Tag: features

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Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode

10 hidden Hyper-V features you should know about!

Microsoft added some amazing new features and improvements to Hyper-V over the past few years. A lot of them you can use in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V today, but there are also a lot of features hidden in the user interface and they are also included in Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. I think this list should you a good idea about some of them.

Nested Virtualization

Hyper-V Nested Virtualization

Hyper-V Nested Virtualization allows you to run Hyper-V in a Hyper-V Virtual Machine. This is great for testing, demo and training scenarios and it work on Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. Microsoft Azure will also offer some new Virtual Machine which will offer the Nested Virtualization feature in the Azure public cloud. Nested Virtualization is not just great if you want to run virtual machines inside a virtual machine, it is also great (and I think this will be the largest use case in the future) you can also run Hyper-V Container inside a Hyper-V or Azure Virtual Machine. Hyper-V Containers are a feature will brings the isolation of a Virtual Machine to a fast, light and small footprint container. To enable Nested Virtualization you have the following requirements:

  • At least 4 GB RAM available for the virtualized Hyper-V host.
  • To run at least Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10 build 10565 (and higher) on both the physical Hyper-V host and the virtualized host. Running the same build in both the physical and virtualized environments generally improves performance.
  • A processor with Intel VT-x (nested virtualization is available only for Intel processors at this time).
  • Other Hypervisors will not work

Configure the Virtual Machine for Nested Virtualization follow the following steps:

  • disable Dynamic Memory on Virtual Machine
  • enable Virtualization Extensions on the vCPU
  • enable MAC Address Spoofing
  • set Memory of the Virtual Machine to a minimum of 4GB RAM

To enable the Virtualization Extensions on the vCPU you can run the following PowerShell command

PowerShell Direct

PowerShell Direct Enter-PSSession

Hyper-V PowerShell Direct is also one of the great new features in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V. PowerShell Direct allows you to connect to a Virtual Machine using PowerShell without connecting over the network. Instead of the network, PowerShell Direct uses the Hyper-V VMBus to connect from the Hyper-V host to the virtual machine. This is handy if you are doing some automation or you don’t have network access to the virtual machine. In terms of security, you will still need to provide credentials to access the virtual machine.

To use PowerShell Direct you have the following requirements:

  • The virtual machine must be running locally on the Hyper-V host and must be started.
  • You must be logged into the host computer as a Hyper-V administrator.
  • You must supply valid user credentials for the virtual machine.
  • The host operating system must run Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, or a higher version.
  • The virtual machine must run Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, or a higher version.

To use PowerShell Direct just use the Enter-PSSession or Invoke-Command cmdlets with the -VMName, -VMId or VM parameter.

Hyper-V Virtual Switch using NAT

Hyper-V Virtual Switch NAT Configuration

If you are running Hyper-V on your workstation, laptop you know that networking could have been kind of a problem. With the Hyper-V Virtual Switch using NAT, you can now create an internal network for your virtual machines and still allow them to for example have internet access, like you would run your virtual machines behind a router. To use this feature you have the following requirements:

  • Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 build 14295 or later
  • Enabled Hyper-V role

To enable you can first create an internal switch using PowerShell, the the IP Address on the Virtual NIC on the Management OS and then set the NAT configuration:

To create NAT forwarding rules you can for example use the following command:

Virtual Battery for Virtual Machines

Hyper-V VM battery

With the Windows 10 Insider Build XXXX and later with the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft enabled a Virtual Battery feature for Hyper-V Virtual Machines. This will allow Hyper-V VMs to see the battery status of the host. This is great when you are running Hyper-V on a notebook or if you have a SUV battery on your server

Hyper-V VMConnect – Enhanced Session Mode

Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode

Interacting with Virtual Machines can be difficult and time consuming using the default VM console, since you can not copy paste or connect devices. VMConnect lets you use a computer’s local resources in a virtual machine, like a removable USB flash drive or a printer and in addition to this, Enhanced session mode also lets you resize the VMConnect window and use copy paste. This makes it almost as if you would use the Remote Desktop Client to connect to the Virtual Machine, without a network connection, instead you will make use of the VMBus.

The Enhanced Session Mode feature was introduced with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. Enhanced session mode basically provides your Virtual Machine Connection with RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) capabilities over the Hyper-V VMBus, including the following:

  • Display Configuration
  • Audio redirection
  • Printer redirection
  • Full clipboard support (improved over limited prior-generation clipboard support)
  • Smart Card support
  • USB Device redirection
  • Drive redirection
  • Redirection for supported Plug and Play devices

Requirements for the Enhanced Session Mode are:

  • The Hyper-V host must have Enhanced session mode policy and Enhanced session mode settings turned on
  • The computer on which you use VMConnect must run Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher
  • The virtual machine must have Remote Desktop Services enabled, and run Windows 8.1 (or higher) and Windows Server 2012 R2 (or higher) as the guest operating system.

You can simply use it, by pressing the enhanced session button (if you have all the requirementsOn the Windows 10 Client this is enabled by default on the “host”. On Windows Server you have to enable it first in the Hyper-V Manager under Hyper-V Settings

Hyper-V Manager Zoom Level

Hyper-V VMConnect Zoom Level

In the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft introduced a new feature to the VMConnect Console. This feature allows you to control the zoom level of the Virtual Machine console, this is especially handy if you have a high DPI screen.

Virtual TPM Chip

Hyper-V Virtual TPM

If you are running Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016 or higher you can make use of a feature called Shielded Virtual Machines. This allows you to protect your virtual machines form being accessed from the outside. With this feature Microsoft added different levels of security enhancements. One of them is the possibility to add a Virtual TPM chip to the virtual machine. With that enabled you can use BitLocker or another encryption technology to encrypt your virtual machine disks from inside the VM.

Enable Hyper-V vTPM PowerShell

You can enable the Virtual TPM chip using the Hyper-V Manager or PowerShell. The virtual machine needs to be shut down.

Just to make sure, if you really need full protection, have a look at Shielded Virtual Machines with the Host Guardian Service (HGS).

VM Resource Metering

Hyper-V VM Resource Metering

With Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Microsoft introduced a new feature in Hyper-V called VM Resource Metering which allows you to measure the usage of a virtual machine. This allows you to track CPU, Memory, Disk and network usage. This is a great feature especially if you need to do charge back or maybe even for trouble shooting.

You can enable VM Resource Metering using PowerShell

To measure the virtual machine, you can used the following command

Export and Share Hyper-V Virtual Machines

Export and Share Hyper-V Virtual Machine

Another feature a lot of people do not know about is that you can export Hyper-V Virtual Machines to copy them to another computer or server. The great thing about this, this can even be done while the virtual machine is running and you can even export the state of the virtual machine with it. You can use the UI to do this, or you just run PowerShell using the Export-VM cmdlet.

In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Microsoft also added a button to shared the Virtual Machine. This does not only export the virtual machine but it also create a compressed VM Export File (.vmcz).

Hyper-V Containers

Hyper-V Windows Containers

In Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 you can run Windows Containers using Docker. While on Windows Server you can choose between running a Windows Container or a Hyper-V Container, you will always run a Hyper-V Container on Windows 10. While Hyper-V Containers and Windows Containers are fully compatible with each other, what means you can start a Windows Container in a Hyper-V Container runtime and the other way around, the Hyper-V Container gives you an extra layer of isolation between your containers and your operating system. This makes running containers not just much more secure but since the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows Server RS3 (Redstone 3), it will also allow you to run Linux Containers on a Windows Container Host, which will make Windows the best platform to run Windows Containers and Linux Containers side by side.

I hope this short list was helpful and showed you some features you didn’t know were there in Hyper-V. Some of these features are still in preview and are might not available in production versions of Hyper-V. Leave your favorite secret Hyper-V features in the comments!



Nano Server PowerShell Package Management

Nano Server PowerShell Package Management

In Nano Server roles, features and drivers live outside of the basic Nano Server Image in Nano Server packages. Nano Server Packages can be found on the Windows Server 2016 media in the Nano Server folder under Packages. You can the New-NanoServerImage or Edit-NanoServerImage PowerShell cmdlets to add them while creating or editing a Nano Server Image. If the Nano Server is already running you have to use PowerShell Package Management to add roles and features to the Nano Server. Here is how this works

Import the Nano Server PowerShell Package Provider

Nano Server PowerShell Package Management

Online install Nano Server Packages on the running Nano Server

Install Nano Server Package PowerShell Package Management

Offline install Nano Server Packages to a VHD or VHDX file

Download and save Nano Server Packages

You can also download the latest version of Nano Server Packages, so you can add them later using the New-NanoServerImage PowerShell cmdlet.

Get Installed Nano Server Packages (Online)

Get Installed Nano Server Packages (Offline)

I hope this helps you how to handle Nano Server Packages using PowerShell Package Management (OneGet).

 

 



Windows 10 Task View

The best Windows 10 Features – Why you will love Windows 10

Since the first release of the Windows 10 Preview in the Insider program, I was using the Technical previews on my Surface Pro 3, and it is great how Microsoft is improving Windows 10 over the last several months based on research and feedback from the Windows Insider program.

In some days, at July 29, Microsoft will release Windows 10 to the public, and here are some reasons why you will love Windows 10:

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Browser

With Windows 10 Microsoft released a new browser called Microsoft Edge (before Project Spartan) which is amazing fast and brings a lot of new features to the table such as Cortana Integration, Web notes which allow you basically draw your notes on websites and share them and Microsoft also promised to allow browser extensions. Secret: you can also switch from a Light Theme to a Dark Theme.

Task View & Virtual Desktop

Windows 10 Task View

Most of the IT Pros reading this blog already knew about Task view in previous version of Windows using WIN + TAB, but only a few other users did know about this features. Microsoft not only improved the Task view, Microsoft also promoted it much better  with an icon in the Taskbar.

In Windows 10 WIN + TAB does not only offer you Task View it also allows you to create and switch between Virtual Desktops. With Virtual Desktops you can now finally create multiple workspaces on your PC, which should bring you the productivity boost you need. Secret: You can switch between different Desktops using the Shortcut: CTRL + WIN + ARROW (LEFT and RIGHT).

Hyper-V

Hyper-V vNext Runtime Memory Resize

Microsoft build Hyper-V directly into the Windows Client since Windows 8. This is great if you want to run Virtual Machines on your Windows Client. Windows 10 Client Hyper-V brings you the great performance and features Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V will bring you. Of course some features are only available in the server build of Hyper-V, but you get some great features such as Enhanced Session mode to copy & past between your PC and your Virtual Machine. Secret: Windows 10 will allow you to run Hyper-V and use Connected Standby at the same time.



Windows Server 2016 Whats new in Hyper-V

What’s new in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V

Back in October Microsoft released the first public Windows Server Technical Preview for the next release of Windows Server. At TechEd Europe Ben Armstrong, Principal Program Manager on the Hyper-V team at Microsoft, talked about a couple of new features which are coming in the next release of Windows Server Hyper-V. Microsoft this week officially announced Windows Server 2016, System Center 2016 and Hyper-V Server 2016 along with some other great products and releases at Microsoft Ignite. This here is a quick overview about the new features in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V and this is still not a complete list with all the features coming to the next version.

Scale

Microsoft announced a Hyper-V Host will support 24TB of RAM and up to 512 CPUs, and up to 16TB and 240 virtual CPUs per Virtual Machine. This are huge number and a huge improvement to the numbers to the numbers of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Windows Server 2012/2012 R2

Standard & Datacenter

Windows Server 2016 Standard & Datacenter
Physical (Host) Memory SupportUp to 4 TB per physical serverUp to 24 TB per physical server (6x)
Physical (Host) Logical Processor SupportUp to 320 LPsUp to 512 LPs
Virtual Machine Memory SupportUp to 1 TB per VMUp to 16 TB per VM (16x)
Virtual Machine Virtual Processor SupportUp to 64 VPs per VMUp to 240 VPs per VM (3.75x)

Nano Server

Nano Server

Microsoft announced Nano Server, and the next Cloud Platform Server will you allow to run Hyper-V and of course also inside Hyper-V Virtual Machines.

Windows and Hyper-V Containers

The concept of containers is nothing new, in the Linux world containers are a well known concept. If you have a look at the Wikipedia description for Linux Containers, Wikipedia describes it as follows: LXC (Linux Containers) is an operating-system-level virtualization environment for running multiple isolated Linux systems (containers) on a single Linux control host. Containers provide operating system-level virtualization through a virtual environment that has its own process and network space, instead of creating a full-fledged virtual machine. With Windows Server 2016 more or less the same concept comes the Windows world. This makes containers much more light-weight, faster and less resource consuming than Virtual Machines, which makes it perfect for some scenarios, especially dev-test scenarios or for worker roles. To get more information about containers check out my blog post: First steps with Windows Containers

Hyper-V Windows Containers

ReFS Accelerated VHDX Operations

If you create a fixed size VHDX file in Windows Server 2012 R2 and older this could take awhile since it had to write down all the zero blocks to the storage. If you had ODX you could leverage the storage do to this for you. In Windows Server 2016 if you create a fixed size VHDX on a ReFS volume, you can leverage ReFS and let the work instead, which allows you to create a fixed VHDX instantly. This also works with merging VHDX files, which is again great for backup operations and checkpoints.

Nested Virtualization

Hyper-V Nested Virtualization

With Nested Virtualization Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Microsoft allows you to run Hyper-V Servers inside Hyper-V Virtual Machines. This is a absolutely great feature if you want to train people or want to demo Hyper-V to others. You can check out my blog posted about Nested Hyper-V if you want to know more about it.

New Shared VHDX format

Hyper-V Shared VHDX

With Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft introduced a new feature to Hyper-V called Shared VHDX, which allowed you to attach a Virtual Disk (VHDX) to multiple VMs to build guest clusters. But in Windows Server 2012 R2 had some missing features such as missing Host based Backup of Shared VHDX files or online resizing of Shared VDHX files. In Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Microsoft is working hard to bring the missing pieces together:

  • Host Based Backup of Shared VHDX files
  • Online Resize of Shared VHDX
  • Hyper-V Replica support for Shared VHDX files
  • Some usability change in the UI
  • Shared VHDX files are now a new type of VHD called .vhds files.

Host Resource Protection

This feature coming from Microsoft Azure, protects your Hyper-V host resources from virtual machines which are trying to attack the fabric for example trough generating high CPU workloads and other attacks. Host Resource Protection dynamically identifies virtual machines that are not “playing well” and reduce their resource allocation.

Virtual TPM

Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V allows you to add a Virtual TPM chip to your Virtual Machine, which allows you encrypt your VM using Windows Server Bitlocker. This will be a great features to protect Virtual Machine content especially from admins and when you host Virtual Machines in the cloud.

Linux Secure Boot

With Windows Server 2012 R2 introduced Generation 2 Virtual Machines which allowed you to use the Secure Boot features for Virtual Machines running Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 and higher. With Hyper-V Server 2016 Microsoft allows you to use Secure Boot for Linux Virtual Machines.

Shielded VMs

Hyper-V Shielded VMs

Shielded Virtual Machines can only run in fabrics that are designated as owners of that virtual machines. Shielded Virtual Machines will need to be encrypted by Bitlocker (or other solutions) in order to ensure that only the designated owners can run this virtual machine. This requires other parts of the Microsoft Windows Server stack such as the Host Guardian Service or/and TPM.

Hyper-V Shilded Virtual Machines

Shielded Virtual Machines allow different scenarios:

  • Virtual TPM chip to use Bitlocker inside a VM
  • Encrypt VM state and network traffic
  • Complete shielding

Encryption support for the operating system disk in generation 1 virtual machines

Hyper-V Key Storage Drive

You can now protect the operating system disk using BitLocker drive encryption in generation 1 virtual machines. A new feature, key storage, creates a small, dedicated drive to store the system drive’s BitLocker key. This is done instead of using a virtual Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is available only in generation 2 virtual machines. To decrypt the disk and start the virtual machine, the Hyper-V host must either be part of an authorized guarded fabric or have the private key from one of the virtual machine’s guardians. Key storage requires a version 8 virtual machine.

Discrete device assignment (DDA)

This feature lets you give a virtual machine direct and exclusive access to some PCIe hardware devices. Using a device in this way bypasses the Hyper-V virtualization stack, which results in faster access. This can be used for:

  • Graphics Adapter
  • NVMe SSD Drives

Better  Hyper-V Stretched Cluster using built-in Storage Replica

With the next version of Windows Server 2016, Microsoft brings new feature called Storage Replica which allows you to replicated Storage in Windows Server 2016. This can also be used for File Servers or for Virtual Machine Storage. You are now enable to replicated CSVs from within the same cluster or to another cluster using this Windows Server feature.

Virtual Machine Storage Resiliency

Hyper-V Storage Resiliency

With the Windows Server 2012 R2 and later, Microsoft Failover Clustering was more less designed for Application protection and has kind of a basic design for Hyper-V Virtual Machines. Which in most cases works great and does exactly what it should. But in some scenarios like “quick” network outages this could cause more troubles than it should have done. With Virtual Machine Storage Resiliency in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, Storage fabric outages no longer mean that virtual machines crash, Virtual machines are paused an resumed automatically in response to storage fabric problems. In Windows Server 2012 R2 if a VM lost storage connection over 60 seconds the VM crashed. In Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V the Virtual Machine gets paused until the storage comes back. If the storage does not come back within a time you can still let it failover.

Virtual Machine Cluster Resiliency

As the same as Storage Resiliency, Cluster Resiliency helps during quick node  or network failures. With Virtual Machine Cluster Resiliency for Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, VMs continue to run even when a node falls out of the cluster membership. This brings resiliency to transient failures and nodes which often repeat this, are quarantined. So if a nodes falls out of the cluster, virtual machines running on this node are kept alive until the node joins back into the cluster, if the cluster node does not come back within four minutes, the virtual machines get failed over to another Hyper-V node. But if one node goes in quarantine too many times, Hyper-V and the Failover Cluster automatically live migrate the virtual machines from that node to another, when the node comes back.

Start order priority for clustered virtual machines

This feature gives you more control over which clustered virtual machines are started or restarted first. This makes it easier to start virtual machines that provide services before virtual machines that use those services. Define sets, place virtual machines in sets, and specify dependencies. Use Windows PowerShell cmdlets to manage the sets, such as New-ClusterGroupSet, Get-ClusterGroupSet, and Add-ClusterGroupSetDependency.

PowerShell Direct

Hyper-V PowerShell Direct

This feature is totally awesome. In Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Microsoft allowed you to copy files into the virtual machines without having network connectivity using the VMBus. With Windows Server 2016 you can now use PowerShell Direct to run PowerShell command inside the Virtual Machine using the VMBus.

Virtual Machine Configuration Changes

Hyper-V vNext VM Configuration Files

In Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, Microsoft will change the Virtual Machine configuration files. Today the Hyper-V VM configuration files had the xml file format. You were able to open the file and check and edit the virtual machine configuration inside that file, even it was never supported. By running more and more workloads virtual and in a dynamic cloud way, scale and performance gets even more critical. In the next version of Hyper-V Microsoft will change the VM configuration from the xml file to a binary file format. The new binary format brings more efficient performance at large scale. Microsoft also now includes a resilient logging for changes in the configuration files so this should protect virtual machines from corruption.

New file extensions:

  • .VMCX (Virtual Machine Configuration) – replaces the .xml file
  • .VMRS (Virtual Machine Runtime State) – replaces .bin and .vsv file

Production VM Checkpoints (Snapshots)

Hyper-V vNext Production CheckPoint

Virtual Machine Checkpoints or in older versions Virtual Machine Snapshots were a great solution to take a state of a virtual machine and save it, doing some changes and if something fails you could simply revert back to the time you took the checkpoint. This was not really supported to use in production, since a lot of applications couldn’t handle that process. Microsoft now changed that behavior now fully supports it in production environments. For this Production Checkpoints are now using VSS instead of the Saved State to create the checkpoint. This means if you are restoring a checkpoint this is just like restoring a system from a backup. For the user everything works as before and there is no difference in how you have to take the checkpoint. Production Checkpoints are enabled by default, but you can change back to the old behavior if you need to. But still using Checkpoints brings some other challenges, like the growing .avhdx file, which still apply.

Hyper-V Replica support for Hot Add of VHDX

Hyper-V Replica was one of the greatest new features in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. In Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, if you have hot added a VHDX file to a Virtual Machine, replication failed. In Hyper-V 2016 when you add a new virtual hard disk to a virtual machine that is being replicated, it is automatically added to the not-replicated set so replication continues to run and you can then online update this set with via PowerShell and the VM will automatically resynchronize and everything works as expected.

Hot add / remove of Virtual Machine Memory

Hyper-V vNext Runtime Memory Resize

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V you could decrease the Minimum Memory and increase the Maximum Memory of a Virtual Machine using Dynamic Memory while the VM was running. In Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, you can now increase and decrease the Memory assigned to virtual machines while they are running, even if they are using static memory.

Hot add / remove of virtual network adapters

Hyper-V vNext Hot Add and Remove Virtual Network Adapters

This was maybe the feature VMware fan boys all over the world have used against Hyper-V. However I didn’t really saw a lot of customers doing this, but it is great that you can now hot add and remove network adapters from Virtual Machines.

Virtual Network Adapter Identification

Hyper-V vNext Virtual Network Adapter Identification

For me more important than hot add or remove virtual network adapters is this feature. When dealing with automation you are always happy you can identify different network adapters. For the Hyper-V hosts we have different solutions such as Consistent Device Naming (CDN), sort by PCI slot using PowerShell and other options to identify network adapters. But we didn’t really have a great solution for Virtual Machines. With Network Adapter Identification this changes. You can name individual virtual network adapters in the virtual machine settings and see the same name inside the guest virtual machine.

PowerShell on the Hyper-V Host

PowerShell in the guest

Virtual machine multi queues (VMMQ)

Improves on VMQ throughput by allocating multiple hardware queues per virtual machine. The default queue becomes a set of queues for a virtual machine, and traffic is spread between the queues.

Remote direct memory access (RDMA) and switch embedded teaming (SET)

You can set up RDMA on network adapters bound to a Hyper-V virtual switch, regardless of whether SET is also used. SET provides a virtual switch with some of same capabilities as NIC teaming. This allows you to use only two physical network adapter ports instead of four which basically reduces the switch ports by half in Hyper-V over SMB deployments.

Hyper-V Manager Improvements

Finally, this is something which is not a problem in most environments , since we know how things work. But a lot of people which are Hyper-V beginners coming from VMware or other platforms, they have some simple troubles with Hyper-V Manager. In the next version there are a couple of create improvements which make things a lot easier.

  • Hyper-V Manager is now connecting via WinRM instead of WMI
  • Support for alternate credentials (Requires that you have CredSSP enabled on the server and client)
  • Connected to Hyper-V Hosts via IP address
  • Mange Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and the next version of Hyper-V from the latest console

Power Management improvements

SleepStudy Report Connected Standby Transitions

Microsoft updated the hypervisor power management model to support new modes of power management. And this is one of the reasons I run Windows 10 Technical Preview on my Surface Pro 3. Surface Pro 3 is a device which can run Connected Standby, but if you install Hyper-V on Windows 8.1 Connected Standby stops working. In the next version of Hyper-V Connected Standby will work.

Rolling Cluster Upgrade

Hyper-V vNext Rolling Cluster Upgrades

With this new feature you are finally able to upgrade a Hyper-V Cluster from Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V to the next version of Hyper-V without new hardware, no downtime and the ability to roll-back safely if needed. In Windows Server 2012 R2 you had to create a new Hyper-V Cluster while the old Hyper-V Cluster was still running and migrate a Hyper-V Cluster via Cluster Migration Wizard or Live Migration. You can now have Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Hosts and the next version of Hyper-V running in the same Hyper-V Cluster. To make this scenario possible, the Hyper-V team had to do some changes to the Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

New Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

Hyper-V vNext Update VM Configuration Version

To support Rolling Cluster Upgrades Microsoft had to make some changes to the Virtual Machine Upgrade Process. In the current versions of Hyper-V, Virtual Machines were automatically upgraded from the old to the new version, which means that if you once moved a Virtual Machine to a new Hyper-V host you couldn’t move it back again. In a mixed cluster environment this does not work. In the next version of Hyper-V, Virtual Machines will not be upgraded automatically. Upgrading a virtual machines is a manual operation that is separate from upgrading the Hyper-V host. This allows you to move virtual machines back to earlier version of Hyper-V until they have been manually upgraded.

New way how VM Drivers (integration services) get updated

Since Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, VM drivers (integration services) were updated with each new host release, and it was required that the VM driver version matches the host version. When new Hyper-V integration services were shipped you had to update the Hyper-V host and form there you could upgrade the VM drivers inside the virtual machine. With Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Microsoft brings VM driver updates over Windows Update. This means also that you now don’t have to have the VM integration services matching the host version, you simply need the latest version of the integration services released.

Secure Boot Support for Linux

Hyper-V Secure Boot Linux

Microsoft is pushing hard to bring more and more supported for Linux operating systems such as dynamic memory and other features. With Hyper-V vNext Microsoft bring Secure Boot support for Linux which works with Ubuntu 14.04 (and later) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12.

PowerShell to enable Secure Boot Support for Linux:

Distributed Storage QoS

Hyper-V vNext Storage QoS

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V we got the possibility to limit maximum IOPs for an individual virtual hard disk which was a great feature. Everything worked great when you were running the Virtual Machine on a single Hyper-V host, but when you were running multiple Hyper-V hosts with multiple Virtual Machine against the same storage, the Hyper-V host didn’t know that he had to compete with other servers for Storage IOPs or bandwidth. For example the scenario of a minimum IOPs setting did only work on standalone Hyper-V servers. With the next release of Hyper-V and Windows Server Microsoft adds a lot of new stuff. Together with the Scale-Out File Server and Storage Spaces, Microsoft now allows you to define IOPs reservation for important virtual hard disks and a IOPs reserve and limit that is shared by a group of virtual machines / virtual hard disks. This intelligence, build by Microsoft Research, enables a couple of interesting scenarios especially in service provider environments and large scale enterprises.

Virtual Machine Compute Resiliency

Hyper-V vNext Compute VM Reciliency

Microsoft invested heavily into VM resiliency, especially to hardware failure. One of them is the VM Compute Resiliency feature. This feature allows Virtual Machines to run on a host even if the cluster node is not available to the other nodes in the cluster. For example in Windows Server 2012 R2, if the cluster service couldn’t reach the node in the cluster for 30 seconds, the cluster would failover all the virtual machines to another node. If the same things happens in Windows Server vNext Hyper-V, the node would go into isolated mode for the next 4 minutes (default setting) and when the node comes back in four minutes all the virtual machines will still be running. If it doesn’t come back within four minutes the VMs will failover to another node. If a node is flapping from Isolated Mode to running the cluster service will set the node to quarantined and will move all the virtual machines from the node to another node. This should help keep your workloads running even if there are some hardware or network failures.

Evolving Hyper-V Backup

If you are working in IT you know that Backup is always a issues. And things didn’t really get better by running Virtual Machines running on Storage Systems. With the next release of Hyper-V Server Microsoft will release a completely new architecture to improve reliability, scale and performance of Virtual Machine backups. There are three big changes in the backup architecture:

  • Decoupling backing up virtual machines from backing up the underlying storage.
  • No longer dependent on hardware snapshots for core backup functionality, but still able to take advantage of hardware capabilities when they are present.
  • Built in change tracking for Backup of Virtual Machines

RemoteFX

Microsoft also did some improvements on Windows Server 2016 RemoteFX which now includes support for OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1 API. It also allows you to use larger dedicated VRAM and VRAM in now finally configurable.

Hyper-V Cluster Management

This is maybe something you will never use by yourself but there is another great improvements in terms of automation and development. If you have ever used WMI against a Hyper-V Cluster you always had to run it against every Hyper-V Host in the cluster to get all the information. In the next version of Hyper-V you can finally run WMI against Hyper-V Cluster and it will handle it as it would be a single Hyper-V host, so you get all the information from all hosts in the cluster.

This was a quick overview over just some of the feature and improvements which are coming in the next release of Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V which will be released in 2016. There will be much more coming until Microsoft officially releases the next version of Hyper-V and of course some of the stuff I wrote about will be improved as well.

If you want to know more about the next version of Hyper-V checkout Ben Armstrong’s TechEd Europe session or visit some of our TechNet events.

 



Hyper-V vNext Runtime Memory Resize

Sneak Peek into the Next Version of Hyper-V

Back in October Microsoft released the first public Windows Server Technical Preview for the next release of Windows Server. At TechEd Europe Bed Armstrong, Principal Program Manager on the Hyper-V team at Microsoft, talked about a couple of new features which are coming in the next release of Windows Server Hyper-V. This is a quick list of some of the new features we will get in the next release of Windows Server Hyper-V, there is a lot more coming until the release of Windows Server vNext and System Center vNext in 2016.

Virtual Machine Configuration Changes

Hyper-V vNext VM Configuration Files

In the next release of Hyper-V Microsoft will change the Virtual Machine configuration files. Today the Hyper-V VM configuration files had the xml file format. You were able to open the file and check and edit the virtual machine configuration inside that file, even it was never supported. By running more and more workloads virtual and in a dynamic cloud way, scale and performance gets even more critical. In the next version of Hyper-V Microsoft will change the VM configuration from the xml file to a binary file format. The new binary format brings more efficient performance at large scale. Microsoft also now includes a resilient logging for changes in the configuration files so this should protect virtual machines from corruption.

New file extensions:

  • .VMCX (Virtual Machine Configuration) – replaces the .xml file
  • .VMRS (Virtual Machine Runtime State) – replaces .bin and .vsv file

Production VM Checkpoints (Snapshots)

Hyper-V vNext Production CheckPoint

Virtual Machine Checkpoints or in older versions Virtual Machine Snapshots were a great solution to take a state of a virtual machine and save it, doing some changes and if something fails you could simply revert back to the time you took the checkpoint. This was not really supported to use in production, since a lot of applications couldn’t handle that process. Microsoft now changed that behavior now fully supports it in production environments. For this Production Checkpoints are now using VSS instead of the Saved State to create the checkpoint. This means if you are restoring a checkpoint this is just like restoring a system from a backup. For the user everything works as before and there is no difference in how you have to take the checkpoint. Production Checkpoints are enabled by default, but you can change back to the old behavior if you need to. But still using Checkpoints brings some other challenges, like the growing .avhdx file, which still apply.

Hyper-V Replica support for Hot Add of VHDX

Hyper-V Replica was one of the greatest new features in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. In Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, if you have hot added a VHDX file to a Virtual Machine, replication failed. In the next version of Hyper-V when you add a new virtual hard disk to a virtual machine that is being replicated, it is automatically added to the not-replicated set so replication continues to run and you can then online update this set with via PowerShell and the VM will automatically resynchronize and everything works as expected.

Hot add / remove of Virtual Machine Memory

Hyper-V vNext Runtime Memory Resize

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V you could decrease the Minimum Memory and increase the Maximum Memory of a Virtual Machine using Dynamic Memory while the VM was running. In the next version of Hyper-V you can now increase and decrease the Memory assigned to virtual machines while they are running, even if they are using static memory.

Hot add / remove of virtual network adapters

Hyper-V vNext Hot Add and Remove Virtual Network Adapters

This was maybe the feature VMware fan boys all over the world have used against Hyper-V. However I didn’t really saw a lot of customers doing this, but it is great that you can now hot add and remove network adapters from Virtual Machines.

Virtual Network Adapter Identification

Hyper-V vNext Virtual Network Adapter Identification

For me more important than hot add or remove virtual network adapters is this feature. When dealing with automation you are always happy you can identify different network adapters. For the Hyper-V hosts we have different solutions such as Consistent Device Naming (CDN), sort by PCI slot using PowerShell and other options to identify network adapters. But we didn’t really have a great solution for Virtual Machines. With Network Adapter Identification this changes. You can name individual virtual network adapters in the virtual machine settings and see the same name inside the guest virtual machine.

PowerShell on the Hyper-V Host

PowerShell in the guest

Hyper-V Manager Improvements

Finally, this is something which is not a problem in most environments , since we know how things work. But a lot of people which are Hyper-V beginners coming from VMware or other platforms, they have some simple troubles with Hyper-V Manager. In the next version there are a couple of create improvements which make things a lot easier.

  • Hyper-V Manager is now connecting via WinRM instead of WMI
  • Support for alternate credentials (Requires that you have CredSSP enabled on the server and client)
  • Connected to Hyper-V Hosts via IP address
  • Mange Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and the next version of Hyper-V from the latest console

Power Management improvements

SleepStudy Report Connected Standby Transitions

Microsoft updated the hypervisor power management model to support new modes of power management. And this is one of the reasons I run Windows 10 Technical Preview on my Surface Pro 3. Surface Pro 3 is a device which can run Connected Standby, but if you install Hyper-V on Windows 8.1 Connected Standby stops working. In the next version of Hyper-V Connected Standby will work.

Rolling Cluster Upgrade

Hyper-V vNext Rolling Cluster Upgrades

With this new feature you are finally able to upgrade a Hyper-V Cluster from Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V to the next version of Hyper-V without new hardware, no downtime and the ability to roll-back safely if needed. In Windows Server 2012 R2 you had to create a new Hyper-V Cluster while the old Hyper-V Cluster was still running and migrate a Hyper-V Cluster via Cluster Migration Wizard or Live Migration. You can now have Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Hosts and the next version of Hyper-V running in the same Hyper-V Cluster. To make this scenario possible, the Hyper-V team had to do some changes to the Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

New Virtual Machine Upgrade Process

Hyper-V vNext Update VM Configuration Version

To support Rolling Cluster Upgrades Microsoft had to make some changes to the Virtual Machine Upgrade Process. In the current versions of Hyper-V, Virtual Machines were automatically upgraded from the old to the new version, which means that if you once moved a Virtual Machine to a new Hyper-V host you couldn’t move it back again. In a mixed cluster environment this does not work. In the next version of Hyper-V, Virtual Machines will not be upgraded automatically. Upgrading a virtual machines is a manual operation that is separate from upgrading the Hyper-V host. This allows you to move virtual machines back to earlier version of Hyper-V until they have been manually upgraded.

New way how VM Drivers (integration services) get updated

Since Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V, VM drivers (integration services) were updated with each new host release, and it was required that the VM driver version matches the host version. When new Hyper-V integration services were shipped you had to update the Hyper-V host and form there you could upgrade the VM drivers inside the virtual machine. With Windows Server vNext Hyper-V Microsoft brings VM driver updates over Windows Update. This means also that you now don’t have to have the VM integration services matching the host version, you simply need the latest version of the integration services released.

Secure Boot Support for Linux

Microsoft is pushing hard to bring more and more supported for Linux operating systems such as dynamic memory and other features. With Hyper-V vNext Microsoft bring Secure Boot support for Linux which works with Ubuntu 14.04 (and later) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12.

PowerShell to enable Secure Boot Support for Linux:

Distributed Storage QoS

Hyper-V vNext Storage QoS

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V we got the possibility to limit maximum IOPs for an individual virtual hard disk which was a great feature. Everything worked great when you were running the Virtual Machine on a single Hyper-V host, but when you were running multiple Hyper-V hosts with multiple Virtual Machine against the same storage, the Hyper-V host didn’t know that he had to compete with other servers for Storage IOPs or bandwidth. For example the scenario of a minimum IOPs setting did only work on standalone Hyper-V servers. With the next release of Hyper-V and Windows Server Microsoft adds a lot of new stuff. Together with the Scale-Out File Server and Storage Spaces, Microsoft now allows you to define IOPs reservation for important virtual hard disks and a IOPs reserve and limit that is shared by a group of virtual machines / virtual hard disks. This intelligence, build by Microsoft Research, enables a couple of interesting scenarios especially in service provider environments and large scale enterprises.

Virtual Machine Compute Resiliency

Hyper-V vNext Compute VM Reciliency

Microsoft invested heavily into VM resiliency, especially to hardware failure. One of them is the VM Compute Resiliency feature. This feature allows Virtual Machines to run on a host even if the cluster node is not available to the other nodes in the cluster. For example in Windows Server 2012 R2, if the cluster service couldn’t reach the node in the cluster for 30 seconds, the cluster would failover all the virtual machines to another node. If the same things happens in Windows Server vNext Hyper-V, the node would go into isolated mode for the next 4 minutes (default setting) and when the node comes back in four minutes all the virtual machines will still be running. If it doesn’t come back within four minutes the VMs will failover to another node. If a node is flapping from Isolated Mode to running the cluster service will set the node to quarantined and will move all the virtual machines from the node to another node. This should help keep your workloads running even if there are some hardware or network failures.

Evolving Hyper-V Backup

If you are working in IT you know that Backup is always a issues. And things didn’t really get better by running Virtual Machines running on Storage Systems. With the next release of Hyper-V Server Microsoft will release a completely new architecture to improve reliability, scale and performance of Virtual Machine backups. There are three big changes in the backup architecture:

  • Decoupling backing up virtual machines from backing up the underlying storage.
  • No longer dependent on hardware snapshots for core backup functionality, but still able to take advantage of hardware capabilities when they are present.
  • Built in change tracking for Backup of Virtual Machines

RemoteFX

Microsoft also did some improvements on RemoteFX which now includes support for OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1 API. It also allows you to use larger dedicated VRAM and VRAM in now finally configurable.

Hyper-V Cluster Management

This is maybe something you will never use by yourself but there is another great improvements in terms of automation and development. If you have ever used WMI against a Hyper-V Cluster you always had to run it against every Hyper-V Host in the cluster to get all the information. In the next version of Hyper-V you can finally run WMI against Hyper-V Cluster and it will handle it as it would be a single Hyper-V host, so you get all the information from all hosts in the cluster.

This was a quick overview over just some of the feature and improvements which are coming in the next release of Windows Server Hyper-V which will be released in 2016. There will be much more coming until Microsoft officially releases the next version of Hyper-V and of course some of the stuff I wrote about will be improved as well.

If you want to know more about the next version of Hyper-V checkout Ben Armstrong’s TechEd Europe session or visit some of our TechNet events.

 



System Center Logo

Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 available

Today Microsoft released Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2. With the release Microsoft did not only fix some bugs they also added some features. Especially Data Protection Manager (DPM) and Virtual Machine Manager got some new features and fixes which will help especially in large scale Cloud and Virtualization deployments.

Data Protection Manager

Features

  • Scalable VM backup
    This update rollup improves the reliability at scale for Virtual Machine (VM) backups on Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012 R2 infrastructures. This feature is supported on both Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and scale-out file server (SOFS) storage configurations for VM.
  • Backup and consistency check windowImportant This feature is supported only for disk protection for VM data sources.This feature, configured through Windows PowerShell, enables specific time windows to restrict backup and consistency check (CC) jobs. This window can be applied per protection group and will limit all jobs for that protection to the specified time window.After the backup job has ended, all in-progress jobs can continue. Any queued jobs outside the backup and consistency jobs will be automatically canceled.This feature affects only scheduled jobs and does not affect specific jobs that are triggered by the user.Windows PowerShell script examples

    are available on Microsoft TechNet. These examples show how to use PowerShell cmdlets to create the backup and consistency window.

    Notes

    • This feature is not supported for tape or cloud protection jobs.
    • This feature is not supported for non-VM data sources.
    • Setting these windows is the same as running a Modify Protection Group workflow.
  • Support for synthetic fiber channel-to-tapeThis update rollup introduces support for the synthetic fiber channel-to-tape process. Follow the tape certification process

    for third-party tape devices when you use Data Protection Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

 

Fixes

  • A backup of a mirrored SQL instance fails if the principal SQL instance that was first backed up is now the mirror.
  • DPM console crashes while a recatalog or “mark as free” operation is performed on an imported tape.
  • The MSDPM service crashes when protected data sources have long names.
  • The DPMRA service crashes during replica creation when the database name on one of the SQL instances matches or is a substring of a SQL instance name that is hosted on the protected server.

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Data Protection Manager

Virtual Machine Manager

Features

  • This update includes a Linux guest agent upgrade to support the following new operating systems:
    • Ubuntu Linux 14.04 (32-bit)
    • Ubuntu Linux 14.04 (64-bit)
  • This update also includes the following:
    • Host DHCP extension driver upgrade
    • Several performance improvements
    • Several Management Pack package improvements

 

Fixes

  • Total storage for a User role is reported incorrectly. For example, the User role can use only half of the allowed quota.
  • A host cluster update fails intermittently because of a locked job.
  • Virtual machine (VM) refreshers do not update highly available virtual machines (HAVMs) after failover to another node.
  • A cluster IP address for a guest cluster configuration in a Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) environment is not updated correctly by using HNV policies during failover. For more information about this issue, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    2981736

    The cluster IP address in an HNV environment is updated incorrectly during failover

  • Server Message Block (SMB) shares may not be usable by high availability (HA) workloads if they are also connected to stand-alone hosts.
  • Storage objects discovery does not occur on a Virtual Machine Manager server if the discovery item is too big.
  • A Virtual Machine Manager job that assigns network service backend connectivity fails.
  • Enable maintenance mode fails when you evacuate failed-state VMs.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager service cannot be restarted because of database corruption.
  • The ZH-TW language incorrectly appears in the tooltip of the VM Network icon.
  • Library refresher rewrites the alternative data stream on every file during every update.
  • For iSCSI hardware storage-based array, when the MaskingPortsPerView property option is set to “multi-port per view,” the target endpoint is not obtained as the port address.
  • The virtual hard disk (VHD) is left in the source folder after storage migration is completed.
  • The addition of a bandwidth limitation to an existing virtual private network (VPN) connection is not added to the generated script.
  • A VM that is attached to an HNV VM network loses connectivity when it is live migrated to another node in the failover cluster that is not currently hosting other VMs that belong to the same VM network.
  • VM network shared access is lost after a service restart or an update interval.
  • The Remove-SCFileShare command fails for a network-attached storage SMI-S provider.
  • Setting the template time zone to UTC (GMT +0:00) is incorrectly displayed as “Magadan Standard Time.”
  • The System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager crashes when you add groups that contain the at sign (@) character in User roles.
  • VM deployment fails in a VMWare environment when you have virtual hard disk (.vmdk) files of the same size in your template.
  • Deployment of an application host on HAVMM fails and generates a 22570 error.
  • Live migration of an HAVM cross cluster creates a duplicate VM role in the target cluster.
  • An error occurs when you apply physical adapter network settings to a teamed adapter.
  • A VMM agent crashes continuously when the HvStats_HyperVHypervisorLogicalProcessor query returns a null value.
  • A host refresh does not update the VMHostGroup value of a VMWARE cluster after the cluster is moved from VCENTER.
  • VMM reports an incorrect Disk Allocation size for dynamic VHDs that are mapped to a virtual machine.
  • A VMM service template script application does not work for a self-service role.
  • VM creation fails if Virtual Machine Manager undergoes failover during the creation process.
  • The Access Status value of a file share is incorrect in the user interface.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager service crashes because of an invalid ClusterFlags value.
  • VMs cannot be deployed from a service template to a cloud across multiple host clusters (multiple datacenters).

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager

Orchestrator and Service Management Automation

Fixes

  • When a runbook calls other runbooks, Service Management Automation (SMA) concatenates all the participating runbooks into a single script and then passes the script to the PowerShell Workflow engine for compilation. The resulting script may contain multiple signature blocks, and SMA receives a compilation error from the Powershell Workflow.
  • When child runbooks contain a signature block, the child runbooks cannot be compiled into inline runbooks. If there is more than one signature block, the resulting runbook will be corrupted.
  • Cmdlets should request information from the server, up to a limit on the number of records that are returned, and then request the next “page” of records, until all records are retrieved.
  • When a Windows PowerShell user uses the Set-SmaCertificate cmdlet, the user cannot receive private key information when he or she uses the Get-AutomationCertificate activity.
  • The Automation menu stops working in Administrator Portal, and you may notice that the Orchestrator ODATA API controller cannot return Modules data. Additionally, you receive the following error message:
    Microsoft.Data.OData.OdataInnerError
    Message: The file exists.
    TypeName: System.IO.IOException
  • Service Management Automation (SMA) resources are paged. The cmdlets have to evaluate the response from the web service for the presence of a continuation token and then make a sequence of ListNext web requests if a continuation token is present.
  • SMA may not return the latest job ID for the runbook. The Invoke-ConfiguratorRunbook activity will have the job ID when it calls the Start-SMARunbook cmdlet, and the job ID should be returned to the caller. This occurs because SMA does not return the most recent job for a runbook. This issue occurs occur in a multiple-run scenario. If the configurator passes the first run, this issue has no effect.
  • The Orchestrator Runbook Service (RunbookService.exe) may crash, and you receive the following error message:
    Application: RunbookService.exe
    Framework Version: v4.0.30319
    Description: The process was terminated due to an unhandled exception.
    Exception Info: System.ServiceModel.CommunicationException
  • If a runbook is large enough to exceed the default Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) channel size, an exception occurs. This issue causes the job to be stuck in the “New” state.
  • When Update Rollup 2 is uninstalled, the connection properties to the instance of Microsoft SQL Server are cleared.

 

 

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator

Service Manager

Fixes

  • The Microsoft Systems Center 2012 Operations Manager configuration item (CI) connector does not retrieve disk mount point information for the Service Manager database.
  • When a service request is created from a request offering in the console and when every user prompt is of the Simple List prompt type, the console shows options from all simple lists in each user prompt.
  • When you try to close a customized change request, you cannot close the change request, the task throws an error, and the close is not actioned.
  • MPSync job failures that are logged to the event log do not contain enough information to allow for a quick diagnosis of the problem.
  • All Service Manager workflows may stall when any invalid XML characters (control characters) are used in a work item property.
  • Using the “Set First Response or Comment” task in a service request creates a “Private” flag that cannot be used for evaluation in a notification action log or a user comment update. This behavior occurs because the private flag is undefined.
  • If the configuration management database (CMDB) is down (that is, if it is offline or unable to connect because of network issues) at the time that the Health service is restarted and if the CMDB continues to be offline for a long time, the Health service may enter an unrecoverable state even if the database comes online again later.
  • Configuration Manager Connector synchronization may stop after Update Rollup 2 for Service Manager 2012 SP1 or Update Rollup 6 for Service Manager 2012 R2 is applied. This issue occurs when the connector tries to synchronize malformed or incomplete software version information from the Configuration Manager database.

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager

Operations Manager

Fixes

  • A deadlock condition occurs when a database is connected after an outage. You may experience this issue may when one or more HealthServices services in the environment are listed as Unavailable after a database goes offline and then comes back online.
  • The Desktop console crashes after exception TargetInvocationException occurs when the TilesContainer is updated. You may experience this issue after you leave the console open on a Dashboard view for a long time.
  • The Password expiration monitor is fixed for logged events. To make troubleshooting easier, this fix adds more detail to Event IDs 7019 and 7020 when they occur.
  • The Health service bounces because of high memory usage in the instance MonitoringHost: leak MOMModules!CMOMClusterResource::InitializeInstance. This issue may be seen as high memory usage if you examine monitoringhost.exe in Performance Monitor. Or, the Health service may restart every couple of days , depending on the load on the server.
  • The Health service crashes in Windows HTTP Services (WinHTTP) if the RunAs account is not read correctly.
  • Windows PowerShell stops working with System.Management.Automation.PSSnapInReader.ReadEnginePSSnapIns. You may see this issue as Event ID 22400 together with a description of “Failed to run the Powershell script.”
  • The PropertyValue column in the contextual details widget is unreadable in smaller widget sizes because the PropertyName column uses too much space.
  • The update threshold for monitor “Health Service Handle Count Threshold” is reset to 30,000. You can see this issue in the environment, and the Health Service Handle Count Threshold monitor is listed in the critical state.
  • An acknowledgement (ACK) is delayed by write collisions in MS queue when lots of data is sent from 1,000 agents.
  • The execution of the Export-SCOMEffectiveMonitoringConfiguration cmdlet fails with the error “Subquery returned more than 1 value.”
  • The MOMScriptAPI.ReturnItems method can be slow because a process race condition may occur when many items are returned, and the method may take two seconds between items. Scripts may run slowly in the System Center Operations Manager environment.
  • When you are in the console and click Authoring, click Management Pack, click Objects, and then click Attributes to perform a Find operation, the Find operations seems unexpectedly slow. Additionally, the Momcache.mdb file grows very large.
  • A delta synchronization times out on SQL operations with Event ID 29181.
  • Operations Manager grooms out the alert history before an alert is closed.
  • The time-zone settings are not added to a subscription when non-English display languages are set. Additionally, time stamps on alert notifications are inaccurate for the time zone.
  • Web Browser widget requires the protocol (http or https) to be included in the URL.
  • You cannot access MonitoringHost’s TemporaryStoragePath within the PowerShell Module.
  • The TopNEntitiesByPerfGet stored procedure may cause an Operations Manager dashboard performance issue. This issue may occur when a dashboard is run together with multiple widgets. Additionally, you may receive the following error message after a time-out occurs:
    [Error] :DataProviderCommandMethod.Invoke{dataprovidercommandmethod_cs370}( 000000000371AA78 )
    An unknown exception was caught during invocation and will be re-wrapped in a DataAccessException. System.TimeoutException: The operation has timed out.
    at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Monitoring.DataProviders.RetryCommandExecutionStrategy.Invoke(IDataProviderCommandMethodInvoker invoker)
    at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.DataAccess.DataProviderCommandMethod.Invoke(CoreDataGateway gateWay, DataCommand command)

More information can be found on the Microsoft Page for: Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager



Veeam Webinar

Veeam Hyper-V 2012 R2 Webinar recording available

Yesterday I had the chance to do a webinar on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Veeam Backup & Replication V7 R2 together with Moritz Höfer (System Engineer at Veeam). The webinar is in German and covers some of the new feature ins Hyper-V 2012 R2 and the Veeam Backup & Replication solution for Hyper-V with slides and live demos. You can watch the webinar for free on the Veeam website.

Veeam Webinar Hyper-V 2012 R2