Tag: SOFS

Cisco UCS Hardware

Cisco UCS supports RoCE for Microsoft SMB Direct

As you may know we use SMB as the storage protocol for several Hyper-V deployments using Scale-Out File Server and Storage Spaces which adds a lot value to your Hyper-V deployments. To boost performance Microsoft is using RDMA or SMB Direct to accelerate Storage network performance.

RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) allows direct memory access over an Ethernet network. RoCE is a link layer protocol, and hence, it allows communication between any two hosts in the same Ethernet broadcast domain. RoCE delivers superior performance compared to traditional network socket implementations because of lower latency, lower CPU utilization and higher utilization of network bandwidth. Windows Server 2012 and later versions use RDMA for accelerating and improving the performance of SMB file sharing traffic and Live Migration. If you need to know more about RDMA or SMB Direct checkout my blog post: Hyper-V over SMB: SMB Direct

With Cisco UCS Manager Release 2.2(4), Cisco finally supports RoCE for SMB Direct. It sends additional configuration information to the adapter while creating or modifying an Ethernet adapter policy.

Guidelines and Limitations for SMB Direct with RoCE

  • SMB Direct with RoCE is supported only on Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • SMB Direct with RoCE is supported only with Cisco UCS VIC 1340 and 1380 adapters.
  • Cisco UCS Manager does not support more than 4 RoCE-enabled vNICs per adapter.
  • Cisco UCS Manager does not support RoCE with NVGRE, VXLAN, NetFlow, VMQ, or usNIC.
  • You can not use Windows Server NIC Teaming together with RMDA enabled adapters in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 or you will lose RDMA feature on these adapters.
  • Maximum number of queue pairs per adapter is 8192.
  • Maximum number of memory regions per adapter is 524288.
  • If you do not disable RoCE before downgrading Cisco UCS Manager from Release 2.2(4), downgrade will fail.

Checkout my post about Hyper-V over SMB:



Hyper-V Gernal Access dinied error

Hyper-V over SMB: Set SMB Constrained Delegation via PowerShell

When you are having configured a Hyper-V over SMB configuration, which means the virtual machines are running on Hyper-V host and are stored on a SMB file share, and you try to manage the virtual machine remotely from Hyper-V Manager or Failover Cluster Manager, you will run into access denied errors. The same error can also happen if you try live migrate the virtual machine. This error is caused because you are using the credentials from the machine which Hyper-V or Failover Cluster Manager is running on to access the file share via the Hyper-V host. This “double-hop” scenario is not by default not allowed because of security reasons. You can find more about Kerberos Authentication on TechNet.

To avoid this error you have to configure the SMB Constrained Delegation in Active Directory to allow this scenario for specific “double-hops”. In Windows Server 2012 Microsoft made setting up Kerberos constrained delegation much easier by introducing resource-based Kerberos Constrained Delegation. This it wasn’t that easy to deploy and required some step. In Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft introduced new Windows PowerShell cmdlets to configure SMB Constrained Delegation directly from PowerShell. These cmdlets are offered by the Active Directory PowerShell module.

On your management box or where ever you want to configure SMB Constrained Delegation you have to install the Active Directory PowerShell module. (You don’t need the module on the Hyper-V host or SMB file servers)

 
Install-WindowsFeature RSAT-AD-PowerShell

Now you can use the following cmdlets.

  • Get-SmbDelegation –SmbServer FileServer
  • Enable-SmbDelegation –SmbServer FileServer –SmbClient HyperVHost
  • Disable-SmbDelegation –SmbServer FileServer [–SmbClient HyperVHost] [-Force]

For example if you are running a two node Hyper-V cluster and you use a Scale-Out File Server cluster (SOFS01) as virtual machine storage, the configuration could look like this.

 
Enable-SmbDelegation –SmbServer SOFS01 –SmbClient HyperV01
 
Enable-SmbDelegation –SmbServer SOFS01 –SmbClient HyperV02

Because these cmdlets only work with the new resource-based delegation, the Active Directory forest must be in “Windows Server 2012” functional level. A functional level of Windows Server 2012 R2 is not required.

And as I mentioned before you can also use System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) to manage your storage, which uses a different approach and does not need the configuration of Kerberos Constrained Delegation.

 



Windows Server

Configure CSV Cache in Windows Server 2012 R2

In Windows Server 2012 Microsoft introduced CSV Cache for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Server Clusters. The CSV Block Cache is basically a RAM cache which allows you to cache read IOPS in the Memory of the Hyper-V or the Scale-Out File Server Cluster nodes. In Windows Server 2012 you had to set the CSV Block Cache and enable it on every CSV volume. In Windows Server 2012 R2 CSV Block cache is by default enabled for every CSV volume but the size of the CSV Cache is set to zero, which means the only thing you have to do is to set the size of the cache.

 
# Get CSV Block Cache Size
(Get-Cluster).BlockCacheSize
# Set CSV Block Cache Size to 512MB
(Get-Cluster).BlockCacheSize = 512

Microsoft recommends using 512MB as cache on a Hyper-V host. On a Scale-Out File Server node, things are a little bit different. In Windows Server 2012 Microsoft allowed you to use a cache size up to 20% of the server, in Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft changed this, so you can now finally use up to 80% of the RAM of a Scale-Out File Server but with a maximum of 64GB.

Back in the days of Windows Server 2012 I made a little benchmark of CSV Cache on my Hyper-V hosts.



Windows Server 2012 R2 Private CLoud Storage and Virtualization

Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster and Mini-Posters

Yesterday Microsoft released the Windows Server 2012 R2 Private Cloud Virtualization and Storage Poster and Mini-Posters. This includes overviews over Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, Scale-Out File Server, Storage Spaces and much more. These posters provide a visual reference for understanding key private cloud storage and virtualization technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2. They focus on understanding storage architecture, virtual hard disks, cluster shared volumes, scale-out file servers, storage spaces, data deduplication, Hyper-V, Failover Clustering, and virtual hard disk sharing.

Bedsides the overview poster, Microsoft Includes the following Mini-Posters:

  • Virtual Hard Disk and Cluster Shared Volumes Mini Poster
  • Virtual Hard Disk Sharing Mini Poster
  • Understanding Storage Architecture Mini Poster
  • Storage Spaces and Deduplication Mini Poster
  • Scale-Out and SMB Mini Poster
  • Hyper-V and Failover Clustering Mini Poster

You can get the posters from the Microsoft download page.



vmem-page-banner-memory-platform

Violin Memory Scale-out Memory Platform with SMB 3.0 Integration

If you are looking at Storage vendors for Hyper-V you really need to have a look at a storage solutions with SMB 3.0 integration. Because the Hyper-V over SMB scenario will be the future. So until some weeks ago you had 3 options, you could choose EMC VNX, NetApp or a Windows Server Scale-Out File server with or without storage spaces. I haven’t had the chance to test the EMC solution but on paper it looks nice, NetApp solutions lacks a lot of integration such as active-active configurations as well as lacking support for SMB Multichannel or SMB Direct (RDMA). A lot of customers also are looking at the Storage Spaces solutions with Scale-Out file Server which basically supports all the features you need but not offers the benefits an appliance solution brings with support.

Some weeks ago Violin Memory announced a solutions called the Scale-out Memory Platform which is built on their 6000-series. Until today Violin Memory Flash Memory Arrays provide power for performance, high availability, and scalability in enterprise block storage environments. Now these powerful arrays provide a new class of file based solutions with Microsoft Server 2012 R2 directly installed on the array. Microsoft and Violin Memory worked closely to develop this class of solution by bringing the power of memory to Microsoft applications such as SQL Server and Microsoft Hyper-V.

This would offer an appliance solution of the Hyper-V over SMB 3.0 scenario. At the moment there are not a lot of information out there but I will expect more information shortly and if you need more information checkout the Violin Memory page.



Windows Server

Recommend Hotfixes and Updates for Hyper-V and Failover Clusters

I the last couple of releases I always posted the pages where you could get the list of Recommended Hotfixes and Updates for Windows Server 2012 Failover Clusters and List of Hyper-V and Failover Cluster Hotfixes for Windows Server 2012. I want to upgrade the post with the links for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. So you can find all updates from a single site.

Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2008 R2

Feel free to share this page and I always recommend to get the latest hotfixes when you are deploying a new Hyper-V or Scale-Out File Server environment. And definitely check also Aidan Finns blog from time to time where he does some deeper look at the Knowledge Base articles for Hyper-V.

 



Add Windows-based File Server

Manage SOFS Cluster and File Shares from Virtual Machine Manager

In the past months I did several blog posts about Hyper-V over SMB and Storage Spaces. In small environment management of such a Scale-Out File Server Cluster can be a simple thing because you don’t have a lot of changes, you setup the thing once and this will work for some time. In larger enterprise fabric and storage management is a huge topic, now with Hyper-V over SMB you don’t have to do any zoning or configure iSCSI initiators but you still have to set the right permission on the file share. This is where System Center Virtual Machine Manager comes into play.

Virtual Machine Manager also you to not only manage your iSCSI or fiber channel storage appliances via SMI-S, you can also manage your Scale-Out File Server.

First you have to add the Scale-Out File Server to the SCVMM fabric management. You can simple add a resource and Add a Storage Device. This will open a wizard where you can not only select SAN or NAS storage, but you can also select Widows-based file server.

Add Windows-based File Server

Enter the FQDN of your Fileserver Cluster

Enter Fileserver FQDN

This will scan your File Server Cluster and will show you already existing file shares. You can now match Storage Classifications with the existing file shares.

File Server Fileshares and Classification

After you have connected your Scale-Out File Server you can now create new File Shares and Storage Spaces directly from the Virtual Machine Manager Console.

Create File Shares

After you have created the file share you now have to add the permission for the Hyper-V host to the File Share. Virtual Machine Manager does automatically take care of that if you add the File Share to the Hyper-V Host or if you have a Hyper-V Cluster to the Cluster Object.

Add File Share to Hyper-V host

Now you can start using the file shares for placing Virtual Machines on it. The File Shares classifications will also be available in the VM Clouds.

Cloud Storage Resouces

As you can see, System Center Virtual Machine Manager can make your life a lot easier and helps you manage your whole datacenter fabric, from Compute, network up to storage. In 2013 I did several presentations on Fabric Management with System Center Virtual Machine Manager and two of them are online. You should check out the following posts:

Fabric Management with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (German)

Fabric Management with System Center Virtual Machine Manager at the TechDays Basel (German)