Category: Containers

Windows Sandbox

How to configure Windows Sandbox

With the latest release of Windows 10 (1903), Microsoft introduced a new feature called Windows Sandbox. Windows Sandbox is based on Hyper-V technology and allows you to spin up an isolated, temporary, desktop environment where you can run untrusted software. In this blog post, I will show you how you can set up and configure Windows Sandbox in Windows 10. I will also cover who you can do an advanced configuration of your Windows Sandbox using Windows Sandbox config files.

The sandbox is great for demos, troubleshooting or if you are dealing with malware. If you close the sandbox, all the software with all its files and state are permanently deleted. It is a Windows 10 virtual machines, with the advantage that it is built into Windows 10, so it leverages the existing OS, which gives you faster startup, less footprint, better efficiency, and easier handling, without losing security.

Dynamic Image

Source: Microsoft

Windows Sandbox is a lightweight virtual machine with an operating system. The significant advantage which makes it so small is the usage of existing files from the host, for data which cannot change. For the files which can change, it uses a dynamically generated image, which is only ~100MB in size.

There are much more exciting things happening with the Windows Sandbox like smart memory management, Integrated kernel scheduler, Snapshot and clone, Graphics virtualization and Battery pass-through. If you want to find out more about the Windows Sandbox, check out the official blog post.

Prerequisites

Windows Sandbox comes with a couple of requirements. How more powerful your machine is, the better the experience will be.

  • Windows 10 (1903) Pro or Enterprise build 18362 or later
  • 64-bit architecture
  • Virtualization capabilities enabled in BIOS
  • At least 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • 1GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)
  • 2 CPU cores (4 cores with hyperthreading recommended)


CDC-Germany 2019

Speaking at the Cloud and Datacenter Conference Germany 2019

One of the best conferences when it comes to cloud and datacenter topics of IT Pros, is the Cloud and Datacenter Conference Germany 2019 organized by Microsoft MVP Carsten Rachfahl. I had the opportunity to speak at CDC-Germany 2016, 2017 and also in 2018. I am happy that I again was invited to speak at CDC-Germany 2019. The two day, Cloud & Datacenter Conference Germany will be held in Hanau, Germany on May 21-22. The CDC Germany will be focusing on Microsoft Technology and will have 6 tracks full of great Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter content with speakers from all over the world.

Featured Speakers CDC-Germany 2019

My Sessions at the Cloud and Datacenter Conference Germany 2019

I happy to speak in 1 of the main sessions and 2 breakout session about Hybird Cloud topics, like Azure Cloud Shell, Azure Stack, Windows Server 2019, Windows Admin Center, Azure Stack HCI and much much more.

Hybrid is the New Black!

Hybrid Cloud is not just a state during your cloud migration, it is here to stay! Hybrid Cloud goes far beyond Microsoft Azure Stack, and in this session you will see an overview about the different solutions you can use to extend your on-premises environment with Microsoft cloud services.

Windows Server 2019 – The Next Generation of Software-Defined Datacenter

Join this session for the best of Windows Server 2019, about the new innovation and improvements of Windows Server. Learn how Microsoft enhances the SDDC feature like Hyper-V, Storage and Networking and get the most out of the new Azure Hybrid Integration and Container features. You’ll get an overview about the new, exciting improvements that are in Windows Server and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job. In this presentation Thomas Maurer (Microsoft MVP) will guide you through the highly anticipated innovations in Windows Server 2019 and the Semi-Annual Channel including: Windows Server Containers Azure Integration Hyper-V features Storage Networking Security Windows Server Containers And more!

Mastering Azure using Cloud Shell, PowerShell and Bash!

Azure can be managed in many different way. Learn your command line options like Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI and Cloud Shell to be more efficient in managing your Azure infrastructure. Become a hero on the shell to manage the cloud!

My Session at the Hyper-V Community + Hybrid Cloud Community Pre-Day

I will also be speaking at the Hyper-V Community + Hybrid Cloud Community Pre-Day at May 20, 2019.

Extend the Intelligent Cloud to the Edge with Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack allows you to extend Azure to your datacenter and run Azure Services under your terms. With Azure Stack HCI, the latest member in the Azure Stack family, we also offer a great hyper-converged infrastructure solution, with optional Azure connected services. Find out more about Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI, how these solutions 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.

I am really looking forward to the Cloud and Datacenter Conference Germany 2019, and I hope to see you there!



Windows Server 2019

Which Windows Server 2019 Installation Option should I choose?

Windows Server 2019 will bring several installation options and tuning options for virtual machines, physical servers as well as container images. In this blog post, I want to give an overview of the different installation options of Windows Server 2019.

To compare the different Windows Server 2019 editions, check out the Microsoft Docs.

Installation Options for Windows Server 2019 Physical Servers and Virtual Machines

As always, you can install Windows Server 2019 in virtual machines or directly on physical hardware, depending on your needs and requirements. For example, you can use Windows Server 2019 as physical hosts for your Hyper-V virtualization server, Container hosts, Hyper-Converged Infrastructure using Hyper-V and Storage Spaces Direct, or as an application server. In virtual machines, you can obviously use Windows Server 2019 as an application platform, infrastructure roles or container host. And of course, you could also use it as Hyper-V host inside a virtual machine, leveraging the Nested Virtualization feature.

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, Scenario or Administrators still need the UI, this is the option to install.


Thomas Maurer Speaking at Microsoft Network 9 Azure

Speaking at Microsoft NetWork 9 in Neum

Today, I am happy to announce that I will be speaking at the Microsoft NetWork 9 conference in Bosnia again. The Microsoft NetWork 9 conference will take place from March 27-29 in Neum, Bosnia. I will present two sessions focusing on the Microsoft Hybrid Cloud and Azure. This will be my second time at this conference, after speaking in 2016.

Mastering Azure using Cloud Shell!

Azure can be managed in many different way. Learn your command line options like Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI and Cloud Shell to be more efficient in managing your Azure infrastructure. Become a hero on the shell to manage the cloud!

Windows Server 2019 - Next level of Hybrid Cloud

Join this session for the best of Windows Server 2019, about the new innovation and improvements of Windows Server and Windows Admin Center. Learn how Microsoft enhances the SDDC feature like Hyper-V, Storage and Networking and get the most out of the new Azure Hybrid Cloud Integration and Container features. You’ll get an overview about the new, exciting improvements that are in Windows Server and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job.

I remember it is great event, with a great community and a lot of interesting sessions. I am looking forward to the event and hope to see you at Microsoft NetWork 9!

If you want to learn more about Windows Server 2019 and Azure CloudShell, check out my blog.



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 an application that required a local GUI interaction on Server Core. Some of the applications you couldn’t install failed after the installation or 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. To get more information on Feature on Demand (FOD), check out the Windows Server 2019 documentation.

Here are some Operating system components that are available within 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 save it on your server. Mount the ISO Image:

 
Mount-DiskImage -ImagePath PATH.iso

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.

 
# For the App Compatibility Package
 
DISM /online /add-package:"Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-OptionalPackage~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~.cab"
 
# For Internet Explorer
 
Dism /online /add-package:"DISM /online /add-package:"Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-OptionalPackage~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~en-US~.cab"

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 summarize 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, Scenario 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 and the Microsoft Windows Server 2019 documentation page.



Windows Sandbox

Windows Sandbox – Isolated Windows Desktop

Today Microsoft announced a new feature called Windows Sandbox. Windows Sandbox is built based on Windows Container technology, which allows you to spin up an isolated, temporary, desktop environment where you can run untrusted software. The software you run and install in the Windows Sandbox does not affect the host. If you shut down the Windows Sandbox all changes and all software you installed in the Sandbox are gone again. This sounds very similar to the technology Windows Defender Application Guard already used to build a sandbox environment for Microsoft Edge.

Windows Sandbox Overview

Windows Sandbox

Windows Sandbox has the following properties:

  • Part of Windows – everything required for this feature ships with Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. No need to download a VHD!
  • Pristine – every time Windows Sandbox runs, it’s as clean as a brand-new installation of Windows
  • Disposable – nothing persists on the device; everything is discarded after you close the application
  • Secure – uses hardware-based virtualization for kernel isolation, which relies on the Microsoft’s hypervisor to run a separate kernel which isolates Windows Sandbox from the host
  • Efficient – uses integrated kernel scheduler, smart memory management, and virtual GPU

Windows Sandbox brings the advantages of Windows Containers and also adds a desktop. If you compare this to a Windows 10 Virtual Machine, the Windows Sandbox will consume much fewer resources, it starts up match faster and will be much more efficient with hardware resources. You can think of it like a lightweight virtual machine, which can share the same hardware but also the same kernel and memory as the host system (like a container).



Geeksprech Podcast Windows Server 2019 with Thomas Maurer

GeekSprech Podcast – Windows Server 2019 (German)

Microsoft just released Windows Server 2019 to the public and with that I was invited to be a guest in the GeekSprech Podcast from Microsoft MVPs Eric Berg and Alexander Benoit. We talked about the Windows Server 2019 release and what great new features in this release. We also got off topic and had some chats about security, Azure Stack and more.

If you want to listen to it (it is in German), you can do this on the GeekSprech website or here:

It was an honor and a lot of fun talking with Eric and Alexander!