Posts Tagged ‘Windows 2012’

Windows 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 released to MSDN and TechNet subscriptions

September 10, 2013 Leave a comment

A few hours ago, Microsoft released an communication starting that today (September 10/09/2013) , Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM builds are now available for download to the developer and IT professional communities via MSDN and TechNet subscriptions. You can download it here:

More on Windows 2012 R2:

The Windows 8.1 RTM Enterprise edition will be available through MSDN and TechNet for businesses later this month.

More info:

Looking for MS Recommended hotfixes and updates for Server 2012 Failover Clusters?

July 13, 2013 1 comment

Microsoft published an article that documents the hotfixes that are currently available for Windows Server 2012-based Failover Clusters.

Failover Clustering allows multiple servers to provide high availability of server roles. Failover Clustering is often used for File Services, Virtual Machines, Database Applications, and Mail Applications.


The recommended hotfixes and updates for Windows Server 2012-based Failover Clusters :

Windows 2012 : Hyper-V Network design scenarios and setup – Part 1

May 6, 2013 7 comments

I am starting a series of blogs to talk about Network in Windows 2012 Hyper-V

I will be covering the following scenarios, but of course there are many more possibilities :

  • Scenario 1 :  4 (or more) 10GB Nic’s + 2 ISCSI/FC connectivity
  • Scenario 2 : 2 (or more) 10GB Nic’s (converged network)
  • Scenario 3 : 6 (or more) Nic’s 1GB Nic’s

Let’s start with scenario 1. We will create 2 teams : one for management/csv/live migration (MGMT-LM-CSV-TEAM) and other for vm external traffic (VM-TEAM).

1. First of all,  I recommend you to rename the physical nic’s. We will create the teams as per bellow:

a) 2 nic’s, teamed to be used for management + csv + live migration utilisation= MGMT-LM-CSV-TEAM

b) 2 (or more) nic’s teamed to be used for VM traffic only ( external traffic ) = VM-TEAM

c) 2 ISCSI or Fiber Channel connectivity. You will need to install the MPIO feature ( DO NOT TEAM)

As for the team VM-TEAM we can use the GUI to create the virtual switch:

  • Click on Server Manager, then click on Local Server
  • Click on Nic Teaming. Click on Task and then click on NEW TEAM




Select the NIC’s that will be part of the team. Make sure you select NIC’s from different Physical interfaces. Done

But for the MGMT-LM-CSV-TEAM, we need to use the Powershell as the GUI does not allow us to create multiples Virtual Switches for the same team and then we will also, configure the QoS.


Here is the PowerShell command

# Create Hyper-V Virtual Switch connected to VM-TEAM

New-VMSwitch -Name “External” -NetAdapterName “VM-TEAM” -AllowManagementOS $false

# Create Hyper-V Virtual Switch connected to MGMT-LM-CSV-TEAM

New-VMSwitch -Name “MGMT-LM-CSV-SWITCH” -NetAdapterName “MGMT-LM-CSV-TEAM” -AllowManagementOS 0 -MinimumBandwidthMode  Weight

# Set the default QoS policy; Switch is used for VMs only

Set-VMSwitch “MGMT-LM-CSV-SWITCH” -DefaultFlowMinimumBandwidthWeight 100

Add-VMNetworkAdapter -ManagementOS -Name Management –SwitchName MGMT-LM-CSV-SWITCH

Add-VMNetworkAdapter -ManagementOS -Name LM -SwitchName MGMT-LM-CSV-SWITCH

Add-VMNetworkAdapter -ManagementOS -Name CSV -SwitchName MGMT-LM-CSV-SWITCH

Set-VMNetworkAdapter -ManagementOS -Name LM -MinimumBandwidthWeight 40

Set-VMNetworkAdapter -ManagementOS -Name CSV -MinimumBandwidthWeight 5

Set-VMNetworkAdapter –ManagementOS –Name Management –MinimumBandwidthWeight 5


Now let’s have a look back on the GUI  (NIC Team):


And let’s have a look in the Hyper-V Manager Console, on the properties of the Virtual Switch’s:

Management, Live Migration and CSV switch: MGMT-LM-CSV-SWITCH.

Note that you won’t be able to change any setting using the GU

I as we created 3 virtual network adapters (mgmt,lm,csv).


VM external traffic switch: External



to be continue….

Windows 2012 Hyper-V pass-through disks and Live Migration support

April 12, 2013 2 comments

Since Windows Server 2008 R2 and now with Windows Server 2012,  the performance improvements of Fixed and Dynamic disks are impressive. One of the main reasons that some IT folks were still deploying pass-through was due to the disk size limitation to 2TB. But in Windows 2012, with the VHDX format the  size limit increased to a huge 64TB and you have features that prevent corruption; plus, by using pass-through disks you lose benefits  such as portability, snap-shotting and thin provisioning.

In saying that,  as pointed by Jeff Woolsey, Microsoft Windows Server & Cloud:

Pass-through disks are supported during Hyper-V Live Migration ONLY if the Virtual Machine being migrated and the pass-through disk are manage by the same Hyper-V cluster :

Pass through disks are still supported with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Live Migration (just like they were with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V) as long as the migration of a clustered VM and the pass through disk is managed by the cluster.

Pass through disks are not supported for migrations outside of a cluster, such as:

  • Shared Nothing Live Migration or
  • Using standalone hosts with file on a SMB share (without clustering enabled)

…pass through disks aren’t supported because the pass through disk doesn’t have a way to move between hosts.

Again my recommendation  : STAY AWAY FROM PASS-THOUGH DISKS.

You will find similar recommendation from the fellow MVP’s Aidan Finn, Didier Van Hoye or Hans Vredevoort


Bring Windows Azure to your datacenter

January 11, 2013 Leave a comment

How about having the Windows Azure experience locally on your datacentre?

Microsoft is now enabling Hosting Service Providers to use Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 to deliver the same great experiences already found in Windows Azure.

The first two of these finished services are high density website hosting and virtual machine provisioning and management. Hosting Service Providers enable these modules through the new Service Management API and optional portal.

Create high scale WebSites – Out of the box automation lowers customer onboarding costs while metering and throttling of resources can help tailor customer offerings. Supports many frameworks including ASP.NET, Classic ASP, PHP and Node.js with full Git integration for Source Code Control. Download and install the Web Sites service on machines dedicated for the Web Sites roles.

Create Virtual Machines – Leverage the power of System Center and Windows Server to easily create an Infrastructure as a Service solution for customers to provision and manage VMs. Download the System Center 2012 SP1 and install and configure SPF per the deployment guide.

Administer WebSites – Administer Web Sites and Virtual Machine services on Windows Server while also offering customers the same Windows 8-style self-service user experience as found on Windows Azure to provision and manage their Web Sites and Virtual Machines. Download the Service Management Portal and Service Management API Express bits to install the Admin and Tenant portals, and the Service Management API on one machine.Download the WebPI and click on the Products tab. Select Windows Azure to deploy the portals and the Service Management API on separate machines.


More Info:


Windows 2012 Hyper-V VHDX Disk format : Why should you convert your VHD to VHDX and how (Step by Step)

October 30, 2012 4 comments

Although this topic is not new I had some readers asking me about it. So here we go…

Windows 2012 Hyper-V has a new disk format : VHDX.

VHDX principal features

  • Storage capacity up to 64 terabytes (TBs). With the VHDX format we can to create larger virtual hard disks ( up to 64TB). The VHD format has a 2 TB limit to VHD’s.
  • Corruption protection during power failures
  • Optimal structure alignment for large-sector disks (4K sector aligned virtual hard disk), which increases the performance. Why Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V VHDX 4K Alignment Is So Important
  • Trim/Unmap – Space efficiency on VHDX files as well as the host disk
  • Thin provisioning
  • Ability to store custom metadata about the file that the user might want to record, such as operating system version or patches applied

You can convert a VHD into VHDX and vice versa. As long the size limit for the VHD is respected:

  • Shutdown the Virtual Machine
  • Double check if there is NO Snapshots
  • Double check if there is NO replication enabled
  • On the Hyper-V Manager,  on the left pane select Edit Disk…

  • Click on Next
  • On the Edit Virtual Disk Wizard, type the name and location of your existing VHD file or click on Browse to locate

  • Click on Next
  • On the Choose Action page select Convert and then click Next

  • On the Choose Disk Format page select VHDX and click Next

  • On the Choose Disk Type page select Disk type : Fixed or Dynamic  and then click Next

  • On the Configure Disk page type the destination path and then click Next

  • On the Summary page, click Finish to start the process. The process time depends on the VHD size.

Windows 2012 : switching from Server Core to Server with a GUI

October 26, 2012 7 comments

I already blogged about this, but due the numbers of requests and confusion people are making, here we go again:

The Server Core does not have GUI and have a minimal footprint which helps to secure the server running Hyper-V role, for example. The benefit of using Core version, which is now the default version, is to reduced attack surface, reduced maintenance, consume fewer hardware resources than traditional FULL GUI Server and offer increased stability due to lesser running application.

But there is a trick : while you can switch between Core and Full and vice versa, if you installed Server Core version and then decide to go with a Server with a GUI, the payload that has the interface is not installed and you will need to provide the source path.

A server in Minimal Server Interface mode is about 300 MB smaller than the same server in Server with a GUI mode. A server in Server Core mode is about 4 GB smaller than the same server in Server with a GUI mode

Note: The recommendation/Best Practise is to install the Server Core installation unless you have a particular need for the additional user interface elements and graphical management tools that are included in the “Server with a GUI” option

When you install Windows 2012 Server Core and you want to switch it to Windows 2012 Full GUI version,

For servers with server core as the base installation:

To convert a server core installation  to a full operating system installation (GUI version)

1. Create an folder called C:\w2012\image

mkdir C:\w2012\image

2. Insert the Windows 2012 media into the optical drive and copy install.wim from

copy D:\sources\install.wim  C:\w2012\image

3.  Run the following command to retrieve the name or index number of the image:

Dism /Get-ImageInfo /ImageFile:C:\w2012\image\install.wim

4. Create an folder called  C:\w2012\MountPoint

mkdir C:\w2012\MountPoint

5. Run the following command to mount the offline Windows image (Note: index:2 = Standard Edition index:4 = Datacenter Edition) :

Dism /Mount-Image /ImageFile:C:\w2012\image\install.wim /index:4 /MountDir:C:\w2012\MountPoint  /ReadOnly

6. Upgrade the operating system by running the command:

c:\>Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:Server-Gui-Mgmt /featurename:Server-Gui-Shell /featurename:ServerCore-FullServer /source:c:\w2012\MountPoint\windows\winsxs  

         or by using Powershell:

PS c:\>Import-Module DISM

PS c:\>Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra,Server-Gui-Shell –Restart –Source c:\w2012\MountPoint\windows\winsxs

To convert a full operating system installation (GUI version) back to a server core installation

 c:\>Dism /online /disable-feature /featurename:ServerCore-FullServer