Tag: Virtualization

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Hyper-V vNext Runtime Memory Resize

Sneak Peek into the Next Version of Hyper-V

Back in October Microsoft released the first public Windows Server Technical Preview for the next release of Windows Server. At TechEd Europe Bed Armstrong, Principal Program Manager on the Hyper-V team at Microsoft, talked about a couple of new features which are coming in the next release of Windows Server Hyper-V. This is a quick list of some of the new features we will get in the next release of Windows Server Hyper-V, there is a lot more coming until the release of Windows Server vNext and System Center vNext in 2016.

Virtual Machine Configuration Changes

Hyper-V vNext VM Configuration Files

In the next release of Hyper-V Microsoft will change the Virtual Machine configuration files. Today the Hyper-V VM configuration files had the xml file format. You were able to open the file and check and edit the virtual machine configuration inside that file, even it was never supported. By running more and more workloads virtual and in a dynamic cloud way, scale and performance gets even more critical. In the next version of Hyper-V Microsoft will change the VM configuration from the xml file to a binary file format. The new binary format brings more efficient performance at large scale. Microsoft also now includes a resilient logging for changes in the configuration files so this should protect virtual machines from corruption.

New file extensions:

  • .VMCX (Virtual Machine Configuration) – replaces the .xml file
  • .VMRS (Virtual Machine Runtime State) – replaces .bin and .vsv file

Production VM Checkpoints (Snapshots)

Hyper-V vNext Production CheckPoint

Virtual Machine Checkpoints or in older versions Virtual Machine Snapshots were a great solution to take a state of a virtual machine and save it, doing some changes and if something fails you could simply revert back to the time you took the checkpoint. This was not really supported to use in production, since a lot of applications couldn’t handle that process. Microsoft now changed that behavior now fully supports it in production environments. For this Production Checkpoints are now using VSS instead of the Saved State to create the checkpoint. This means if you are restoring a checkpoint this is just like restoring a system from a backup. For the user everything works as before and there is no difference in how you have to take the checkpoint. Production Checkpoints are enabled by default, but you can change back to the old behavior if you need to. But still using Checkpoints brings some other challenges, like the growing .avhdx file, which still apply.

Hyper-V Replica support for Hot Add of VHDX

Hyper-V Replica was one of the greatest new features in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. In Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, if you have hot added a VHDX file to a Virtual Machine, replication failed. In the next version of Hyper-V when you add a new virtual hard disk to a virtual machine that is being replicated, it is automatically added to the not-replicated set so replication continues to run and you can then online update this set with via PowerShell and the VM will automatically resynchronize and everything works as expected.

Hot add / remove of Virtual Machine Memory

Hyper-V vNext Runtime Memory Resize

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V you could decrease the Minimum Memory and increase the Maximum Memory of a Virtual Machine using Dynamic Memory while the VM was running. In the next version of Hyper-V you can now increase and decrease the Memory assigned to virtual machines while they are running, even if they are using static memory.

Hot add / remove of virtual network adapters

Hyper-V vNext Hot Add and Remove Virtual Network Adapters

This was maybe the feature VMware fan boys all over the world have used against Hyper-V. However I didn’t really saw a lot of customers doing this, but it is great that you can now hot add and remove network adapters from Virtual Machines.

Virtual Network Adapter Identification

Hyper-V vNext Virtual Network Adapter Identification

For me more important than hot add or remove virtual network adapters is this feature. When dealing with automation you are always happy you can identify different network adapters. For the Hyper-V hosts we have different solutions such as Consistent Device Naming (CDN), sort by PCI slot using PowerShell and other options to identify network adapters. But we didn’t really have a great solution for Virtual Machines. With Network Adapter Identification this changes. You can name individual virtual network adapters in the virtual machine settings and see the same name inside the guest virtual machine.

PowerShell on the Hyper-V Host

PowerShell in the guest

Hyper-V Manager Improvements

Finally, this is something which is not a problem in most environments , since we know how things work. But a lot of people which are Hyper-V beginners coming from VMware or other platforms, they have some simple troubles with Hyper-V Manager. In the next version there are a couple of create improvements which make things a lot easier.

  • Hyper-V Manager is now connecting via WinRM instead of WMI
  • Support for alternate credentials (Requires that you have CredSSP enabled on the server and client)
  • Connected to Hyper-V Hosts via IP address
  • Mange Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and the next version of Hyper-V from the latest console

Power Management improvements

SleepStudy Report Connected Standby Transitions

Microsoft updated the hypervisor power management model to support new modes of power management. And this is one of the reasons I run Windows 10 Technical Preview on my Surface Pro 3. Surface Pro 3 is a device which can run Connected Standby, but if you install Hyper-V on Windows 8.1 Connected Standby stops working. In the next version of Hyper-V Connected Standby will work.

Rolling Cluster Upgrade

Hyper-V vNext Rolling Cluster Upgrades

With this new feature you are finally able to upgrade a Hyper-V Cluster from Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V to the next version of Hyper-V without new hardware, no downtime and the ability to roll-back safely if needed. In Windows Server 2012 R2 you had to create a new Hyper-V Cluster while the old Hyper-V Cluster was still running and migrate a Hyper-V Cluster via Cluster Migration Wizard or Live Migration. You can now have Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Hosts and the next version of Hyper-V running in the same Hyper-V Cluster. To make this scenario possible, the Hyper-V team had to do some changes to the Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

New Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

Hyper-V vNext Update VM Configuration Version

To support Rolling Cluster Upgrades Microsoft had to make some changes to the Virtual Machine Upgrade Process. In the current versions of Hyper-V, Virtual Machines were automatically upgraded from the old to the new version, which means that if you once moved a Virtual Machine to a new Hyper-V host you couldn’t move it back again. In a mixed cluster environment this does not work. In the next version of Hyper-V, Virtual Machines will not be upgraded automatically. Upgrading a virtual machines is a manual operation that is separate from upgrading the Hyper-V host. This allows you to move virtual machines back to earlier version of Hyper-V until they have been manually upgraded.

New way how VM Drivers (integration services) get updated

Since Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, VM drivers (integration services) were updated with each new host release, and it was required that the VM driver version matches the host version. When new Hyper-V integration services were shipped you had to update the Hyper-V host and form there you could upgrade the VM drivers inside the virtual machine. With Windows Server vNext Hyper-V Microsoft brings VM driver updates over Windows Update. This means also that you now don’t have to have the VM integration services matching the host version, you simply need the latest version of the integration services released.

Secure Boot Support for Linux

Microsoft is pushing hard to bring more and more supported for Linux operating systems such as dynamic memory and other features. With Hyper-V vNext Microsoft bring Secure Boot support for Linux which works with Ubuntu 14.04 (and later) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12.

PowerShell to enable Secure Boot Support for Linux:

Distributed Storage QoS

Hyper-V vNext Storage QoS

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V we got the possibility to limit maximum IOPs for an individual virtual hard disk which was a great feature. Everything worked great when you were running the Virtual Machine on a single Hyper-V host, but when you were running multiple Hyper-V hosts with multiple Virtual Machine against the same storage, the Hyper-V host didn’t know that he had to compete with other servers for Storage IOPs or bandwidth. For example the scenario of a minimum IOPs setting did only work on standalone Hyper-V servers. With the next release of Hyper-V and Windows Server Microsoft adds a lot of new stuff. Together with the Scale-Out File Server and Storage Spaces, Microsoft now allows you to define IOPs reservation for important virtual hard disks and a IOPs reserve and limit that is shared by a group of virtual machines / virtual hard disks. This intelligence, build by Microsoft Research, enables a couple of interesting scenarios especially in service provider environments and large scale enterprises.

Virtual Machine Compute Resiliency

Hyper-V vNext Compute VM Reciliency

Microsoft invested heavily into VM resiliency, especially to hardware failure. One of them is the VM Compute Resiliency feature. This feature allows Virtual Machines to run on a host even if the cluster node is not available to the other nodes in the cluster. For example in Windows Server 2012 R2, if the cluster service couldn’t reach the node in the cluster for 30 seconds, the cluster would failover all the virtual machines to another node. If the same things happens in Windows Server vNext Hyper-V, the node would go into isolated mode for the next 4 minutes (default setting) and when the node comes back in four minutes all the virtual machines will still be running. If it doesn’t come back within four minutes the VMs will failover to another node. If a node is flapping from Isolated Mode to running the cluster service will set the node to quarantined and will move all the virtual machines from the node to another node. This should help keep your workloads running even if there are some hardware or network failures.

Evolving Hyper-V Backup

If you are working in IT you know that Backup is always a issues. And things didn’t really get better by running Virtual Machines running on Storage Systems. With the next release of Hyper-V Server Microsoft will release a completely new architecture to improve reliability, scale and performance of Virtual Machine backups. There are three big changes in the backup architecture:

  • Decoupling backing up virtual machines from backing up the underlying storage.
  • No longer dependent on hardware snapshots for core backup functionality, but still able to take advantage of hardware capabilities when they are present.
  • Built in change tracking for Backup of Virtual Machines

RemoteFX

Microsoft also did some improvements on RemoteFX which now includes support for OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1 API. It also allows you to use larger dedicated VRAM and VRAM in now finally configurable.

Hyper-V Cluster Management

This is maybe something you will never use by yourself but there is another great improvements in terms of automation and development. If you have ever used WMI against a Hyper-V Cluster you always had to run it against every Hyper-V Host in the cluster to get all the information. In the next version of Hyper-V you can finally run WMI against Hyper-V Cluster and it will handle it as it would be a single Hyper-V host, so you get all the information from all hosts in the cluster.

This was a quick overview over just some of the feature and improvements which are coming in the next release of Windows Server Hyper-V which will be released in 2016. There will be much more coming until Microsoft officially releases the next version of Hyper-V and of course some of the stuff I wrote about will be improved as well.

If you want to know more about the next version of Hyper-V checkout Ben Armstrong’s TechEd Europe session or visit some of our TechNet events.

 



Microsoft Switzerland IT-Events

New Microsoft Switzerland TechNet Events for Windows Server & System Center vNext in 2015

Microsoft today released some dates for the upcoming free TechNet events for IT-Pros in Switzerland. The events are focused on different Microsoft Technologies such as Windows 10, Microsoft Azure, System Center, Cloud OS, Windows Server, Office and many more. Together with Philipp Witschi (itnetx) and Michael Rüefli (itnetx & Microsoft MVP) I will present about the new features in Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center vNext.

Microsoft TechNet Event 2015

Am 1. Oktober 2014 wurde die erste Technical Preview der kommenden Versionen unseres Windows Server und System Center veröffentlicht. Im Rahmen unseres Technet Seminars am 11. März 2015 präsentieren wir einen ersten Überblick über alle Neuerungen im Betriebssystem sowie im Management.

In diesem Seminar werden Michael Rüefli (Cloud Architect, CDM MVP), Thomas Maurer (Cloud Architect, Hyper-V MVP) und Philipp Witschi (Head of Consulting & Operations) der itnetx gmbh

intensiv auf die Schwerpunkte Virtualisierung mit Hyper-V, Storage und Backup Restore eingehen und Ihnen das Neuste auf Basis von Microsoft Technologie vorstellen, viel Live-Demo inklusive!

 

Nutzen Sie diese Gelegenheit! Besuchen Sie uns in Wallisellen und informieren sich über die künftigen Möglichkeiten von Windows Server und System Center. Der Anlass ist wie immer kostenlos.

 

Agenda

09.00 – 09.15     Begrüssung (René Hanselmann, Microsoft Schweiz)

09.15 – 10.30     Windows Server Storage vNext (Michael Rüfli, itnetx GmbH)

10.30 – 10.45     Pause

10.45 – 12.00     Windows Server Hyper-V vNext (Thomas Maurer, itnetx GmbH)

12.00 – 13.00     Lunch

13.00 – 14.15     Hybrid Scenario & Backup-ASR-Storage Replication (Michael Rüfli, Thomas Mauer, Philipp Witschi, itnetx GmbH)

14.15 – 14.30     Kaffee Pause

14.30 – 15.45     Real World scenario mit Fokus auf Automation (Michael Rüfli, itnetx GmbH)

15.45 – 16.00     Q & A

ab 16.00             Ende

Feel free to register for this free events on the Microsoft Switzerland TechNet event page:

Windows Server & System Center vNext – Deep Dive (Option1) 12. Mai 2015

Am 1. Oktober 2014 wurde die erste Technical Preview der kommenden Versionen unseres Windows Server und System Center veröffentlicht. Im Rahmen unseres Technet Seminars am 11. März 2015 präsentieren wir einen ersten Überblick über alle Neuerungen im Betriebssystem sowie im Management. In diesem Technet werden Michael Rüfli (Cloud Architect, CDM MVP), Thomas Maurer (Cloud Architect, Hyper-V MVP) und Philipp Witschi (Head of Consulting & Operations) der itnetx gmbh intensiv auf die Schwerpunkte Virtualisierung mit Hyper-V, Storage und Backup/Restore eingehen und Ihnen das Neuste auf Basis von Microsoft Technologie vorstellen, viel Live-Demo inklusive! Nutzen Sie diese Gelegenheit! Besuchen Sie uns in Wallisellen und informieren sich über die künftigen Möglichkeiten von Windows Server und System Center. Der Anlass ist wie immer kostenlos.

Windows Server & System Center vNext – Deep Dive (Option2) 17. Juni 2015

Am 1. Oktober 2014 wurde die erste Technical Preview der kommenden Versionen unseres Windows Server und System Center veröffentlicht. Im Rahmen unseres Technet Seminars am 11. März 2015 präsentieren wir einen ersten Überblick über alle Neuerungen im Betriebssystem sowie im Management. In diesem Seminar werden Michael Rüfli (Cloud Architect, CDM MVP), Thomas Maurer (Cloud Architect, Hyper-V MVP) und Philipp Witschi (Head of Consulting & Operations) der itnetx gmbh intensiv auf die Schwerpunkte Virtualisierung mit Hyper-V, Storage und Backup/Restore eingehen und Ihnen das Neuste auf Basis von Microsoft Technologie vorstellen, viel Live-Demo inklusive! Nutzen Sie diese Gelegenheit! Besuchen Sie uns in Wallisellen und informieren sich über die künftigen Möglichkeiten von Windows Server und System Center. Der Anlass ist wie immer kostenlos.

 

To get an overview about Windows Server & System Center vNext you can also join the following session with Markus Erlacher (itnetx), Marcel Zehner (itnetx & Microsoft MVP) and Martin Wüthrich (itnetx).

Am 1. Oktober 2014 wurde die erste Technical Preview der kommenden Versionen von Windows Server und System Center veröffentlicht. Die Zeit könnte nun nicht günstiger sein, Ihnen die wichtigsten technischen Neuerungen im Rahmen unserer TechNet Seminare zu präsentieren – viele Live-Demos inklusive!

Markus Erlacher, Geschäftsführer bei der itnetx gmbh, ehemaliger Technical Solution Professional Datacenter bei Microsoft Schweiz und einer der versiertesten Datacenter-Experten wird zu Beginn unseres Technets einen Überblick zu den Szenarien und Funktionen der nächsten Version von Windows Server und System Center geben.

 

IT-Abteilungen stehen immer mehr unter Druck: Kosten müssen eingespart, Durchlaufzeiten verkürzt und Fehler minimiert werden. Um diese Ziele zu erreichen, ist Automatisierung von IT-Prozessen unumgänglich. Lösungen wie System Center Orchestrator, Systems Management Automation und Azure Automation werden in der Session 2 von Marcel Zehner, MVP Cloud & Datacenter Management bei der itnetx gmbh vorgestellt.

 

Der Nachmittag beginnt mit der Vorstellung unserer Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), ein interessant zusammengeschnürtes Paket wichtiger Funktionen, u.a. für “Bring your own device” Scenarien, die in aller Munde sind und die ein oder andere Herausforderung in der Umsetzung mit sich bringen: Wie kann diese Anforderung in Firmen umgesetzt werden? Welche Techniken bietet Microsoft hier? Themen wie Authentifizierung in der Cloud, ADFS, Zugriffsrechte (Rights Management) und Mobile Device Management (Intune) werden von Martin Wüthrich, Workplace Architekt und System Center Configuration Manager und Packaging Spezialist der itnetx gmbh, thematisiert – inklusive Scenarien, die mit Hilfe von Azure RemoteApp umgesetzt werden können.

 

Damit IT-Infrastrukturen und Applikationen einwandfrei betrieben werden können, ist eine umfangreiche End-to-End-Überwachung notwendig. In Zeiten vom hybriden IT-Infrastrukturen ist es notwendig, Ressourcen unabhängig von Ihrem Betriebsort überwachen zu können und in einer einheitlichen Sicht zu visualisieren. In der Session 4 zeigt Ihnen Marcel Zehner wie diese Ziele mit dem System Center Operations Manager erreicht werden können. Zudem stellt er die Azure Operational Insights vor, ein neuer cloud-basierter Service der die schnelle und umfangreiche Analyse von Messdaten erlaubt.

 

Nutzen Sie diese Gelegenheit! Besuchen Sie uns in Wallsiellen und informieren sich über die künftigen Möglichkeiten von Windows Server und System Center. Der Anlass ist wie immer kostenlos.

 

Agenda

09.00 – 09.15      Begrüssung (René Hanselmann, Microsoft Schweiz)

09.15 – 10.30     Übersicht Windows Server und System Center (Markus Erlacher, itnetx GmbH)

10.30 – 10.45     Pause

10.45 – 12.00     IT Prozess-Automatisierung (Marcel Zehner, itnetx GmbH)

12.00 – 13.00     Lunch

13.00 – 14.15     EMS & Mobile Device Management (Martin Wüthrich, itnetx GmbH)

14.15 – 14.30     Kaffee Pause

14.30 – 15.45     End-to-End Infrastruktur- und Serviceüberwachung (Marcel Zehner, itnetx GmbH)

15.45 – 16.00     Q & A

ab 16.00               Ende

Windows Server & System Center vNext - ein erster Überblick 11. März 2015

Am 1. Oktober 2014 wurde die erste Technical Preview der kommenden Versionen von Windows Server und System Center veröffentlicht. Die Zeit könnte nun nicht günstiger sein, Ihnen die wichtigsten technischen Neuerungen im Rahmen unserer TechNet Seminare zu präsentieren – viele Live-Demos inklusive! Markus Erlacher, Geschäftsführer bei der itnetx gmbh, ehemaliger Technical Solution Professional Datacenter bei Microsoft Schweiz und einer der versiertesten Datacenter-Experten wird zu Beginn unseres Technets einen Überblick zu den Szenarien und Funktionen der nächsten Version von Windows Server und System Center geben.

 



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.



Cisco Champion 2015

Cisco Champion 2015

Last year it was the first time I was awareded by Cisco with the Cisco Champions Award for 2014. This morning I found some great news in my inbox again. I feel honored to be part of the Cisco Champions community again for 2015. Since I do a lot of Datacenter projects with Microsoft and Cisco technologies I can see that the new partnership between Cisco and Microsoft is really paying off and we can expect even better integration and services from both companies.

Congratulations: Welcome to the Cisco Champions Program 2015!

Because of your excellent contributions to the IT community, you have been chosen out of hundreds of applicants, to be a member of the Cisco Champions team in 2015. Congratulations!

 

Cisco Champions are seasoned IT technical experts and influencers who enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champions program encompasses different areas of interest, such as Data Center, Internet of Things, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration and Security. Cisco Champions are located all over the world.

 



System Center Universe Europe 2014

My sessions from System Center Universe Europe 2014 available on Channel9

As I already posted I was presenting at System Center Universe Europe 2014 (SCU Europe) in Basel this year. Microsoft now made the recordings available on Channel9 and you can now watch them for free.

Disaster Recovery with Azure Site Recovery

Together with Michel Lüscher (Architect at Microsoft) I was showing how you can deploy a fully automated Disaster Recovery solution based on Microsoft Hyper-V Replica, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager.

Software Defined Networking – Comparison of different solutions

Together with Walter Dey (Former Cisco Distinguished Engineer) I held the session about different SDN (Software Defined Networking) solutions on the market. This session will provide an overview about Software-Defined Networking and compare different solutions such as Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization based on NVGRE and Cisco VXLAN and VMware NSX.



MMS Midwest Management Summit

Speaking at MMS

After System Center Universe Europe 2014 and E2EVC Brussels, I am proud to announce that I am also speaking at the new Midwest Management Summit (MMS). The Midwest Management Summit is a 3-day conference purposely capped to just 500 attendees so that nobody gets lost in the crowd. Speakers have time to meet and talk to you. No rushing people out of a session to get the next speaker going. Time to absorb what you see and talk it over with speakers and other attendees.

I will speak in two sessions:

Building a Datacenter Abstraction Layer with Virtual Machine Manager

The session delivers an overview about how you can build a Datacenter Abstraction Layer between your Fabric such as Storage, Network and Compute resources and your services. The session is focused on Fabric Management with System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager. Attendees will learn how to build an Datacenter Abstraction Layer between Fabric and Services with Virtual Machine Manager.

Disaster Recovery with Azure Site Recovery

The session shows you, how you can use Microsoft Disaster Recovery Technologies such as Hyper-V Replica, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Azure Site Recovery to failover your Microsoft Cloud. It also shows the scenario how you can replicate virtual machines to Microsoft Azure. This includes knowledge about the different Disaster Recovery Solutions from Microsoft

The Midwest Management Summit will take place from November 10-12 in the Radisson Blu, Mall of America Minnesota, USA.

If you are interested to join the so called new MMS, checkout the  Midwest Management Summit website.

 

MMS

Join the Midwest Management Summit and learn everything about the Microsoft CloudOS, System Center, Hyper-V, Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Azure.



E2EVC Copenhagen

Speaking at E2EVC 2014 Barcelona

This year I was already speaking at the E2E Virtualization Conference in Brussels. Together with Michael Rüefli I was talking about the Microsoft CloudOS and how you can build a Cloud based on this technology such as Windows Server, Hyper-V, Storage Spaces and Windows Azure Pack.

From 24-26 October the E2EVC will take place in Barcelona, Spain. In one session I will speak about Disaster Recovery with Hyper-V Replica and Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Manager. I will show you how you can failover your Virtual environment from one datacenter to another or how you can failover your Virtual Machines to Microsoft Azure.