Tag: Compute

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.



Visual Studio Code Azure Virtual Machines Extension

Create and Manage Azure VMs from VS Code

With the new Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) extension for Visual Studio Code (VS Code), you can now create and manage Azure VMs directly from VS Code. This is a great new extension if you are working with VS Code and Microsoft Azure. The extension is currently in preview and lets you view, create, delete, start and stop Azure Virtual machines, as well as adding SSH keys to existing Azure VMs.

Get started

To get started with the Azure Virtual Machine extension in Visual Studio Code, simply follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the Azure Virtual Machines extension for Visual Studio Code
  2. Once complete, you’ll see an Azure icon in the Activity Bar
  3. Sign in to your Azure account by clicking Sign in to Azure. If you don’t have an Azure account yet, you can create a free Azure account here.

Free Azure Account

If you don’t have an Azure account yet, you can sign up today for your free Azure account and receive 12 months of free popular services, $200 free credit, and 25+ always free services.

Create an Azure VM in VS Code

You can now create Azure VMs directly from Visual Studio Code. The wizard will ask you for a VM name, username, Azure region, and passphrase.

VS Code creating Azure Virtual Machines

VS Code creating Azure Virtual Machines

This will create an Azure VM Standard D2s V3 (2 CPU Cores & 8 GB of ram) with the image Ubuntu 18.04-LTS. An SSH key will be created, and your SSH Config file (~/.ssh/config) will be updated so you can immediately connect via SSH ($ ssh vm-name) or using the Remote-SSH extension. You can find more information about how you can connect to Azure VM using Visual Studio Code in my blog post.

Azure VM management in VS Code

Azure VM management in VS Code

Having the possibility to manage Azure VMs and connect with them directly within Visual Studio makes working with these tools and Azure much more convenient.

I hope you can go and try out the Azure VM extension for VS Code. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.



AZ-104 Azure Administrator Exam Study Guide

AZ-104 Study Guide: Azure Administrator

I am currently preparing for the new Microsoft exam AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator, which was announced to replace the AZ-103 exam. There are many great resources out there to prepare for the exam, that’s why I want to share my AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Exam Study Guide with you. To learn and prepare for the exam, I usually use a couple of online resources, mainly Microsoft Docs and Microsoft Learn, which I am going to share with you. You can find more information about how I prepare for a Microsoft Certification exam on my blog post: How to prepare and pass Microsoft Certification Exam.

Also, check out other Microsoft Azure Certification Exam Study Guides:

Here is my AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Exam Study Guide

It is essential to get familiar with the exam objectives and skills measured first. That is why I recommend reading the description of the exam and the skills measured.

Exam AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator

The Azure Administrator implements, manages, and monitors identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment. The Azure Administrator will provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources as appropriate.

Candidates should have a minimum of six months of hands-on experience administering Azure. Candidates should have a strong understanding of core Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and governance. Candidates for this exam should have experience in using PowerShell, the Command Line Interface, Azure Portal, and ARM templates.

The high-level view of the skills measured in the exam:

  • Manage Azure identities and governance (15-20%)
  • Implement and manage storage (10-15%)
  • Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (25-30%)
  • Configure and manage virtual networking (30-35%)
  • Monitor and back up Azure resources (10-15%)

You can find more information on the exam website.

Free Online Microsoft Learn AZ-104 Exam Study Guide resources

Microsoft Learn provides you with free online training and learning paths for different Microsoft technologies. They not just offer reading material, but also control questions and free online labs. Here are some relevant Microsoft Learn modules and learning paths for the AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Exam. Microsoft Learn is an important part of my AZ-104 Azure Administrator exam study guide.

The team also just made it easier to prepare with the new AZ-104 related learning paths on Microsoft Learn. I highly recommend that you take these for your AZ-104 exam preparation.

Microsoft Docs AZ-104 study guide resources

One thing I always used to prepare for my Microsoft exams is Microsoft Docs. Here are the relevant Microsoft Docs which I used to prepare and study for the AZ-104 exam.



Create Azure Dedicated Host

Azure Dedicated Host for your Azure VMs

Last week Ziv Rafalovich, Principal Program Manager in the Azure Compute team, announced the Azure Dedicated Host Public Preview. Azure Dedicated Host is a new Azure service which enables customers to run Windows and Linux virtual machines on single dedicated physical servers. Usually, the Azure host is used by multiple tenants, and the virtual machines are isolated using a multi-tenant hypervisor, with Azure Dedicated Host, the physical server only runs workloads from one tenant/customer. This gives customers the visibility and control on what physical hardware their virtual machines are running, and it allows to address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements.

Azure Dedicated Host Preview provides physical servers that host one or more Azure virtual machines. Your server is dedicated to your organization and workloads—capacity isn’t shared with other customers. This host-level isolation helps address compliance requirements. As you provision the host, you gain visibility into (and control over) the server infrastructure, and you determine the host’s maintenance policies.

You can find more information on Azure.com.

Azure Dedicated Host scenarios

The Azure Dedicated Host offers a couple of benefits and enables some new scenarios.

  • Host-level isolations for compliance requirements
  • Visibility and control over the server infrastructure to manage host maintenance policies, load on the server, fault domain count.
  • You get control over the full performance and capacity from a single Azure host which is not shared with other customers.
  • You get the advantage of unlimited virtualization for Windows Server and SQL Server with Azure Dedicated Hosts using the Azure Hybrid Benefit.

If you need these scenarios, then the Azure Dedicated host is an excellent option for you. However, if you don’t need them, you are more flexible with the shared Azure virtual machine experience.

Licensing and Pricing

Dedicated Hosts are charged at the host level and not on the number of Azure VMs you run on the host. However, software licenses are billed separately from compute resources at a VM level based on usage. There are no upfront costs or termination fees. Currently, the Azure Dedicated Host is a pay-as-you-go service, and you only pay for what you need.

You will have different dedicated host types and VM series/families available. During the preview period, you will be able to choose between Dsv3, Esv3, and Fsv2 VM series.

Dedicated Host Typ 1

Dedicated Host Type 1 is based on the 2.3 GHz Intel Xeon® E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) processor and can achieve up to 3.5 gigahertz (GHz). Type 1 host has 64 available vCPUs.

    • Dsv3 Series
    • Esv3 Series

Dedicated Host Type 2

Dedicated Host Type 2 is based on the Intel Xeon® Platinum 8168 (Skylake) processor, which can achieve maximum single-core clock speeds of 3.7 GHz and sustained all core clock speeds as high as 3.4GHz with the Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. Type 2 host has 72 available vCPUs.

    • Fsv2 Series

Dedicated Host configuration table

This is the Dedicated Host configuration table during the Public Preview. This might change later, and you can find the current pricing information on Azure.com.

Azure Dedicated Host configuration table

Azure Dedicated Host configuration table

Additional cost reduction

You can use your on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance benefits, or subscriptions with equivalent rights, when you migrate your workloads to Dedicated Host (Azure Hybrid Benefit).  Different the before is that with the dedicated host you get unlimited virtualization rights for Windows Server and SQL Server. For more information on the updated Microsoft licensing terms for dedicated hosted cloud services, check out this blog post. With this running Windows Server 2019 in Azure becomes even more attractive.

We are also expanding Azure Hybrid Benefit so you can take advantage of unlimited virtualization for Windows Server and SQL Server with Azure Dedicated Hosts. Customers with Windows Server Datacenter licenses and Software Assurance can use unlimited virtualization rights in Azure Dedicated Hosts. In other words, you can deploy as many Windows Server virtual machines as you like on the host, subject only to the physical capacity of the underlying server. Similarly, customers with SQL Server Enterprise Edition licenses and Software Assurance can use unlimited virtualization rights for SQL Server on their Azure Dedicated Hosts.

You’ll also get free extended security updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2.

Azure Reserved VM Instances are not available for purchase during the preview on Azure Dedicated Host.

Deploy VMs to an Azure Dedicated Hosts

To deploy a new Azure Dedicated Host, we first need to create a host group. After that, we can add hosts to this group, which will be used for our Azure virtual machines. In this blog post, I am going to show you how you can deploy a new host and after that, how you deploy Azure VMs on that host using the Azure portal. If you want to know more and if you want to see how you do this using Azure PowerShell, an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template or the Azure CLI, check the Microsoft Docs.

Create a host group

Azure Host Groups

Azure Host Groups

You can find a new Azure resource called Host Group. Create a host group and configure the host group with specific settings like availability zones and fault domain count.

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Deploy an Azure Dedicated Host

Azure Dedicated Hosts

Azure Dedicated Hosts

After you have created your host group, you can start creating new hosts and add them to your host group.

  • Select the location (region) of the host
  • Select the dedicated host VM family and hardware generation. You will only be able to provision VMs on this host in the same VM family. During the preview, we will support the following host SKU values: DSv3_Type1 and ESv3_Type1.
  • Configure the fault domain for the host.
  • Enable or disable of automatically replacing the host on a failure.
  • Configure cost savings like the Azure Hybrid Benefit.
Create Azure Dedicated Host

Create Azure Dedicated Host

Your host will be deployed in a couple of minutes. Important, your Azure subscription will need to have enough resources (CPU/Cores) enabled. Some subscriptions are limited to a specific amount of cores you can deploy in your subscription, in that case, you will need to open a support ticket, to raise the number of cores available in your subscription.

Create a VM

Now you can create a virtual machine on the Azure Dedicated Host. There area few things to consider about that VM. First, make sure the VM is created in the region you have created the host. Secondly, choose a virtual machine size of the VM family you had configured when you created the host.

During the creation process, you will find the section Host in the Advanced tab. Here you can select your host group and your host where the VM will be deployed on.

For more information, check out the Microsoft Docs.

Conclusion

The Azure Dedicated Host service enables new scenarios and addresses, especially customers with host-level isolations for compliance requirements. It makes the Azure IaaS platform even more exciting, and together with Azure Migrate, you can quickly move your virtual machines to Azure. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Savision Whitepaper

On Demand Webinar: VMM Fabric and Cloud Management by MVP Thomas Maurer

Together with Savision I worked on a whitepaper about System Center Virtual Machine Manager Fabric Management and Resource Pooling. After the whitepaper was released I also did two webinars where I presented the information from the whitepaper about Fabric and Cloud Management with Virtual Machine Manager.

Now the webinar recording is available for an on demand online.

On Demand Webinar

On Demand Webinar: VMM Fabric Management and Resource Pooling by MVP Thomas Maurer

 



Savision Whitepaper

Whitepaper and Webinar “VMM (fabric) Management and Resource Pooling”

One of the most challenging things during the shift to Cloud Computing is to manage Fabric Resources efficiently. Together with Savision I have worked on a whitepaper in which it is outlined how Fabric resource like Compute, Storage and Network can be managed efficiently and how System Center Virtual Machine Manager provides a solution to build a datacenter abstraction layer.

The whitepaper is focused on building a datacenter abstraction layer of your fabric resources, self-service and service deployment. If you would like to know more about it, join our webinar.

Register for EU webinar

Register here for the EU webinar on Webinar “VMM (fabric) Management and Resource Pooling” by MVP Thomas Maurer – 7th May 3.00pm CEST (English)

Register for US webinar

Register here for the US webinar on Webinar “VMM (fabric) Management and Resource Pooling” by MVP Thomas Maurer – 8th May 2.00 pm EDT (English)

We’re looking forward having you logged in!

Btw you can download the Whitepaper right here:

Download the Whitepaper

Download the Free Whitepaper on “VMM (fabric) Management and Resource Pooling” by MVP Thomas Maurer

If you have questions join the webinar or feel free to comment.



Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest

Cisco UCS PowerShell Scripting Contest

In the Microsoft world PowerShell is the tool to automate everything especially in your datacenter. I already mentioned that Cisco offers some great enhancements for the Microsoft Datacenter stack. If you are using a Cisco UCS solution you can integrate System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Orchestrator and others. But Cisco does also offer a PowerShell module for the UCS called Cisco UCS PowerTool. The UCS PowerTool allows you to automate management and deployment tasks very easily via Windows PowerShell. By the way, one of the coolest features in the Cisco UCS PowerTool is the ConvertTo-UCScmdlet.

Cisco announced the UCS Power Scripting Contest

Everyone is invited to share their scripts and possibly win some prizes by entering the UCS Power Scripting Contest on the Cisco Communities.  The contest will run until May 11th.  A distinguished panel of judges (Jeffery Snover, Rob Willis, Don Jones, Hal Rottenberg and Thomas Maurer) along with other members of the community will select the grand prize winner from a set of five finalists.

Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest

I am proud to be one of the Distinguished Judges for the UCS Power Scripting Contest and I hope we will see some great solutions. To get more information about the contest check out the Cisco Blog from Bill Shields and the UCS Power Scripting Contest website.