Tag: Beta

What’s new in System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Beta

System Center Logo

Some days ago Microsoft released the Beta of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1. With the Service Pack 1 beta Microsoft added a lot of improvements and features to the System Center 2012 suite. However not everything is included in the beta. Here is a list of new features in System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Beta:

  • Virtual Machine Manager
    • Improved Support for Network Virtualization
    • Extend the VMM console with Add-ins
    • Support for Windows Standards-Based Storage Management Service, thin provisioning of logical units and discovery of SAS storage
    • Ability to convert VHD to VHDX, use VHDX as base Operating System image
  • Configuration Manager
    • Deployment and management of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
    • Distribution point for Windows Azure to help reduce infrastructure costs
    • Automation of administrative tasks through PowerShell support
    • Management of Mac OS X clients and Linux and UNIX servers
    • Real-time administrative actions for Endpoint Protection related tasks
  • Data Protection Manager
    • Improved backup performance of Hyper-V over CSV 2.0
    • Protection for Hyper-V over remote SMB share
    • Protection for Windows Server 2012 de-duplicated volumes
    • Uninterrupted protection for VM live migration
  • App Controller
    • Service Provider Foundation API to create and operate Virtual Machines
    • Support for Azure VM; migrate VHDs from VMM to Windows Azure, manage from on-premise System Center
  • Operations Manager
    • Support for IIS 8
    • Monitoring of WCF, MVC and .NET NT services
    • Azure SDK support
  • Orchestrator
    • Support for Integration Packs, including 3rd party
    • Manage VMM self-service User Roles
    • Manage multiple VMM ‘stamps’ (scale units), aggregate results from multiple stamps
    • Integration with App Controller to consume Hosted clouds
  • Service Manager
    • Apply price sheets to VMM clouds
    • Create chargeback reports
    • Pivot by cost center, VMM clouds, Pricesheets
  • Server App-V
    • Support for applications that create scheduled tasks during packaging
    • Create virtual application packages from applications installed remotely on native server

I will provide more impressions on products I could already work with, such as SCVMM, SCAC and SCDPM, as soon as I find some time.

System Center 2012 SP1 Beta available for download

System Center Logo

One week after the release of the Windows Server 2012, Microsoft released the Beta of System Center 2012 SP1 which brings support for the new features in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. The Beta includes System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 and System Center Data Protection Manager 2012 SP1.


You can get the System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 Beta Downloads here:


ConfigMgr_SCEP_2012_SP1_Beta_ENU_7782.exe 377.3 MB Download
SC2012_SP1_BETA_SCAC.exe 15.1 MB Download
SC2012_SP1_BETA_SCDPM_Part1.exe 818.6 MB Download
SC2012_SP1_BETA_SCDPM_Part2.exe 1.5 GB Download
SC2012_SP1_Beta_SCDPMREADME.txt 1 KB Download
SC2012_SP1_BETA_SCO.exe 68.6 MB Download
SC2012_SP1_BETA_SCOM.exe 905.9 MB Download
SC2012_SP1_BETA_SCSM.exe 400.2 MB Download
SC2012_SP1_BETA_SCVMM.exe 756.4 MB Download

 System Center 2012 Technical Documentation



Get System Center 2012 SP1 Beta documentation.

Altaro launching Hyper-V Backup 3.5 Beta with Windows Server 2012 support

Altaro Logo


Today Altaro is launching the public beta of Altaro Hyper-V Backup 3.5 with a contest where you can win a free Nexus 7 tablets. Altaro Hyper-V Backup is a powerful Hyper-V aware backup solution that easily backs up Microsoft Hyper-V Virtual Machines. With the next version Altaro will start supporting Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

I had the chance to already test the new Hyper-V Backup 3.5 beta, and if you are interested in a simple and fast Hyper-V backup solution, you should definitely have a look at Altaro solution.

altaro hyper-v backup

First of all Altro Hyper-V Backup is very easy to setup. The installation takes about 2 minutes, the installer need to be run on the Hyper-V server or one of the cluster hosts. The installer does automatically detect cluster installations.

Altaro Hyper-V Backup Cluster Installation

After the installation you have to do some very simple configuration steps. First you have to add a backup destination, this can be a folder on a local drive, a USB drive or a network share. Next you have to select which Virtual Machines should be protected by Altaro Hyper-V Backup and the last one is to configure the backup schedule for the Virtual Machines. And yes that’s how simple this solution is.

I did some test backup of virtual machines which I use in my lab and I was really surprise by the performance. One of my test Virtual Machines was a Windows Server 2012 server hosted on a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosts and the size was something like 8.25 GB and the backup initial backup was done in around 3 minutes.

Altaro Hyper-V Backup Speed

One of the most important parts of a backup solution is how you can restore you backups. In my lab I backed up and restored some Virtual Machines and everything worked as expected. But there are some great restore features. For example Altaro Hyper-V Backup does not only backup your current VM, it does also allow you to backup snapshots. This is great if you run a lab environment for testing or for software packaging where your snapshots are a very important part.

Another great thing is the option to restore backups from other Altaro backups. For example if you lose your Altaro Hyper-V Backup server during a disaster or a hardware failure. You can easily setup a new server with Altaro Hyper-V Backup and select your previous backups and restore them.

Altaro Hyper-V Backup features

Altaro Hyper-V Backup is not just a simple backup to for Hyper-V Virtual Machines it also has some cool extra features.

  • ReverseDelta – Transfers only changes at the block level, whilst performing on-the-fly deduplication. This is great to save a lot of space while backup up Virtual Machines which are using the same operating systems.
  • Exchange & MS SQL VM backups – Commits databases in VMs that host Exchange, MS SQL or other applications compatible with the Hyper-V VSS Writer, which offer application consistent backups.
  • Backs up Hyper-V Snapshots – If your VMs have snapshots than you can back up the snapshots as well.
  •  Live Backups of Linux VMs – Back up crash consistent Linux VMs without shutting down the machine.
  • File Level Restore – Mount backed up VHDs and restore files without having to restore a whole Virtual Machine.
  • Restore to different Hyper-V host – Restore an individual or a group of VMs to a different Hyper-V Host.
  • FireDrill Restore Tests – Build a plan to make sure that in case of disaster you’re fully covered.
  • Backup Drive Swap Rotation– Drive Swap functionality allows the customer to rotate backups drives on a daily basis.

What’s new in Altaro Hyper-V Backup 3.5

  • Windows Server 2012 Support, including support for VHDX files.
  • Windows Server 2012: support for backup and restore of VMs located on network paths.
  • Windows Server 2012: support for Volume Shadow Copies of SMB3.0 network paths.
  • Windows Server 2012: support for CSV3.0 and scale-out CSV file shares.
  • New and improved Metro-Style User Interface.

Overall Altaro is an easy, fast and effective Hyper-V Backup solution with a lot of extras. If you want to try the new Altaro Hyper-V Backup checkout the contest page. Altaro are giving away two Nexus 7’s to a couple of lucky testers of their Windows Server 2012 Backup for Hyper-V Beta.


Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 2012 Beta is now available for download


Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 2012 streamlines the process of keeping your offline virtual machines, templates and VHDs up-to-date with the latest operating system and application updates, without introducing vulnerabilities into your IT infrastructure. VMST 2012 helps you effectively manage the workflow of updating your offline virtual machines according to their individual needs.

Using features in VMST 2012, customers can service:

  • Offline virtual machines in a SCVMM library.
  • Stopped and saved state virtual machines on a host.
  • Virtual machine templates.
  • Offline virtual hard disks in a SCVMM library by injecting update packages.

VMST 2012 works seamlessly with other Microsoft technologies.

VMST 2012 is designed to work with Microsoft® System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and with the following technologies:

  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) WSUS 3.0 SP2.
  • System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.

To learn more about VMST 2012 Solution Accelerator, click here. To download the tool, click here.

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter Solution Accelerator Beta

Hyper-V R2 SP1

Microsoft released a beta of a new Solution Accelerator called “Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter”. The Converter helps you to migrate Virtual Machines from VMware vSphere to Microsoft Hyper-V.

About the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter Solution Accelerator

The Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) provides a Microsoft-supported, freely available, standalone solution for converting VMware virtual machines (VMs) and VMware virtual disks (VMDKs) to Hyper-V virtual machines and Hyper-V virtual hard disks (VHDs). MVMC supports converting virtual machines using the following guest operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 with Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7

The Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter converts VMware virtual machines created with:

  • VMware vSphere 4.1
  • VMware vSphere 5.0

To virtual machines for:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Hyper-V
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1

The Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter:

  • Provides a quick, low-risk option for VMware customers to evaluate Hyper-V
  • Converts the virtual disks and the VMware VMs configuration, such as memory, virtual processor, and other machine settings from the source
  • Uninstalls the VMware tools on the source VM and installs the Hyper-V Integration Services as appropriate
  • Includes an easy-to-use wizard-driven GUI simplifying VM conversion
    Supports offline conversions of VMware virtual hard disks (VMDK) to a Hyper-V based virtual hard disk file format (VHD)
  • Includes a scriptable Command Line Interfaces (CLI) for performing machine conversion and offline disk conversion which integrates with datacenter automation workflows, such as those authored and executed within System Center Orchestrator. The command line can also be invoked through PowerShell.


Check it out on Microsoft Connect: https://connect.microsoft.com/site14/MVMC

Windows Server 2012: CSV Cache Benchmark

Windows Server 8

Some days ago I wrote a blog post about how you can enable CSV Cache on the new Windows Server 8 beta. Now a lot of people asked me about some benchmarks.

Here a test inside the Virtual Machine:

Without CSV Cache:

CSV Cache disabled

With CSV Cache enabled:

CSV Cache enabled

As you can see CSV Cache does work really well. In some cases you can get 4-5 times the read performance.

Windows Server “8” Beta Hyper-V Component Architecture Poster

Provides a visual reference for understanding key Hyper-V technologies in Windows Server “8” Beta and focuses on Hyper-V Replica, networking, virtual machine mobility (live migration), storage, failover clustering, and scalability.

Hyper-V Component Architecture Poster

You can download the poster on the Microsoft download site

System Center 2012 CTP for Windows Server “8” Beta available

Windows Server 8

Microsoft System Center Logo

Two weeks after the release of the Windows Server 8 Beta, Microsoft released the System Center 2012 CTP for Windows Server “8” Beta. The CTP includes System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 and System Center Data Protection Manager 2012 SP1.

You can get the Downloads here:

Get System Center 2012 SP1 CTP documentation here

More Information about Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Server 8 Beta

Create a Windows Server 2012 iSCSI Target Server

Windows Server 8

In my Lab I don’t have a good storage which I can use for my Hyper-V Clusters. But with Windows Server 2012 Microsoft added a lot of new storage features and included a iSCSI Target Server. With the new Storage Pooling / Storage Spaces features this allows me to use a Windows Server as a great storage replacement.

This offers features like:

  • Thin provisioning
  • Data Deduplication
  • Disk aggregation
  • Storage Spaces
  • and a lot more


  • We will aggregate physical disks to a Storage Pool
  • On this Storage Pool we will create a Virtual Disk. Here we have to option to use Data Deduplication, Thin provisioning, Reliability options (Simple, Mirror, Parity), etc.
  • On the Virtual Disk we will create a NTFS volume
  • On this Volume we will create iSCSI Virtual Disks (LUNs)

Storage Overview

Setup Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Cluster

Windows Server 8

This week Microsoft released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and the Windows Server 8 Beta. You can get the software here:

Windows Server 8 brings a lot of new features to Hyper-V and Clustering. I will try to get some more information and how-to’s about the new features in the next couple of days.

Here is a small guide how you can setup a basic Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Clsuter via iSCSI. This covers only basics and should help users to setup a Hyper-V Cluster for testing very quickly.

Basic Hyper-V

Setup the Hyper-V Hosts

  1. Configure the Hyper-V hosts with Hostname, IP Address, Domain
    I still create the Cluster with the following Network Adapters

    Network Adpater Traffic
    Management Domain, RDP,…
    VMNET Network for Virtual Machine traffic
    LiveMigration Live Migration traffic
    CSV CSV traffic
    ISCSI01 iSCSI traffic
    ISCSI02 iSCSI traffic
  2. Add the Hyper-V role, the Failover Cluster Feature and the MPIO feature.
    You can do this via Server Manager or via Powershell

    Add-WindowsFeature Hyper-V
    Add-WindowsFeature Failover-Clustering
    Add-WindowsFeature Multipath-IO
  3. Install the latest patches via Windows Update
  4. Configure the Hyper-V Virtual Switch for your Virtual Machine Network. (You can do this via Hyper-V Manager or PowerShell.
    Get-Command –Module Hyper-V


  5. Enable MPIO support for iSCSI devices
  6. Connect the iSCSI storage via iSCSI (This works like in Windows Server 2008 R2)
  7. Format the disk via Computer Management, diskpart or PowerShell.
    With the PowerShell command “Get-Disk” you can list all availible disks and with Get-Command –Module Storage you can list all storage related PowerShell cmdlets.

Create Cluster

  1. Now you can you can open the Failover Cluster Manager to create your Cluster
  2. Click on “Create Cluster” and select the your cluster nodes
  3. Now you run the Cluster Validation Wizard
  4. In Windows Server 8 the Validation Wizard does also test the Hyper-V Configuration of your nodes.
  5. After you have passed all the test you can go to the next step and create your Cluster. If the Validation Report shows some Warning and Errors you should fix them first.
  6. Now enter the Cluster Name and Cluster IP Address
  7. Now if very thing worked out, you can now start to work with your Cluster
  8. Now you can add the Available Storage to the Cluster Shared Volumes, so you can add Virtual Machines to the storage
  9. With a right click on Roles you can create a Virtual Machine
  10. Now when you create the Virtual Machine you have to choose one of the Cluster Shared Volumes. The Cluster Shared Volumes are availible on every Cluster node on C:\ClusterStorage\*

This is a very small how to how you can create a Hyper-V Cluster with Windows Server 8 beta. Basically it is not really different to Windows Server 2008 R2 or Hyper-V R2, but it brings a couple of great new features to Hyper-V and Failover Clustering.