Category: Windows Server

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.



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.



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



Hyper-V VM Configuration Version

Hyper-V VM configuration version supported features

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about the new Microsoft Hyper-V UEFI in Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 virtual machines. With that version Microsoft also released a new Hyper-V VM configuration version 9.0. This is not unusual, the Hyper-V teams usually bumps up the version number from release to release, since new Hyper-V features are introduced. In the comments, the question came up, what is new in this version of the Hyper-V VM configuration, Since the version was still a preview release of Windows Server and Windows 10, Microsoft didn’t share the full list of features per configuration version. However, now the documentation is ready and you can find the documentation here.

Supported features

The following table shows the minimum virtual machine configuration version required to use some Hyper-V features.

Windows ServerWindows 10VersionFeature
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3Windows 10 15076.2Hot Add/Remove Memory
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3Windows 10 15076.2Secure Boot for Linux VMs
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3Windows 10 15076.2Production Checkpoints
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3Windows 10 15076.2PowerShell Direct
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3Windows 10 15076.2Virtual Machine Grouping
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4 Windows 10 15117.0Virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM)
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 57.1Virtual machine multi queues (VMMQ)
Windows Server 2016Windows 10 Anniversary Update8.0XSAVE support
Windows Server 2016Windows 10 Anniversary Update8.0Key storage drive
Windows Server 2016Windows 10 Anniversary Update8.0Guest virtualization-based security support (VBS)
Windows Server 2016Windows 10 Anniversary Update8.0Nested virtualization
Windows Server 2016Windows 10 Anniversary Update8.0Virtual processor count
Windows Server 2016Windows 10 Anniversary Update8.0Large memory VMs
Windows Server 1803Windows 10 April 2018 Update8.3Increase the default maximum number for virtual devices to 64 per device (e.g. networking and assigned devices)
Windows Server 2019/1809Windows 10 October 2018 Update9.0Allow additional processor features for Perfmon
Windows Server 2019/1809Windows 10 October 2018 Update9.0Automatically expose simultaneous multithreading configuration for VMs running on hosts using the Core Scheduler
Windows Server 2019/1809Windows 10 October 2018 Update9.0Hibernation support

Source: Microsoft Docs (Thanks to Rene Moergeli for the link)

How to list the supported VM configuration versions

You can list all supported VM configuration versions on your Hyper-V host using the Get-VMHostSupportedVersion cmdlet.

Get-VM Hyper-V VM Configuration Version

If you want to see the version of a Hyper-V virtual machine, you can use Hyper-V Manager or the following PowerShell command:

Full list of Hyper-V VM versions

Here you have a full list of VM configuration versions of Hyper-V VMs together with the operating system.

Windows ClientWindows ServerVersion
Windows Server 20081.0
Windows Server 2008 SP12.0
Windows Server 2008 R23.0
Windows 8Windows Server 20124.0
Windows 8.1Windows Server 2012 R25.0
Windows 10 1507Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 36.2
Windows 10 1511Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 47.0
Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 57.1
Windows 10 Anniversary UpdateWindows Server 20168.0
Windows 10 Creators Update8.1
Windows 10 Fall Creators UpdateWindows Server 17098.2
Windows 10 April 2018 UpdateWindows Server 18038.3
Windows 10 October 2018 UpdateWindows Server 2019 / 18099.0
Windows 10 April 2019 UpdateWindows Server 19039.1
PrereleasePrerelease254.0
ExperimentalExperimental255.0

How to upgrade Hyper-V VM configuration version

Hyper-V vNext Update VM Configuration Version

Upgrading the Hyper-V VM version is pretty straight forward. If the VM is running on a host supporting a newer version of Hyper-V VMs, you can right click the virtual machine in the Hyper-V Manager and click on upgrade or you can run the Update-VMVersion PowerShell cmdlet.

I hope this blog was help full for understanding Hyper-V VM versions, let me know if you have any questions in the comments!



Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 – App Compatibility Feature-on-Demand

In Windows Server 2019 Microsoft is focusing on a couple of things. One of the things Microsoft wants to improve with Windows Server 2019, is the Windows Server Core experience. Bringing a great remote management experience with Windows Admin Center is one thing, the other feature which should improve the Server Core experience, is the Server Core App Compatibility feature-on-demand (FOD).

In the past you might have some problems running application that required a local GUI interaction on Server Core. Some of the applications you couldn’t install, failed after the installation or just didn’t work right. With the Server Core App Compatibility FOD, Microsoft improves this situation in Windows Server 2019 Core. FoD improves application compatibility of Windows Server Core by adding binaries and packages from Windows Server with Desktop Experience, without adding the Windows Server Desktop UI.

Here are some Operating system components that are available with in the FOD package.

  • Event Viewer (Eventvwr.msc)
  • Performance Monitor (PerfMon.exe)
  • Resource Monitor (Resmon.exe)
  • Device Manager (Devmgmt.msc)
  • Microsoft Management Console (mmc.exe)
  • File Explorer (Explorer.exe)
  • Internet Explorer
  • Windows PowerShell (Powershell_ISE.exe)
  • Failover Cluster Manager (CluAdmin.msc)

Like the new Windows Container Image, the Server Core App Compatibility FOD should make sure you can run more apps on Server Core.

How to install Windows Server 2019  App Compatibility Feature-on-Demand

Windows Server 2019 App Compatibility Feature-on-Demand

First you will need to download the Feature-on-Demand ISO and safe it on your server. Mount the ISO Image:

Install Server Core App Compatibility

After that you can use DISM to add the FOD package to your Windows Server 2019, installation. Just be sure, this only works on Windows Server Core, Desktop Experiences already has these binaries.

Windows Server 2019 Core App Compatibility FOD

You will need to restart your server. After the restart you can run tools like explorer.exe, Device Manager and many more on Windows Server Core.

When to use which Windows Server 2019 Installation Option

With WIndows Server 2019 you now get a couple of installation options, I tried to summrize this in this table:

Installation OptionScenario
Windows Server CoreServer Core is the best installation option for production use and with Windows Admin Center remote management is highly improved.
Windows Server Core with Server Core App Compatibility FODWorkloads, and some troubleshooting scenarios, if Server Core doesn’t meet all your compatibility requirements. You can add an optional package to get past these issues. Try the Server Core App Compatibility Feature on Demand (FOD).
Windows Server with Desktop ExperienceWindows Server with Desktop Experience is still an option and still meets like previous releases. However, it is significantly larger than Server Core. This includes larger disk usage, more time to copy and deploy and larger attack surface. However if Windows Server Core with App Compatibility does not support the App or Administrators still need the UI, this is the option to install.

Windows Server 2019 Insider Preview for Server Core App Compatibility FOD

As of today Windows Server 2019 is still only available as Windows Server Insider Preview. You can download the Windows Server 2019 Preview and the App Compatibility Feature-on-demand from the Windows Server Insider download page.

You can read more about the Server Core App Compatibility Feature-on-Demand on the Windows Server Blog.

 



Extended Security Updates for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack

Extended Security Updates for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack

SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will both be out of extended support within the  next 12 months (detailed dates below). This means if you have these versions, you’ll need to migrate to newer versions of SQL Server or Windows Server or buy Extended Support soon to maintain support and receive security updates and fixes. Buying Extended Support is not cheap. Customers with active Software Assurance or subscription licenses can purchase Extended Security Updates annually for 75 percent of the full license cost of the latest version of SQL Server or Windows Server. A lot of customer should start migrating to newer versions of these products to avoid these extra costs.

Extended Support dates

  • Extended Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on July 9, 2019.
  • Extended Support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end on January 14, 2020.

However, in mid-2018 Microsoft announced a new option for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support. Customers running 2008 or 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server in Azure virtual machines will get Extended Security Updates for free. This will give customers some extra time to migrate to newer versions of SQL Server and Windows Server. Or even better, to Azure PaaS and serverless computing like Azure Functions.

The great thing about this, is that you can also combine this with your Azure Hybrid benefits, to use your SQL Server and Windows Server on Azure with your on-premise licenses.

Extended Security Updates on Azure Stack

If you are thinking to migrate to the cloud, this new option will bring down costs for you. However, not everyone is fully ready to move all their servers to the public cloud. You might still need or want to run some servers on-premise in your datacenter. This will leave you with buying Extended Support or what a lot of people don’t know, you can also run your SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure Stack and get Extended Security Updates for free, since it is basically Azure!

This is great, especially since Azure Stack also comes with great IaaS capabilities. And if you are thinking about using Azure in the mid-term, Azure Stack provides you with Azure capabilities, but still allows you to stay in your own datacenter.