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Do you have questions on Containers? #AskBenArmstrong

April 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Fundamentally, Containers are an isolated, resource controlled, and portable runtime environment which runs on a host machine or virtual machine and allows you to run an application or process which is packaged with all the required dependencies and configuration files on its own.

When you containerize an application, only the components needed to run this application and of course the application itself are combined into an image, which are used to create the Containers.

How are you utilising containers? Do you have questions on Containers? On Tuesday, 24th April, Microsoft Program Manager Ben Armstrong, will be answering your questions on Containers. It is a rare opportunity. Don’t miss out.

  • Date and Time: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018, 4pm CEST (7am PDT / 10am EDT) Duration: Approx. 1 hour
  • Date and Time: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018, 10am PDT / 1pm EDT (7pm CEST) Duration: Approx. 1 hour

You can also ask questions through twitter until Tuesday by including #AskBenArmstrong.

Webminar

Serial Console access for both #Linux and #Windows #Azure VMs #COM1 #SerialConsole

March 27, 2018 Leave a comment

SerialConsole-PrivatePreviewWindows
Source:
 https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/virtual-machine-serial-console-access/

Now, you can debug fstab error on a Linux VM for example, with direct serial-based access and fix issues with the little effort. It’s like having a keyboard plugged into the server in Microsoft datacenter but in the comfort of your office.

Serial Console for Virtual Machines is available in all global regions! This serial connection is to COM1 serial port of the virtual machine and provides access to the virtual machine and are not related to virtual machine’s network / operating system state.

All data is sent back and forth is encrypted on the wire.All access to the serial console is currently logged in the boot diagnostics logs of the virtual machine. Access to these logs are owned and controlled by the Azure virtual machine administrator.

You can access it by going to the Azure portal and visiting the Support + Troubleshooting section.

Security Access Requirements

Serial Console access requires you to have VM Contributor or higher privileges to the virtual machine. This will ensure connection to the console is kept at the highest level of privileges to protect your system. Make sure you are using role-based access control to limit to only those administrators who should have access. All data sent back and forth is encrypted in transit.

Access to Serial console is limited to users who have VM Contributors or above access to the virtual machine. If your AAD tenant requires Multi-Factor Authentication then access to the serial console will also need MFA as its access is via Azure portal.

How to enable it:

For Linux VMs: this capability requires no changes to existing Linux VM’s and it will just start working.

For Windows VMs: it requires a few additional steps to enable it:

  1. Virtual machine MUST have boot diagnostics enabled
  2. The account using the serial console must have Contributor role for VM and the boot diagnostics storage account.
  3. Open the Azure portal
  4. In the left menu, select virtual machines.
  5. Click on the VM in the list. The overview page for the VM will open.
  6. Scroll down to the Support + Troubleshooting section and click on serial console (Preview) option. A new pane with the serial console will open and start the connection.

Note: For all platform images starting in March, Microsoft have already taken the required steps to enable the Special Administration Console (SAC) which is exposed via the Serial Console.

 

 

Windows Server 2019 now available in preview

March 21, 2018 Leave a comment

 Capture5

On March 20th 2018, Microsoft announced that Windows Server 2019, which is built on the strong foundation of Windows Server 2016, are now released to Preview. You can get access to the preview build through Microsoft Insiders program.

Windows 2019 will be generally available (GA) in the second half of calendar year 2018.

 

Some tips:

  • The Windows Server vNext Semi-Annual Preview – Build 17623 is Server Core ONLY

 

Capture1.PNG

  • If you downloaded the VHDX version, as the file is compressed, make you sure you remove the compress check in the properties of the file as per below image as it will fail to start the VM if you don’t:

 

  • Capture3

 

  • Download the Windows Server vNext LTSC Preview – Build 17623, if you are looking for the Full GUI version.

Capture

Use the following keys provided by Microsoft (https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Windows-Server-Insiders/Announcing-Windows-Server-2019-Preview-Build-17623/m-p/173715#M268)

Windows Server 2019 Build 17623  is available in ISO format in 18 languages. This build and all future pre-release builds will require use of activation keys during setup. The following keys allow for unlimited activations:

Datacenter Edition

 6XBNX-4JQGW-QX6QG-74P76-72V67

Standard Edition

 MFY9F-XBN2F-TYFMP-CCV49-RMYVH

 

So, what features to look for in the new in Server 2019:

 

·        Cluster Sets, the new cloud scale-out technology, is a loosely-coupled grouping of multiple Failover Clusters: compute, storage or hyper-converged. Cluster Sets technology will enable virtual machine fluidity across member clusters within a Cluster Set and a unified storage namespace across the “set” in support of virtual machine fluidity.  

·        Failover Cluster without NTLM authentication, which allows failover clusters to be deployed in environments where NTLM has been disabled.

·        Shielded VM’s Offline mode, Alternate HGS and Shielded Linux support, which allows you to run HyperV shielded virtual machines on hosts that suffer intermittent connectivity to their Host Guardian Service (HGS).  The fallback HGS will allow you to configure a second set of URLs for Hyper-V to try if it can’t reach the primary HGS server.

·        Shielded VM’s Alternate HGS, which allows you to run HyperV shielded virtual machines on hosts that suffer intermittent connectivity to their Host Guardian Service (HGS).  The fallback HGS will allow you to configure a second set of URLs for Hyper-V to try if it can’t reach the primary HGS server. 

·        Shielded VM’s Offline mode, which takes the high availability promise for shielded VMs one step further and allows you to continue to start up a shielded VM even if the host’s primary and fallback HGSs can’t be reached.

·        Shielded VM’s Shielded Linux support, for customers that run mixed-OS environments, Microsoft now supports Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Shielded virtual machines.

·        Encrypted Network in SDN, which provides simple to configure DTLS-based encryption using the Network Controller to manage the end-to-end encryption and protect data as it travels through the wires and network devices between the hosts., enabling the VM to VM traffic within the VM subnet to be automatically encrypted as it leaves the host and prevents snooping and manipulation of traffic on the wire.  This is done without requiring any configuration changes in the VMs themselves.

· Performance history for Storage Spaces Direct, which allow Administrators of Storage Spaces Direct get easy access to historical performance and capacity data from their cluster.

·        Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, ,which provides deep platform sensors and response actions, providing visibility to memory and kernel level attacker activities and abilities to take actions on compromised machines in response to incidents such as remote collection of additional forensic data, remediating malicious files, terminating malicious processes etc.

·        Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard ,which is new set of host intrusion prevention capabilities, designed to lock down the device against a wide variety of attack vectors and block behaviours commonly used in malware attacks:

To DOWNLOAD, Join the program to ensure you have access to the bits.

For more details on this preview build, check out the Release Notes

Source : https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/windowsserver/2018/03/20/introducing-windows-server-2019-now-available-in-preview/

Now Available: Virtual Machine Manager 2016 book

February 28, 2018 1 comment
9781785881480

VMM 2016 book

Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2016 is part of the System Center suite to configure and manage private clouds.

Now available: System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager Cookbook – Third Edition

The book will be your best companion for day-to-day virtualization needs within your organization, as it takes you through a series of recipes to simplify and plan a highly scalable and available virtual infrastructure. You will learn the deployment tips, techniques, and solutions designed to show users how to improve VMM 2016 in a real-world scenario. The chapters are divided in a way that will allow you to implement the VMM 2016 and additional solutions required to effectively manage and monitor your fabrics and clouds. We will cover the most important new features in VMM 2016 across networking, storage, and compute, including brand new Guarded Fabric, Shielded VMs and Storage Spaces Direct. The recipes in the book provide step-by-step instructions giving you the simplest way to dive into VMM fabric concepts, private cloud, and integration with external solutions such as VMware, Operations Manager, and the Windows Azure Pack.

vmm-table of contents.PNG

By the end of this book, you will be armed with the knowledge you require to start designing and implementing virtual infrastructures in VMM 2016.

The book has been updated to reflect the updates available on VMM 2016 1801 release.

What You Will Learn

  • Plan and design a VMM architecture for real-world deployment
  • Configure fabric resources, including compute, networking, and storage
  • Create and manage Storage Spaces Direct clusters in VMM
  • Configure Guarded Fabric with Shielded VMs
  • Create and deploy virtual machine templates and multi-tier services
  • Manage Hyper-V and VMware environments from VMM
  • Enhance monitoring and management capabilities
  • Upgrade to VMM 2016 from previous versions

Authors

  • Roman Levchenko
  • Edvaldo Alessandro Cardoso

Order your Copy

You can order your copy of the VMM 2016 book here

 

Key features of the new Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner

December 19, 2017 2 comments

Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner is now GA with support for both Hyper-V and VMware.

Disaster Recovery cost to Azure is now added in the report. It gives compute, storage, network and Azure Site Recovery license cost per VM.

ASR Deployment Planner does a deep, ASR-specific assessment of your on-premises environment. It provides recommendations that are required by Azure Site Recovery for successful DR operations such as replication, failover, and DR-Drill of your VMware or Hyper-V virtual machines.  

Also, if you intend to migrate your on-premises workloads to Azure, use Azure Migrate for migration planning. Azure Migrate assesses on-premises workloads and provides guidance

 Key features of the tool are:

  1. Estimated Network bandwidth required for initial replication(IR) and delta replication.
  2. Storage type(standard or premium storage) requirement for each VM.
  3. Total number of standard and premium storage accounts to be provisioned.
  4. For VMware, it provides the required number of Configuration Server and Process Server to be deployed on on-prem.
  5. For Hyper-V, it provides additional storage requirements on on-premises.
  6. For Hyper-V, the number of VMs that can be protected in parallel (in a batch) and protection order of each batch for successful initial replication.
  7. For VMware, the number of VMs that can be protected in parallel to complete initial replication in a given time.
  8. Throughput that ASR can get from on-premises to Azure. 
  9. VM eligibility assessment based on number of disks, size of the disk  and IOPS, OS type.   
  10. Estimate DR cost for the target Azure  region in the specific currency.


When to use ASR Deployment Planner and Azure Migrate?

  • DR from VMware/Hyper-V to Azure
  • Migration from VMware to Azure

 

Download the tool and learn more about VMware to Azure Deployment Planner and Hyper-V to Azure Deployment planner.

 

 

 

New Technical Preview for Microsoft Windows Server management experience Project “Honolulu”, released

December 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Modernized, simplified, integrated, and secure experiences. Project “Honolulu” Technical Preview 1711 update is now available!

Some cool new features were release like the Windows 10 client management: You can now add Windows 10 client machines as connections in Honolulu, and manage them with a subset of tools in the “Computer Management” Solution.

For more information on new and removed features check https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/windowsserver/2017/12/01/1711-update-to-project-honolulu-technical-preview-is-now-available/

 

Automating the deployment of Hyper-V hosts with VMM 2016 with Baremetal deployment

November 30, 2017 1 comment

To deploy a new Hyper-V host from bare metal, the following simple steps are carried out by System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) :

  1. VMM Discovers the physical computer through out-of-band management (BMC)
  2. VMM Installs an OS image on the physical computer using a previously created physical computer profile.
  3. VMM Enables the Hyper-V role on the physical computer.
  4. VMM Brings the computer under VMM management as a managed Hyper-V host.

Now in order for that to happen, let’s see what pre-requisites you are required to provide first:

  1. DNS and Active Directory
    Create DNS entries and Active Directory account for the machine names.
  2. BIOS

    a. Set up the BIOS on the machine to support virtualization: Configuring the BIOS boot order to boot from (PXE)-enabled network adapter as the first device.
    b. Configure the BMC settings. Configure the logon credentials and IP address settings for the BMC on each computer.
  3. Add a PXE server environment: A PXE server integrated to VMM is required for Bare Metal deployment.
  4. Add resources to VMM library: Add a generalized virtual hard disk with an suitable OS to use as the base image, and driver files that will be added to the during installation of the OS.
  5. Create a Run As account. In VMM create a Run As Account with permissions to access the BMC.
  6. Create Physical Computer profiles: In the VMM library, create one or more physical computer profiles. These profiles include configuration settings, such as the location of the operating system image, and hardware and OS settings.


Now let’s have a look on the step by step to provision a Hyper-V host using Baremetal Deployment:

  1. Click Fabric > Servers > Home > Add > Add Resources > Hyper-V Hosts and Clusters.
  2. In the Add Resource Wizard > Resource location, select Physical computers to be provisioned as virtual machine hosts.
  3. In Credentials and Protocol select the Run As account with permissions to access the BMC. In the Protocol list, click the out-of-band management protocol that your BMCs use. If you want to use Data Center Management Interface (DCMI), click Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI). Although DCMI 1.0 is not listed, it is supported. Make sure the correct port is selected.
  4. In Discovery Scope, enter the single IP address, the IP subnet, or the IP address range that includes the IP addresses of the BMCs

Note:

  • If you specify a single IP address, when you click Next, the computer is restarted.
  • If you specify an IP address range, when you click Next, information about the computer is displayed, and you can confirm that you specified the computer that you meant to.

4a. If you specified an IP subnet or IP address range the Target Resources page appears. Select the BMCs you want to provision as Hyper-V hosts.

  1. In Provisioning Options, click a host group for new Hyper-V hosts. Select the physical computer profile you want to apply.
  2. In Deployment Customization, provide information for each computer that you want to provision as a Hyper-V host:

Note: To remove a BMC from the list, select it and then click Remove.

For each BMC IP address in the list:

    • Click the BMC IP address and specify a unique computer name, without wildcard characters.
    • Select or clear Skip Active Directory for this computer name. The Active Directory check prevents deployment if the computer account already exists.
    • For each BMC IP address in the list:
    • Click on the Network Adapter (on the left) to modify the configuration, or fill in more information. You can specify the MAC address of the management NIC (not the BMC) and static IP settings for this network adapter.
    • To specify an IP address select a logical network and an IP subnet if applicable. If the selected IP subnet includes IP address pool, you can check Obtain an IP address corresponding to the selected subnet. Otherwise, type an IP address that’s within the logical network or its subnet.
    • Configure the adapter settings for each network adapter. You must specify any information that is missing for the adapters.
    • When all information for the listed BMC are completed, click Next.
  1. In Summary, confirm the settings, and then click Finish to deploy the new Hyper-V hosts and bring them under VMM management.

Make sure that all steps in the job have a status of Completed.

  1. To confirm that the host was added click Fabric > Servers > All Hosts > host group, and verify that the new Hyper-V host appears in the group.

 

Note: Nano Server is not a supported OS for infrastructure-related roles like Hyper-V. I recommend that you use Windows 2016 Core Server version