Category: Windows Server 2012

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Project Honolulu Server Overview

Microsoft Project Honolulu – The new Windows Server Management Experience

Last week Microsoft introduced the world to Project Honolulu, which is the codename for a new Windows Server management experience. Project “Honolulu” is a flexible, locally-deployed, browser-based management platform and tools to manage Windows Server locally and remote.

Microsoft today launched the Hololulu Technical Preview for the world, I had the chance to already work with Microsoft during the last couple of months in a private preview. Project Honolulu helps you to managed your servers remotely as a new kind of Server Manager. This is especially handy if you run Windows Server Core, which I think is the new black, after Microsoft announced that Nano Server is only gonna live as a Container Image with the next version of Windows Server.

Project Honolulu took many features for the Azure Server Management Tools which were hosted in Azure, and allowed you to manage your servers in the cloud and on-premise. But the Feedback was simple, People wanted to install the Management expierence on-prem, without the dependency to Microsoft Azure. Microsoft listened to the feedback and delivered the with Project Honolulu a web-based management solution, which you can install on your own servers.

Honolulu Management Experience

Project Honolulu Server Overview

Project Honolulu has different solutions which give you different functionality. In the technical preview there are three solutions available, Server Manager, Failover Cluster Manager and Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager.

Server Manager

The server manager lets you is kind of like the Server Manager you know from Windows Server, but it also replaces some local only tools like Network Management, Process, Device Manger, Certificate and User Management, Windows Update and so on. The Server Manager Solution also adds management of Virtual Machines, Virtual Switches and Storage Replica.

Failover Cluster Manager

As you might think, this allows you to manage Failover Clusters.

Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager

The Hyper-Converged Cluster Manager is very interesting if you are running Storage Spaces Direct clusters in a Hyper-Converged design, where Hyper-V Virtual Machines run on the same hosts. This allows you to do management of the S2D cluster as well as some performance metrics.

Honolulu Topology

Project Honolulu On-Premise Architecture

Project Honolulu leverages a three-tier architecture, a web server displaying web UI using HTML, a gateway service and the managed nodes. The web interface talks to the gateway service using REST APIs and the gateway connected to the managed nodes using WinRM and PowerShell remoting (Similar like the Azure Management Tools).

Project Honolulu On-Premise and Public Cloud Architecture

You can basically access the Web UI from every machine running modern browsers like Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. If you publish the webserver to the internet, you can also manage it remotely from everywhere. The installation and configuration of Project Honolulu is straight forward, but If you want to know more about the installation check out, my friend and Microsoft MVP colleague, Charbel Nemnom’s blog post about Project Honolulu.

Project Honolulu Gateways Service can be installed on:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016

You can manage:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 and higher

Conclusion

In my opinion Microsoft Project Honolulu provides us with the Windows Server Management Tool we need so much. It helps us to manage our servers from a centralized HTML5 web application, and really makes management of GUI less servers easy. Deployment and configuration is very easy and simple and doesn’t take a lot of effort, while drastically removing the need to locally logon to a server for management reasons. I hope with that we will see a higher deployment of Windows Server Core installations, since we don’t need the GUI on every single server anymore.

You can download the Project Honolulu Technical Preview here: Project Honolulu Technical Preview

You can give feedback to Project Honolulu here: User Voice Project Honolulu

 



Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode

10 hidden Hyper-V features you should know about!

Microsoft added some amazing new features and improvements to Hyper-V over the past few years. A lot of them you can use in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V today, but there are also a lot of features hidden in the user interface and they are also included in Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. I think this list should you a good idea about some of them.

Nested Virtualization

Hyper-V Nested Virtualization

Hyper-V Nested Virtualization allows you to run Hyper-V in a Hyper-V Virtual Machine. This is great for testing, demo and training scenarios and it work on Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. Microsoft Azure will also offer some new Virtual Machine which will offer the Nested Virtualization feature in the Azure public cloud. Nested Virtualization is not just great if you want to run virtual machines inside a virtual machine, it is also great (and I think this will be the largest use case in the future) you can also run Hyper-V Container inside a Hyper-V or Azure Virtual Machine. Hyper-V Containers are a feature will brings the isolation of a Virtual Machine to a fast, light and small footprint container. To enable Nested Virtualization you have the following requirements:

  • At least 4 GB RAM available for the virtualized Hyper-V host.
  • To run at least Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10 build 10565 (and higher) on both the physical Hyper-V host and the virtualized host. Running the same build in both the physical and virtualized environments generally improves performance.
  • A processor with Intel VT-x (nested virtualization is available only for Intel processors at this time).
  • Other Hypervisors will not work

Configure the Virtual Machine for Nested Virtualization follow the following steps:

  • disable Dynamic Memory on Virtual Machine
  • enable Virtualization Extensions on the vCPU
  • enable MAC Address Spoofing
  • set Memory of the Virtual Machine to a minimum of 4GB RAM

To enable the Virtualization Extensions on the vCPU you can run the following PowerShell command

PowerShell Direct

PowerShell Direct Enter-PSSession

Hyper-V PowerShell Direct is also one of the great new features in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V. PowerShell Direct allows you to connect to a Virtual Machine using PowerShell without connecting over the network. Instead of the network, PowerShell Direct uses the Hyper-V VMBus to connect from the Hyper-V host to the virtual machine. This is handy if you are doing some automation or you don’t have network access to the virtual machine. In terms of security, you will still need to provide credentials to access the virtual machine.

To use PowerShell Direct you have the following requirements:

  • The virtual machine must be running locally on the Hyper-V host and must be started.
  • You must be logged into the host computer as a Hyper-V administrator.
  • You must supply valid user credentials for the virtual machine.
  • The host operating system must run Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, or a higher version.
  • The virtual machine must run Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, or a higher version.

To use PowerShell Direct just use the Enter-PSSession or Invoke-Command cmdlets with the -VMName, -VMId or VM parameter.

Hyper-V Virtual Switch using NAT

Hyper-V Virtual Switch NAT Configuration

If you are running Hyper-V on your workstation, laptop you know that networking could have been kind of a problem. With the Hyper-V Virtual Switch using NAT, you can now create an internal network for your virtual machines and still allow them to for example have internet access, like you would run your virtual machines behind a router. To use this feature you have the following requirements:

  • Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 build 14295 or later
  • Enabled Hyper-V role

To enable you can first create an internal switch using PowerShell, the the IP Address on the Virtual NIC on the Management OS and then set the NAT configuration:

To create NAT forwarding rules you can for example use the following command:

Virtual Battery for Virtual Machines

Hyper-V VM battery

With the Windows 10 Insider Build XXXX and later with the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft enabled a Virtual Battery feature for Hyper-V Virtual Machines. This will allow Hyper-V VMs to see the battery status of the host. This is great when you are running Hyper-V on a notebook or if you have a SUV battery on your server

Hyper-V VMConnect – Enhanced Session Mode

Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode

Interacting with Virtual Machines can be difficult and time consuming using the default VM console, since you can not copy paste or connect devices. VMConnect lets you use a computer’s local resources in a virtual machine, like a removable USB flash drive or a printer and in addition to this, Enhanced session mode also lets you resize the VMConnect window and use copy paste. This makes it almost as if you would use the Remote Desktop Client to connect to the Virtual Machine, without a network connection, instead you will make use of the VMBus.

The Enhanced Session Mode feature was introduced with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. Enhanced session mode basically provides your Virtual Machine Connection with RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) capabilities over the Hyper-V VMBus, including the following:

  • Display Configuration
  • Audio redirection
  • Printer redirection
  • Full clipboard support (improved over limited prior-generation clipboard support)
  • Smart Card support
  • USB Device redirection
  • Drive redirection
  • Redirection for supported Plug and Play devices

Requirements for the Enhanced Session Mode are:

  • The Hyper-V host must have Enhanced session mode policy and Enhanced session mode settings turned on
  • The computer on which you use VMConnect must run Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher
  • The virtual machine must have Remote Desktop Services enabled, and run Windows 8.1 (or higher) and Windows Server 2012 R2 (or higher) as the guest operating system.

You can simply use it, by pressing the enhanced session button (if you have all the requirementsOn the Windows 10 Client this is enabled by default on the “host”. On Windows Server you have to enable it first in the Hyper-V Manager under Hyper-V Settings

Hyper-V Manager Zoom Level

Hyper-V VMConnect Zoom Level

In the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft introduced a new feature to the VMConnect Console. This feature allows you to control the zoom level of the Virtual Machine console, this is especially handy if you have a high DPI screen.

Virtual TPM Chip

Hyper-V Virtual TPM

If you are running Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016 or higher you can make use of a feature called Shielded Virtual Machines. This allows you to protect your virtual machines form being accessed from the outside. With this feature Microsoft added different levels of security enhancements. One of them is the possibility to add a Virtual TPM chip to the virtual machine. With that enabled you can use BitLocker or another encryption technology to encrypt your virtual machine disks from inside the VM.

Enable Hyper-V vTPM PowerShell

You can enable the Virtual TPM chip using the Hyper-V Manager or PowerShell. The virtual machine needs to be shut down.

Just to make sure, if you really need full protection, have a look at Shielded Virtual Machines with the Host Guardian Service (HGS).

VM Resource Metering

Hyper-V VM Resource Metering

With Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Microsoft introduced a new feature in Hyper-V called VM Resource Metering which allows you to measure the usage of a virtual machine. This allows you to track CPU, Memory, Disk and network usage. This is a great feature especially if you need to do charge back or maybe even for trouble shooting.

You can enable VM Resource Metering using PowerShell

To measure the virtual machine, you can used the following command

Export and Share Hyper-V Virtual Machines

Export and Share Hyper-V Virtual Machine

Another feature a lot of people do not know about is that you can export Hyper-V Virtual Machines to copy them to another computer or server. The great thing about this, this can even be done while the virtual machine is running and you can even export the state of the virtual machine with it. You can use the UI to do this, or you just run PowerShell using the Export-VM cmdlet.

In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Microsoft also added a button to shared the Virtual Machine. This does not only export the virtual machine but it also create a compressed VM Export File (.vmcz).

Hyper-V Containers

Hyper-V Windows Containers

In Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 you can run Windows Containers using Docker. While on Windows Server you can choose between running a Windows Container or a Hyper-V Container, you will always run a Hyper-V Container on Windows 10. While Hyper-V Containers and Windows Containers are fully compatible with each other, what means you can start a Windows Container in a Hyper-V Container runtime and the other way around, the Hyper-V Container gives you an extra layer of isolation between your containers and your operating system. This makes running containers not just much more secure but since the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows Server RS3 (Redstone 3), it will also allow you to run Linux Containers on a Windows Container Host, which will make Windows the best platform to run Windows Containers and Linux Containers side by side.

I hope this short list was helpful and showed you some features you didn’t know were there in Hyper-V. Some of these features are still in preview and are might not available in production versions of Hyper-V. Leave your favorite secret Hyper-V features in the comments!



Open website from PowerShell

Open website from PowerShell

If you want to directly open a website from the PowerShell console, you can use the Start-Process cmdlet. This will open the website in the default browser:

You can also use “Start” which is an alias for Start-Process:

 



Installation Windows Server 2016 VPN

How to Install VPN on Windows Server 2016

This post shows you how you can install a VPN Server on Windows Server 2016 Step-by-Step. It shows you how you can easily setup a VPN server for a small environment or for a hosted server scenario.

This is definitely not a guide for an enterprise deployment, if you are thinking about a enterprise deployment you should definitely have a look at Direct Access.

I already did similar blog posts for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

You can simply follow this step by step guide:

First install the “Remote Access” via Server Manager or Windows PowerShell.

Install Remote Access Role VPN

Select the “DirectAccess and VPN (RAS)” role services and click next.

DirectAccess and VPN (RAS)



5Nine Hyper-V Security Agentless

Secure your Hyper-V environment with 5nine Cloud Security 8.1

In the past years I was building several Hyper-V environments together with Enterprise customers and with service providers. In a lot of cases customer wanted more security in there Cloud and Virtualization environment. Security becoming a even more critical part in your datacenter and with a high virtualization rate, it gets even more critical and complex to manage. Especially when Virtual Machines can move from on cluster to another or from one datacenter to another. 5nine is one of the vendors who has a great solution, for this challenges. A couple of years back I wrote a blog post about 5Nine Cloud Security version 4.0. 5nine Cloud Security is a unified security and compliance solution designed to specifically address every Hyper-V security vulnerability across every virtual resource.

Last week at Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft released Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V 2016, with that 5nine released 5nine Cloud Security 8.1 which supports Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V 2016.

5nine Cloud Security has some unique key features to secure your environment.

  • Distributed vFirewall – Secure multi-tenant Hyper-V environment and provide VM isolation
  • Agentless Antimalware Detection – Protect Hyper-V with patent-pending agentless Kaspersky or ThreatTrack antivirus now with Real-Time Malware Detection
  • Enforce security compliance

5Nine Hyper-V Security Agentless

Key features

if you look at it on a security features list, 5nine Cloud Security offers you the following security features:

  • Automatically & Instantly Secure all Virtual Machines, Disks, Networks and Switches
  • Choice of Leading Antivirus Engines
  • Agentless AV – Full Virtual Machine Scans
  • Agentless AV – Real-time HTTP Virus and Malware Detection
  • Hyper-V Optimized Real-time Active Protection Agent
  • Agentless Firewall
    • Granular control over each virtual machine using Hyper-V
    • Extensible Switch, no agent required
    • Configure the Advanced / Full Kernel mode Virtual Firewall for each VM individually
    • MAC Address filtering
    • ARP Rules
    • SPI (stateful packet inspection)
    • Network traffic anomaly analysis
    • Inbound and outbound per VM bandwidth throttling
    • MAC broadcast filtering
    • All filtering events logging with more data (UM logs only contain blocked events)
    • Configure network filtering rules on a per-VM basis
    • Set inbound/outbound traffic limits and bandwidth utilization by virtual machine
  • Agentless Intrusion Detection
  • No need to access Guest OS to manage security
  • Centralized signature management with updates to host only
  • Incremental Fast Scans
  • Offline VM Scanning
  • Avoids Host Scanning Storms
  • Support for Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2 and 2016 Hyper-V
  • Supports any guest OS supported by Windows Hyper-V including Linux
  • Meet the security demands of enterprise, management service providers (MSPs), public sector, and hosting providers who leverage Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server and Cloud Platform
  • Provide the first and only seamless agentless compliance and agentless security solution for the Hyper-V Cloud
  • Deliver multi-layered protection together with integrated, agentless antivirus and intrusion detection capabilities
  • Offer unmatched levels of industry-demanded protection and compliance (including PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and Sarbanes-Oxley)
  • Secure the Cloud environment with anti-virus technology that runs with virtually zero performance impact while simultaneously improving virtual machine density
  • Provide network traffic control between virtual machines
  • Enforce secure multi-tenancy and Virtual Machines Security Groups
  • Provide NVGRE support (Hyper-V Network Virtualization)
  • Support for Microsoft Switch Embedded Teaming
  • PowerShell Module for automation

Integration and offerings

5Nine Hyper-V Security System Center VMM Plugin

5Nine Cloud Security also integrated perfectly in your Microsoft System Center environment using a System Center Virtual Machine Manager plugin.

5nine Cloud Security also offers a Windows Azure Pack Resource Provider to offer self-service to your tenants. Azure Pack (WAP) Extension is the only Security as a Service (SECaaS) solution to protect your datacenter, your customers, and their clouds as a free add-on to 5nine Cloud Security. It is the only way to enable tenants to easily manage their own Windows and Linux security policies through the Azure Pack self-service portal. Now hosting and service providers can secure multi-tenant environments and virtual machines in private, hosted or hybrid scenarios, while giving users the ability to easily configure firewalls, intrusion detection, and more.

Architecture

The installation and the management is so easy, you don’t really need any documentation. That’s how a security product should work, it should not make your environment even more complex it should help you to keep your environment secure without adding extra complexity to it. Is used 5nine for several customer environments.

  • The Management Service – This would be your 5nine management server which needs a SQL database (minimum MS SQL Express) and all Hyper-V Hosts are connected to this management server.
  • The Host Management Service – which is basically the software and agent running on the Hyper-V host itself.
  • The Management Console – The console where you can configure everything. The console is simply connected to the management server.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager Plugin – This is a plugin in VMM which allows you to manage rules directly from your System Center Virtual Machine Manager Console
  • Azure Pack Extension – Resource Provider installed on the WAP Tenant and WAP Admin servers

Impressions

5nine host service

5nine is a very light weight solution for the Hyper-V host with not a lot of overhead. On the Hyper-V host you have only two service running and the Hyper-V switch extensions.

5nine-switch-extension

 

Conclusion

Overall I think 5Nine Cloud Security is a must have solution to protect your Hyper-V environment, if you want to do more serious centralized managed security. Especially with the release of 5nine Cloud Security 8.1 directly with the release of Windows Server 2016, 5nine shows how great their development and integration in Hyper-V really is. It always supports the latest features of Hyper-V solve real world needs.

If you need more information, want to buy 5nine Cloud Security or if you need someone to help you integrated 5nine Cloud Security in your environment, feel free to contact me.

 

 



diskpart-usb-drive

Create a USB Stick for Windows Server 2016 Installation

If you have download the latest version of Windows Server 2016 you can create a USB stick to install it on a physical server.

For UEFI Systems:

  • The at least a 8GB USB drive has to be formatted in FAT32
  • The USB needs to be GPT and not MBR
  • Copy all files from the ISO to the USB drive

diskpart-usb-drive

This is it, and here is how you do it:

First plugin your USB drive to your computer. The USB drive should be bigger than 6GB.

Open a CMD prompt or PowerShell using the Run as Administrator option and open diskpart. Now you can do list all this by using

Select the USB disk, in my case this was disk 1

Clean the disk. Be careful this will remove all files and partitions on the USB media.

Now convert it to GPT

Create a new primary partition. But make sure the partition is not greater than 16GB otherwise it can be formatted with FAT32.

Format the partition with FAT32

Assign a drive letter to the volume

now you can exit the diskpart and copy all files from the Windows or Windows Server to the USB drive and boot it. This works with Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016 or even Hyper-V Server in the same editions.

For MBR systems:

  • The at least a 8GB USB drive has to be formatted in FAT32
  • The USB needs to be MBR
  • Partition need so be set active
  • Copy all files from the ISO to the USB drive

diskpart-usb-drive-mbr

 

This is it, and here is how you do it:

First plugin your USB drive to your computer. The USB drive should be bigger than 6GB.

Open a CMD prompt or PowerShell using the Run as Administrator option and open diskpart. Now you can do list all this by using

Select the USB disk, in my case this was disk 1

Clean the disk. Be careful this will remove all files and partitions on the USB media.

Create a new primary partition. But make sure the partition is not greater than 16GB otherwise it can be formatted with FAT32.

Format the partition with FAT32

Set Active

Assign a drive letter to the volume

now you can exit the diskpart and copy all files from the Windows or Windows Server to the USB drive and boot it. This works with Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016 or even Hyper-V Server in the same editions.

 

Important:

If Install.wim is larger than 4GB, you cannot copy the file to the drive, because of theFAT32 based partition limitation. The solutions for this is to split the wim file into smaller files.

split wim file using dism (you may have to change the drive letters):

 



PowerShell get Drvier Version

Get Installed Driver Version using PowerShell

If you are using Windows Server Core or you just want to check the driver version using PowerShell you can using the following command:

You can also filter a specific driver name using the following command: