Tag: Windows Server

Azure File Sync Windows Admin Center

Sync File Servers with Azure File Sync in Windows Admin Center

One of the biggest challenges a lot of customers are facing, is the capability to provide access to files everywhere and have DR plans in place. This becomes especially true when you are dealing with classic file server infrastructures. Where it is difficult to manage capacity, availability, replication and much more. The Azure Storage team is addressing that need with Azure File Sync. Azure File Sync allows you to sync your file servers with an Azure Files. Azure File is a simple, secure, and fully managed cloud file share solution, using SMB 3.0 and HTTPS.

Azure File Sync

In addtion the service allows customer to use functionality like:

  • Cloud Tiering
  • Cloud Access
  • Multi-site Sync
  • Cloud Backup
  • Rapid File Server DR

In this post I will cover how, Windows Admin Center will help you to deploy Azure File Sync, if you want to know more, check out the Azure File Sync documentation page.



Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Setup

Connect Windows Admin Center to Azure Monitor

As mentioned in blogs posts before, Windows Admin Center allows admins to extend there on-prem environments with hybrid Azure services. The latest addition is the integration of Azure Monitor in Windows Admin Center. This allows you to collect events and performance counters from Windows Server to run analytics and reporting in Azure and take action when a particular condition is detected. This can then be a notification (SMS, email, push notification) and/or a direct action using Azure Logic Apps, Azure Functions, Azure Automation Runbooks, webhooks or integration into ITSM tools.

Setup monitoring and alerts in Windows Admin Center with Azure Monitor

Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Setup

Setting up the Azure Monitor connection in Windows Admin Center is simple. Select the server you want to connect to Azure Monitor. Go to Settings and then Monitoring Alerts.

Windows Admin Center Azure Monitor Connect to Azure Monitor

Here you will be able to configure the server with the right Azure subscription, resource group and log analytics workspace.



Azure Stack Familiy - Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI – A new member of the Azure Stack family

Today, the Azure team is proud to announce a new member to the Azure Stack family, the Azure Stack HCI solutions. Azure Stack HCI is Microsoft’s hyper-converged solution available from a wide range of hardware partners. Azure Stack shipped in 2017, and it is the only solution in the market today for customers to run cloud applications using consistent IaaS and PaaS services across public cloud, on-premises, and in disconnected environments. With adding the Azure Stack HCI solutions, Microsoft is offering customers a great new choice for their traditional virtualized workloads.

Today, I am pleased to announce Azure Stack HCI solutions are available for customers who want to run virtualized applications on modern hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to lower costs and improve performance. Azure Stack HCI solutions feature the same software-defined compute, storage, and networking software as Azure Stack, and can integrate with Azure for hybrid capabilities such as cloud-based backup, site recovery, monitoring, and more.

Adopting hybrid cloud is a journey and it is important to have a strategy that takes into account different workloads, skillsets, and tools. Microsoft is the only leading cloud vendor that delivers a comprehensive set of hybrid cloud solutions, so customers can use the right tool for the job without compromise.

It is built on a hyper-converged Windows Server 2019 cluster that uses validated and certified hardware to run virtual machines and workloads on-premises. Azure Stack HCI also allows you to optionally connect Azure services for BCDR, management and more. Azure Stack HCI solutions use Microsoft-validated hardware to ensure optimal performance and reliability. It includes support for technologies such as NVMe drives, persistent memory, and remote-direct memory access (RDMA) networking, to get the best possible performance if needed.

What is behind Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI Product Overview

Azure Stack HCI is based on Windows Server 2019, parried with validated hardware from OEM partners. With the Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition, customer get Software Defined Infrastructure and Software Defined Datacenter technologies like Hyper-V, Storage Spaces Direct and many more, which are the base of Azure Stack HCI. Paired with Windows Admin Center, you can use existing skills, gain hyperconverged efficiency, and connect to Azure services.



Install or Update PowerShell 6 on Windows 10

How to Install and Update PowerShell 6

Today Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 ship with Windows PowerShell 5.1 as the default version. PowerShell Core 6 is a new edition of PowerShell that is cross-platform (Windows, macOS, and Linux), open-source, and built for heterogeneous environments and the hybrid cloud. PowerShell 6 today is a side by side version next to Windows PowerShell 5.1. That means on Windows you cannot just upgrade to PowerShell 6, you will need to install it, same as on Linux and macOS. This blog post shows you how simple you can install PowerShell 6 or update PowerShell 6, if you have already installed it, on Windows 10, Windows Server 2019 or Linux.

One great example of how cross-platform PowerShell can work, check out my blog post: How to set up PowerShell SSH Remoting

Of course, you can find excellent documentation out there on Microsoft Docs. However, Steve Lee (Microsoft Principal Software Engineer Manager in the PowerShell Team) shared some one-liner, which helps you quickly install and update PowerShell 6.

Install PowerShell Core 6

Before showing you the one-liner option to install PowerShell 6, I want to share with you the documentation to install PowerShell Core 6 on different operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.



Windows Server 2019

Which Windows Server 2019 Installation Option should I choose?

Windows Server 2019 will bring several installation options and tuning options for virtual machines, physical servers as well as container images. In this blog post I want to give an overview about the different installation options of Windows Server 2019.

Installation Options for Windows Server 2019 Physical Servers and Virtual Machines

As always, you can install Windows Server 2019 in virtual machines or directly on physical hardware, depending on your needs and requirements. For example you can use Windows Server 2019 as physical hosts for your Hyper-V virtualization server, Container hosts, Hyper-Converged Infrastructure using Hyper-V and Storage Spaces Direct, or as an application server. In virtual machines you can obviously use Windows Server 2019 as an application platform, infrastructure roles or container host. And of course you could also use it as Hyper-V host inside a virtual machine, leveraging the Nested Virtualization feature.

Installation OptionScenario
Windows Server CoreServer Core is the best installation option for production use and with Windows Admin Center remote management is highly improved.
Windows Server Core with Server Core App Compatibility FODWorkloads, and some troubleshooting scenarios, if Server Core doesn’t meet all your compatibility requirements. You can add an optional package to get past these issues. Try the Server Core App Compatibility Feature on Demand (FOD).
Windows Server with Desktop ExperienceWindows Server with Desktop Experience is still an option and still meets like previous releases. However, it is significantly larger than Server Core. This includes larger disk usage, more time to copy and deploy and larger attack surface. However, if Windows Server Core with App Compatibility does not support the App, Scenario or Administrators still need the UI, this is the option to install.


Thomas Maurer Speaking at Microsoft Network 9 Azure

Speaking at Microsoft NetWork 9 in Neum

Today, I am happy to announce that I will be speaking at the Microsoft NetWork 9 conference in Bosnia again. The Microsoft NetWork 9 conference will take place from March 27-29 in Neum, Bosnia. I will present two sessions focusing on the Microsoft Hybrid Cloud and Azure. This will be my second time at this conference, after speaking in 2016.

Mastering Azure using Cloud Shell!

Azure can be managed in many different way. Learn your command line options like Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI and Cloud Shell to be more efficient in managing your Azure infrastructure. Become a hero on the shell to manage the cloud!

Windows Server 2019 - Next level of Hybrid Cloud

Join this session for the best of Windows Server 2019, about the new innovation and improvements of Windows Server and Windows Admin Center. Learn how Microsoft enhances the SDDC feature like Hyper-V, Storage and Networking and get the most out of the new Azure Hybrid Cloud Integration and Container features. You’ll get an overview about the new, exciting improvements that are in Windows Server and how they’ll improve your day-to-day job.

I remember it is great event, with a great community and a lot of interesting sessions. I am looking forward to the event and hope to see you at Microsoft NetWork 9!

If you want to learn more about Windows Server 2019 and Azure CloudShell, check out my blog.



Cluster Functional Level and Cluster Upgrade Version

Learn about Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels

A couple of weeks ago, I released a blog post about Hyper-V VM Configuration versions to give an overview about the version history of Hyper-V virtual machines. After that I had the chance to work with John Marlin (Microsoft Senior Program Manager High Availability and Storage) on a similar list of Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels.

Why Cluster Functional Levels are important

With Windows Server 2016, Microsoft introduced a new feature called Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade or Cluster Rolling Upgrade. This feature allows you to upgrade the operating system of the cluster nodes to a new version, without stopping the cluster. With mixed-OS mode, you can have for example 2012 R2 and 2016 nodes in the same cluster. Keep in mind that this should only be temporary, while you are upgrading the cluster. You can basically upgrade node by node, and after all nodes are upgraded, you then upgrade the Cluster functional Level to the latest version.

List of Windows Server Cluster Functional Levels

Since the feature Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade was first introduced with Windows Server 2016, you never really knew about Cluster Functional Levels before. However, it already existed since Windows Server NT4.

Windows Server VersionCluster Functional Level
Windows Server 201911
Windows Server RS410.3
Windows Server RS310.2
Windows Server 20169
Windows Server 2012 R28
Windows Server 20127
Windows Server 2008 R26
Windows Server 20085
Windows Server 2003 R24
Windows Server 20033
Windows Server 20002
Windows Server NT41

Tips and PowerShell

If you want to know more about Cluster OS Rolling Upgrade, you can check out the Microsoft Docs. Together with John, I created a quick list of some tips for you, and some of the important PowerShell cmdlets.

To check which Cluster Functional Levels your cluster is running on, you can use the following PowerShell cmdlet:

If you have upgraded all nodes in the cluster, you can use the Update-ClusterFunctionalLevel to update the Cluster Functional Level. Also make sure that you upgrade the workloads running in that cluster, for example upgrade the Hyper-V Configuration Version or in a Storage Spaces Direct Cluster, the Storage Pool version (Update-StoragePool).

In Windows Server 2019 the Clustering team introduced a new PowerShell cmdlet to check how many nodes of the cluster are running on which level. Get-ClusterNodeSupportedVersion helps you to identify the Cluster Functional Level and the Cluster Upgrade Version.

Cluster Functional Level Get-ClusterNodeSupportedVersion

This means that the functional level is 11 (Windows 2019).  The Upgrade version column is what you can upgrade to/with, meaning 11.1 or Windows 2019 only.

Cluster Functional Level and Cluster Upgrade Version

This means your Cluster Functional Level is 10.  Meaning you can add basically anything 10.x (2016, RS3, RS4) and 11 (2019) to it.

If you are running System Center Virtual Machine Manager, the Cluster OS rolling upgrade, can be fully automated as well. Check out the Microsoft Docs for Perform a rolling upgrade of a Hyper-V host cluster to Windows Server 2016 in VMM.

To find out more about information Cluster operating system rolling upgrade, like how-to, requirements and limitations, check out the Microsoft Windows Server Docs page.