Category: Virtualization

Setup VM Protection in Windows Admin Center_LI

Configure Azure Site Recovery from Windows Admin Center

With the Hybrid Cloud effort Microsoft invested heavy to make Windows Server and Hyper-V better connect to Microsoft Azure. One way of doing that is with Windows Admin Center and Azure Site Recovery. The Azure Site Recovery integration in Windows Admin Center, allows you to easily replicate Hyper-V virtual machines to Microsoft Azure. The technology is not new, ASR does exist for a long time and allows you to not only replicate Hyper-V VMs, but also VMware VMs and physical servers. However, with the integration in Windows Admin Center, setting up Azure Site Recovery became super easy.

Set up Azure Site Recovery from Windows Admin Center

Setup VM Protection in Windows Admin Center_LI

In the Virtual Machines extension, you can already see a recommendation to setup ASR: “Help protect your VMs from disasters by using Azure Site Recovery.” Which will guide you through the onboarding steps. If you don’t see that banner, just click on the VM you want to protect and replicate to Azure. Click on More and select “Set up VM Protection“, this will guide you through the same wizard.

If you haven’t connected your Windows Admin Center to Microsoft Azure yet, the wizard will help you to go through and set up this connection.

Setup up Hyper-V ASR Host with Windows Admin Cenetr

After your WAC is connected to Azure, you will now setup Azure Site Recovery for the Hyper-V host in Azure. This can directly be done from Windows Admin Center. For example, this will let you select the Azure Subscription you want ASR to connect to. It will let you create a new Resource Group and Recovery Services Vault or use an existing one. After you have done the configuration part, WAC will create the specific Azure resources and configure the Hyper-V host for Azure Site Recovery. This can take up to 10 minutes depending if you are using existing resources or creating new once.

If you have a look at the Hyper-V Replica settings in Hyper-V Manager, you will see that ASR is completely setup and configured.



Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Setup

Connect Windows Admin Center to Azure Monitor

As mentioned in blogs posts before, Windows Admin Center allows admins to extend there on-prem environments with hybrid Azure services. The latest addition is the integration of Azure Monitor in Windows Admin Center. This allows you to collect events and performance counters from Windows Server to run analytics and reporting in Azure and take action when a particular condition is detected. This can then be a notification (SMS, email, push notification) and/or a direct action using Azure Logic Apps, Azure Functions, Azure Automation Runbooks, webhooks or integration into ITSM tools.

Setup monitoring and alerts in Windows Admin Center with Azure Monitor

Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Setup

Setting up the Azure Monitor connection in Windows Admin Center is simple. Select the server you want to connect to Azure Monitor. Go to Settings and then Monitoring Alerts.

Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Connect to Azure Monitor

Here you will be able to configure the server with the right Azure subscription, resource group and log analytics workspace.



Skane Azure Usergroup

Speaking at the Skane Azure Usergroup in Malmö

I am happy to say that I will be speaking at the Skåne Azure Usergroup in Malmö. On Tuesday April 9, I have the opportunity to speak at the event of the Skåne Azure Usergroup with a couple of Microsoft MVPs like Stefan Johner, Eric Berg, Henk Boelman and Tom Janetscheck.

“These speakers are in the region because of the Intelligent Cloud Conference (https://intelligentcloud.dk/) taking place in Copenhagen on April 9-10 (preconference workshops on April 8). Regardless If you attend this meetup, we would encourage you to check-out the conference and use this Discount code: azugskaane to get 10% discount on attendance”

I will be speaking about Azure Stack and the latest Azure Stack family member, Azure Stack HCI solutions. There will also be a lot of great other topics like:

  • Azure Stack: How to build a true hybrid cloud experience based on experiences from early programs and how to offer services from Azure stack to customers
  • Azure Labs: Deliver test environments quickly, controlled and cost effective with Azure DevOps CI/CD
  • Azure Governance: Keep you Azure investments secure, under control and healthy in automated or manual way.
  • AI: DevOps for AI and also Global AI/MR Bootcamp.
  • Azure Security Center: Protect against attacks and keep your Azure secure

Azure Community Heroes visits Skåne Azure Usergroup

Preliminary Agenda 17:30 – Introduction 17:45 – 18:45 – Presentations 18:45 – 19:15 – Meet & Eat 19:15 – 20.30 – Presentations

I always enjoy the great community work and great conversations about cloud technology when I am in the nodrics. I hope to see you there and also the the Intelligent Cloud Conference in Copenhagen. Let me know if you are there as well. If you can’t join on that date, there is also a meetup by the Skane Azure Usergroup with Orin Thomas about Azure Networking on Apirl 16.



System Center 2019 Download

System Center 2019 now generally available!

A couple of weeks a go the System Center team announced that System Center 2019 will be available in March 2019. Today is the good day, the general availability of System Center 2019 is announced. You can now download the LTSC release in the MSDN and the VLSC portal, and if you want to have a summary about what is new in System Center 2019, you can read my blog: System Center 2019 – What’s new

This will bring several enhancements around datacenter management, Windows Server 2019 support and Microsoft Azure integration. If you want to know more about what is new in Windows Server 2019 or Windows Admin Center, check out my blog posts.

As customers grow their deployments in the public cloud and on-premises data centers, management tools are evolving to meet customer needs. System Center suite continues to play an important role in managing the on-premises data center and the evolving IT needs with the adoption of the public cloud.

Today, I am excited to announce that Microsoft System Center 2019 will be generally available in March 2019. System Center 2019 enables deployment and management of Windows Server 2019 at a larger scale to meet your data center needs.

Download System Center 2019

You can download System Center 2019 from different Microsoft portals, depending on your needs:

I wish you all happy downloading and updating. If you have any question around System Center, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email.

As always, we would love to hear what capabilities and enhancements you’d like to see in our future releases. Please share your suggestions, and vote on submitted ideas, through our UserVoice channels.

Also check out the full System Center documentation at Microsoft Docs.



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 about the different installation options of Windows Server 2019.

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.



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:

 
Get-Cluster | Select ClusterFunctionalLevel

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).

 
Update-ClusterFunctionalLevel

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.

 
Get-ClusterNodeSupportedVersion

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.