Category: PowerShell

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PowerShell Windows Server System Insights

Windows Server 2019 System Insights

Currently Microsoft is releasing preview versions of Windows Server 2019 to the public. In one of the latest Windows Server Insider Preview builds, Microsoft released a new feature called Windows Server System Insights. The Windows Sevrer 2019 System Insights capability is a machine learning or statistics model that analyzes system data to give insight into the functioning of your Windows Server deployment. These predictive capabilities locally analyze Windows Server system data, such as performance counters or ETW events. This is helping IT administrators proactively detect and address problematic behavior in their Windows Server environment.

Windows Admin Center System Insights CPU Capacity forecasting

System Insights runs completely locally on Windows Server. All of your data is collected, persisted, and analyzed directly on your local machine, allowing you to realize predictive analytics capabilities without any cloud-connectivity. However, if you are using for example Azure Log Analytics (OMS), you forward the events created by System Insights to Azure Log Analytics, which than can give you a unified view about your environment.



Windows Server FTP

Install FTP Server on Windows Server

Windows Server has IIS build in, which also offers a FTP server option. The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is still a very popular protocol that allows users to simply upload and download files. Of course today you have more modern options, however it is still very often used and a lot of legacy applications still support it.

In this blog post I wanna quickly go rough how you can install the FTP Server on Windows Server. I do this on a brand new Windows Server 2019 operating system, however it didn’t really change since early Windows Server versions.

Install FTP Server Feature on Windows Server

Install FTP on Windows Server using PowerShell

First you will need to install the FTP feature. I usually simply do that using PowerShell to install the FTP Server feature in Windows Server. You can also do that using the Server Manager. However, if you want to use PowerShell, you can use the following command:



AzCopy Azure and Azure Stack

Sync Azure Blob Storage with Azure Stack Blob Storage

There are some scenarios where you want to sync Blob Storage on Azure with Blob Storage on Azure Stack. This easily be done using the AzCopy tool. AzCopy is a command-line utility designed to copy data to and from Microsoft Azure blob and table storage using simple commands with optimal performance. You can copy data from one object to another within your storage account, or between storage accounts in Azure as well as in Azure Stack.

You can get AzCopy on Windows and AzCopy on Linux. You should get at least AzCopy version 7.1.0. In my example I use the version 8.0.0 preview version, which also works fine. Make also sure that you have deployed a supported version of Azure Stack. Check out my blog about updating Azure Stack to get more information.

After the installation you will find the AzCopy.exe in the “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Azure\AzCopy”

How to Sync and copy files from Azure to Azure Stack

You can use AzCopy with Azure Stack as you would do in Microsoft Azure. To copy and Sync files you can use the following command. Be aware that synchronous data transfer between Azure storage and Azure Stack is not supported. There for you will need to specify the the /SyncCopy or –sync-copy parameter.

Of course this works in both directions and also between two different Azure Stack storage accounts.

You can find more about AzCopy on Azure Stack on the documentation page. If you have any questions feel free to comment on the blog post. There are other great storage tools which work great with the Microsoft Hybrid Cloud environment like Visual Studio or Azure Storage Explorer. These scenarios show perfectly how Microsoft built their hybrid cloud environment. Basically you can use the same tools, processes and knowhow in the Public Cloud as well as in your datacenter.



Download Azure Stack Update

How to install and manage Azure Stack Updates

At itnetX, we help customers to implement as well as to operate  Azure Stack. One part of operating Azure Stack is keeping it up-to-date. This means installing Microsoft Azure Stack Updates, hotfixes as well as OEM update packages like drivers and firmware. In this blog post I will cover all the information you need to keep your Azure Stack up-to-date.

Why should you update your Azure Stack

Azure Stack Update

This may sound like a simple question, but a lot of people ask for it. First of all, Microsoft and the hardware vendors are obviously delivering quality fixes and security updates to keep Azure Stack stable and secure. But Microsoft also adds new functionality with their updates packages to keep up with the rapid cloud development on Azure. This is important if you want that your Azure Stack stays consistent with Azure in terms of functionality.

Another important reason to stay current is to stay supported. You are allowed to be behind two major versions of Azure Stack, which means 2-3 months. You basically should update monthly, to make sure that you are secure and stable, however there are reasons why you might have to defer an update. For example, this can happen for some companies, when they are in a freeze period where they are not allowed to do changes in their systems. If you are more than 3 major versions behind, your Azure Stack is considered out of support and will not be supported from Microsoft, until you have the at least required version installed.

You can read more about the Azure Stack servicing policy on the Azure Stack documentation site.

Updates for the Azure Stack Integrated System

Azure Stack Operations

As mentioned before, there are basically three types of updates to Azure Stack. The monthly Azure Stack Update Packages from Microsoft, Hotfixes and OEM updates.

  • Microsoft software updates – Microsoft is responsible for the end-to-end servicing lifecycle for the Microsoft software update packages. These packages can include the latest Windows Server security updates, non-security updates, and Azure Stack feature updates. These update packages are non-cumulative updates and need to be installed one after the other. These updates are fully automated and will update the complete Azure Stack infrastructure.
  • OEM hardware vendor-provided updates – Azure Stack hardware partners are responsible for the end-to-end servicing lifecycle (including guidance) for the hardware-related firmware and driver update packages. In addition, Azure Stack hardware partners own and maintain guidance for all software and hardware on the hardware lifecycle host.
  • Microsoft hotfixes – Microsoft provides hotfixes for Azure Stack that address a specific issue that is often preventative or time-sensitive. Each hotfix is released with a corresponding Microsoft Knowledge Base article that details the issue, cause, and resolution. Hotfixes are downloaded and installed just like the regular full update packages for Azure Stack. Other the the major updates, Azure Stack hotfixes are cumulative per iteration.
 ReleaseCumulativeWhere to find
Microsoft Software UpdatesMonthly (4th Tuesday of very month)NoRelease Notes
OEM Hardware Vendor UpdatesDepending on OEMDependsOEM Website
Microsoft HotfixesWhen neededYesKnowledge Base article

By the way, you can only update Azure Stack multi-node systems, the Azure Stack Development Kit needs to be redeployed.



Custom Hyper-V Quick Create VM Gallery

How to create a Custom Hyper-V Quick Create VM Gallery

You might have seen that Hyper-V in Windows 10 got a new Quick Create Feature, this will open up a virtual machine gallery, which allows you to download different virtual machine images. For example the default image is a Windows 10 dev environment, which allows developers to quickly spin up a development environment with Visual Studio inside a Hyper-V virtual machine. If you want to create your own items in the Hyper-V VM Gallery.

To do that you simple have to do three things:

  • Create a virtual machine image (a .iso or compatible .vhdx file)
  • Create a gallery source (.json file) and create a gallery item (configuration inside the .json file)
  • Add the gallery source to the VM Gallery UI


Hyper-V Version 9.0

Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 with new Hyper-V VM Version and UEFI

If you are running the latest Windows Insider builds, for example in Windows 10 Build 17728 and you are running Hyper-V you will see two new improvements. These improvements are also in the latest Windows Server 2019 Insider Preview builds and will be available for production when Windows Server 2019 will be released.

Microsoft Hyper-V UEFI 2019

First Hyper-V UEFI now looks prettier and has more less the same still as other Microsoft devices like the Surface Book or the Surface Pro.

Hyper-V 2019 UEFI



Windows Server 2019 USB Drive

Create a USB Drive for Windows Server 2019 Installation

This blog post covers how you can create a bootable USB media drive to install Windows Server 2019 on a physical server. This blog post will not use any third party tools, it only uses build in tools which you can find on Windows 10 or Windows Server. Depending on your system you will need it to install it on a BIOS system or a UEFI based system, which is slightly different since UEFI will use GPT disks and BIOS will use a MBR disk.

Getting ready to create a USB Drive for a Windows Server 2019 Installation

First you will need to have all prerequisites in place.

  • Download the Windows Server 2019 ISO File
  • A USB Drive with at least 8GB size