Category: Microsoft

Cluster Functional Level and Cluster Upgrade Version

Learn about Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels

A couple of weeks ago, I released a blog post about Hyper-V VM Configuration versions to give an overview about the version history of Hyper-V virtual machines. After that I had the chance to work with John Marlin (Microsoft Senior Program Manager High Availability and Storage) on a similar list of Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels.

Why Cluster Functional Levels are important

With Windows Server 2016, Microsoft introduced a new feature called Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade or Cluster Rolling Upgrade. This feature allows you to upgrade the operating system of the cluster nodes to a new version, without stopping the cluster. With mixed-OS mode, you can have for example 2012 R2 and 2016 nodes in the same cluster. Keep in mind that this should only be temporary, while you are upgrading the cluster. You can basically upgrade node by node, and after all nodes are upgraded, you then upgrade the Cluster functional Level to the latest version.

List of Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels

Since the feature Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade was first introduced with Windows Server 2016, you never really knew about Cluster Functional Levels before. However, it already existed since Windows Server NT4.

Windows Server VersionCluster Functional Level
Windows Server 201911
Windows Server RS410.3
Windows Server RS310.2
Windows Server 20169
Windows Server 2012 R28
Windows Server 20127
Windows Server 2008 R26
Windows Server 20085
Windows Server 2003 R24
Windows Server 20033
Windows Server 20002
Windows Server NT41

Tips and PowerShell

If you want to know more about Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade, you can check out the Microsoft Docs. Together with John, I created a quick list of some tips for you, and some of the important PowerShell cmdlets.

To check which Cluster Functional Levels your cluster is running on, you can use the following PowerShell cmdlet:

If you have upgraded all nodes in the cluster, you can use the Update-ClusterFunctionalLevel to update the Cluster Functional Level. Also make sure that you upgrade the workloads running in that cluster, for example upgrade the Hyper-V Configuration Version or in a Storage Spaces Direct Cluster, the Storage Pool version (Update-StoragePool).

In Windows Server 2019 the Clustering team introduced a new PowerShell cmdlet to check how many nodes of the cluster are running on which level. Get-ClusterNodeSupportedVersion helps you to identify the Cluster Functional Level and the Cluster Upgrade Version.

Cluster Functional Level Get-ClusterNodeSupportedVersion

This means that the functional level is 11 (Windows 2019).  The Upgrade version column is what you can upgrade to/with, meaning 11.1 or Windows 2019 only.

Cluster Functional Level and Cluster Upgrade Version

This means your Cluster Functional Level is 10.  Meaning you can add basically anything 10.x (2016, RS3, RS4) and 11 (2019) to it.

If you are running System Center Virtual Machine Manager, the Cluster OS rolling upgrade, can be fully automated as well. Check out the Microsoft Docs for Perform a rolling upgrade of a Hyper-V host cluster to Windows Server 2016 in VMM.

To find out more about information Cluster operating system rolling upgrade, like how-to, requirements and limitations, check out the Microsoft Windows Server Docs page.



Microsoft Tech Summit Switzerland 2019

Speaking at Microsoft Tech Summit Switzerland 2019

Yesterday Microsoft Switzerland launched the website for the Tech Summit Switzerland 2019 in Bern. I am happy that I will be speaking again this year at Microsoft Tech Summit Switzerland, after speaking there as well last year.

The inspirational and technical learning event for developers and ITPros to gain strategic insight, evolve skills, deepen expertise and grow career – Open Source and Microsoft alike. Besides keynotes on the first day, the Tech Summit will offer 30 breakout sessions delivered by Microsoft employees and Microsoft Technology Enthusiasts.

The Tech Summit Switzerland will at April 3-4, in Bern. We will have great keynote speakers like Scott Hanselman, Marc Pollefeys, Dominik Wotruba and Primo Amrein.

I will be speaking about extend the Intelligent Cloud to the Edge with Azure Stack.

Extend the Intelligent Cloud to the Edge with Azure Stack

Azure Stack allows you to extend Azure to your datacenter and run Azure Services under your terms. Find out more about Azure Stack and how it can help you to in your Hybrid Cloud strategy. Learn about the features and services you will get by offering Azure Stack to your customers and how you can build a true Hybrid Cloud experience.

You can also meet other Azure Cloud Advocates like Phoummala Schmitt and Laurent Bugnion!

I hope to see you there!



Veeam Vanguard 2019

Veeam Vanguard 2019

Beginning of this week I got some fantastic news. I was awarded with my third Veeam Vanguard award. I was on of the first Veeam Vanguards in 2015 and was awarded directly after that in 2016. I am proud to again receive the Veeam Vanguard Award in 2019.

A Veeam Vanguard represents the Veeam brand to the highest level in many of the different technology communities in which Veeam engages. These individuals are chosen for their acumen, engagement and style in their activities on and offline.

I am looking forward to community in this virtualization and cloud journey. I also want to thank Veeam, it is an honor to be part of the Veeam Vanguard community again.



Updated PowerShellGet and PackageManagment

Update PowerShellGet and PackageManagement

Since I am just setting up a new work machine, I wanted to share some information how you can update PowerShellGet and PackageManagement to the latest version. This will give you the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements. Since you don’t get the latest version in Windows PowerShell nor PowerShell Core, you will need to update it manually.

PowerShellGet is a PowerShell module with commands for discovering, installing, updating and publishing the PowerShell artifacts like Modules, DSC Resources, Role Capabilities and Scripts. For example you use PowerShellGet to install the Azure PowerShell module, or other modules.

PowerShellGet module is also integrated with the PackageManagement module as a provider, users can also use the PowerShell PackageManagement cmdlets for discovering, installing and updating the PowerShell artifacts like Modules and Scripts.

(source: GitHub)

How to update PowerShellGet and PackageManagement

Updating to the latest version of PowerShellGet and the PackageManagement module is simple. Since both modules are part of the PowerShell Gallery, you can update them using a couple of simple commands.

You can find both modules in the PowerShell Gallery:

First lets check which versions of the modules you have available. If you use Update-Module, it will automatically load PowerShellGet and PackageManagement and list them as loaded PowerShell modules. Of course you can also use Get-Module -ListAvailable.

PowerShell Modules PowerShellGet and PackageManagement

As you can see, In my default installation, I got PowerShellGet version 1.6.7 and PackageManagement 1.1.7.2. If you have a look at PSGallery, you will see that these are pretty old versions and that there are newer available.

To get the latest version from PowerShell Gallery, you should first install the latest Nuget provider. You will need to run PowerShell as an Administrator for all  the following commands.

If you run PowerShell 5.0 or newer, you can install the latest PowerShellGet using the following command. PowerShell 5.0 is included in Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, any system with WMF 5.0 and 5.1 or a system running PowerShell 6.

Two quick tips, first of, you will need to set the execution policy to RemoteSigned to allow the new module to run. Secondly in some cases you will need to use the -AllowClobber parameter to install the updated version of the module.

You can then use Update-Module to get newer versions:

Updated PowerShellGet and PackageManagment

After that you will see the latest versions of PowerShellGet and PackageMangement available

If you run older versions of PowerShell you can check out the full documention on the PowerShell Docs. I hope this blog post helps you to update PowerShellGet and benefit from the latest versions. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Microsoft Ignite The Tour

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2018-2019 in London and Amsterdam

After joining Microsoft a couple of days ago, I am happy to announce my first speaking engagements under Microsoft. As mentioned in my blog before, I will be joining Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2018-2019 in London and Amsterdam. As part of our Cloud Advocates team, I will be speaking in two sessions in the “Building and maintaining your Azure hybrid environment” learning path.

This learning path is designed for Microsoft Ignite The Tour and gives attendees an overview about the steps to build, connect, secure, protect and manage a Azure hybrid cloud environment.

Sessions at Microsoft Ignite The Tour

HYB10 - Planning and implementing hybrid network connectivity

Once your organization has decided to implement a hybrid model, you need to start figuring out how to ensure that communication between your on-premises environment and your hybrid workloads is both secure and reliable. You also need to ensure that those workloads are protected from internal and external network threats. In this module, you’ll learn how to assess your organization’s on-prem network infrastructure, how to plan and then implement an appropriate networking design for Azure. You’ll learn how to implement appropriate Azure virtual network technologies, including securing connectivity between on-premises and Azure using VPNs and ExpressRoute as well as how to strategically deploy firewalls, network security groups and marketplace appliances to protect those resources and workloads.

HYB20 - Securing your Azure environment

With Cloud resources now connected with our datacenter, secure administrative access to critical workloads needs to be configured appropriately. It’s also important from an organizational and compliance perspective to ensure that workloads have a security configuration aligned with industry best practice. In this module, you’ll learn how to improve the security of privileged accounts used to manage Azure resources, manage software updates for both on-premises and cloud hosted virtual machines, and how to get the most out of Azure Security Center for assessing and remediating security configuration issues in a hybrid environment.

I am also happy to talk with you in the expo hall about the latest and greatest features in Azure, Azure Stack and Windows Server. as well as learning from your experience. So join me and the team at Microsoft Ignite the Tour.

If you want to join, check out the Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2018-2019 website. London is already sold out, however you can join the waitlist. For Amsterdam, there are still seats available.

I hope to see you there!



Azure IaaS Webinar

Join me for a Azure IaaS Masterclass Webinar!

This Wednesday, Altaro have invited me to give a webinar on Infrastructure as a Service with Microsoft Azure and you’re invited – it’s free to join!

Implementing Infrastructure as a Service is a great way of streamlining and optimizing your IT environment by utilizing virtualized resources from the cloud to complement your existing on-site infrastructure. It enables a flexible combination of the traditional on-premises data center alongside the benefits of cloud-based subscription services. If you’re not making use of this model, there’s no better opportunity to learn what it can do for you than in this upcoming webinar.

I’ll be joined by me good friend from Altaro, Technical Evangelist and Microsoft MVP Andy Syrewicze. I’ve done a few webinars with Andy over the years and it’s always a fun experience to work with him. We have also received great feedback from attendees saying they learnt a lot and enjoy the format in which we present.

The webinar will be primarily focused on showing how Azure IaaS solves real use cases by going through the scenarios live on air. Three use cases have been outlined already, however, the webinar format encourages those attending to suggest their own use cases when signing up and the two most popular suggestions will be added to the list. To submit your own use case request, simply fill out the suggestion box in the sign up form when you register!

Like all Altaro webinars, this will be presented live twice on the day (Wednesday 13th February). So if you can’t make the earlier session (2pm CET / 8am EST / 5am PST), just sign up for the later one instead (7pm CET / 1pm EST / 10am PST) – or vice versa. Both sessions cover the same content but having two live sessions gives more people the opportunity to ask their questions live on air and get instant feedback from us.

Save your seat for the webinar and learn more about Azure IaaS

Altaro Webinar Azure IaaS VMs



Ruggedized Azure Stack

Ruggedized Azure Stack at the extreme Edge

Azure Stack is part of Microsofts Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge offering, and extends Azure services not only into your datacenter, but also on into more challenging remote locations. Today, Dell EMC and Microsoft announced the Dell EMC Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack, a ruggedized and field-deployable product for Azure Stack.

Tactical Azure Stack is the first and only ruggedized Azure Stack product available for tactical edge deployments. Based on our proven all-flash Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, it brings an Azure consistent-cloud to operating environments with:

  • Limited or no network connectivity
  • Fully mobile, or high portability (“2-person lift”) requirements
  • Harsh conditions requiring military specifications solutions
  • High security requirements, with optional connectivity to Azure Government, Azure Secret, and Azure Top Secret

This new offering demonstrates how Dell EMC leveraged our server design expertise and our exclusive partnership with Tracewell Systems to develop a new platform that expands Azure Stack use cases. For customers, it provides a familiar environment and consistent experience for Azure-based services in the field. In addition, Tactical Azure Stack incorporates Dell EMC features including automated patch and update capabilities, PowerEdge hardware management, and integration with Isilon, CloudLink, and Pivotal Cloud Foundry. Customers also benefit with one call to Dell EMC for service and support of the entire hardware stack.

 

The product’s core components are identical to our currently shipping all-flash Data Center Azure stack offering. For cloud operators, developers and tenants, there are no differences between the Tactical Azure Stack and Data Center Azure Stack. Our industry exclusive firmware update automation and Dell EMC services and support are all consistent whether you’re running in a comfortable data center or in a harsh, mobile, or forward deployed environment.

 

The management case includes the hardware lifecycle host, 25GbE Top of Rack switches, as well as the baseboard management switch. Additional “core” transit cases, each holding two T-R640 scale unit servers can be added up to the full node limits of Microsoft Azure Stack. At just 41.5” high, and 25.6” operating depth, the Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack unlocks a wide variety of use cases for government, military, energy and mining applications. It can also be ideal in forward deployments and mobile environments in marine, aerospace and other conditions that require MIL-STD 810G compliance.

The availability of these ruggedized Azure Stack systems, enable a lot of new scenarios, and I am looking forward to see what is next.