Kwiecień, 2011

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Everything you cannot do with SCVMM but you were affraid to ask…

niedziela, Kwiecień 17th, 2011

Now, if you search the network you will find a lot of articles on SCVMM and how it differs from Hyper-V Manager. Unfortunately they will concentrate on what you can do with SCVMM and not with HM rather than vice-versa. However, is it really that VMM is all like Hyper-V Manager and more?

Working with both consoles and looking for different solutions I have heard people say that Hper-V Manager is all about managing host(s) an VMM manages VMs. Let’s see then what you can’t do with SVMM:

  • cannot mount iso to a VM when it is installed locally on a host. Can mount from a library only. Frustrating and time wasting;
  • cannot start/stop Hyper-V services and integration services;
  • managing vhds;
  • create clusters;

Do you find anything else?

TS: Windows Server Virtualization, Configuring 70-652

czwartek, Kwiecień 14th, 2011

Today I passed 70-652 exam for Windows Server Virtualization, Configuring. It is really easy if you played with Hyper-V and SCVMM for a while. The books I suggest to learn from are:

Here are some additional materials that can be found useful:

Hyper-V Security Guide – Solution Accelerator

Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 Scripting Guide

Let me know if you have any questions regarding the exam or preparations.

Microsoft Virtual Academy

wtorek, Kwiecień 12th, 2011

To spread knowledge about Microsoft’s new cloud computing solution – Azure – they started up a new portal dedicated to those who want to learn what Azure offers – Microsoft Virtual Academy. Participation is for free. By doing courses and passing self-assessment tests you can gain points, ranks, etc. Right now there are 4 courses available but since the maximum number of points to gain is a little more than 300 and to get platinum rank you need to have 1000+ points, I suspect they keep on introducing new courses. A course is basically a set of msdn documents, Technet screencasts, etc but since they are logically divided into courses and sections there is no need any more to search all the sites.

MVA rankI am really curious how MVA is going to develop; I am not sure how popular it is – I have not finished all the courses yet and I am already #1 in my country. Hm…

 

Try some Azure for free

niedziela, Kwiecień 10th, 2011

On Microsoft Azure web site there’s an offer to trial Azure platform called Free Trial Introductory Special. What you get are „750 hours of an Extra Small compute instance, 25 hours of a small compute instance, 1GB Web Edition database and more” – all these every month. Be careful however, as if you exceed this promotional limit, you will be charged.

If you are not sure how you can benefit Azure and which plan best suits you, you can use the TCO calculator provided here.

Anyway, Free Trial in my opinion is the best way to try out Azure, no matter is you are planning to move your applications or services to the cloud, you want to „see how it works” or you are simply interesting in these technologies.

Storage structure and configuration in Hyper-V: Part 1

czwartek, Kwiecień 7th, 2011

For those who are going to implement and manage virtual environment based on Microsoft Hyper-V, it is important to understand how Hyper-V stores file related to virtual machines, where they are stored, what kind of files they are and how one can modify the settings related to folder(s) structure as well as what the consequences will be.

Default values

After Hyper-V role is installed on Windows Server 2008 R2, it will use default paths:

  • C:\Users\Public\Documents\Hyper-V\Virtual Hard Disks (for virtual disks files)
  • C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V (for VM files)

First of all, these path should be changed. You should:

  • preferably put these folders away from OS drive – think about SAN or RAID as solutions for you storage. Remember: the files in these folders are your virtual machines. And you do not want to lose them. Moreover, if you are going to enable failover clustering on your VM you will probably want to put your machines on a SAN. A multisite clustering can use NAS or other storage solutions but you will need to take care abo8ut content replication in order to ensure the storages for your machines are synchronized.
  • decide if you want to keep your machines together in the same folder with vhd files or not. For the sake of simplicity you may want to set the same folder both for VMs and VHDs. This way you will have all files belonging to your VM together in the same folder.

The default paths are changed from Hyper-V Settings are shown below. I decided to keep my VM files and VHD files separately. I put them into different folder on C: (system drive, not too smart…)

Looking closer

So we changed the path for VMs and we’re ready to go. We install virtual machines. Let’s go to inspect the files and folders related to Hyper-V.

Open the folder you set for your VMs’ files, C:\Hyper-V\VM in my case. You are going to see two folders – Virtual Machines and Snapshots. Let’s do cd „Virtual Machines”. Whoooaa… What’s that? That doesn’t look good. some strange folders and xml files named with series of alphanumeric characters. But have no fear; these are actually folders and files your VMs live in. These strange names are VM GUIDs, unique for every Hyper-V VM. How to find them? Well, don’t count on Hyper-V Manager console. But here is a nice VBScript which, once run on your host machine, will show you all guids for VMs running on this particular server. Look for VM GUID in the out put under your VM name.

Now when we know which GUID belongs to the machine we want to inspect, let’s open a {GUID}.xml file. What you see is your VM whole configuration. Everything’s there from drives to power settings, all nicely formatted in xml. Cool.

Now let’s get inside a folder named with our machine’s GUID. Again, you gonna see files named with GUID; however now these are bin and vsv files. A bin file will contain the memory state for the virtual machine while a vsv one is for the saved state of devices attached to your VM.

In the next part we will talk about vhd files and snapshots.

Check out MED-V

wtorek, Kwiecień 5th, 2011

Wannna play with Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization but have no access to volume licensing and Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. Try Technet virtual Labs for Windows 7.

You can try MED-V, App-V and you will have a chance to implement XenDesktop4 on Hyper-V.

Have fun! :-)

PowerShell in SCVMM 2008 R2 – Part 2: Guest OS Profile

poniedziałek, Kwiecień 4th, 2011

In my last note we saw how easily hardware profiles can be generated using PowerShell Snapin and its cmdlets for SCVMM 2008 R2. Now it is time to have a closer look on Guest OS Profiles that we will use later to create templates and deploy new VMs. Click to continue »

Managing Hyper-V with PowerShell without SCVMM

niedziela, Kwiecień 3rd, 2011

For those who want to manage Hyper-V host and VMs with PowerShell but do not have SCVMM installed, I have a good news: on this page you will find a management library for Hyper-V. If you are missing cmdlets like Add-VM or Get-VHDInfo, search no more. It supports enormous set of cmdlets every Hyper-V administrator will find useful. Really cool!

When you download it, make sure you set ExecutionPolicy correctly as the scripts are not signed. The downloads can be found here – make sure you read the documentation first.

Why such cmdlets were not included in Windows Server 2008 – the answer is: time. In WS 2008 RTM Hyper-V was not even included and at this time it was in beta. Why these cmdlets were not included in Windows Server 2008 Rs? The answer is: I dunno. I don’t believe MS intended to sell more SCVMM with an argument that it supports PS for Hyper-V. But I definitely want to see it in next WS release or as an update to R2.

HP sizer allows you to plan server consolidation easily.

piątek, Kwiecień 1st, 2011

HP Sizer for Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 is a small tool that takes as input your running servers list (hardware they are running on and the resource utilization) and calculate how they can be allocated to servers running MS Hyper-V. It’s gonna of course propose you HP servers as your future hosts with full characteristic and even pricing ;-) So let’s quickly have a look how it works and if it is worth using.

HP Sizer for Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 Home page

click on the image for a full size in a new window

Download the tool and launch it. You will see a home page with three options. You will probably like to start with Build a new solution. The first thing you will need to provide is data about your current machines. You can put it manually or use a report created with Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit. For the sake of this note I decided to use sample data suggested by HP Sizer tool. You continue with providing information on your storage configuration and capacity.

The third configuration screen asks you to decide what the new server(s) utilizationHP Sizer for Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 - Servers to consolidate should be in terms on CPU, memory, network and storage usage. HP suggests to leave at least 20% reserve for unpredicted resource utilization so your ceiling values should be 80% or less.

Finally you will be asked for your preferences for new target server(s) and the sizer will suggest a solution from you. The pricing should be accurate as it will update from the Internet.

What I am missing in this tool is the ability to provide as input together with physical characteristics of your current machines also the services they provide. We can insert average CPU, memory utilization, etc. however if some services work in a cluster they should be planned to put on different hosts. It makes no sense to consolidate them into one physical machine. One target machine may be enough from performance point of view but not when it comes to high availability.