  • The execution of the Export-SCOMEffectiveMonitoringConfiguration cmdlet fails with the error “Subquery returned more than 1 value.”
  • The MOMScriptAPI.ReturnItems method can be slow because a process race condition may occur when many items are returned, and the method may take two seconds between items. Scripts may run slowly in the System Center Operations Manager environment.
  • When you are in the console and click Authoring, click Management Pack, click Objects, and then click Attributes to perform a Find operation, the Find operations seems unexpectedly slow. Additionally, the Momcache.mdb file grows very large.
  • A delta synchronization times out on SQL operations with Event ID 29181.
  • Operations Manager grooms out the alert history before an alert is closed.
  • The time-zone settings are not added to a subscription when non-English display languages are set. Additionally, time stamps on alert notifications are inaccurate for the time zone.
  • Web Browser widget requires the protocol (http or https) to be included in the URL.
  • You cannot access MonitoringHost’s TemporaryStoragePath within the PowerShell Module.
  • The TopNEntitiesByPerfGet stored procedure may cause an Operations Manager dashboard performance issue. This issue may occur when a dashboard is run together with multiple widgets. Additionally, you may receive the following error message after a time-out occurs:
    [Error] :DataProviderCommandMethod.Invoke{dataprovidercommandmethod_cs370}( 000000000371AA78 )
    An unknown exception was caught during invocation and will be re-wrapped in a DataAccessException. System.TimeoutException: The operation has timed out.
    at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Monitoring.DataProviders.RetryCommandExecutionStrategy.Invoke(IDataProviderCommandMethodInvoker invoker)
    at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.DataAccess.DataProviderCommandMethod.Invoke(CoreDataGateway gateWay, DataCommand command)

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager



OneDrive 1TB

How to get over 1TB of OneDrive storage

Well today Microsoft finally changed the storage you get on OneDrive. Since I get a lot of questions from people on Twitter, here is how you get over 1TB of storage available on your OneDrive account. Some weeks ago Microsoft announced some changes to OneDrive and Office 365. So you now get more free default storage from 7GB up to 15GB which is great but does not make 1TB. To get 1TB of extra storage is very simple, just buy Office 365 Home, Personal or University and you will get 1TB of extra storage on your OneDrive account. (The Office 365 website is not yet updated and show 20GB right now).

ConsumerSubscription_Table

Even if you have to buy this it is pretty cheap, you not only get 1TB of OneDrive storage you also get the latest Office programs and apps to install on your devices and you also get 60 minutes world on Skype.

I think this is a pretty cool deal, and you can finally store basically everything on your OneDrive.



Azure Preview Virtual Machines

Virtual Machines IaaS now available in the Azure preview portal

Some months ago Microsoft lunched a new preview portal for Microsoft Azure, with a cool new design and features. The IaaS or Virtual Machine services was missing from the portal. A week ago Microsoft announced to add some enhancements to the preview portal including Virtual Machines. Now today Microsoft rolled out the enhancements to the portal. with other improvements:

  • IaaS Functionality: Create, deploy, monitor and manage rich virtual machines’ based applications, and manage virtual networks within a fully customizable Portal experience. In addition to creating simple virtual machines, we are adding the ability to automate the deployment of rich multi-machine application templates with a few clicks. With this, deploying a multi-tier, highly-available SharePoint farm from the portal will be a few clicks away!
  • Resource Group enhancements: Manage infrastructure services like virtual machines and virtual networks along with platform services like web sites and databases, all within the same Resource Group, as a single application. This level of flexibility and control is an example of how Azure is leading the way in blurring the lines between infrastructure and platform services, giving customers the choice to pick the best platform for their application needs.
  • Azure Image Gallery Updates: The completely re-imagined Azure Gallery is more powerful with the addition of several new virtual machine images that enable you to provision dev/test servers or production applications in minutes. The new virtual machine images and templates take the guesswork out of building, orchestrating and deploying complex applications, thus letting you focus on creating business value instead of managing the infrastructure.
  • Azure SQL Database: Customers can manage their Azure SQL Databases within the Portal, consistent with other Azure services. This includes provisioning databases across Web and Business (currently in general availability) and Basic, Standard, and Premium (currently in preview).

Checkout the blog from  Director, Product Marketing, Microsoft Azure to learn more.

Azure Preview Portal Virtual Machine



StorSimple

Microsoft Announces Azure StorSimple Hybrid Storage Solutions For The Enterprise

Today Microsoft announced that starting August 1, the will deliver the new StorSimple 8000 series hybrid storage arrays. The StorSimple 8000 series are the most powerful StorSimple systems ever and have even tighter integration with Azure, including two new Azure-based capabilities to enable new use cases and centralize data management. These new solutions demonstrate how Microsoft is bringing the best of on-premises storage together with the cloud in order to deliver bottom line savings to customers by cutting storage costs from 40 to 60% and helping IT teams focus more on business strategies than infrastructure management.

The new StorSimple 8000 series arrays come in two flavors to meet a variety of capacity and performance needs:  the StorSimple 8100 and the StorSimple 8600, which you can read about here.

The new StorSimple 8000 series arrays come in two flavors to meet a variety of capacity and performance needs:  the StorSimple 8100 and the StorSimple 8600, which you can read about here.  These are enterprise hybrid storage arrays with a twist – instead of being limited to only SSDs and HDDs, these arrays use Azure Storage as a hybrid cloud tier for automatic capacity expansion and off-site data protection. That means IT teams don’t have to spend so much time and effort working on the next inevitable storage capacity upgrade or managing the complex details of data protection. Data stored on StorSimple 8000 series arrays is automatically protected off-site by cloud snapshots, which fill the enormous gap between problematic tape solutions and costly remote replication solutions.

To go with the new arrays, there is the Microsoft Azure StorSimple Virtual Appliance, which is an implementation of StorSimple technology running as an Azure virtual machine in the cloud. With a matching Azure StorSimple virtual machine, StorSimple 8000 series customers can run applications in Azure that access snapshot virtual volumes in the cloud. Customers will be able to run new applications that search and analyze historical datasets without disrupting production work in their datacenter. This new StorSimple Virtual Appliance not only works for data from Windows Server and Hyper-V, but on-premises Linux and VMware servers, as well, providing hybrid cloud capabilities for the most common server platforms today.

The Virtual Appliance also enables disaster recovery (DR) in the cloud. Virtualized applications that store their data on an Azure StorSimple array in a customer’s datacenter can be restarted in VMs in Azure with access to previously uploaded data. Updates to data made during recovery operations can be downloaded later to StorSimple arrays on-premises when normal operations resume.

DR is an area of concern for many customers and they seldom get a chance to test their abilities. Microsoft Azure StorSimple 8000 Series arrays and Virtual Appliances have a feature called Instant Recovery, which presents synthetic, full images of virtual volumes in Azure to applications and end users so they can start accessing data as soon as possible after a disaster. Instant recovery accelerates restores and DR testing by only downloading data that is needed and bypassing data that isn’t needed.

Another groundbreaking capability in this release is the Microsoft Azure StorSimple Manager, which consolidates management for all of a customer’s Azure StorSimple 8000 series arrays and Virtual Appliances. Administrators use the Manager to centrally control all aspects of StorSimple storage and data management from the cloud, so they can ensure consistent operations and data protection/retention policies across the enterprise. The new StorSimple Manager also gives administrators a dashboard with up-to-the-minute status and reports so they can quickly spot storage troubles and trends and allows the IT team to spend less time on storage infrastructure management and shift resources to business applications.

StorSimple customers have been seeing the financial and IT efficiency benefits of hybrid cloud storage for years.  Now, the Microsoft Azure StorSimple solution brings new innovations to enable even greater operational efficiency, and is a great example of technology developed with a hybrid cloud design point and critical customer needs in mind.

 

If you want to know more about StorSimple checkout my blog about StorSimple Cloud as a Tier and the Microsoft blog post from Takeshi Numoto about the new StorSimple 8000 series.

 



Windows Azure Pack Feedback

Feedback for Windows Azure Pack

Since the release of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 I worked on several different Windows Azure Pack deployments for Service Providers. Windows Azure Pack delivers Microsoft Azure technologies for you to run inside your datacenter. It offers rich, self-service, multi-tenant services and experiences that are consistent with Microsoft’s public cloud offering. Together with technologies like Hyper-V Network Virtualization and Microsoft Storage Spaces Windows Azure Pack becomes a powerful framework for Service Providers.

You can help shape the future of Windows Azure Pack. The Windows Azure Pack team has created a user voice site where you can post feature suggestions and vote on the suggestions of others.

You can find the Azure Pack user voice site here http://feedback.azure.com/forums/255259-azure-pack

 

 

 



Cisco Champions

Cisco Champion 2014

I feel honored to be awarded by Cisco with the Cisco Champion title. Cisco does a lot of great products and I focused on the datacenter solutions which Cisco offers with their Cisco UCS platform and the Microsoft solutions, such as the System Center Integration and the Cisco UCS PowerShell Module.

 

Passionate Experts, Global Champions for Change

What makes a Cisco Champion? Passion, plus a desire to share their perspectives with the community. There are Cisco Champions all over the world. They represent a variety of segments across the IT industry. And they offer their time to help others learn about Cisco and connect with Cisco in unique ways.

In addition to sharing their insights and expertise, Cisco Champions make a difference by:

  • Supporting their peers in social communities, forums, and networks
  • Sharing their relevant experiences and thoughts on Cisco blogs
  • Providing valuable feedback directly to Cisco
  • And more

Cisco Champions have a unique opportunity to contribute to and enhance the way people use the latest technologies. They also receive:

  • Recognition for their contributions
  • Invitations to exclusive events
  • Opportunities to directly communicate with Cisco employees


Surface Pro 3

My next work machine – Surface Pro 3

I am a Surface Pro user since the first hour, the Surface Pro replaced my laptop. After I got my Surface Pro 2 I replaced my Surface Pro it started to become my daily work machine, which I use for my work, university and at home. With the release of the Surface Pro 2 Microsoft fixed the kickstand and the battery life issues, which really made a huge difference to the first version Surface Pro. My biggest issues with the Surface Pro 2 was the size of the screen. When I worked at university or at a customer the small screen wasn’t really perfect to work for 8 hours. Of course weight and thickness could be better, but for me was never a killer issue, because it was already much lighter and smaller than my laptop. One of the things I liked the most about the Surface Pro was the Pen which was really great for taking notes or during customer workshops.

Yesterday Microsoft announced the new Surface Pro 3 with a lot of great enhancements. The most important changes for me was the screen, they not only made it bigger with a higher resolution, they also changed the ratio from 16:9 to 3:2 which I think makes it even better. I never was  a fan of the 16:9 ratio. Microsoft also made the Surface Pro 3 lighter and thinner than without compromising on performance and battery life.

Surface Pro 3 Specifications

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: Surface Pro 3 292mm x 201.3mm x 9.1mm vs Surface Pro 2 275 x 173 x 13,5 mm which makes it 4.4mm thinner (32%)
  • Weight: Surface Pro 3 800g vs Surface Pro 2 900g which makes it 100g (11%) ligther
  • Screen: 12” ClearType Full HD Plus Resolution: 2160 x 1440 Aspect Ratio: 3:2 Touch: Multi-touch vs a 10,6” Full HD Display on the Surface Pro 2
  • Battery life: up to 9 hours
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB storage with 4GB RAM and 256GB or 512GB storage with 8GB RAM
  • CPU: 4th generation Intel® Core i3, i5 or i7 with TPM Chip for enterprise security
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac/802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 4.0 Low Energy technology
  • Ports: Full-size USB 3.0, microSD™ card reader, Headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port
  • Cameras: 5.0 megapixel rear-facing camera and front-facing camera

macbook-air-surfrace-pro-3

 

Microsoft not only released not only the Surface Pro 3 they also released some new accessories for it.

  • New Surface Pro Type Cover which is thinner and got a better and larger track pad
  • New USB Ethernet Adapter with Gigabit Ethernet
  • New Surface Pro Docking station which is larger with more USB 3.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet
  • New Power Adapter
  • New Surface Pen which has an even better integration with OneNote and with over 250 levels of pressure sensitivity and Palm Block technology.

Since I am a huge fan of OneNote I really like how the new Surface Pen integrates with OneNote. The new Pen as a “OneNote” button. Pressing the OneNote button opens a new note in OneNote even the Surface is looked. There are even more features but I am sure you just have to try it out.

It is great to see how Microsoft is building this great synergy between products such as their cloud offerings with OneDrive, software products such as OneNote and hardware. This and mainly the larger screen makes the description to upgrade to the Surface Pro 3 very easy.

The Surface Pro 3 will be available in Switzerland in August.