Tag: Service Provider

Green Cloud based on Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure Pack

If you try to host some IaaS workloads or build a Hybrid Cloud environment connected to a service provider in Switzerland, you probably want to check out the Green Hyper-V ServerCloud.

Based on Hyper-V technology from Windows Server 2012 R2, Green virtual servers provide you with a powerful, high-availability server platform for your applications. The virtual servers can be seamlessly integrated into your existing IT environment, using Site-2-Site VPN.

Green also offers a own image container function in Windows Azure Pack which allows you to quickly and smoothly migrate your server to the Hyper-V ServerCloud, including configuration and software. Install your VHDX and ISO images and save valuable time on reinstallation and setup.

Options and the ability to gradually expand the system pave the way for future expansion. From individual applications to virtualization of entire IT areas, Server Cloud offers enough scope for your business.

Green Server Cloud

Some of the cool stuff Green offers in there Cloud Solution:

  • Cloud based on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Windows Azure Pack
  • Powerful packages on virtual server with up to 16 CPU cores and 128GB RAM
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Images
  • Linux Images (CentOS and more…)
  • Bring your own Server and ISO Images
  • Create VM Checkpoint (Snapshots) right from the Tenant Portal
  • Seamless expansion of local infrastructure through network virtualization and free-of-charge site-to-site VPN
  • Local service and support in three local languages
  • High Security standards implemented in the Green Datacenter
  • Server Location in Switzerland
  • Hyper-V Replica support – Replicated your Hyper-V Virtual Machines to the Green Cloud for DR scenarios
  • 30 days free trial

Green Business Connectivity and Security

Green Cloud Datacenters

Green is using it own datacenter to host the Green Cloud. The GreenCloud is hosted in their Tier 4 and Tier 3 datacenters for maximal security. The newest green.ch data center offers all the benefits of a state-of-the-art data center. It is situated in an excellent location, is the only Swiss data center that was awarded a Tier 4 design certification, and was designed for energy-efficient operation.

The Lupfig site is located west of Zurich in an easy to access location. It is far away from hazardous zones, yet centrally located within the Zurich-Basel-Bern business triangle.

From the very beginning, greenDatacenter Zurich West was designed for highest availability. All systems required for operation are duplicated. Multiple feeds are used for the power and emergency power supply, and the connection to the data network. And these feeds are even separately routed within the data center. Four security perimeters protect the data center against unauthorized access. Security measures include biometric access systems.

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy awarded greenDatacenter Zurich West the Watt d’Or 2013 for exemplary energy efficiency in the buildings and space category.

Green Cloud Technology

Green Cloud Image Container

As already mentioned Green is using the Microsoft Cloud Platform stack with Windows Azure Pack and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V for their Cloud offering. By using Hyper-V Network Virtualization and Site-2-Site VPN, customers can easily connect their local networks to the Green Cloud and build a Hybrid Cloud scenario. Green also extended their offering beyond the standard WAP offerings by adding additional features such as Hyper-V Replica support, the option to create Checkpoints (Snapshots) of Virtual Machines and the possibility to bring your own server images and ISO images to the Green Cloud.

Green Cloud Checkpoints

So if you are interested in the things Green offers checkout the 30 days free trial offering.

 



Windows Server

Microsoft Nano Server your new Cloud Platform infrastructure Server

Microsoft yesterday announced the availability of Windows Containers and the new SKU for Windows Server vNext named Nano Server. As Microsoft mentions, Nano Server is a purpose-built operating system designed to run born-in-the-cloud applications and containers. But Nano Server is not only designed for Modern Application, but it also is ready and designed to run on your datacenter fabric such as Hyper-V Server and Scale-Out File Server.

Nano Server is a redesign version of Windows Server Core which is very lightweight, very small footprint and remote managed. The first version of Nano Server is designed for the following key scenarios:

  1. Born-in-the-cloud applications – support for multiple programming languages and runtimes. (e.g. C#, Java, Node.js, Python, etc.) running in containers, virtual machines, or on physical servers.
  2. Microsoft Cloud Platform infrastructure – support for compute clusters running Hyper-V and storage clusters running Scale-out File Server.

As mentioned Nano Server has a very small footprint and the first version show some great improvements versus the Windows Server:

  • 93 percent lower VHD size
  • 92 percent fewer critical bulletins
  • 80 percent fewer reboots

To achieved this results Microsoft removed some parts of Windows Server like:

  • GUI stack
  • 32 bit support (WOW64)
  • MSI support
  • RDP
  • Some default Server Core components

By removing the GUI stack makes this server to a true headless server, without any login screen or RDP support. By removing things like this, a lot of people will need a totally new way to manage this servers. The answer is simple and is the best practice for managing servers for a long time called Remote Management. Nano Server will offer some advanced remote Management features such as:

  • WMI
  • PowerShell
  • PowerShell Desired State Configuration
  • RSAT Tools
  • System Center and other Management tools
  • Web-based management tools (to replace local inbox management tools)

In my opinion the effort Microsoft does with Nano Server really makes sense and will help Service Providers as well as Enterprise companies to deploy clouds even faster, more secure, more efficient and with less management overhead. I am really looking forward to Microsoft Ignite to get some more information on Nano Server. If you want to see a little bit more about Nano Server checkout the following video.

 

 



Windows Azure Pack IaaS

Update Rollup 3 for Windows Azure Pack available

Microsoft released the Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 with a lot of fixes for several product such as Virtual Machine Manager, Data Protection Manager or Orchestrator. This updates to directly affect private cloud deployments and public cloud deployments by service providers by bringing new functionally to the solutions. With that Microsoft also released Update Rollup 3 for Windows Azure Pack which also brings fixes and enhancements.

  • For stand-alone virtual machines (VMs) whose templates specified multiple network adapters, the tenant user cannot associate a particular network to each network adapter.Symptom: If the user is creating a VM that’s based on a template that contains multiple network adapters, the Tenant Site VM extension will automatically assign the first available network.

    Resolution: The tenant user now has the necessary user interface (UI) to select a particular network for a particular network adapter.

  • Developers who use Web Site Cloud to deploy PHP applications do not have an option to specify PHP 5.5 version.Symptom: If the user wants to deploy a PHP 5.5 application, there is no option to specify that version of PHP.

    Resolution: The user now has the PHP 5.5 version option.

  • Usage records that contain more than 4,000 characters of resource data are not supported.Symptom: If the Usage Collector encounters a usage record that has more than 4,000 characters, it fails and shuts down the usage pipeline for System Center usage data.

    Resolution: Some of the instructions in this article involve running an SQL script that will increase the size of the table field to nvarchar(max).

  • Tenants experience unexpected behavior in the portal when they create websites that have the same name in different plan subscriptions that are each on a separate Web Site cloud.Symptom: When a tenant creates two websites that have the same name on different Web Site clouds and subscriptions, the portal may display inaccurate information about one or both of the websites.

    Resolution: Users can now create websites that have the same name through separate subscriptions and clouds without seeing incorrect information about their sites or subscriptions.

  • Tenants who create an ASP.NET site by using Web Site Cloud cannot specify whether the Application Pool will be running in Classic or Integrated Mode.Symptom: When a tenant tries to create a website, the user notices that the Application Mode setting is not available. If the application requires Classic Mode, it will run the risk of failing at run time.

    Resolution: Users can now specify the Application Pool mode for their applications.

  • Administrators cannot use Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN) when they configure SQL Always-On Listeners, because the Windows Azure Pack Resource Provider for SQL Server does not support it.Symptom: When an administrator enters an FQDN in the SQL Extension of the Administration site, the SQL Resource Provider accepts it, but an error is returned after the provider tries to process the FQDN.

    Resolution: FQDNs are now fully supported by the Resource Provider.

  • When a tenant creates a VM, the name that is provided is not honored. Instead, a name is generated.Symptom: When tenants build a VM on premises, they expect the name that they provided to be honored as the NetBIOS name of the computer. This is not the case; the VM extension generates a name to maintain uniqueness in System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

    Resolution: Now the VM Resource Provider generates a name that’s based on the name that the user provides in the following pattern:

    Computer Name = name + “###”

    The numbers are added to the end of the name to guarantee uniqueness in System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

  • The metrics that are associated with websites that are located in separate clouds whose endpoint credentials differ from each other are sometimes not retrieved; instead an error message is displayed.Symptom: When the tenant or administrator accesses information about websites that are located in clouds that are configured to use different endpoint access credentials, you receive the following error message from the Administration site:
    The server could not retrieve metrics (Internal Server Error).

    Resolution: The monitoring service responsible for retrieving the websites data now returns the correct metrics instead of an error.

  • The SQL Resource Provider grants DB Owner permissions to tenants when during database provisioning.Symptom: When a SQL Server Database is provisioned by a tenant, the SQL Resource Provider grants DB Owner permissions to the corresponding SQL login.

    Resolution: Tenant logins that are created after you apply Update Rollup 3 are no longer granted DB Owner permissions. Existing tenant logins and already existing databases are not affected. To retroactively give existing tenant logins the same set of permissions and to remove the DB Owner level access, see the following TechNet article:

  • SQL Server Integrated Security or Windows Authentication is not supported by the Windows Azure Pack Tenant Site SQL extension.Symptom: When the tenant tries to create a database, no option for Windows Authentication is provided.

    Resolution: The SQL Tenant Site Extension now supports Windows Authentication.

For more information check out the Microsoft website: Update Rollup 3 for Windows Azure Pack



Windows Azure Pack Feedback

Feedback for Windows Azure Pack

Since the release of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 I worked on several different Windows Azure Pack deployments for Service Providers. Windows Azure Pack delivers Microsoft Azure technologies for you to run inside your datacenter. It offers rich, self-service, multi-tenant services and experiences that are consistent with Microsoft’s public cloud offering. Together with technologies like Hyper-V Network Virtualization and Microsoft Storage Spaces Windows Azure Pack becomes a powerful framework for Service Providers.

You can help shape the future of Windows Azure Pack. The Windows Azure Pack team has created a user voice site where you can post feature suggestions and vote on the suggestions of others.

You can find the Azure Pack user voice site here http://feedback.azure.com/forums/255259-azure-pack

 

 

 



WAP Register SPF

Windows Azure Pack – Virtual Machine Cloud

One of the big features of Windows Azure Pack right now is the integration of a Infrastructure as a Service offering or in other words Virtual Machine Cloud. VM Cloud allows you to integrate your existing System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 and Hyper-V environment over SPF (Service Provider Foundation) API, so you can create a offering similar to the Windows Azure IaaS experience.

I had the chance working on several Windows Azure Pack projects where we have integrated the Virtual Machine Cloud and created offerings for service providers as well as for enterprise companies for internal use. Two parts of I really like about the solution in the integration of Hyper-V Network Virtualization and the integration of VM Roles, which are basically a solution to deploy services instead of just Virtual Machines. Microsoft also finally fixed the issue we had in App Controller and other products to connect to a Virtual Machine via the Hyper-V Console from outside your organization by using a Remote Desktop Gateway.

Architecture

To deploy the VM Cloud or IaaS offering in Windows Azure Pack you need several roles, services and components. If you want to know more about the Windows Azure Pack Architecture, check out the following blog post.

Windows Azure Pack VM Cloud Architecture

Picture Source: TechNet

  • Hyper-V – You need a Hyper-V environment for hosting virtual machines.
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager – In a VM Cloud environment you need your Hyper-V resources to connect to a Virtual Machine Manager. You can connect multiple Virtual Machine Manager servers so called VMM stamps. If you are using Hyper-V Network Virtualization (NVGRE) make sure you build a highly available VMM Cluster for each stamp.
  • Service Provider Foundation – To bring those VMM stamps inside Windows Azure Pack you need an API solution called Service Provider Foundation. Every VMM stamp has to be registered in Windows Azure Pack trough a Service Provider Foundation Endpoint.
  • Windows Azure Pack Tenant Portal – The Portal for tenants/customers to manage Virtual Machines
  • Windows Azure Pack Admin Portal – The Portal for Administrator to register new VMM stamps and create offerings for customers.
  • Service Management API – You always need this if you deploy Windows Azure Pack.
  • SQL Server – SQL Server for Windows Azure Pack, SPF and Virtual Machine Manager
  • RD Gateway – Remote Desktop Gateway for the Console Connection to the Virtual Machine
  • System Center Operations Manager – If you just want to monitor your VM environment or you want to do chargeback you need Operations Manager and Service Reporting.

How to setup VM Cloud in Windows Azure Pack

After you have setup your environment you have to register your Service Provider Foundation and VMM in Windows Azure Pack. Enter the address of the SPF Endpoint and the address of the VMM Server.

WAP Register SPF

You can than add VMM servers or VMM Stamps to the Windows Azure Pack.

VMMStamp in WAP

You can now select the Cloud you want to use for your offering. If you create a new plan you can select which VMM stamp and cloud should be used for the offering. You can limit resources like Virtual Machine count, CPU cores, RAM, Storage, VM Networks, Templates and more inside plans and add-ons. You can than offer these plans and add-ons to your customers.

WAP VM Cloud Plan

As another part you can extend the solution by adding a SMA Web Service endpoint to the Windows Azure Pack and configure it for the Virtual Machine Clouds. With this solution you can link SMA Runbooks to actions in Windows Azure Pack VM Cloud, SPF and Virtual Machine Manager.

WAP Link SMA Runbook to VMM Action

If you need to enable Console access to the Virtual Machine to the tenant users, you also have to register a Remote Desktop Gateway. This will allow user to access the Virtual Machine without having a IP address set inside the VM.

Tenant VM Console Access WAP

Remember there are much more steps you have to do. For example configuring the fabric in System Center Virtual Machine Manager or configuring the Remote Desktop Gateway to have access to the Hyper-V hosts. And if you are doing NVGRE (Hyper-V Network Virtualization) you may also want to have NVGRE Gateways in place so customers can leave the Virtual Network and connect to the physical network or the internet. So setting this thing up is one part but having it designed and configured the right way is another.



Windows Azure Services on Windows Server for Hosting Service Providers now available

Windows Azure Services

Today Microsoft announced that Windows Azure Services on Windows Server are now available.

Microsoft is committed to delivering customers a consistent platform regardless of deployment location and calls this vision the Cloud OS. As part of this strategy, Microsoft is now enabling Hosting Service Providers to use Windows Server and System Center to deliver the same great experiences already found in Windows Azure. The first two of these finished services are high density website hosting and virtual machine provisioning and management. Hosting Service Providers enable these modules through the new Service Management API and optional portal, which will continue to add more services from Microsoft and 3rd party providers over time.

Get more information about the Windows Azure Services on Windows Server on the Microsoft Hosting homepage.