Tag: Hyper-V Cluster

Hyper-V 2012 – Hey I Just Met You And This Is Crazy

Windows Server 2012 RC Logo

Okay I admit it, the title is more a reference to a song than a true fact, because my first contact with the latest Hyper-V release was last September.

Last September Microsoft showed the newest release of Hyper-V at the build conference. Back then I wrote a blog post about the new version of Microsoft Hypervisor Hyper-V called “Hyper-V: Version 3 kills them all“.

Now Microsoft released the Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 Release Candidate last week. They made a lot of changes since September 2011 and I tried to show this in another blog post (What’s new in Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Hyper-V: Scale). With these changes I decided to upgrade my blog post from September 2011 with the latest changes made with Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate.

Windows Server 2012 the Cloud OS

Windows Server 2012 Management

First let’s start with Windows Server 2012 as the base of Microsoft cloud strategy. Windows Server 2012 is probably the most significant release of the Windows Server platform ever. Microsoft’s focus in Windows Server 2012 was to make it easy for all to build public, private or hybrid cloud solutions. Microsoft has used the experience and learning from their own Cloud services like Hotmail, Messenger, Office 365, Bing, Windows Azure, and Xbox Live. There are a lot of improvements to manageability, security, scalability, extensibility, predictability and reliability which will also improve the possibilities with Hyper-V. The Power of Many, The Simplicity of One – In technical terms Microsoft made a lot of improvements how you can manage a lot of servers and services, Storage, Networking and PowerShell. Of course there is a lot more, but this are the parts I think are the most important. And here are some keywords to the improvements in Windows Server 2012:

  • Storage improvements – SMB 3.0, SMB transparent Failover, data de-duplication, Storage Spaces, online filesystem repairs, 64TB NTFS volumes, ReFS volumes, etc.
  • NIC Teaming
  • NIC Naming and CDN (consistent device naming)
  • PowerShell v3 – You can now just do everything in PowerShell and even more with 23000 PowerShell cmdlets.
  • Server Dashboard – The new Dashboard lets you manage all servers, or even better, all Services from one place.
  • Multi-tenant – everything seems to be made for that
  • Performance Counters
  • IP address management (IPAM)

Hyper-V Host improvements

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Manager

The Hyper-V Host gets a lot of improvements in terms of features and scale.

  • up to 320 logical CPUs
  • supports up to 4 TB RAM
  • no more vCPU:pCPU ration limit
  • up to 2048 Virtual CPUs per Virtual Machine

Hyper-V Virtual Machine improvements

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Virtual Machine

Microsoft did a lot to extend the existing Virtual Machine hardware to support even high workload Virtual Machines. Most of the time you were talking with VMware consultants, they tried to say that Hyper-V is not made for Enterprise workloads. Now with the release of Hyper-V 2012 scale should not be an argument anymore.

Hyper-V Networking improvements

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Networking

Hyper-V got a lot of improvements in terms of networking. Microsoft realized that networking features are really important if you start to create private and public cloud scenarios and now even create a mix of public and private cloud scenarios without creating a lot of work for the IT teams to reconfigure Virtual Machines.

  • QoS and flexible bandwidth allocation
  • Single-root I/O virtualization or SR-IOV (Direct Access to the physical Network adapter)
  • Network Virtualization
  • PVLAN support
  • Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue (D-VMQ)
  • Receive Side Coalescing (RSC)
  • DHCP Guard
  • Router Guard
  • Port mirroring
  • Port ACLs
  • Trunk mode Allows directing traffic from a group of VLANs to a specific VM
  • IPsec Task offload
  • Integrated Network Adapter Teaming
  • Better Network Adapter Naming and Consistent Network Device Naming
  • Hyper-V Extensible Switch (for example Cisco Nexus 1000v)
  • Data Center Bridging (DCB) – eliminates loss due to queue overflow and to be able to allocate bandwidth on links
  • Network Metering

Hyper-V Clustering improvements

Hyper-V gets also a lot of Cluster improvements. Microsoft is working on Cloud solutions which will give great availability to low cost. For example Hyper-V Replica or Shared-Nothing Live Migration, which allows you to move a Virtual Machine from one Hyper-V host to another host over the Ethernet without the need for a shared storage or a Cluster.

  • supporting up to 4000 VMs per cluster
  • supporting up to 64 Cluster nodes
  • improved Cluster Manager Console
  • Application Monitoring – Application health detection inside the virtual machine
  • New Placement policies – Virtual Machine Priority and enhanced placement
  • Storage Live Migration
  • VM Failover Prioritization
  • Cluster Wide Task Scheduling
  • Hyper-V Replica supporting clustering – replicate a Virtual Machine from one Cluster to another Cluster or Standalone Hyper-V Host
  • No need for Block Storage – you can use SMB Shares
  • Support for Storage Spaces
  • Automated Node Draining – like Maintenance mode in SCVMM
  • Cluster Aware Updating (CAU)
  • Cluster Shared Volume Improvements – BitLocker support, a lot of performance improvements, Self-Healing
  • CSV Block Cache
  • CSV 2.0 (No Redirected I/O for Backup
  • CSV 2.0 Block Level I/O redirection
  • CSV enabled volumes now appear as “CSVFS”
  • No Active Directory dependencies
  • Live Migration Queuing
  • Migrate multiple Virtual Machine at the same time
  • Anti-Affinity VM Rules
  • Dynamic Quorum
  • Guest Clustering via ISCSI, SMB or Fibre Channel

Hyper-V Storage improvements


A I mentioned earlier Microsoft made a lot of improvements in terms of storage in Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V can take advantage of those which are quiet impressive. For example with the new features in SMB 3.0 you can now use SMB file shares to store your Virtual Machines.

  • New Virtual Disk format (VHDX supports up to 64 TB Virtual Disks)
  • Offloaded Data Transfer – ODX (Open Diagnostic Data Exchange)
  • Live merging of VHDs and Snapshots
  • RDMA
  • SMB 3.0 – Transparent Failover
  • SMB 3.0 Direct
  • SMB 3.0 Multichannel
  • Native 4 KB sector disks support
  • Data De-duplication
  • Virtual Fibre Channel inside the Virtual Machines
  • VM boot from SAN
  • Storage Spaces (Pool Disks or LUNs)
  • New File system ReFS

Hyper-V Management Improvements

Hyper-V Powershell

As everywhere in Windows Server 2012 PowerShell is the key. And the new Server Manager Dashboard Microsoft enables to create Server Groups to manage multiple servers from a single console.

  • PowerShell cmdlets for Hyper-V
  • PowerShell Workflows – commands and tasks across servers
  • Hyper-V Extensible Switch – lets vendors to create “plugins”.
  • Server Manager Dashboard – lets you manage multiple Hyper-V hosts from a single console.
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 – not a part of Windows Server 2012 but will add great management solutions.
  • Improved VM Import
  • Local Hyper-V Administrator Group
  • Client Hyper-V

Hyper-V Live Migration and Disaster Recovery

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replica

Now I think this is maybe the greatest new feature. You can migrate Virtual Machines from one Hyper-V Host to another without Shared Storage or Cluster configuration. This feature is called Shared-Nothing Live Migration. Microsoft also included a new feature called Hyper-V Replica which includes the option to replicate Virtual Machine to another host which can be hosted in the same datacenter, secondary datacenter or even in the cloud.

  • Improved Live Migration
  • Unlimited Simultaneous live migrations
  • Live Storage Migration
  • Shared-Nothing Live Migration – Live Migration to another Hosts (Not clustered) over Ethernet
  • Hyper-V Replica – Replicated Virtual Machines to another Hyper-V host on-premise or public cloud over LAN or WAN connections.

You can get more information and the download link about Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate and Hyper-V Server 2012 Release Candidate.

The Windows Server Team and especially the Hyper-V Team did a great job, and I am sure Hyper-V will gain significant market share in the future.

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.

How Microsoft Hyper-V and the Cisco UCS changed our lives

Cisco UCS Hardware

At the end of last year we had our Cisco UCS ordered and in your datacenter. In January we started the testing and made the Clusters ready for the production environment. In February we started the migration of our existing environment, mostly P2V and also some V2V migrations.

Here some interessting facts about our Cisco UCS and Hyper-V project.

  • We use 12 Cisco UCS Blades this is like 10 HE of rackspace
  • We migrated 45 Windows Servers and 47 Unix Servers in just one week
  • We replace 2 racks of server with a half rack of two Cisco UCS Bladecenters
  • We think we can replace 2-3 racks more with our two Bladecenters.
  • At the end of this year we think we could replace 4-5 racks with 1/2 rack
  • We still have a lot of physical and virtual server which will be needed to be migrated to the Bladecenter.
  • We will get even more out of our Blade Servers by activting Hyper-V Dynamic Memory as a new feature of Hyper-V R2 ServicePack 1

This migration had a lot of positive influence on other things in the datacenter.

Datacenter Power

  • we need now 4% less energie overall
  • we need now 6% less cooling overall
  • we need less space (1 and 1/2 racks at the moment)
  • now our system administrator travel 50% less to the datacenter, because of hardware defects or other administrative tasks.
  • We can deploy new servers in minutes instead of hours

I think all of this numbers (except the time we need to deploy new servers )will increase after the next migrations.

Now I started to write a series of blog posts about installing Microsoft Hyper-V R2 on the Cisco UCS system:

Microsoft Hyper-V and the Cisco UCS Bladecenter are a powerful team. The UCS Virtual Hardware takes alot of complexety from the hypervisor in your case Hyper-V. You don’t need NIC teaming and stuff like that. Thats is making it very easy to deploy Hyper-V Clusters. And with the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager you can save a lot of time in managing your clusters, hosts, virtual machine and also in P2V and V2V migrations. Since Microsoft SCVMM supports Windows Powershell you can also do a lot of scripting automation. And with the release of the new Version of SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012) this will even get better for deploying new virtual machines, services and even public and private clouds.

Hyper-V R2 SP1

We started with Microsoft Hyper-V R2 Servers before the release of Service Pack 1. We think we can even get a lot more out of your systems with the new Dynamic Memory feature for Hyper-V which comes in Service Pack 1.

At the end we think choosing the Cisco UCS, Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager for our datacenter was the best choice we have made, in terms of costs and technology.

Cisco UCS Hyper-V Cluster – Add Hyper-V Cluster to SCVMM – Part 8

In this post we will add the Hyper-V Cluster to our System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 to better manage Virtual Machines and Hyper-V Hosts. We also use System Center Virtual Machine Manager or SCVMM to quick deploy new Virtual Machines.

  1. Download and install System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
  2. Make sure you don’t have any network problems and a clean Active Directory and DNS environment. This is really important if you work with SCVMM. And remember if something does not really work in SCVMM or SCVMM shows any errors it does not mean that your Cluster is not running perfectly. SCVMM uses DNS for the most things and the Failover Cluster instead uses IP Addresses. So if you see any errors in System Center Virtual Machine Manager first check if there is really a problem in the Failover Cluster Manager.
  3. In the SCVMM 2008 R2 click on the “Add host” link
    SCVMM 2008 R2
  4. Select Windows Server-based host on an Active Directory domain and enter the credentials
    SCVMM 2008 R2
  5. Search for your Cluster in this case the Failover Cluster is called UCS-HPV-C01. You can also search for a host in this Cluster and it will automatically find the cluster.
    SCVMM 2008 R2
  6. Host the host group you where your Hyper-V Failover Cluster should be located in.
    SCVMM 2008 R2
  7. Review everything and click next
    SCVMM 2008 R2
  8. Now your Cluster will be added to your System Center Virtual Machine Manager and install the System Center Virtual Machine Manager Agent on every host.
    SCVMM 2008 R2

After you have done this you should see all your hosts in the SCVMM.

Cisco UCS Hyper-V Cluster – Add Nodes to Hyper-V Cluster – Part 7

Adding Hyper-V Hosts to the Failover Cluster is pretty simple. And I will keep this part very short.

  1. First Setup your Hyper-V Hosts and configure the them (network, storage, etc)
  2. Now open the Failover Cluster Manager and choose “Add Node…”
    Add Failover Cluster Node
  3. Select the new Hosts
    Add Failover Cluster Node
  4. After you check you have added the right Hyper-V Hosts click next
    Add Failover Cluster Node
  5. Now the hosts are added to the Failover Cluster
    Add Failover Cluster Node

Now you can add or move virtual machines to the new Cluster Nodes.

Cisco UCS Hyper-V Cluster – Create Hyper-V Cluster – Part 6

After you have installed your Hyper-V Nodes and enabled the Failover Cluster Feature you can now start two create the Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Cluster.

This is not really difficult but you have two know about some important things.

  • The Failover Cluster Configuration Wizard will validate your Cluster configuration. If you have created a Hyper-V 2008 R2 Image with the latest drivers from Cisco your totally fine in the drivers check.
  • All SAN Disks have to be offline on the Hyper-V Hosts. Otherwise the Configuration Wizard can not validate the Cluster Disks.
  • As usual you need a clean Active Directory and a clean and working DNS Zone.
  • If you use Hyper-V Server Hosts you will get a warning in the network configuration because the standard firewall rule will not allow ICMP traffic (ping) to answer.
  • On the Cisco UCS you will also get a Warning which says your Cluster Network is maybe not redundant. This is because we added only one Management Network adapter for the Hyper-V hosts and with normal Hardware this is a single point of failure. But with on the UCS Hardware the Network adapter is virtual and the network connections are redundant in the background, so we can ignore this.

Now basically the setup of the Hyper-V Cluster is the same on the Cisco UCS as on every other Hardware.

  1. First start the Failover Cluster Manager, if you use the Hyper-V 2008 R2 Core Server you need the Failover Cluster Manager console on another Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7 client. If you need this on a Windows 7 computer you can download the Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7.
  2. Now you first click validate the Configuration or on Create a Failover Cluster (this will also validate the Cluster Configuration)
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  3. Select your Hyper-V Host Servers
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  4. Run all tests
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  5. Now the Failover Cluster Configuration Wizard will validate your configuration.
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  6. After the validation you will get a report about the Configuration. Remember you with the Cisco UCS Solution and Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 you can get two warnings. The first about ICMP and the second because you have only one network adapter.
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  7. If you get no other warnings or errors you can now start to create the Failover Cluster. Add your Hyper-V Hosts.
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  8. Create the Access Point for the Failover Cluster (Clustername and IP Address)
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  9. Confirm the Configuration
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  10. And now the Wizard will create your Hyper-V Failover Cluster
    Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Failover Cluster
  11. After you have done this you simply have to add a Quorum Disk and activate Cluster Shared Volumes


Cisco UCS Hyper-V Cluster – Configure Hyper-V Networks – Part 5

This How-To shows you how you configure the (Virtual) Network Adapters of the Hyper-V Servers. This is not really heavy, but to complete the UCS Hyper-V Guide I post this. If you use Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 you will find later a post about doing this in SCVMM 2008 R2.

  1. Connect to the Hyper-V Server with the Hyper-V Manager Console
    Hyper-V Manager
  2. Now you can configure the Networks under Virtual Network Manager on each Hyper-V Host.
    Hyper-V Virtual Network ManagerWhat we did is, we added 7 (Virtual) Network adapters to the UCS Bladenodes in the UCS Manager. We added the same on Configuration on the Blades which are using VMware ESXi and on the Blades with Microsoft Hyper-V and thats why we have a Network called vMotion on the Hyper-V Servers. We use the vMotion network adpater for the private Failover Cluster Heartbeat.

Basically we have the following Networks:

UCS Blade Server Networks

  • 1. Network adapter is the Hyper-V Management Network dedicated to the Hyper-V Node
  • 2. Network adpater for Hyper-V Cluster Live Migration
  • 3. Network adapter for private Failover Cluster Heartbeat
  • 4. Network adapter External Network, is used for our main external Network
  • 5. Network adapter Internal Network, is used for our internal Management Network for Servers
  • 6. and 7. Network adapters are used for VLAN Trunks

To get the best performance we don’t share any Network Adapter with the Hyper-V Host and a Virtual Network.