Monthly archives: September, 2011

Cisco UCS Release 2.0


This monday Cisco released the the UCS Software 2.0, which brings a lot of bug fixes and important features. This major software release brings a new drivers, BIOS, software and firmware.

New Hardware Features in Release 2.0(1)

  • Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric interconnect
  • Cisco 2208 IO Module
  • 2500 Watt DC Power Supply for the Cisco UCS 5108 Blade Server Chassis

New Software Features in Release 2.0(1)

  • Licensing – Updated information for new UCS hardware.
  • Firmware Bundle Option – Enables you to select a bundle instead of a version when updating firmware using the Cisco UCS Manager GUI.
  • Disk Drive Monitoring Support – Support for disk drive monitoring on certain blade servers and a specific LSI storage controller firmware level.
  • iSCSI Boot – iSCSI boot enables a server to boot its operating system from an iSCSI target machine located remotely over a network.
  • Pre-login Banner – Displays user-defined banner text prior to login when a user logs into Cisco UCS Manager using the GUI or CLI.
  • Unified Ports – Unified ports are ports on the 6200 series fabric interconnect that can be configured to carry either Ethernet or Fibre Channel traffic.
  • Upstream Disjoint Layer-2 Networks – Enables you to configure Cisco UCS to communicate with upstream disjoint layer-2 networks.
  • Virtual Interfaces – The number of vNICs and vHBAs configurable for a service profile is determined by adapter capability and the amount of virtual interface (VIF) namespace available on the adapter.
  • VM-FEX Integration for VMware – Cisco Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) for VMware provides management integration and network communication between Cisco UCS Manager and VMware vCenter. In previous releases, this functionality was known as VN-Link in Hardware.
  • VM-FEX Integration for KVM (Red Hat Linux) – Cisco Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) for VMware provides external switching for virtual machines running on a KVM Linux-based hypervisor in a Cisco UCS instance.

More Information about the Cisco UCS Software 2.0 release

Windows 8: Client Hyper-V and boot from VHD

Windows 8 Client Hyper-V

Some days before the BUILD conference, Microsoft released a video about Hyper-V in Windows 8. Now after some days of testing I am already a big fan of the client Hyper-V. It lets me create a perfect lab at work or a development VM and Linux VM’s for KTSI.

It’s a great solution for me. Sure there were other solutions like Virtual PC, Virtual Box and VMware Workstation before, but using the built-in Hyper-V has some advantages which make my life a little easier.

  • PowerShell support – it lets me start up a whole lab environment within seconds. I can really quick import Virtual Machines and start them up. And also do some other cool scripted solutions.
  • Performance – it offers great performance.
  • VHD and VHDX – it’s great to work with one virtual disk format and not have to convert virtual disks. It’s also great together with the boot from VHD feature.
  • Dynamic Memory
  • Remote Management for Hyper-V Servers (like the RSAT)
  • Live Storage Migration – Move a running Virtual Machine from local disk to another local disk, USB or network share and back

Microsoft made also the boot from VHD feature a little simpler.

  1. First Mount the VHD you want to boot. (right click on the VHD and “Mount”)
    mount vhd
  2. Now check the new drive letter of the VHD in my case this is G:
  3. Open the command prompt and type bcdboot G:\windows
  4. Now your VHD will appear in the boot menu. You can check that by typing bcdedit
  5. and as you can see no sysprep or generalize needed

Here a small list of Hyper-V client features:

  • 32 Virtual CPUs
  • NUMA in VM
  • 512 GB RAM
  • Sleep, Hibernate
  • Management console
  • Manage Hyper-V Server from this console
  • Snapshots
  • Up to 1024 running VM’s
  • VHD, and VHDX (up to 16TB)
  • Dynamic disks, Differencing disks, pass through disks, fixedsize disks
  • 4K sector size
  • DMTF comliant WMI
  • Networking offloads
  • Live Storage Migration
  • Native VHD boot
  • Dynamic Memory
  • Remote Management
  • PowerShell
  • Export snapshots
  • Resource Pools
  • External, Internal and Private Networks
  • Bi-Direction audio
  • Enlightened IDE & SCSI controllers
  • Hyper-V on SMB
  • up to256 virtual drives
  • up to 12 virtual NICs
  • VLAN support
  • 3D Graphics (Software)
  • Mutli Touch
  • USB redirection (with RDP)
  • Wireless NICs
  • Export & Import VMs
  • Hyper-V Extensible Switch
  • VHDX Resiliency

Supported Operating Systems:

  • Windows XP SP3
  • Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Storage Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Home Server 2011
  • Windows SBS 2011
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 8
  • CentOS 5.2-5.6
  • CentOS 6.0
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2-5.6, 6.0, 6.1
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise 10, 11

In my opinion Client Hyper-V is a great solution and lab to go for Developers, IT Pros, Testers, Sales people and a lot more.


Hyper-V: “Version 3 kills them all”

Windows Server 8 Server Manager Dashboard

Microsoft showed the latest version of Hyper-V at build conference together with Windows 8 and Windows Server 8. Microsoft showed a lot of new Hyper-V features which turn Hyper-V in really powerful hypervisor.

Some days ago I posted a blog post about new features which Microsoft showed before the build conference, now it’s time to extend the list of new features. There are a lot of even more powerful features than the once I posted back then.

Windows Server 8 as Cloud OS

First let’s start with Windows Server 8 as the base of Microsoft Cloud strategy. Microsofts focus in Windows Server 8 was to make it easy for all to build public and private cloud solutions. There are a lot of improvements to manageability, security, scalability, extensibility, predictability and reliability which will also improve the possibilities with Hyper-V. In technical terms Microsoft made a lot of improvements how you can manage a lot of servers and services, Storage, Networking and Powershell. Of course there is a lot more, but this are the parts I think are the most important. And here are some keywords to the improvements in Windows Server 8:

  • Storage improvements – SMB 2.2, SMB transparent Failover, Data deduplication, Storage Spaces, online filesystem repairs, 64TB NTFS volume etc.
  • NIC Teaming
  • Powershell v3 – You can now just do everything in Powershell and even more with 23000 PowerShell cmdlets.
  • Server Dashboard – The new Dashboard lets you manage all servers, or even better, all Services from one place.
  • Multi-tenant – everything seems to be made for that
  • Performance Counters

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Manager

Hyper-V Host improvements

Hyper-V gets not only a lot of improvements to Virtual Machine, also the Hyper-V Hosts get some new limit improvements.

  • up to 160 logical CPUs
  • supports up to 2TB RAM
  • no more vCPU:pCPU ration limit

Hyper-V Virtual Machine improvements

Microsoft did a lot to extend the existing Virtual Machine hardware to support even high workload Virtual Machines. I will not write a lot about this because the facts here will tell more that a lot of words.

  • VHDX Format – supports up to 64TB Virtual Disks
  • 32 CPUs per VM
  • 512GB RAM per VM
  • Support for Fibre Channel Adapters
  • Supporting Virtual Active Directory Servers

Hyper-V Networking improvements

Hyper-V got a lot of improvements in terms of networking. Microsoft realized that networking features are really important if you start to create private and public cloud scenarios and now even create a mix of public and private cloud scenarios without creating a lot of work for the IT teams to reconfigure Virtual Machines.

  • QoS and flexible bandwidth allocation
  • Support for SR-IOV (Direct Access to the physical Network adapter)
  • Network Virtualization
  • PVLAN support
  • Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue (D-VMQ)
  • Receive Side Coalescing (RSC)
  • DHCP Guard
  • Extensible virtual switch
  • IPsec Task offload

Hyper-V Clustering improvements

Hyper-V gets also a lot of Cluster improvements. But you have to be aware that Clusters are for really high availability and this adds a lot of costs to projects and solutions. Microsoft is working on Cloud solutions which will give great availability to low cost. For example Hyper-V Replica or Live Migration to another host over the Ethernet without the need for a shared storage. But if you need real HA you will need the Failover Cluster.

  • supporting up to 4000 VMs per cluster
  • supporting up to 64 Cluster nodes
  • improved Cluster Manager Console
  • VM Monitoring – Application health detection inside the virtual machine
  • New Placement policies – Virtual Machine Priority and enhanced placement
  • Storage Live Migration
  • Hyper-V Replica supporting clustering
  • No need for Block Storage – you can use SMB Shares
  • Support for Storage Spaces
  • Automated Node Draining – like Maintenance mode in SCVMM
  • Cluster Aware Updating (CAU)
  • Cluster Shared Volume Improvements – BitLocker support, a lot of performance improvements, Self-Healing
  • Live Migration Queing
  • Migrate multiple Virtual Machine at the same time

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V VM Move

Hyper-V Storage improvements

A I mentioned earlier Microsoft made a lot of improvements in terms of storage in Windows Server 8 and Hyper-V can take advantage of those which are quiet impressive. For example with the new features in SMB 2.2 you can now use SMB file shares to store your Virtual Machines.

  • VHDX
  • ODX
  • RDMA
  • SMB 2.2 – Transparent Failover
  • 4K native disk support
  • Data Deduplication
  • Virtual Fiber Channel
  • VM boot from SAN

Hyper-V Management Improvements

As everywhere in Windows Server 8 PowerShell is the key. And the new Server Manager Dashboard Microsoft enable to create Server Groups to manage multiple servers from a single console.

  • Powershell for Hyper-V
  • Powershell Workflows – Commands and Tasks across servers
  • Hyper-V Extensible Switch – lets vendors to create “plugins”. Could be very interesting for Cisco UCS installations.
  • Server Manager Dashboard – lets you manage multiple Hyper-V host from a single console.
  • SCVMM 2012 – not a part of Windows Server 8 but will add great management solutions

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Powershell

Hyper-V HA and Data Protection

Now I think this is maybe the greatest new feature. You can now live migrate a Virtual Machine from one Hyper-V Host to another without Shared Storage or Cluster configuration. And with this option Microsoft also included a new feature called Hyper-V Replica which includes the option to replicate Virtual Machine to another host which can be hosted in the same network or even in the cloud.

  • Live Migration
  • Live Storage Migration
  • Live Migration to another Hosts (Not clustered) over the Ethernet
  • Hyper-V Replica – Replicated Virtual Machines to another Hyper-V host on-premise or public cloud
  • BitLocker support for CSV

This are not all of the new features Windows Server 8 Hyper-V has to offer but I tried to list the important ones. And if Microsoft sticks with their licensing model, it will be a really strong competitor to the VMWare vShpere 5.


Microsoft’s Mouse Without Borders

Microsoft Mouse Without Borders

Microsoft released a free software called “Mouse Without Borders” which allows you running multiple computers with one keyboard and mouse like Synergy. But the “Mouse Without Borders” brings a lot of cool features and an easy setup.

  • Use your mouse seamlessly
  • Drag files across computers
  • Copy & paste across computers
  • Share one keyboard across computers
  • Lock or log into all of your PCs at one time and share screen captures from one PC to another


Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 RC released


Two days ago Microsoft released the Release Candidate of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012. First thing, you can now Upgrade from SCVMM 2008 R2 SP1 to the Release Candidate and you will be able to upgrade to the RTM version from SCVMM 2012 RC or SCVMM 2008 R2 SP1.

Download: EXE
Download: VHD

The Release Candidate brings a lot of changes and new features.

Feature Summary:

  • Fabric Management
    • Setup Upgrade
      • *New in RC -Upgrade- Setup will support the following upgrade paths:
        • VMM 2008 R2 SP1 –SC VMM 2012 RC — SC VMM 2012 RTM
        • SC VMM 2012 RC — SC VMM 2012 RTM
    • Hyper-V and Cluster Lifecycle Management – Deploy Hyper-V to bare metal
      server, create Hyper-V clusters, orchestrate patching of a Hyper-V Cluster

      • *New in RC:
        • ISO or CD-based OSD for environments with DHCP without WDS
        • OSD will now convert dynamic to fixed type of VHD destination
        • All network adapters on host can be configured during
      • *New in RC:
        • Ability to bypass cluster validation during cluster creation
        • Run cluster validation reports on-demand
        • New Cluster status tab to view an aggregated status and a cluster validation
        • Ability to see current CSV owner in the properties of the
    • Third Party Virtualization Platforms – Add and Manage Citrix XenServer and
      VMware ESX Hosts and Clusters
    • Network Management – Manage IP Address Pools, MAC Address Pools and Load

      • *New in RC:
        • Simplification of the logical networks in the Fabric workspace
        • Ability to see IP addresses that are in use from a IP pool
        • Added support for Microsoft Network Load Balancer
        • Gateway and DNS are no longer mandatory fields for logical networks
        • Load balancer can now support affinity to logical
    • Storage Management – Classify Storage, Manage Storage Pools and LUNs
      • *New in RC
        • Create persistent sessions to iSCSI array and logon initiator to array
        • Better scalability of storage operations – LUN create, snapshot, clone,
          masking, and unmasking
        • Option to create storage groups per cluster (BETA only supported creation of
          storage group per node in a cluster)
        • Enablement of MPIO feature when provisioning a new Hyper-V server
        • Automatic MPIO device claim
        • Support for arrays that implement OnePortPerView
    • Update Management- Keep your VMM Fabric Servers (VMM roles, hosts, and
      clusters) up-to-date with patches.

      • *New in RC:
        • Share a WSUS root server between System Center Configuration Manager 2007
          R2/ System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta
        • Hyper-V Cluster Orchestration- Nodes put into VMM Maintenance Mode can be
          set to trigger Maintenance Mode in Operations Manager.
    • Resource Optimization
      • Dynamic Optimization – proactively balance the load of VMs across a
      • Power Optimization – schedule power savings to use the right number of hosts
        to run your workloads – power the rest off until they are needed.

        • *New in RC:
          • Set Operations Manager Mode for powered down hosts
      • PRO – integrate with System Center Operations Manager to respond to
        application-level performance monitors.

        • *New in RC:
          • Support added for System Center Operations Manager 2012 Beta
          • VMM will ship two sample PRO Packs: Cluster scale out and Service scale out
  • Cloud Management
    • Abstract server, network and storage resources into private clouds
    • Delegate access to private clouds with control of capacity, capabilities and
      user quotas
    • Enable self-service usage for application administrator to author, deploy,
      manage and decommission applications in the private cloud
  • Service Lifecycle Management
    • Define service templates to create sets of connected virtual machines, OS
      images and application packages

      • *New in RC:
        • Service Designer and Specialization UI enhancements
        • Added ability to use Service Template Patterns
    • Compose operating system images and applications during service deployment
      • *New in RC:
        • IP-based provisioning
        • New application instance view
    • Scale out the number of virtual machines in a service
    • Service performance and health monitoring integrated with System Center
      Operations Manager
    • Decouple OS image and application updates through image-based servicing
      • *New in RC:
        • Streamlined ability to enable OS VHD updates to a Service Template
        • Publish updated Service Templates in order to update Service
    • Leverage powerful application virtualization technologies such as Server

SCVMM Snapshot Reminder with Powershell


I have created a small Powershell Script which will you remind of existing VM Snapshots. You can use this and create a scheduled task for example each morning and it will send you an email with all existing VM snapshots or checkpoints. The Script uses the Powershell Commands of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 but should also work with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012.

Awesome – Building Windows 8: Hyper-V

Hyper-V 3.0

Microsoft today showed a new video in their Building Windows 8 video series. Today Microsoft showed the next release of Hyper-V which is integrated in Windows 8 as a Windows Feature.

Hyper-V 3.0 offers some really cool new features, a lot is not official but I am sure Microsoft has some great features ready.

  • Support for 32 vCPUs per VM (Hyper-V R2 supports 4)
  • Support for 512GB vRAM per VM (Hyper-V R2 supports 64GB)
  • New VHDX file format which supports a maximum of 16TB (VHDs in Hyper-V R2 support only 2TB disks)
  • Support for WiFi Network adapters
  • Windows 8 Client includes Hyper-V 3.0
  • Live Storage Migration (LUN to LUN, Disk to Disk, Disk to USB Storage)


Pictures from

More Information: