Tag: setup

Install Azure Stack HCI

How to install and set up an Azure Stack HCI Host

A couple of months the Azure Stack HCI team announced a new version called Azure Stack HCI version 20H2, which is currently in public preview. As part of the Azure Stack portfolio, Azure Stack HCI is a hyper-converged cluster solution that runs virtualized Windows and Linux workloads in a hybrid on-premises environment. Some of the most popular use cases are datacenter modernization, Remote/Branch office scenarios, SQL Server based virtual applications, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and running Kubernetes clusters. Azure Stack HCI comes now with a specialist operating system (OS), which is based on core components from Windows Server, and it is designed and optimized on being the best virtualization host and hyper-converged platform. It is enhanced with Azure software that includes our latest hypervisor with built-in software-defined storage and networking that you install on servers you control on your premises. This provides additional functionality, features, and performance. This blog post is part of a series of blogs on how you can set up Azure Stack HCI clusters. In this first post, we will cover how to set up an Azure Stack HCI host.

Prerequisites and Azure Stack HCI system requirements

Before you deploy Azure Stack HCI hosts, make sure you follow the following prerequisites:

  • Determine whether your hardware meets the requirements for Azure Stack HCI clusters. You can find Azure Stack HCI hardware in the Azure Stack HCI Catalog. Keep in mind that the nodes must have the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). For testing purposes, you can also set up Hyper-V Generation 2 virtual machines.
  • Gather the required information for a successful deployment. Here is a quick checklist of information you will need to deploy an Azure Stack HCI cluster
    • Server names: Get familiar with your organization’s naming policies for computers, files, paths, and other resources. You’ll need to provide several servers, each with unique names.
    • Cluster name: Name for the Azure Stack HCI cluster
    • Domain name: Get familiar with your organization’s policies for domain naming and domain joining. You’ll be joining the servers to your domain, and you’ll need to specify the domain name.
    • Static IP addresses: Azure Stack HCI requires static IP addresses for storage and workload (VM) traffic and doesn’t support dynamic IP address assignment through DHCP for this high-speed network. You can use DHCP for the management network adapter unless you’re using two in a team, in which case, again, you need to use static IPs. Consult your network administrator about the IP address you should use for each server in the cluster.
    • RDMA networking: There are two types of RDMA protocols: iWarp and RoCE. Note which one your network adapters use and if RoCE, note that the version (v1 or v2). For RoCE, also note the model of your top-of-rack switch.
    • VLAN ID: Note the VLAN ID to be used for the network adapters on the servers, if any. You should be able to obtain this from your network administrator.
    • Site names: For stretched clusters, two sites are used for disaster recovery. You can set up sites using Active Directory Domain Services, or the Create cluster wizard can automatically set them up for you. Consult your domain administrator about setting up sites.
    • Cluster witness: You will need to set up an Azure Stack HCI cluster witness. There are two witness types you can use.
      • Cloud witness – Azure storage account name, access key, and endpoint URL, as described below.
      • File share witness – file share path “(//server/share)”
    • Microsoft Azure credentials and subscription: Azure Stack HCI is delivered as an Azure service and needs to register within 30 days of installation per the Azure Online Services Terms. Azure Stack HCI comes with native Azure Arc integration for monitoring, support, billing, and hybrid services.
      • Internet Access – The Azure Stack HCI nodes need connectivity to the cloud to register to Azure.
      • Azure Subscription – If you don’t already have an Azure account, create one. You can use an existing subscription of any type:
        • Free account with Azure credits for students or Visual Studio subscribers
        • Pay-as-you-go subscription with credit card
        • Subscription obtained through an Enterprise Agreement (EA)
        • Subscription obtained through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program
      • Azure Active Directory (AzureAD) permissions – You will need Azure AD credentials with permissions to complete the registration process. If you don’t already have them, ask your Azure AD administrator to grant permissions or delegate them to you. See Manage Azure registration for more information.
  • Install Windows Admin Center on a management PC or server
  • For Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI requirements, see AKS requirements on Azure Stack HCI.

You can find a full list of System requirements for Azure Stack HCI on Microsoft Docs.

Operating system deployment options

After you have prepared the hardware for deployment, you have multiple options to deploy the Azure Stack HCI OS on your physical nodes, depending on your environment and processes. You can deploy the Azure Stack HCI operating system in the same ways that you’re used to deploying other Microsoft operating systems:

  • Server manufacturer pre-installation – nodes come with the Azure Stack HCI operating system preinstalled.
  • Headless deployment using an answer file – Check out my blog about unattend.xml installations.
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) – You can use System Center Virtual Machine Manager Bare-metal deployment to install the Azure Stack HCI nodes.
  • Network deployment – You can use the Windows Deployment Service (WDS) to deploy the operating system over the network.
  • Manual deployment – Connecting either a keyboard and monitor directly to the server hardware in your datacenter or by connecting a KVM hardware device to the server hardware.

Install and set up an Azure Stack HCI host manually

If you want to manually deploy the Azure Stack HCI operating system, you can use your preferred method to boot the installation from a DVD or USB drive. You can download the latest version of Azure Stack HCI from here.

Install Azure Stack HCI

Install Azure Stack HCI

You can follow through the Azure Stack HCI OS installation wizard. Select “Custom Install” to install a new version of Azure Stack HCI.

Custom Install the newer version of Azure Stack HCI

Custom Install the newer version of Azure Stack HCI

Select the disk the operating system should be installed on.

Select disk for the Operating System

Select disk for the Operating System

After that, the installation will run for a couple of minutes to install the Azure Stack HCI operating system.

Installing Azure Stack HCI host

Installing Azure Stack HCI host

After the installation is complete, you will need to set up the local administrator password.

Set Administrator Password

Set Administrator Password

After the installation is completed, you set the password for the local administrator and you logged in, you will be prompted by the welcome screen and the sconfig tool. The sconfig tool is part of Windows Server Core and was completely rewritten for Azure Stack HCI. Sconfig helps you to quickly configure your Azure Stack HCI nodes, such as name, domain join, network configuration, installing updates, and much more.

Welcome to Azure Stack HCI sconfig

Welcome to Azure Stack HCI sconfig

You can find more information on how to deploy Azure Stack HCI hosts on Microsoft Docs.

Conclusion and next steps

As you can see, there are multiple ways to set up and install your Azure Stack HCI hosts. You can even use the same tooling to deploy the operating system, as you have used to deploy Windows or Windows Server, In the next blog post we will have a look at how we build an Azure Stack HCI cluster, register it with Azure using Azure Arc, how we connect Azure hybrid cloud services, and how we build an Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster on Azure Stack HCI. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Home Office Setup 2020

My Home Office Setup 2020 – How does yours look like?

A couple of days ago, Microsoft and other companies recommended that people work from home (if they can) due to the Corona disease (COVID-19). Since I am part of a remote team, I work mostly from home when I am not traveling, and so let me share my home office setup 2020 with you. I did share my home office setup already in 2018 after we just moved. Since then, I have upgraded my home office with a couple of new things, which I believe make working from home even more productive and enjoyable.

This is it, this is my Home Office Setup in 2020

Here is a quick view at my desk setup:

PowerShell SSH Remoting Linux to Windows

Setup PowerShell SSH Remoting in PowerShell 6

With PowerShell version 6, Microsoft introduced PowerShell Remoting over SSH, which allows true multiplatform PowerShell remoting between Linux, macOS and Windows. PowerShell SSH Remoting creates a PowerShell host process on the target machine as an SSH subsystem. Normally, PowerShell remoting uses WinRM for connection negotiation and data transport, however WinRM is only available on Windows based machines.

There are also some downsides to it. SSH-based remoting doesn’t currently support remote endpoint configuration and JEA (Just Enough Administration). It is also important to understand, that this is not just another PowerShell SSH client.

Use SSH Transport with PowerShell Remoting

To use PowerShell remoting with SSH you can use the same cmdlets, you know from PowerShell remoting with WinRM.

  • New-PSSession
  • Enter-PSSession
  • Invoke-Command

There are 3 new parameters for these cmdlets, if you are using PowerShell SSH remoting.

  • -HostName (Instead of -Computername, you define the SSH target)
  • -UserName (Instead of -Credentials you use the -UserName parameter)
  • -KeyFilePath (If you are using SSH key authentication you can use the -KeyFilePath parameter to point to the key file)
New-PSSession -HostName tomsssh.server.com -UserName thomas

Windows Server 2019 Upgrade

Windows Server 2019 In-place Upgrade

As another part of my series for Windows Server 2019, this blog post covers the in-place upgrade feature. The in-place upgrade allows you to upgrade your existing LTSC versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 servers to Windows Server 2019. Windows Server 2019 In-place Upgrade will enable businesses to update to the latest version quickly. Especially if you have servers which you might need to install some dependencies for the applications. I saw a lot of customers who not have documented their server installations and neither used infrastructure as code to deploy them. For these customers, it can be hard to upgrade to newer versions of Windows Server. With the Windows Server 2019 In-Place Upgrade feature, this should get a lot easier. Especially since Windows Server 2019 brings a lot of improvements.

Upgrade Matrix

You can in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2019 from

If you run older versions of Windows Server, you might have to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 first.

Windows Server In-place Upgrade Matrix

Windows Server In-place Upgrade Matrix

To find out more about the in-place upgrade on the Microsoft Docs page.

How to in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2016 upgrade to Windows Server 2019

To in-place upgrade to Windows Server 2019, insert the Windows Server 2019 media into the existing server, by attaching an ISO file, copying the sources, adding a USB drive or even a DVD drive and start the setup.exe.

Installing Windows Server 2019

The setup will discover the existing installation and will let you perform an in-place upgrade. The installation will run for a couple of minutes; it will take quite some time depending on the speed of your server hardware and the installed roles and features.

Microsoft MVP Didier Van Hoye did write a great blog post about Upgrade testing. In that blog post, he has a quick look at upgrading to Windows Server 2019.

You can also find an overview of what is coming new in Windows Server 2019, in my blog: Windows Server 2019 – What’s coming next.

Toms Workplace 2018

My Workplace 2018 – How does yours look like?

Last week I was browsing the web and I found a lot of cool looking home office setups. I realized it is quiet interesting to see how people workplaces look like. With that I want to give a quick look at my home office and my workplace setup. Secondly, I would like to share your setup as well. If you want to share yours write a blog, link it in the comments or show it on Twitter, what ever you like.

This is it, this is my workplace if I am not on the road.

  • My main machine today is the 15-inch Surface Book 2 attached to a Dell curved-ultrawide monitor (Dell UltraSharp 38 Monitor – U3818DW), which with Windows 10 and the Snap feature is absolutely great to use.
  • I also have a Surface Pro as a company work machine, which I use mostly on the road when I need a real mobile work machine. It has enough powerful to do serious work and still gives you a mobile work experience.
  • I am obviously using a lot of Surface accessories like the Surface Precision Mouse, the Surface Pen, the Surface Dial and the Microsoft Modern Keyboard.
  • I also use some wireless Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones, not only for travel but also in the home office
  • I like the Surface Pen on my Surface Pro to draw some quick stuff or take some notes in Onenote.

Installation Windows Server 2016 VPN

How to Install VPN on Windows Server 2016

This post shows you how you can install a VPN Server on Windows Server 2016 Step-by-Step. It shows you how you can easily setup a VPN server for a small environment or for a hosted server scenario. This blog post covers how you can use Windows Server VPN.

This is definitely not a guide for an enterprise deployment, if you are thinking about a enterprise deployment you should definitely have a look at Direct Access.

I already did similar blog posts for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

You can simply follow this step by step guide:

Install the Windows Server VPN Role

First install the “Remote Access” via Server Manager or Windows PowerShell.

Install Remote Access Role VPN

Select the “DirectAccess and VPN (RAS)” role services and click next.

DirectAccess and VPN (RAS)

Getting Started Wizard

How to Install VPN on Windows Server 2012 R2

This post shows you how you can install a VPN Server on Windows Server 2012 R2 Step-by-Step. It shows you how you can easily setup a VPN server fro a small environment or for a hosted server scenario.

This is definitely not a guide for an enterprise deployment, if you are thinking about a enterprise deployment you should definitely have a look at Direct Access.

I already did a similar post on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012.

First install the “Remote Access” via Server Manager or Windows PowerShell.

Remote Access

System Center 2012 Unified Installer – Step by Step – Part 3

Microsoft System Center Logo
In the first two posts we did all the preperation for the System Center 2012 Unified Installer. Now in this post we are going finally to run the Unified Installer.


  1. Start the System Center Unified Installer
    System Center Unified Installer Setup
  2. The System Center Unified Installer is not made for production so read the warning and click okay.
    System Center Unified Installer Warning
  3. Choose the System Center components you want to install.
    System Center Unified Installer parts
  4. Set the component media Location for each System Center product
    System Center Unified Installer component location
  5. Accept the License Terms for Configuration Manager and the Prerequisite License Terms
    Coniguration Manager License Terms
    Prerequisite License Terms
  6. Choose the Prerequisite Meida Locations
    Prerequisite Media Location
  7. Specify the Installation Location
    Installation Destination Location
  8. Select the System Center Target servers
    System Center Servers
  9. Select System Center Service Accounts
    System Center Service Accounts
  10. provide some additional Setup information
    Coponent Specific Questions
  11. Check the summary and click install
    System Center Unified Installer Install
  12. Now the System Center Unified Installer will Setup the first Server with System Center Orchestrator
    System Center Orchestrator
  13. After Orchestrator is deployed, it will Launch some Orchestrator runbooks to install the other System Center parts.
    System Center Setup
  14. After all products are installed, SCUI will do a cleanup
    System Center Unified Installer Cleanup
  15. And about 3 hours later you are done
    System Center Unified Installer Summary

I think this is very cool and can you save a lot of time if you are doing a Proof of Concept or a Lab deployment of the System Center products.

Cheatsheet: Add roles and features to a Server Core installation #2

This are some commands to add roles and features to a Windows Server 2008 R2 Core installation.

You also can enable Remote MMC and Remote Server Manager to simply connect from a management server to the core server and add roles with GUI. This may only work within a domain environment. You can enable remote management pretty easy with the sconfig.cmd. Find out more about configuring Windows Server 2008 R2 Core installations here.

List available server roles and features:


Install, uninstall and configure Active Directory Domain Service role:


Help for dcpromo:

PS C:\> dcpromo /?

Command line parameters include:

/unattend[:filename] Used to specify the unattend operation mode or supply an unattended install script file.

Enables advanced user options.

Used to uninstall Active Directory Domain Services binaries.

/?[:{Promotion | CreateDcAccount | UseExistingAccount | Demotion}]

/?:Promotion, /?:CreateDCAccount, /?:UseExistingAccount, and /?:Demotion
will display unattend parameters applicable to the specified task. /CreateDCAccount and /UseExistingAccount:Attach are mutually exclusive.

Creates an RODC account.

Attaches the server to an RODC account.

Forcefully uninstalls Active Directory Domain Services on this domain controller. The account for the domain controller will not be deleted in the directory, and changes that have occurred on this domain controller since it last replicated with a partner will be lost.

Will display this help.

Unattend parameters can also be specified on the command-line. For example:

dcpromo.exe /ReplicaOrNewDomain:Replica

Press any key to quit ...

Install a role or feature its basically always the same:

start /w ocsetup <roleorfeature>

start /w ocsetup DNS-Server-Core-Role

Uninstall a role or feature:

start /w ocsetup <roleorfeature> /uninstall

start /w ocsetup DNS-Server-Core-Role /uninstall

Install SNMP feature:

start /w ocsetup SNMP-SC

Install Microsoft Hyper-v role:

start /w ocsetup Microsoft-Hyper-V

Cheatsheet: Configuring a Server Core installation #1

After setting up my new hardware for my LAB, I thought about installing my Hyper-V Servers as Server Core installations. After reading two minutes in some blogs and the Microsoft TechNet I decided to use the Core Editions.

Basically the setup is the same as the none Core Edition or GUI Edition. But after the installation you have to configure the server without a GUI, your only way to do the basic configuration is the command promt. Btw if you close the command prompt, you can easily recover the prompt by pressing CTRL-ALT-DELETE, click Start Task Manager, click New Task and type cmd.exe.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Core

To do the basic configuration of your Windows Server 2008 (R2) Core, you need the following commands:

Checkout the existing Hostname / Computername:

hostame or ipconfig

Change the Computername / Hostname:

netdom renamecomputer <ComputerName> /NewName:<NewComputerName>

Change the Computername / Hostname without writing the old name:

netdom renamecomputer %computername%   /NewName:<NewComputerName>

Show network interfaces:

netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces

Set Static IP Address, Subnet Mask, and Default Gateway (ID is the shown number in the Idx column when you show your network interfaces):

netsh interface ipv4 set address name="<ID>" source=static address=<StaticIP> mask=<SubnetMask> gateway=<DefaultGateway>

Set DNS Server (index= is the priority of the DNS Server):

netsh interface ipv4 add dnsserver name="<ID>" address=<DNSIP>index=1

Join a Domain:

netdom join <ComputerName> /domain:<DomainName> /userd:<UserName> /passwordd:*

Add a Domain User to the local administrator group:

net localgroup administrators /add <DomainName>\<UserName>

Change or set the product key of your server:

slmgr.vbs –ipk<productkey>

Active the server licence:

slmgr.vbs -ato

If activation is successful, no message will return in the command prompt

Configure the firewall:

netsh advfirewall

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Remote Administration" new enable=yes

Enable Remote Desktop:

cscript c:\windows\system32\scregedit.wsf /ar 0

Restart the Computer:

shutdown /r /t 0

Open Task Manager with the command prompt:


List event logs:

wevtutil el

Find something in the event log:

wevtutil qe /f:<text>

List running services:

sc query


net start

List running tasks:


to active Powershell type:


For the most of this simple tasks there is also a configuration tool, which makes it very easy to do your first configuration with Windows Server 2008 Core Edition. The Tool is called sconfig, and its very simple, just start the program with the following command:


Now this will open the following configuration utility:

Windows Server Core Sconfig.cmd