Archive for June, 2012

VMM 2012 SP1: Installing and Configuring Dell EqualLogic PS Series SMP provider : NEW

June 28, 2012 6 comments

VMM 2012 SP1 supports the same storage arrays that were supported in VMM 2012, plus the SMP provider. For more info : (

Below are the steps to install and connect your Dell EqualLogic PS Storage to VMM 2012 SP1 using the new SMP Provider

1. Install the Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools 4.5 on the VMM management server, and then restart the server.

Note: Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools compatible with SCVMM 2012 SP1 is planned for availability late this year. The new release is the next step in integrating Microsoft applications with EqualLogic storage arrays.
Contact Dell to obtain the Dell EqualLogic Host Integration Tools.

2. Start the VMM command shell as an administrator. Import the EqualLogic PowerShell Tools module and then add the storage provider by using the New-EqlGroupAccess cmdlet. Then, import the storage provider into VMM by using the Import-SCStorageProvider cmdlet. For example:

PS C:\> Import-Module -Name “C:\Program Files\EqualLogic\bin\EQLPSTools.dll”

PS C:\> New-EqlGroupAccess -GroupName “EqlGroup” -GroupWKAddress -GroupMKAddress -UserName Administrator -Password “AcctPassword”

PS C:\> Import-SCStorageProvider

It may take a while depending on the number of storage pools and logical units that already exist on the array.

To verify whether the provider was imported, in the Fabric workspace of the VMM console, in the Fabric pane, expand Storage, and then click Providers.

In the Providers pane, verify that the provider appears, with a status of Responding.

4. To bring the storage pools under management and to assign classifications, follow these steps:

a. In the Arrays pane, right-click the array, and then click Properties.

b. In the Array Name Properties dialog box, click the Storage Pools tab.

c. Under Storage Pools, select the check box next to each storage pool that you want VMM to manage.

d. Under Classification, select an existing classification or create a new one. To create a new one, click Create classification, enter a classification, click Add, and then in the Classification list, select the new classification.

e. When you are finished, click OK.

f. Open the Jobs workspace, and verify that the Sets Storage Array job completes.

5. Verify that you can create and delete logical units. To do this, follow these steps:

a. In the Fabric pane, under Storage, click Classifications and Pools.

b. In the Classifications, StoragePools, and Logical Units pane, click the desired storage pool.

c. On the Home tab, click Create Logical Unit.

d. In the Create Logical Unit dialog box, enter a name, optional description, and size.

e. If the storage pool is configured to support thin provisioning, optionally click Create thin storage logical unit with capacity committed on demand, and then click OK.

When the job completes, in the Classifications, StoragePools, and Logical Units pane, verify that the new logical unit is listed under the pool.

f. To remove the logical unit, click the logical unit. Then, on the Home tab, in the Remove group, click Remove. Review the warning message, and then click OK to continue. Verify that the logical unit is removed from the list.

To configure storage on a Hyper-V host, follow the procedures in in the System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager topic How to Configure Storage on a Hyper-V Host. Try assigning a logical unit to a host, with an assigned drive letter.


Hyper-V Windows 2012 : High Availability and Resiliency : new enhancements

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

There are a number of new enhancements that ensure key workloads are resilient, and protected.

Hyper-V ReplicaAsynchronous, application-consistent virtual machine replication and it does not depend on any hardware vendor. You can establish an Hyper-V Replica between 2 separated physical locations without a storage. It permits asynchronous replication of Hyper-V virtual machines between two locations for business continuity and failure recovery.

Incremental BackupsTrue differential disk backups of virtual hard disks to help ensure that the data is backed up and restored when necessary. It also reduces storage costs because it backs up only what has changed, not the entire disk.

NIC TeamingProvides increased reliability and performance for virtual machines and now does not depends on manufacturer drivers.

Hyper-V Clustering Enhancements – Unmatched scale and flexibility for virtualized infrastructures:

Unmatched Scale – Windows Server 2012 support up to 64 physical nodes and up to 4,000 virtual machines in a single cluster providing scalability and flexibility for key virtualized workloads.

Flexible Virtual Machine Guest Clustering – Provides not only iSCSI guest clustering support, including MPIO, but also enables the use of Virtual Fibre Channel adapters within the virtual machine allowing workloads access to storage area networks using fiber channel fabric. In addition, a virtual fibre channel enables IT to cluster guest operating systems over Fibre Channel providing HA for workloads within VMs and utilize the built-in Windows multi-path I/O (MPIO) for high-availability and load balancing on the storage path.  By employing MPIO and Failover Clustering together as complimentary technologies, users are able to mitigate the risk of a system outage at both the hardware and application levels.

Highly Secure Clustered Storage – Hyper-V, Failover Clustering and BitLocker now work in concert to create the ideal and secure platform for private cloud infrastructure. Windows Server 2012 Cluster disks that are encrypted using BitLocker Drive Encryption enable better physical security for deployments outside secure data centers, providing a critical safeguard for the cloud and helping protect against inadvertent data leaks

Enhanced Cluster Shared Volumes – Cluster Shared Volume 2.0 (CSV). CSV has been greatly enhanced in a number of ways. From a usability standpoint, CSV is now a core Failover Clustering feature, with simplified administration and management.  To support up to 64 nodes in a cluster, CSV has been improved in aspects of both performance and scalability. In terms of integrating with our partners, CSV has specifically been enhanced to work out of the box with storage filter drivers such as those used by: anti-virus, data protection, backup and storage replication ensuring a more seamless integration with existing investments.

3 Levels of Availability – Bringing higher availability to workloads that do not support clustering. It does this by providing a light-weight, simple solution to monitor applications running in the VMs and integrating with the host. By monitoring services and event logs inside the virtual machine, Hyper-V and Failover Clustering can detect whether the key services that a virtual machine provides are healthy and provide automatic corrective action such as restarting the virtual machine or restarting a service within the VM.  This is in addition to the already existing virtual machine failover capabilities should a host fail, or the virtual machine itself become unresponsive.

Cluster-Aware Updating – An in-box end-to-end solution for updating Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Failover Clusters, helping customers to preview, apply, and report on updates, all with zero downtime to the virtual machines.

Virtual Machine Failover Prioritization –  Virtual machine priorities can now be configured to control the order in which specific virtual machines failover or start. This ensures higher priority virtual machines are given the resources they need and lower priority virtual machines are given resources as they are available.

Affinity (and Anti-Affinity) Virtual Machine Rules – Administrators can now configure partnered virtual machines so that at failover, the partnered machines are migrated simultaneously. For example, administrators can configure their SharePoint virtual machine and the partnered SQL Server virtual machine to always failover together to the same node. Administrators can also specify that two specific virtual machines cannot coexist on the same node in a failover scenario.

How Does VmWare compare?

Capability Windows   Server 2012 Hyper-V

VMware   ESXi 5.0

VMware   vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus
 Incremental   Backups




 VM   Replication



vCenter SRM

 NIC   Teaming




 Integrated   High Availability




 Guest OS   Application Monitoring




 Cluster-Aware   Updating




Failover   Prioritization




Affinity   & Anti-Affinity Rules




What are you waiting for? start today your own POC of Windows 2012 !

Hyper-V Windows 20012 improvments and comparison

June 27, 2012 1 comment

Significant improvements have been made across the board, with Hyper-V now supporting increased cluster sizes, a significantly higher number of active virtual machines per host, and additionally, more advanced performance features such as in-guest Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA).

The tables below shows the improvement Microsoft has done with  Windows 20012 Hyper-V :



The table also shows that both Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus deliver up to 1TB of memory to an individual virtual machine, however, one aspect to bear in mind when creating virtual machines of this size, is the vRAM (Virtual Machine Memory) entitlement with vSphere 5.0.

  • Each vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus CPU license comes with a vRAM entitlement of 96GB vRAM, and on a 2 CPU physical host, this would equate to 192GB vRAM added to a ‘vRAM Pool’
  • The 1TB virtual machine would consume 96GB of the vRAM allocation (this is an upper limit established for an individual VM, and was one of the results of customer feedback around the original vRAM licensing announcements)
  • This would leave only 96GB of vRAM for use by other virtual machines, restricting scale. The only option to overcome this would be for the customer to purchase additional vSphere 5.0 licenses at considerable expense. This is on top of the extra administrative overhead of monitoring and managing vRAM entitlements.



1.XenServer 6.0 active VMs per host varies based on Server/VDI workload, with PVS/IntelliCache & HA on/off
2.Maximum VMs on a Cluster (Resource Pool) on XenServer 6.0 based on a maximum of 50-60 concurrent protected VMs per host with HA enabled.
3.Host physical memory is capped at 32GB thus maximum VM memory is also restricted to 32GB usage.
4.For clustering/high availability, customers must purchase vSphere
5.vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus is the only edition that supports 32 vCPUs.  All others support 8 vCPUs within a virtual machine.
6.Maximum number of Virtual CPUs per Host is not documented in the Citrix XenServer 6.0 Configuration Limits documentation

VMM 2012 SP1 storage providers supports : new SMP storage provider

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

With the release of VMM 2012 SP1 CTP2, Microsoft added support to the SMP storage provider.

Now VMM 2012 with SP1, supports the following types of storage providers:

  • SMP

Besides the new SMP provider type, the VMM 2012 SP1 release adds the following new functionality:

  • Supports auto (dynamic) iSCSI target systems, such as the Dell EqualLogic PS Series. System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager supported only static iSCSI target systems.
  • Supports the thin provisioning of logical units through VMM. Your storage array must support thin provisioning, and thin provisioning must be enabled for a storage pool by your storage administrator

To evaluate the storage enhancements in this CTP, you must use the following storage arrays.

Provider Type Supported Arrays
SMI-S CIM-XML See the “Supported Storage Arrays” section of Configuring Storage Overview for the supported storage arrays.

SMP Dell EqualLogic PS Series using iSCSI

Solutions for Private, Public, and Hybrid Clouds and Introducing Windows Server 2012 : Free e-books

June 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Introducing Windows Server 2012

If you are looking for an early, high-level view of Windows Server 2012, this guide introduces its new features and capabilities, with scenario-based insights demonstrating how the platform can meet the needs of your business. Click here to download.

Solutions for Private, Public, and Hybrid Clouds

Make sure to read chapter one for information on why cloud computing is the most efficient and cost-effective way to deliver computing resources to users according to your business needs:

Chapter 1: Microsoft Solutions for Private, Public and Hybrid Clouds. Click here.
Chapter 2: From Virtualization to the Private Cloud – Click here
Chapter 3: Public and Hybrid Clouds. Click here



SYSRET 64-bit OS privilege vulnerability on Intel, DOES NOT AFFECT HYPER-V

June 18, 2012 1 comment


Last week US-CERT warned of guest-to-host VM escape vulnerability and it was reported that an issue on Intel based servers could lead to a “break out” from a VM to the host in certain virtualisation products, including Microsoft : “A ring3 attacker may be able to specifically craft a stack frame to be executed by ring0 (kernel) after a general protection exception (#GP). The fault will be handled before the stack switch, which means the exception handler will be run at ring0 with an attacker’s chosen RSP causing a privilege escalation” :
Affected vendors include Intel Corp., FreeBSD, Microsoft, NetBSD, Oracle, RedHat, SUSE Linux and Xen.

But Hyper-V is NOT Affected By VU#649219 VM “Break Out”.

I’ve asked the Microsoft Hyper-V product team Redmond if Hyper-V was actually affected and as per their answer:

•The problem does affect the 64-bit OS’s on Intel hardware, but Hyper-V is not affected.

•This problem will not lead to break outs from Hyper-V VMs.

•Windows 8  is not affected

•Windows Server 2012 is not affected.

This was covered as well by Aidan Finn :

Hyper-V Windows 2012: Enhanced Storage Capabilities. How does VMware compare

June 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V introduces a number of enhanced storage capabilities to support the most intensive, mission-critical of workloads:

Virtual Fiber Channel – Enables virtual machines to integrate directly into Fiber Channel Storage Area Networks (SAN), unlocking scenarios such as fiber channel-based Hyper-V Guest Clusters.

Support for 4-KB Disk Sectors in Hyper-V Virtual Disks. Support for 4,000-byte (4-KB) disk sectors lets customers take advantage of the emerging innovation in storage hardware that provides increased capacity and reliability.

New Virtual Hard Disk Format. This new format, called VHDX, is designed to better handle current and future workloads and addresses the technological demands of an enterprise’s evolving needs by increasing storage capacity, protecting data, improving quality performance on 4-KB disks, and providing additional operation-enhancing features. The maximum size of a VHDX file is 64TB.

Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX). With data transfer support, the Hyper-V host CPU can concentrate on the processing needs of the application and offload storage-related tasks to the SAN, increasing performance.

Hyper-V provides a number of advantages over VmWare, with Hyper-V providing highest levels of availability and performance. Hyper-V also gives you the ability to utilize Device Specific Modules, also known as DSMs, produced by storage vendors, in conjunction with the Multipath I/O framework within Windows Server, ensures that customers run their workloads on an optimized configuration from the start, as the storage vendor intended, providing the highest levels of performance and availability. (Note: Only the Enterprise and Enterprise Plus editions of vSphere 5.0, through a feature known as ‘vStorage APIs for Multipathing’, provide this capability, meaning customers have to upgrade to higher, more costly editions in order to unlock the best performance from their storage investments.)

Also, by integrating Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V with an ODX-capable storage array, many of the storage-related tasks that would normally use valuable CPU and network resources on the Hyper-V hosts, are offloaded to the array itself, executing much faster, increasing performance significantly, and unlocking extra resources on the hosts themselves.

How does VMware compare?

Capability Windows Server 2012 RC Hyper-V VMware ESXi 5.0 VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise   Plus
Virtual Fiber Channel Yes Yes Yes
3rd Party Multipathing (MPIO) Yes No Yes (VAMP)
Native 4-KB Disk Support Yes No No
Maximum Virtual Disk Size 64TB VHDX 2TB VMDK 2TB VMDK
Maximum Pass Through Disk Size Varies 64TB 64TB
Offloaded Data Transfer Yes No Yes (VAAI)


System Center VMM 2012 SP1 CTP2: What’s new

June 16, 2012 1 comment

Microsoft announced the availability of CTP2 of System Center 2012 SP1.

With support for Windows 2012 and SQL 2012 introduced in CTP1, here are what’s more :

. Network Virtualization: Introduced in CTP1, this release adds support for using DHCP to assign customer addresses and for using either the IP rewrite or IP encapsulation mechanism to virtualize the IP address of a virtual machine.

· VHDX support: Introduced in CTP1, you can now convert from .vhd to .vhdx. In addition, placement determines the format of a VHD based on the OS of the destination host (when you create a virtual machine with a blank virtual hard disk), and the provisioning of a physical computer as a Hyper-V host supports the use of a .vhdx file as the base operating system image.

· Storage Enhancements: Support for the new Windows Standards-Based Storage Management service, which enables you to discover storage by using multiple provider types. In addition, this release adds support for the thin provisioning of logical units, and for the discovery of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) storage.

· Provisioning a Hyper-V Host Enhancements: Support for performing deep discovery to retrieve detailed information about physical network adapters.

· Support for VMM Console Add-Ins: You can now create Add-Ins and extend the VMM console. Add-Ins allow you to enable new actions or additional configuration for VMM objects by writing an application that uses context passed about the selected VMM objects. You can also embed custom WPF UI or web portals directly into the console’s main views to provide a more fully-integrated experience.

In App Controller, you can deploy and manage in a single console, applications running in Windows Azure PaaS, IaaS, on premises VMM clouds, and clouds provided by hosting providers. In addition, there are the following new features:

· Windows Azure Virtual Machine support: In addition to supporting Windows Azure PaaS workloads, App Controller adds support to the newly announced IaaS virtual machines in CTP2. You can easily deploy, manage, and operate Windows Azure Virtual Machines.

· Copy VMs from private cloud to public cloud: In CTP2, you can select a VMM private cloud VM and copy it to Windows Azure. App Controller makes upload disk, convert settings, and deploying a new virtual machine into an easy migrate flow!

· Hosting Provider support: In addition to on premises VMM private cloud and Windows Azure public cloud, App Controller supports connecting to VMM clouds at a hosting provider. You can connect to a hosting provider and manage user access to these clouds. You can also deploy, manage, and operate virtual machines at the hosting provider.

Also, check the the Project code-named “Service Provider Foundation” for System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) provides a rich set of web services that manages Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) for System Center 2012 SP1. The infrastructure of Virtual Machine Manager is exposed through “Service Provider Foundation” as a web service. Because of this, you can manage this System Center component through the web services; for example, you can create or delete virtual machines.

“Service Provider Foundation” provides a web service that acts as an intermediary between web-based administration client and server applications. The web service supports REST-based requests using the OData protocol. The web service handles these requests through Windows PowerShell scripts to communicate and manage server applications.

VMM 2012 : SMI-S Providers : Supported Storage Arrays

June 3, 2012 1 comment

VMM 2012 : the following storage arrays supports the new storage automation features

List Updated up to May 2, 2012

Note: For the SMI-S provider type, a value of “proxy” indicates that you must install the SMI-S provider on a server that the VMM management server can access over the network by IP address or by FQDN. Do not install the SMI-S provider on the VMM management server itself.


Manufacturer/Series Model Download Link Protocol Minimum Controller   Firmware SMI-S Provider Type Provider Version
DellCompellent Storage Center Dell Compellent Solutions iSCSI/FC SC 5.5.4 and later,EM 5.5.5 and later Proxy* 1
EMCSymmetrix VMAX/VMAXe EMC PowerLink FC Enginuity 5875 or later Proxy* 4.3
EMC/VNX VNX EMC PowerLink iSCSI Flare   31 or   later Proxy* 4.3
EMC/CX4 All EMC PowerLink iSCSI/FC Flare   30 Proxy* 4.3
HP/P10000 V800/V400 Embedded iSCSI/FC HP   3PAR   InForm OS 3.1.1.P10 Embedded 1.4
HP/P2000   G3 Embedded iSCSI/FC TS240 Embedded 1.5
HP/P6000 P6300/P6500 HP iSCSI/FC 1000   0000 Proxy* 1.4
IBM/DS8000 941/951/961 Embedded FC Embedded 5.6.x5.7.x
IBM/XIV 2810/2812     (Gen 2) Embedded iSCSI/FC Embedded,10.2.2, 10.2.4.x
IBM/XIV 2810/2812     (Gen 3) Embedded iSCSI/FC Embedded 11.011.1
NetApp/FAS All NetApp NOW iSCSI/FC 7.2.5     (7-mode) Proxy* 4.0.1

20th Australian System Administrators’ Conference

June 1, 2012 Leave a comment

The 20th Australian System Administrators’ Conference (a milestone event for Systems Administration in Australia) will be held 2 – 5 October in the Hilton Cairns Hotel.

This is the premier Systems Administration event in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Technical Program is being held 2-3 October 2012; followed by two days of Tutorials on 4 and 5 October 2012

I will be presenting the session :  Private Cloud with Windows 2012 Hyper V and System Center VMM 2012

Registratiosn are now open :


More info :

See you there!!