Category: VMware

sysprep.exe vm mode

Windows Sysprep for Virtual Machines

For using the same system image for different virtual machines or physical computer, Microsoft created a tool called sysprep.exe. This blog post covers Most people should be already familiar with that tool. If not here is the description:

Sysprep prepares a Windows installation (Windows client and Windows Server) for imaging, allowing you to capture a customized installation. Sysprep removes PC-specific information from a Windows installation, “generalizing” the installation so it can be reused on different PCs. With Sysprep you can configre the PC to boot to audit mode, where you can make additional changes or updates to your image. Or, you can configure Windows to boot to the Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE).

This is great so you can sysprep a virtual machine copy the VHD or VHDX file and use it for the first boot of different VMs. In Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, Microsoft added an addition to sysprep called the mode switch “/mode:vm”. The mode:vm switch allows you to identify the Windows as a Virtual Machine and sysprep.exe will generalize a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD or VHDX) so that you can deploy the VHD as a VHD on the same Virtual Machine (VM) or hypervisor. You must deploy the VHD on a Virtual Machine (VM) or hypervisor with the same hardware profile. For example, if you created VHD in Microsoft Hyper-V, you can only deploy your VHD to Microsoft Hyper-V VMs with a matching hardware profile, and you can only run VM mode from inside a VM.

This will boost the performance and time for the virtual machine for the first startup and installation. This also work of course with virtual machines running on other hypervisors such as VMware or Xen.

Run the following command inside the Virtual Machine (You find sysprep.exe in the  C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep folder):

 
sysprep.exe /oobe /generalize /shutdown /mode:vm

Now you can copy the VHD or VHDX file from that virtual machine and use it for other VMs. Also check out my post about automating VM creation using an unattend.xml file.



System Center Logo

Summary: Update Rollup 7 for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack now available

Last week Microsoft released Update Rollup 7 (UR7) for System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack. And as always, Update Rollup 7 does not only include a bunch of fixes, it also includes some new features. This time especially Windows Azure Pack and System Center Virtual Machine Manager got some nice updates. Components that are fixed and updated in this update rollup

  • Data Protection Manager (3065246)
    • Support for Windows 10 Client operating system
    • Ability to use an alternative DPM server to recover from Azure Backup Vault
    • Improvements for backup on Hyper-V Replica VMs
    • Other improvements and fixes…
  • Orchestrator & SMA (3069115)
    • Orchestrator: some small fixes
    • SMA
      • SMA runbook execution fails if a PowerShell execution policy is set to Unrestricted through a Group Policy Object.
      • Fixed an error when you try to save or import a runbook in SMA
  • Operations Manager (will be released later)
    • The rollup is delayed by few weeks, as engineering team is working on recently reported issues.
  • Service Manager (3063263)
  • Service Provider Foundation (3069355)
    • This update includes general API changes to improve product quality.
  • Virtual Machine Manager (3066340)
    • Support for Windows 10 Client Operating System
    • Support for new Linux Operating Systems (Debian 8)
    • Support for VMWare vCenter 5.5 management scenarios (more infos VMWare vCenter 5.5 management scenarios)
    • Support for Multiple External IP Addresses per Virtual Network
    • Option to Reassociate Orphaned virtual machines to their Service or VM role
    • Support for VMM DHCP Extension PXE/TFP Forwarding
    • Some scale improvements if you have more than 50 Hyper-V Hosts
    • Some Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) fixes and improvements
    • Other fixes…
  • Windows Azure Pack (3069121)
    • Tenants cannot delete the checkpoints of their virtual machines
    • Support for VM names of up to 15 characters
    • Displaying VHD items during virtual machine creation when there are no hardware profiles in the plan
    • Incompatible VHDs are offered to the tenant when attaching a VHD to a virtual machine
    • Support for tenant plan viewing and self-subscription permission based on security groups
    • Support for Shielded Virtual Machine Management when it’s run on Windows Server 2016 Preview
    • Virtual Machine performance data displayed in the tenant portal
    • Other fixes and improvements…
  • Windows Azure Pack Web Sites (3069358)
    • Adds support for IPv6 to IP SSL functionality
    • Changes Web Deploy publishing from publish.domain.com to site.scm.domain.com.
    • Other fixes and improvements…

One of the new features I want to highlight is the possibility to add multiple public (external) IP addresses to  Virtual Network (Using Hyper-V Network Virtualization HVN). This means a tenant can assign multiple public IP addresses on his NAT gateway and do port forwarding, for example if he runs multiple webservers in that VM Network. This is a feature a lot of customers especially service provider have missed for a long time.

Another improvement we can see is the support for the next release of Windows Server and also support for Windows 10.

 



VMware ESXi 6.0 Enable SSH Service

Enable SSH on VMware ESXi 6.0 via vSphere Client

In another blog post I wrote how you can enable SSH on a VMware ESXi 6.0 host directly on the host it self. In this blog post I show you how you can enable SSH on your VMware ESXi 6.0 host via the VMware vSphere Client.

Open the VMware vSphere client and connected to your ESXi server and open the Configurations tab.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Configuration

On the Configurations tab choose Security Profile.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Security Profile

Open the Properties tab so you cen see the Security Profile properties and the Remote Access services. Here you can enable the SSH Server on the VMware ESXi host.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Enable SSH Service

If you have some issues check the firewall settings on your VMware ESXi host.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Firewall SSH Port

If you want to enable SSH on directly on your VMware ESXi host check out the following post: Enable SSH on VMware ESXi 6.0

If you are running Windows, you should also check out my blog post about how to install SSH on Windows 10 or SSH on Windows Server. I also blogged about how you can use SSH with PowerShell.



VMware Esxi 6.0 Enable SSH

Enable SSH on VMware ESXi 6.0

 

I already wrote some blog posts how you can enable SSH access for older VMware ESXi versions such as VMware ESXi 4.1, VMware ESXi 5.0, VMware ESXi 5.1 and VMware ESXi 5.5. This post now shows you how you can enable SSH on the VMware ESXi 6.0 host. As in the other versions this is pretty simple. By enabling SSH allows you to remote troubleshoot your VMware ESXi host and also coping files on your server.

On the Login screen of your VMware ESXi host press “F2”

VMware ESXi Logon Screen

It will ask you about username and password to login to the VMware ESXi server:

VMware ESXi 6.0 Login

After the login go to the Troubleshooting Options on the System Customization page.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Troubleshooting Options

You can now enable SSH on your VMware ESXi 6.0 host. After you have enabled SSH you can connect to the ESXi host via your favorite SSH client.

VMware Esxi 6.0 Enable SSH

If you want to enable SSH on your VMware ESXi host directly from the VMware vSphere Client you should have a look at the following post: Enable SSH on VMware ESXi 6.0 via VMware vSphere Client

If you are running Windows, you should also check out my blog post about how to install SSH on Windows 10 or SSH on Windows Server. I also blogged about how you can use SSH with PowerShell.



Licensing Microsoft Server in a Virtual Environment

Altaro Hyper-V Licensing Microsoft Server in a Virtual Environment webinar recording available

Together with Altaro I did a webinar on “Licensing Microsoft Server in a Virtual Environment” together with Andy Syrewicze (Microsoft MVP Hyper-V). Now the recording of this webinar is now available. You can also download the free eBook for Licensing Microsoft Server in a Virtual Environment from Eric Siron.



Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Services

Disaster Recovery using Azure Site Recovery

Nearly a year ago Microsoft released a Disaster Recovery solution called Hyper-V Recovery Manager. This was basically a hosted orchestration engine in Microsoft Azure which allowed you to orchestrate datacenter failovers using the in Hyper-V build in feature called Hyper-V Replica.

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery

In 2014 Microsoft invested a lot of work and time to improve this service and in January 2014 HRM changed the name to Azure Site Recovery (ASR).

  • In January 2014 Microsoft announced GA of the Azure Site Recovery service which allowed you to use it for DR Orchestration between on-premises Hyper-V sites using Hyper-V Replica
  • In July 2014 Microsoft acquired a company called InMage and integrated DR Orchestration between on-premises VMware sites using the InMage solution.
  • In October 2014 Microsoft announced the GA for Azure Site Recovery DR Orchestration between Hyper-V on-premises and Microsoft Azure.

At TechEd Europe, Microsoft announced some new stuff coming in the next couple of months.

  • In November 2014 Microsoft will offer a public preview for Azure Site Recovery using SAN Replication. This allows you to use your existing SAN replication and orchestrate your DR with Microsoft Azure Site Recovery.
  • In 2015 Microsoft will allow you to use Azure Site Recovery to replicate your VMware and physical servers to Microsoft Azure.
  • With Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack, Microsoft integrated Azure Site Recovery as a plan or Add-on property for VM clouds. This allows service providers to offer Azure Site Recovery to customers as an option of a VM Cloud plan or Add-On.

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Services

This is just a quick overview about the possibilities you have with Azure Site Recovery. I will cover some advanced scenarios in with a series of blog posts in the next couple of weeks. Until then I would recommend you to watch the session with Michel Lüscher and me at System Center Universe Europe where we talked about the Azure Site Recovery solutions before the TechEd announcements.

 

 



Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0

Microsoft releases Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0

Microsoft today released the next version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC). (MVMC) is a Microsoft-supported, stand-alone solution for the IT pros or solution provider who wants to convert virtual machines and disks from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts and Microsoft Azure.

In MVMC 3.0 Microsoft adds the ability to convert a physical computer running Windows Server 2008 or above server operating systems or Windows Vista or above client operating systems to a Virtual Machine. This feature was highly claimed by the community, since the P2V (Physical to Virtual) Migration feature was removed in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2.

MVMC can be deployed with minimal dependencies. Because MVMC provides native support for Windows PowerShell, it enables scripting and integration with data center automation workflows such as those authored and run within Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 or Service Management Automation. It can also be invoked through the Windows PowerShell command-line interface. The solution is simple to download, install, and use. In addition to the Windows PowerShell capability, MVMC provides a wizard-driven GUI to facilitate virtual machine conversion.

This tool can not only help you to migrate from VMware or physical computers to Hyper-V, it also allows you to directly upload the Virtual Machine to Microsoft Azure.

MVMC3 migrate to Hyper-V or Azure

You can get the new version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 in the Microsoft Download Center.