Category: Windows Server 1803

Ubuntu on Windows Server using WSL

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux on Windows Server

In 2017 Microsoft made it possible to run different Linux distribution on Windows 10, using a feature called the “Windows Subsystem for Linux“. With the latest official Semi-Annual Channel Windows Server release called Windows Server, version 1709 Microsoft also allowed to run the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) on Windows Server. With the next release of Windows Server called Windows Server, version 1803, Microsoft will also add some improvements to the Windows Subsystem on Linux, which also apply to Windows 10 as well as Windows Server. This blog post shows you how you can do this.

First, you have a Windows Server, version 1709 running. After that enable the Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Linux feature, running the following command (This will need a reboot)

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

You can download the appx packages for your favorite Linux distribution; this can be today:

  • Ubuntu
  • OpenSUSE
  • Suse Linux Enterprise Server

If you are running on Windows Server Core (which is highly likely), you can use the following command to download the Linux distributions.

# For Ubuntu 16.04
 
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/wsl-ubuntu-1604 -OutFile ~/Ubuntu.zip -UseBasicParsing
 
# For Ubuntu 18.04
 
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/wsl-ubuntu-1804 -OutFile ~/Ubuntu1804.zip -UseBasicParsing
 
# For OpenSUSE 42
 
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/wsl-opensuse-42 -OutFile ~/OpenSUSE.zip -UseBasicParsing
 
# For SLES 12
 
Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/wsl-sles-12 -OutFile ~/SLES.zip -UseBasicParsing

You can then unpack the file:

Expand-Archive ~/Ubuntu.zip C:\Distros\Ubuntu

Now you can open that folder and run the installer, for example ubuntu.exe. The first time this will do the setup where you also define the UNIX username and password as well as the root password.

WSL on Windows Server

After that, you can run updates for your distro, and you can start using Linux.

If you want to know more about the WSL, check out the Microsoft Documentation: Windows Subsystem for Linux Documentation and have a look at my WSL post in for Windows 10: Crazy times – You can now run Linux on Windows 10 from the Windows Store

You can also find the other Linux distro packages here: WSL distro packages.



Hyper-V HVC SSH Direct for Linux VMs

HVC – SSH Direct for Linux VMs on Hyper-V

If you are running Hyper-V on Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016, you probably know about a feature called PowerShell Direct. I also mentioned that PowerShell Direct is one of the 10 hidden features in Hyper-V you should know about. PowerShell Direct lets you remotely connect to a Windows Virtual Machine running on a Hyper-V host, without any network connection inside the VM. PowerShell Direct uses the Hyper-V VMBus to connect inside the Virtual Machine. Of course, this feature is convenient if you need it for automation and configuration for Virtual Machines. As this is great for Windows virtual machines, it does not work with Virtual Machines running Linux. In the latest Windows 10, Windows Server 1803 (RS4) and Windows Server 2019 (RS5) Insider Preview builds, Microsoft enabled a tool called HVC. HVC is a tool which allows you to do some command line VM management. HVC SSH is basically PowerShell Direct for Linux VMs.

This allows connecting to a Linux VM using SSH over the Hyper-V VMBus. You are also able to copy files inside a virtual machine using scp, similar to Copy-item -ToSession using PowerShell Direct. You can read more about PowerShell Direct on my blog or the Microsoft Doc pages.

How to connect to Linux VMs using SSH Direct

HVC SSH on Hyper-V

To connect to Linux VMs using SSH Direct (HVC) type hvc.exe into the command line or PowerShell. This will give you all the possible command options. Of course, SSH has to big configured inside the Linux virtual machine.

hvc ssh Thomas@VMNAME

To make this work, the SSH server inside the VM needs to be configured.

Final Thoughts

A pretty cool tool which will be available in the official releases of Windows 10 and Windows Server 1803, released this spring. Later this year this feature will also be included in Windows Server 2019. If you want to try it out today, give the Windows Insider Preview builds a spin.

Thanks to Ben Armstrong for pointing this out 😉



ExpertsLiveCafe

Speaking at Experts Live Cafe January 2018 Edition in Bern

I am happy to announce and remind you that I will be speaking at the Experts Live Cafe in Bern this Friday. The Experts Live Cafe is a Swiss IT Pro Meetup run by the Microsoft MVPs Stefan Johner and Stefan Roth. Experts Live is a non-profit organization that has a mission to enable sharing of knowledge and experience about Microsoft technologies worldwide. The ExpertsLive Cafes are user group meetups which are designed to bring IT professionals closer together.

I will be covering one of two sessions about this months Experts Live Cafe and talk about Windows Server.

What is next for Windows Server

In Fall 2017 Microsoft has updated Windows Server to the next Semi-Annual Channel release with new features and improvements and Microsoft will now release new SAC and LTSC releases. Join this session for the best of Windows Server, learn how the new Servicing Model of Windows Server works and what does it mean to use SAC or LTSC releases, and what new improvement and features Microsoft offers in the latest releases such as 1709 and 1803. 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.

There should be still some free seats, so hopefully see you there!

 



Windows Server Insider Preview Build 17074

Sneak Peak of Windows Server 1803 (RS4) – Windows Server Insider Preview Build 17074

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a new Windows Server Insider Preview Build (17074) which will be released as the next Semi-Annual Channel release for Windows Server. This release will likely be called Windows Server 1803 (Codename: Restone 4), which is aligned to the Windows Client releases.

Microsoft talked about improvements in the next Windows Server releases and the investments in Containers and Storage Spaces Direct at Microsoft Ignite 2017, and we already got some early Windows Server Insider Preview builds to see what is coming next. The official list is not to big right now, but we can expect Microsoft to add and announce more features in the comment weeks and months.

What is new in Windows Server 1803 (RS4)

  • Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)
    • Microsoft adds Data Deduplication support Storage Spaces Direct and ReFS
    • Microsoft removed the requirement for SCSI Enclosure Service (SES) on the hardware, which enables more hardware to work with S2D
    • Storage Spaces Direct adds support for Persistent Memory (Storage Class Memory), which brings very fast and very low latency storage to S2D. The prices for this devices is still pretty high, but we can expect this to change in the future and we can also see them as a great use as caching devices.
    • Storage Spaces Direct now also supports Direct-connect SATA devices to AHCI controller, which also make more hardware work with S2D
    • CSV Cache is now enabled by default, which delivers an in-memory write-through cache that can dramatically boost VM performance, depending on your workload.
  • Failover Clustering
    • Azure enlightened Failover Cluster – This is a very exciting feature if you run Windows Server Failover Clusters in Microsoft Azure. This feature will let the Windows Server cluster know if there is Azure host maintenance going on and will exclude the specific cluster node from placing workloads on it.

      By making high availability software running inside of an Azure IaaS VM be aware of maintenance events of the host, it can help deliver the highest levels of availability for your applications.

  • Container
    • Microsoft promised to add more Container feature and provide updated Windows Server Container Images. One feature which made it already into this and early Preview builds is a long waited feature which caused some confusion before. Developers can now use localhost or loopback (127.0.0.1) to access services running in containers on the host.
  • Other Improvements

As mentioned before we can expect Microsoft to add and announce new feature for the next Windows Server release in the next couple of weeks and months.

How to download the Windows Server Insider Preview

You can download the Windows Server Insider Previews from the Windows Server Insider Preview download page. If you are not yet an Insider, check out how to get one on the Windows Insider for Business portal.

Careful, this is pre-release software and it is not supported in production.

Test and Provide Feedback to Windows Server

For Microsoft it is very important that they get feedback about the latest releases. To send feedback use the Feedback Hub application in Windows 10, and choose the Server category with the right subcategory for your feedback.