Tag: Windows Azure Pack

Windows Azure Pack Archtiecture Overview

What’s new Windows Azure Pack Update Rollup 6

Microsoft just released Update Rollup 6 for Windows Azure Pack on April 28. Microsoft fixes some bugs and added some highly requested features from User Voice as well.

  • Tenants can now create a checkpoint of a Virtual Machine and restore it at will when needed.
  • VMM Users can now deploy and manage Generation 2 VMs through VM Roles using WAP and the corresponding UR6 SPF Resource Provider
  • Added support to maintain Data Consistency between the SQL Resource Provider configured properties for resources with the actual provisioned resources on the SQL Server Hosting machine(s).
  • Added support for Webjobs in Windows Azure Pack Websites. This functionality offers creation of Webjobs to be executed manually or continuously in the background.
  • Tenants can now use deployment slots associated to their websites. Web app content and configurations elements can be swapped between two deployment slots, including the production slot.
  • Administrator can take advantage of DSC to deploy the update across a distributed environment.
  • Windows Azure Pack Websites can now take advantage of the HttpPlatformHandler to host Java and other runtimes.
  • Updates to Management Pack
    • Synthetic Transactions
    • Resource Governor Error Monitors
    • Monitor Certificate Validation Disabled
  • High Priority Bug Fixes


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.

 



System Center Logo

System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack get supports for SQL Server 2014 in Update Rollup 5

Microsoft just released System Center 2012 R2 Update Rollup 5, which includes a lot of new features and fixes. The update also brings support for SQL Server 2014 as a database server for most of the System Center 2012 R2 components. There will be support for the rest of the System Center components in the Update Rollup 6.

Supports SQL 2014 now:

Operations Manager
System Center Orchestrator
Service Management Automation
Service Provider Foundation
Virtual Machine Manager
Windows Azure Pack

Will support SQL 2014 in UR6:

Service Reporting
Service Manager
Data Protection Manager

For information check out the Microsoft System Center Team Blog.

 



Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2

Summary: Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack now available

Yesterday Microsoft released a new Update Rollup for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack called Update Rollup 5. Update Rollup 5 has a lot of fixes and new features especially for Windows Azure Pack and System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Data Protection Manager.

Components that are fixed in this update rollup

  • Data Protection Manager (KB3021791)
    • Protect SharePoint with SQL Always on Configuration
    • Protect SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, and Windows Client workloads to Microsoft Azure by using Data Protection Manager
    • Support for multiple retention ranges for long-term backup on Microsoft Azure
    • Ability to transfer initial backup copy offline to Azure
    • Support for protecting Microsoft workloads that are hosted in VMware
    • Display missed SLA alerts on the Data Protection Manager console
    • Enhanced reporting with Data Protection Manager central console
  • Operations Manager (KB3023138)
  • Service Manager (KB3009517)
  • Virtual Machine Manager (KB3023195)
    • Differencing disk as an option in the Windows Azure Pack VMRole deployment
    • New operating system support
    • New ExplicitRevokeRequired parameter to control IP address management when Grant-SCIPAddress is used
    • Support for SQL Server 2014
    • Azure Site Recovery
  • Windows Azure Pack (KB3023209)
    • Adds support for SQL Governor in the SQL Server Resource Provider.
    • Adds administrator support for disabling native Network RP to allow for third-party network provider
    • Provides detail on Virtual Machine Memory type, Memory Startup and Maximum values in the Tenant Portal.
    • Fix to the Get-MgmtSvcRelyingPartySettings PowerShell cmdlet.
    • Fix to the issue of failing to establish Remote Desktop Connection to virtual machines put behind a Network Address Translation (NAT) device.
    • Fix to the Attached Network dialog box where the network entries in the list were disabled.

As you can see you get several new feature with Update Rollup 5. In Data Protection Manager you finally get support for SharePoint, Exchange and Windows Client workload protection to Microsoft Azure, and support for workloads running on VMware infrastructure. Virtual Machines Manager not only brings new features such as support for the Virtual Machine Manager Database to run on SQL Server 2014 it also includes a lot of fixes and a security update (3035898
MS15-017: Vulnerability in Virtual Machine Manager could allow elevation of privilege: February 10, 2015). Some of the most interesting fixes for me are:

  • DHCP extension: Currently, users have to manually update the DHCP extension after update rollup installation on all hosts. This is now automated. After the DHCP extension is replaced in the Virtual Machine Manager server’s installation folder to the latest version, Virtual Machine Manager automatically checks the DHCP extension against all hosts. If the host has an older version of DHCP extensions, the agent version status will be displayed as “DHCP extension needs to be updated in host properties on the Status page.” The user calls the update agent and updates the DHCP extension on the Hyper-V host in the same way that the user did this for the Virtual Machine Manager agent. Also, if the VSwitch is a logical switch, the status will be shown in “logical switch compliance.” The user can remediate the logical switch. This will also update the DHCP extension on the host.
  • Bare-Metal Deployment: If a physical computer profile is created by using vNic (and by using a virtual machine network) and if there are more than one hostgroup for a logical network that also has that virtual machine network when you add a host resource on the “Provisioning Options” page, the host profile will be displayed for only one host group. The profile won’t be displayed for the rest of the host groups.

For Windows Azure Pack also includes some important fixes and improvements on of the is in the Tenant Portal, users can now see details on Virtual Machine Memory type, Memory Startup and Maximum values.

Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2 brings a lot of new features and important fixes to the table, however before deploying the fixes in your production environment, I recommend to test the Update Rollup and maybe wait for some reports about issues from other users.



Windows Azure Pack IaaS

Add Domain User or Group to Azure Pack Administrators

When you install and configure Windows Azure Pack (WAP) you will have set your install user to the administrators list in Azure Pack, so you can login to the Azure Pack Admin Portal. If you want to use other users you can add them via PowerShell. To add a domain user or group to the Windows Azure Pack Admins you can use the following PowerShell commands. Of course it does make a lot of sense to create a security group in your domain, where you add all the WAP administrators, and add this group to the Azure Pack administrators.

With the following command you can check who is in the admin list right now.

 
$connectionstring = 'Server=SQL01.cloud01.thomasmaurer.ch\WAP01;Initial Catalog=Microsoft.MgmtSvc.Store;User ID=sa;Password=Passw0rd'
Get-MgmtSvcAdminUser  -ConnectionString $connectionstring

With the following command you can add an user group to the Azure Pack Admin list

 
$connectionstring = 'Server=SQL01.cloud01.thomasmaurer.ch\WAP01;Initial Catalog=Microsoft.MgmtSvc.Store;User ID=sa;Password=Passw0rd'
Add-MgmtSvcAdminUser -ConnectionString $connectionstring -Principal 'Cloud01\WAPAdminGroup'


System Center Logo

Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack now available

Microsoft today released Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2012 R2. Update Rollup 4 (UR4) fix some issues and new features in the System Center components as well as Windows Azure Pack.

Components that are fixed in this update rollup

Especially Virtual Machines Manager includes a lot of fixes and DPM also brings beside fixes some interesting new features such as support for SQL Server 2014. In Azure Pack Microsoft added now the possibility to use Azure Site Recovery Manager into plans for DC Failovers via Hyper-V Replica.

 



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