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  • Microsoft Azure
  • Virtual Machine Manager

Tag: Virtual Machine

centos hyper-v

Best Practices for running Linux on Hyper-V

Sometimes I just need my blog as a reminder or a database to find something in a few months so this is exactly one of this blog posts. Microsoft has a TechNet article where they describe the best practices for Linux VMs running on Hyper-V 2012 or Hyper-V 2012 R2. The article is a list of recommendations for running Linux virtual machine on Hyper-V.

Right now they have 4 recommendations on the list (Source Microsoft TechNet):

  • Use static MAC addresses with failover clustering.
  • Use Hyper-V-specific network adapters, not the legacy network adapter.
  • Use I/O scheduler NOOP for better disk I/O performance.
  • Add “numa=off” if the Linux virtual machine has more than 7 virtual processors or more than 30 GB RAM.

 



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



Azure Site Recovery

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Preview

Microsoft today announced the preview of Disaster Recovery to Azure called Microsoft Azure Site Recovery. This also replaces HRM (Hyper-V Recovery Manager). Microsoft Azure Site Recovery (ASR) allows you to orchestrate disaster recovery to a second site or directly to Azure.

Microsoft ASR

Both solutions use Microsoft on-prem technology like Windows Server Hyper-V Replica and System Center Virtual Machine Manager and you can start using them via the Microsoft Azure Management Portal.

In addition to enabling Microsoft Azure as a DR site in multiple geographies, this preview also includes an impressive list of features for enabling virtual machine replication to Azure:

  • At-Scale Configuration
    You can configure the protection and replication of VM settings in a private cloud and configure and connect on-prem networks with Azure Networks. Those VM’s are then only replicated to customer-owned and managed geo-redundant Azure Storage.
  • Variable Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
    This feature provides support for near-synchronous data replication with RPOs as low as 30 seconds. You can also retain consistent snapshots at desired frequency for a 24-hour window.
  • Data Encryption
    VM Virtual Hard Disks can be encrypted at rest using a secure, customer-managed encryption key that ensures best-in-class security and privacy for your application data when it is replicating to Azure. This encryption key is known only to the customer and it is needed for the failover of VM’s to Azure. Simply put: All of this service’s traffic within Azure is encrypted.
  • Self-Service Disaster Recovery
    With ASR you get full support for DR drills via test failover, planned failover with a zero-data loss, unplanned failover, and failback.
  • One-Click Orchestration
    ASR also provides easy-to-create, customizable Recovery Plans to ensure one-click failovers and failbacks that are always accurate, consistent, and help you achieve your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) goals.
  • Audit and Compliance Reporting with Reliable Recovery
    DR testing and drills can be performed without any impact to production workloads. This means you get risk-free, high-confidence testing that meets your compliance objectives. You can run these non-disruptive test failovers whenever you like, as often as you like. Also, with the ability to generate reports for every activity performed using the service, you can meet all your audit requirements.

ASR does not only help you in terms of Disaster Recovery, it also allows you to quickly and easily migrate your Virtual Machines to Azure or create a new dev environment.

Check out the ASR session at TechEd 2014 and Brad Andersons blog about the release of the Azure Site Recovery Preview.

Once you’re ready to see what ASR can do for you, you can check out pricing information, sign up for a free trial, or learn more about the product specs.

 

 



SMA Author RunBooks in Windows Azure Pack

Service Management Automation – The Next Step in Cloud and Datacenter Automation

With System Center Orchestrator Microsoft already had an datacenter automation engine in his portfolio. Microsoft acquired Opalis added it to the System Center Suite, after a while Microsoft renamed Opalis to System Center Orchestrator. As we have a look at modern datacenters and our cloud environment automation is a key part of it. With the latest release of System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack, Microsoft release a new automation engine based on PowerShell Workflows called Service Management Automation (SMA).

Windows Azure Pack Automation with SMA

SMA is integrated as one of the key Resource Provider in Windows Azure Pack, and allows you to manage your PowerShell Workflows in so called Runbooks. Service Management Automation enhances PowerShell Workflows in several different ways.

  • Centralized management
  • Centralized store for variables, credentials, certificates, connections, modules, workflows, checkpoints and schedules.
  • High availability workflow execution
  • Versioning
  • Odata web service (HTTP API)
  • Historical view of workflow jobs and their output

Architecture

SMA is build form several different components.

  • Web Service – HTTP/HTTPS API which distributes runbook jobs to runbook workers and builds the connection to Widnwos Azure Pack
  • Runbook worker – Executes Runbooks
  • PowerShell module – Enables SMA to be managed by Windows PowerShell
  • Windows Azure Pack - UI for administrators to create and manage runbooks
  • SQL database – Store for Runbooks and settings

SMA Architecture

  • The Automation web service communicates with Windows Azure Pack and authenticates users.
  • The SQL Server databases store and retrieve runbooks, runbook assets, activities, integration modules, and runbook job information.
  • Runbook workers run the runbooks, and they can be used for load balancing.
  • The management portal in Windows Azure Pack is where you author, debug, and start and stop runbooks.

Source: TechNet

One of the greats enhancements Service Management Automation together with Windows Azure Pack brings is the possibility to link runbooks to SPF and VMM activates used in the Virtual Machine Cloud. What does this mean? For example you link a runbook to a Create Virtual Machine activity, so every time a VM gets created the runbooks starts and also gets as input object the VM which was created. This is just one example what you can do with SMA and Windows Azure Pack VM Cloud, there are a lot of other possibilities as well.

If you compare System Center Orchestrator to Service Management Automation, SMA looks a little bit more complex if you have used a lot of Integrations Packs in SCORCH but if you have done a lot of work in PowerShell you will really like SMA and see the advantages of it.

Service Management Automation does not offer an user interface by itself, instead it is using the Windows Azure Pack portal, where admins can author, run, schedule and link runbooks.

SMA Author RunBooks in Windows Azure Pack



Veeam

Two new Veeam Webinars about Hyper-V

A couple of week ago I was presenting for Veeam about Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Veeam Backup & Replication v7 R2. The webinar was in German and during a huge request from people about an English webinar, Veeam offered to do the same webinar in English. Together with Aseem Anwar I will present about the new feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V showing the following enhancements:

  • Storage
  • Networking
  • Management
  • Live Migration
  • Generation 2 Virtual Machines
  • And more

The webinar will take place on Thursday 24 April 11:00 CEST (10:00 BST) and you can register free on the Veeam website. The webinar will be held in English.

 

Register

Register for the free webinar on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Veeam Backup & Replication v7 R2. (English)

 

There will be also a second webinar about Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Veeam Backup and Replication in German together with Moritz Höfer. This webinar will focus on small businesses and will show you how you can make use of Hyper-V and Veeam Backup & Replication in a small business environment.

The webinar will take place on Thursday 23 April 15:00 CEST and you can register free on the Veeam website. The webinar will be held in German.

 

Register

Register for the free webinar on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Veeam Backup & Replication v7 R2. (English)

 

If you have any are interested in Hyper-V 2012 R2 or Veeam Backup & Replication or how the products work together, you should definitely join this free webinar.

 

 

 



WAP Register SPF

Windows Azure Pack – Virtual Machine Cloud

One of the big features of Windows Azure Pack right now is the integration of a Infrastructure as a Service offering or in other words Virtual Machine Cloud. VM Cloud allows you to integrate your existing System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 and Hyper-V environment over SPF (Service Provider Foundation) API, so you can create a offering similar to the Windows Azure IaaS experience.

I had the chance working on several Windows Azure Pack projects where we have integrated the Virtual Machine Cloud and created offerings for service providers as well as for enterprise companies for internal use. Two parts of I really like about the solution in the integration of Hyper-V Network Virtualization and the integration of VM Roles, which are basically a solution to deploy services instead of just Virtual Machines. Microsoft also finally fixed the issue we had in App Controller and other products to connect to a Virtual Machine via the Hyper-V Console from outside your organization by using a Remote Desktop Gateway.

Architecture

To deploy the VM Cloud or IaaS offering in Windows Azure Pack you need several roles, services and components. If you want to know more about the Windows Azure Pack Architecture, check out the following blog post.

Windows Azure Pack VM Cloud Architecture

Picture Source: TechNet

  • Hyper-V – You need a Hyper-V environment for hosting virtual machines.
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager – In a VM Cloud environment you need your Hyper-V resources to connect to a Virtual Machine Manager. You can connect multiple Virtual Machine Manager servers so called VMM stamps. If you are using Hyper-V Network Virtualization (NVGRE) make sure you build a highly available VMM Cluster for each stamp.
  • Service Provider Foundation – To bring those VMM stamps inside Windows Azure Pack you need an API solution called Service Provider Foundation. Every VMM stamp has to be registered in Windows Azure Pack trough a Service Provider Foundation Endpoint.
  • Windows Azure Pack Tenant Portal – The Portal for tenants/customers to manage Virtual Machines
  • Windows Azure Pack Admin Portal – The Portal for Administrator to register new VMM stamps and create offerings for customers.
  • Service Management API – You always need this if you deploy Windows Azure Pack.
  • SQL Server – SQL Server for Windows Azure Pack, SPF and Virtual Machine Manager
  • RD Gateway – Remote Desktop Gateway for the Console Connection to the Virtual Machine
  • System Center Operations Manager – If you just want to monitor your VM environment or you want to do chargeback you need Operations Manager and Service Reporting.

How to setup VM Cloud in Windows Azure Pack

After you have setup your environment you have to register your Service Provider Foundation and VMM in Windows Azure Pack. Enter the address of the SPF Endpoint and the address of the VMM Server.

WAP Register SPF

You can than add VMM servers or VMM Stamps to the Windows Azure Pack.

VMMStamp in WAP

You can now select the Cloud you want to use for your offering. If you create a new plan you can select which VMM stamp and cloud should be used for the offering. You can limit resources like Virtual Machine count, CPU cores, RAM, Storage, VM Networks, Templates and more inside plans and add-ons. You can than offer these plans and add-ons to your customers.

WAP VM Cloud Plan

As another part you can extend the solution by adding a SMA Web Service endpoint to the Windows Azure Pack and configure it for the Virtual Machine Clouds. With this solution you can link SMA Runbooks to actions in Windows Azure Pack VM Cloud, SPF and Virtual Machine Manager.

WAP Link SMA Runbook to VMM Action

If you need to enable Console access to the Virtual Machine to the tenant users, you also have to register a Remote Desktop Gateway. This will allow user to access the Virtual Machine without having a IP address set inside the VM.

Tenant VM Console Access WAP

Remember there are much more steps you have to do. For example configuring the fabric in System Center Virtual Machine Manager or configuring the Remote Desktop Gateway to have access to the Hyper-V hosts. And if you are doing NVGRE (Hyper-V Network Virtualization) you may also want to have NVGRE Gateways in place so customers can leave the Virtual Network and connect to the physical network or the internet. So setting this thing up is one part but having it designed and configured the right way is another.



Building Clouds

Windows Azure for your Datacenter

Some years back, when Microsoft launched Windows Azure and I was working for a Hosting company, I remember that we were thinking and talking about this and were hoping that Microsoft would make Windows Azure available for hosters. At the beginning of last year Microsoft made this step by releasing Windows Azure Services for Windows Server and together with Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center you could build your own Windows Azure. With the R2 wave of System Center and Windows Server, Microsoft also renamed Windows Azure Services for Windows Server to Windows Azure Pack (wow what a great idea ;-)) and added some great new functionality to the product it self.

Windows Azure Pack Archtiecture Overview

Windows Azure Pack is a collection of Windows Azure technologies, available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost for installation into your data center. It runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and, through the use of the Windows Azure technologies, enables you to offer a rich, self-service, multi-tenant cloud, consistent with the public Windows Azure experience.

The Windows Azure Pack is basically a framework which offers you to build several offerings for customers.

  • VM Cloud – This is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering which allows customer to deploy and manage Windows and Linux Virtual Machines including VM Template, scaling and Virtual Networking options.
  • Web Sites – a service that helps provide a high-density, scalable shared web hosting platform for ASP.NET, PHP, and Node.js web applications. The Web Sites service includes a customizable web application gallery of open source web applications and integration with source control systems for custom-developed web sites and applications.
  • Service Bus – a service that provides reliable messaging services between distributed applications. The Service Bus service includes queued and topic-based publish/subscribe capabilities.
  • SQL and MySQL – services that provide database instances. These databases can be used in conjunction with the Web Sites service.
  • Automation and Extensibility – the capability to automate and integrate additional custom services into the services framework, including a runbook editor and execution environment.

Source: TechNet

On top of this Windows Azure Pack offers two management portals, one for tenants and one for administrators which are build on top of the Service Management API. The Service Management API is a RESTful API which allows you build some custom scenarios such as custom portals or billing integrations on top of the Azure Pack framework.

Windows Azure Pack IaaS

In the last months I had time to work within several different project with the integration of Windows Azure Pack, mainly with the VM Cloud and automation integration and also some work with the Service Management API and some customization together with Stefan Johner and Fulvio Ferrarini from itnetx. I will write some blog post about Windows Azure Pack, the stuff we have done and we are doing right now.

If you are looking for some good blogs around Windows Azure Pack you should definitely checkout the blogs from Marc van Eijk, Hans Vredevoort and Kristian Nese or the Windows Azure Pack Wiki on TechNet. And btw. Windows Azure Pack is not just made for hoster and service providers, it is also a great solution for enterprises, check out why by reading Michael Rueeflis blog.