Category: Virtualization

How to Manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell

How to Manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell

In this blog post we are going to have a look at how you can create, manage, apply, and remove VM Checkpoints in Hyper-V using PowerShell. Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) checkpoints are one of the great benefits of virtualization. Before Windows Server 2012 R2, they were known as virtual machine snapshots. VM Checkpoints in Hyper-V allow you to save the system state of a VM to a specific time and then revert back to that state if you need to. This is great if you are testing software and configuration changes, or if you have a demo environment, which you want to reset.

Hyper-V VM Checkpoint Types

Before we got on how you can manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell, let me first explain the two different types. Since Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10, Hyper-V includes two types of checkpoints, Standard Checkpoints, and Production Checkpoints.

  • Standard Checkpoints: takes a snapshot of the virtual machine and virtual machine memory state at the time the checkpoint is initiated. A snapshot is not a full backup and can cause data consistency issues with systems that replicate data between different nodes such as Active Directory. Hyper-V only offered standard checkpoints (formerly called snapshots) prior to Windows 10.
  • Production Checkpoints: uses Volume Shadow Copy Service or File System Freeze on a Linux virtual machine to create a data-consistent backup of the virtual machine. No snapshot of the virtual machine memory state is taken.

You can set up these settings in Hyper-V Manager or in PowerShell.

Hyper-V VM Checkpoint Types

Hyper-V VM Checkpoint Types

If you are using PowerShell to configure Checkpoints for virtual machines these commands may help you.

Configure and set VM for Standard Checkpoints

Set-VM -Name "Windows10" -CheckpointType Standard

Set VM to Production Checkpoints, if the production checkpoint fails a Standard Checkpoint is created

 Set-VM -Name "Windows10" -CheckpointType Production

Set VM to only use Production Checkpoints

 Set-VM -Name "Windows10" -CheckpointType ProductionOnly

Disable VM Checkpoints for the Hyper-V virtual machine

 Set-VM -Name "Windows10" -CheckpointType Disabled

Managing Hyper-V VM Checkpoints using PowerShell

Create VM Checkpoints

You can create a new VM Checkpoint with PowerShell, you can round the following command:

Checkpoint-VM -Name "Windows10"

You can find more on the cmdlet on Microsoft Docs.

You can list the VM Checkpoints of a Hyper-V VM:

Get-VMCheckpoint -VMName "Windows10"
How to Manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell

How to Manage Hyper-V VM Checkpoints with PowerShell

Applying Hyper-V VM checkpoints using PowerShell

If you want to revert your virtual machine state to a previous point-in-time, you can apply an existing checkpoint, using the following PowerShell command.

Restore-VMCheckpoint -Name "checkpoint name" -VMName "Windows10" -Confirm:$false

You can find more information about the cmdlet here.

Renaming checkpoints

To rename a checkpoint you can use the following command

Rename-VMCheckpoint -VMName "Windows10" -Name "Checkpointname" -NewName "MyNewCheckpointName"

Deleting checkpoints

You can also delete or remove a Hyper-V VM checkpoint with the following PowerShell command. This will merge the .avhdx files in the background.

Remove-VMCheckpoint -VMName "Windows10" -Name "Checkpointname"

Conclusion

I hope this blog post gives you a great overview on how you can manage, apply, restore, and remove Hyper-V VM Checkpoints using PowerShell. You can learn more about Hyper-V virtual machine checkpoints on Microsoft Docs. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

Earlier Docker announced the partnership with Microsoft to bring support to run Azure Container Instances (ACI) from the Docker CLI. Yesterday, Docker announced and released the first Docker Desktop Edge version (2.3.2), which allows you to try out that new feature. Azure Container Instances (ACI) allow you to run Docker containers on-demand in a managed, serverless Azure environment. Azure Container Instances is a solution for any scenario that can operate in isolated containers, without orchestration.

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

To be able to run ACI containers using the Docker CLI, Docker expanded the existing docker context command to support ACI as a new backend. To start using this new feature you will need to run Docker Desktop Edge version 2.3.2 and an Azure subscription. You can create a free Azure account with 12 months of free services, $200 credit, and over 25 services which are always free.

Docker Desktop Azure ACI Integration

Docker Desktop Azure ACI Integration

Now you can start your Docker CLI and login to Azure:

docker login azure

After you are logged in, you will need to create a new ACI context. You can simply use “docker context create aci” command and add your Azure subscription and Resource Group, or the CLI will provide you with an Interactive experience.

docker context create aci myazure

With “docker context ls” you can see the added ACI context.

docker context ls
Docker Desktop CLI create Azure Container Instance ACI Context Integration

Docker Desktop CLI create Azure Container Instance ACI Context Integration

Now you can switch to the newly added ACI context.

docker context use myazure

Now you can start running containers directly on Azure Container Instance using the Docker CLI.

docker run -d -p 80:80 mycontainer

You can also see the running containers using docker ps.

docker ps
Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

Run Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

This will also show you the public IP address of your running container to access it. In my example I used a demo container, however, you can also use your own container which you pushed to a container registry like Docker Hub.

You can also run multi-container applications using Docker Compose. You can find an example for that here.

Try Azure Container Instances from the Docker CLI

This new experience is now available as part of Docker Desktop Edge 2.3.2 . To get started, simply download the latest Edge release or update if you are already on Desktop Edge and create a free Azure account with 12 months of free services, $200 credit, and over 25 services which are always free.

Conclusion

I hope this gives you a short overview of how you can use the Docker CLI to directly run Docker containers in Azure Container Instances (ACI). If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

There are also many other great examples like running Docker Linux containers on Windows, using the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2).



How to Install a Windows Server Container Host

How to Install a Windows Server Container Host

In this blog post, I want to quickly guide you through how you can install a Windows Server Container Host running Docker. This guide will help you set up, install, and run Windows Containers on Windows Server. In my example, I will install a container host on a Windows Server, version 2004, which is a Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) release. Windows Server SAC releases are released twice a year and are optimized for containers. In the Windows Server, version 2004 release, the team continued improving fundamentals for the core container platform such as performance and reliability.

If you want to learn more about the differences of Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) vs. Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), check out my blog post.

Requirements

  • A virtual or physical server running Windows Server 2016 or higher (Also including Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) releases. In my blog post, I will use the latest available releases and run the latest Windows Server SAC release, which offers the latest enhancements on the container host.
  • You can also use the Windows Server 2019 LTSC version

Set up and install the Windows Server Container Host

Since I am using the latest SAC release of Windows Server, the server is available as Windows Server Core only. This means I am going to use a tool called “sconfig” to set up my server for the first time. Of course, you can also use existing methods like unattend.xml files or PowerShell scripts to set up your server.

Windows Server Core

Windows Server Core

With sconfig, you can run all the simple configuration tasks to configure your Windows Server.

Windows Server SCONFIG

Windows Server SCONFIG

After the Windows Server is configured and patched, we can now install Docker, which is required to work with Windows containers. Docker consists of the Docker Engine and the Docker client. You can simply install Docker on Windows Server using the following commands.

Install-Module -Name DockerMsftProvider -Repository PSGallery -Force
Install-Package -Name docker -ProviderName DockerMsftProvider
Install Docker on Windows Server

Install Docker on Windows Server

After these commands, you will need to restart the server.

Restart-Computer -Force

If you want to learn more about installing Docker on Windows Server, check out Microsoft Docs.

Run Windows Container Docker Images on Windows Server

Run Windows Container Docker Images on Windows Server

Now you can start pulling your docker container images to your Windows Server. I will use the latest Windows Container images, which came with Windows Server, version 2004. You can read more about the improved container images here.

docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/windows/servercore:2004 
docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/windows/nanoserver:2004 
docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/windows:2004

You can now use the docker client to manage your containers on your Windows Server, or you can also use the new Windows Admin Center Container extension, which was released a couple of weeks ago.

Manage Windows Server Containers with Windows Admin Center

Manage Windows Server Containers with Windows Admin Center

And yes, if you have a standalone Windows Server Core, you can also directly install Windows Admin Center on your Windows Server Core.

Conclusion

I hope this blog post gives you a great overview of how to install and set up a Windows Server container host. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Run Hyper-V on Windows 10 on ARM and the Surface Pro X

Run Hyper-V on Windows 10 on ARM and the Surface Pro X

Here is a quick blog post on how you can run Hyper-V virtual machines (VM) on Windows 10 on ARM and the Surface Pro X.

I am running the Surface Pro X as my daily driver for a couple of months. It is a fantastic device and combines a light designed and the Surface Pro form factor with a 13-inch screen. But the most significant difference to the other Surface devices like the Surface Pro 7, is that the Surface Pro X is running Windows 10 on ARM. It has a custom Microsoft SQ1 chip. This limits it to run native ARM64 or emulated 32-bit x86 applications, and it can’t run classic 64-bit x64 applications at the moment. Another limitation was that I wasn’t able to run Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) on my Surface Pro X.

With the Windows 10 Insider Preview build 19559, you were able to install Hyper-V. However, you didn’t have a compatible image to run inside the virtual machine (VM). With the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19631, Microsoft is now also providing an ARM64 VHDX file, which you can download and run as a guest OS in Hyper-V.

How to enable Hyper-V on Windows 10 on ARM

You need a Windows 10 ARM-based PC with a Microsoft SQ1, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx, or Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor. To enable the Hyper-V feature on Windows 10 on ARM and the Surface Pro X, you will also need to have installed the Windows 10 Insider Preview build 19559 or higher and have Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise.

  1. Join the Windows Insider Program and update to the latest Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring build 19559 or newer
  2. Upgrade your Windows edition from Home to Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise
  3. Install the Hyper-V feature on Windows 10You can run the following PowerShell command to install the Hyper-V feature.
    Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName:Microsoft-Hyper-V -All
  4. Download the Windows 10 on ARM VHDX file from here.
  5. After that, you can create a Hyper-V virtual machine (VM) with an existing VHDX file on your Surface Pro X.
  6. Visit Windows 10 on ARM developer center for more details and documentation.

Conclusion

I hope this gives an overview of how to run Hyper-V VMs on Windows 10 on ARM. This is still in preview, but if you are like me and want to give it a try, you can. Let me know if you have any questions.



HCSDiag.exe - Hyper-V Host Compute Service Diagnostics Tool

HCSDiag.exe – Hyper-V Host Compute Service Diagnostics Tool

As you know, Hyper-V is not just a server virtualization software anymore. Today, you can find Hyper-V technology across different operating systems, products, and services, like Windows Defender Application Guard, Windows Sandbox, Hyper-V Containers, or many more. Thanks to Ben Armstrong from the Hyper-V team, I found out that there is a tool in Windows to troubleshoot these Hyper-V containers called hcsdiag.exe or Hyper-V Host Compute Service Diagnostics Tool. The Hyper-V Host Compute Service Diagnostics Tool (HCSDiag.exe) is available in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 if you have the Hyper-V roles or virtualization features enabled, and can be helpful to troubleshoot Hyper-V containers, virtual machines (VMs), Windows Sandbox, Windows Defender Application Guard, Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 and more.

HCSDiag.exe - Hyper-V Host Compute Service Diagnostics Tool

HCSDiag.exe – Hyper-V Host Compute Service Diagnostics Tool

Let’s have a look at the HCSDiag.exe, which you can find in C:\Windows\System32. It provides you with a couple of different commands and options. However, keep in mind that not all features work with every type of container. Some features are limited to scenarios where the VM is being used under the same user context as the host, where it is all about protecting the host from the guest and not the guest from the host like in the server version of Hyper-V.

To install Hyper-V, check out the following posts:

HCSDiag.exe

hcsdiag <command> [options…]

  • list
    Lists running containers and VMs.
  • exec [-uvm] <id> <command line>
    Executes a process inside the container.
  • console [-uvm] <id> [command line]
    Launches an interactive console inside the container.
  • read [-uvm] <id> <container file> [host file]
    Reads a file from the container and outputs it to standard output or a file.
  • write [-uvm] <id> [host file] <container file>
    Writes from standard input or a host file to a file in the container.
  • kill <id>
    Terminates a running container.
  • share [-uvm] [-readonly] [-asuser] [-port <portnumber>] <id> <host folder> <container folder>
    Shares a host folder into the container.
  • vhd [-uvm] <id> <host vhdx file> <container folder>
    Shares a virtual hard disk file into the container.
  • crash <id>
    Forces a crash of the virtual machine hosting the container (only works for containers hosted in a virtual machine).

I will give you some examples of how you can use hcsdiag.exe to interact with some of the Hyper-V containers. Now again, this focuses mostly on technologies like Windows Sandbox, Docker Hyper-V Containers, WSL 2, and similar features.

You can find more documentation on Hyper-V on Windows Server or Hyper-V on Windows 10 on Microsoft Docs.

List all containers and Hyper-V VMs

With the hcsdiag list command, you can create a list of containers and Hyper-V virtual machines running on the host. Including Windows Sandbox, Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, and Application Guard.

hcsdiag.exe list

hcsdiag.exe list

Connect Console to Hyper-V containers and Windows Sandbox

You can also directly connect to the console of containers or the Windows Sandbox. Remember that it only works for Hyper-V containers where the guest is not protected from the host. Not for containers like Hyper-V VMs, where the guest is also protected from the host. If you need to remote into want console access or run commands against a Hyper-V VM from the host, check out PowerShell Direct for Windows VMs and hvc.exe for Linux VMs.

hcsdiag console connect

hcsdiag console connect

Here is an example where I am connected to a Windows Sandbox container using hcsdiag.exe.

hcsdiag Windows Sandbox

hcsdiag Windows Sandbox

But that also works with Dockers container (Hyper-V containers) running Windows and Linux.

hcsdiag Linux Container

hcsdiag Linux Container

HCSDiag console provides you with an interactive connection to interact with the container.

Additional HCSDiag.exe features and commands

The HCSDiag.exe also provides you with a couple of additional commands you can use. For example, the read command to read a file from the container and output it to the host or as a file to the host.

hcsdiag read

hcsdiag read

You can use the “share” command to share a host folder into the container or use “vhd” to mount a virtual disk file (VHD) file to a container. The hcsdiag kill command terminates a running container.

Conclusion

HCSDiag.exe – Hyper-V Host Compute Service Diagnostics Tool is excellent if you need to troubleshoot these Hyper-V containers, virtual machines (VMs), Windows Sandbox, Windows Defender Application Guard, Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 and more. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Azure Unblogged - Open Source at Microsoft

Azure Unblogged – Open Source at Microsoft

Today, I want to share a new Azure Unblogged video, in which I had the chance to talk to René Moddejongen (Business Group Lead Open Source Software at Microsoft Western Europe) to discuss Open Source at Microsoft. In this video René and Thomas have a conversation about Microsoft in relation to Open Source. Expect a small recap of Microsoft’s Open Source strategy and partnerships with external Open Source companies. Microsoft truly embraces Open Source.

You can watch the full video on Microsoft Channel 9.

You can find more information here:

You can also watch other episodes of Azure Unblogged on Microsoft Channel 9 and check out my blog at ITOpsTalk.com.

Let me know if you enjoyed the Azure Unblogged – Open Source at Microsoft video, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel here.



Speaking at the Microsoft European Open Source Virtual Summit

Speaking at the Microsoft European Open Source Virtual Summit

I am honored to let you know that I will be speaking at the Microsoft European Open Source Virtual Summit 2020 on June 16th. Microsoft European Virtual Open Source Summit by the Microsoft Open Source team is a unique digital event, designed to celebrate communities, entrepreneurs, and developers coming together to build the future of open source technologies in the cloud.

The day will divide into four parallel tracks designed to provide the best learning experience for IT Pros, Developers, and Data Scientists. Each track will be packed with expert guest speakers who’ll be deep-diving into a wide variety of topics, from chaos engineering and serverless architecture to multi-cloud app development.

  • 2 Keynotes from GitHub and Red Hat
  • 4 Tracks with 7 sessions (check the agenda)
  • Ask the Experts Live Q&A
  • 30 Sessions from the most engaging Open Source speakers
  • Digital Expo Area with Digital booths of our partners

I will be presenting two sessions:

  • Hybrid Management capabilities for open source solutions like Azure Arc.
    11:30 – 12:15 CEST
    Register here
  • Making Windows Awesome for ALL Developers with Scott Hanselman
    13:00 – 13:45 CEST
    Register here.

More tracks and sessions:

  • Keynote Session 1: Open Source Built the Modern World by Nat Friedman, CEO, GitHub
  • Keynote Session 2: Business Benefits of Open Source Collaboration Between Red Hat and Microsoft by Stefanie Chiras, SVP & General Manager, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Business Unit
  • Track 1: Infra & Ops – Infra related topics around Linux, Hybrid Management, Chaos Engineering, and more.
  • Track 2: Innovation – Cloud-native track with diverse line-up of speakers and subjects.
  • Track 3: Data & AI – Learn all there is to know about Open Source and Data. Strong line-up also from partners.
  • Track 4: Developers – 7 amazing sessions ensuring the developer audience get what they want!

I hope to see you at the Microsoft European Open Source Virtual Summit! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.