Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 2012 (Beta) – Part 3


This is a multipart series based on some lab test & work I did.

  1. Part 1 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 2012 (Beta) – Part 1
  2. Part 2 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 2012 (Beta) – Part 2
  3. Part 3 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 2012 (Beta) – Part 3

And we have arrived at part three of my adventures while “transitioning” my Hyper-V cluster nodes to Windows Server 2012. I prefer the term transition as is more correct. We can still not do a rolling upgrade a cluster cluster. We still need to create a new cluster and recuperate the evicted nodes.

I’ll repeat myself here (again) by stating I did not reinstall the evicted nodes but upgraded them. Why, because I can and I wanted to try it out and see what happens. For production purposes I do advise you to rebuild nodes from scratch using a well defined and automated plan if possible. I already mentioned this in Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 2012 (Beta) – Part 1

Moving the Storage & Hyper-V Guests

So we stopped Part 2 at a newly created cluster without any storage. That’s what we’ll be taking care of in this part.  Let’s recap what we already mentioned at the end of Part 2.

We have several options for storage here. We could assign new storage but we cannot do a Quick Storage Migration between cluster using SCVMM2008R2 but that doesn’t fly as SCVMM2008R2 can’t manage Windows 2012 clusters and I don’t know if it ever will. We can do a good old manual or scripted export to and import from the new storage of the VMs what takes a considerable amount of time. You also need to have the extra storage available.

We can also recuperate the old storage with the VMs still on there. This could get tricky as no two cluster should be able to see & use the storage at the same time. The benefit could be that we can just use the import type in Windows Server 2012 “Register the virtual machine in-place” (use the existing unique ID) and be done with it. We’ll try that one. We’ll still have some down time but it should be pretty fast. It’s only from Windows Server 2012 on that we’ll be able to do Shared Nothing Live Migrations between clusters Smile and live will be good. If you have a SAN you could also use clones to get this job done without less risk. You work on cloned data and keep the original around instead of using that for the process described below.

So how do we approach this?

Since Windows Server 2008 storage & clustering isn’t the pain it could be in earlier version. It’s the disk manager handling all that and it makes live a lot easier. All disks presented to a cluster node are off line to the operating system until you bring it online. Even if it contains data or is presented to another host, whether that is a member of another cluster or a stand alone host. Pretty cool. It also means you can have all your nodes on line during the process. The process of bringing the disk online and, if needed formatting it with NTFS and then adding it to the cluster as storage can be done on just one of the nodes.

As you recall I unplugged the evicted node from the iSCSI storage (you could also disable the ports) before I upgraded it. The entire iSCSI configuration got upgraded perfectly so all I needed to do was plug the iSCSI cables in and the storage appeared offline. My old cluster node was up and running still accessing it. Pretty slick! And great as a demo but you can play it safer. That was fun Smile but perhaps we won’t be that brave in a production environment.

Options

You could decide to bring all LUNS over at once or one at the time. The process is the same. If you do it one by one you’ll have to rely on the above behavior to protect the LUNs against corruption or you can un-present the LUNS remaining on the old cluster from the new cluster so you’ll never have an issue. We’ve done both and it works out rather fine in testing. Windows clustering is really doing it’s best to prevent you from shooting yourself in the foot Smile

Let’s say I go LUN by LUN. Now I can just remove the VMs from the old cluster using the Failover cluster GUI so they are no longer highly available on that node. When I have no more clustered VMs on a CSV LUN I can shut down all the guests in Hyper-V Manager and stop right there.

On the old cluster I remove that LUN from the CSV storage and from the cluster storage. At that moment that LUN is already taken offline for you!

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Pardon the silly size but I didn’t have space left to make a realistic screenshot Smile

Great, Windows is protecting us against any possible data corruption! So now I can than un-present the LUN form the old cluster nodes. The next step is to enable the ISCI ports, present that LUN to the new cluster node or nodes (depends on where in the x number of node process you are) or just plug in the cable .

You’ll see the new LUN off line than on the new cluster. We can than make the LUN on line so it will be available to add to the cluster. Just right click that disk and select “Online”.

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Right click on storage

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Select an disk that’s available to add to the cluster.

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Things has gotten a lot simpler with CSV in Windows Server 2012. No more enabling it with a funky warning message that’s well meant but is rather confusing an annoying. You just right click the disk and choose “Add to Cluster Shared Volumes” and that’s it.

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And there it is. That disk in our new cluster is ready to use as a CSV.

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So we can now us a nifty new capability in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: “Register the virtual machine in-place” (use the existing unique ID)

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The wizard starts.

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Select the folder where your VM or VMs live. yes you can do multiple given that your folder structure allows for this.

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It’s found one VM in our folder

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We click Next

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We select “Register the virtual machine in-place” (use the existing unique ID) and click next.

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If something is not right like some forgotten “saved” states you’ll get a change to dump those or cancel the process to deal with it properly before trying it again.

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If virtual network names do not match you’ll get the opportunity to set correct that by specifying what virtual switch to use.

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If all was well in the first place or after you’ve fixed any issues like the ones demonstrated above you’re good to go. Click finish and enjoy your Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Guest.

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At this point you can already start your VMs. I know that the next step is to make all these VMs highly available but here we have some good news as well. You can now make running VMs highly available. Yeah! They no longer need to be shut down. All this is done via the well know process so I’m not going to walk trough the entire process here. But the screen shot of a making a running VM highly available is worth posting Smile

addrunningvm

Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows 8 (Beta) – Part 2


This is a multipart series based on some lab test & work I did.

  1. Part 1 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 8 (Beta) – Part 1
  2. Part 2 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows 8 (Beta) – Part 2
  3. Part 3 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows 8 (Beta) – Part 3

Here’s part two of my adventures while upgrading or rather “transitioning” my Hyper-V cluster nodes to Windows 8. Transition is more correctly as you can not upgrade a cluster, you create a new cluster en recuperate the node. I did however not reinstall them but upgrade them. Why, because I can and I wanted to try it out to see what happens. For production purposes I do advise you to rebuild nodes from scratch using a well defined and automated plan if possible. I already mentioned this in Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 8 (Beta) – Part 1

So we stopped Part 1 with a evicted and upgraded node. We’ll want to create a new cluster with that node and then transition the other nodes over to the new Windows 8 cluster one by one, or in batches, depending on how many you can afford to take down at one time. In this part we’ll just build our new Window 8 cluster with a single node. It’s a good thing this is possible as we can start a transition with just one node. This an easy part.

First of all we create a new cluster. I will all look very familiar if you’ve ever created a Windows 2008 (R2) cluster.

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The Create Cluster Wizard appears, read all the advice you want and click “Next”

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We select the node that we evicted from the old cluster and upgraded to Windows 8

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04

 

You now run the validation test for your cluster

06

Let’s run ‘m all and see what it has to say.

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We get a summary of what notes will be tested and what tests will be run. Click “Next”

08

 

The tests are running.

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We get a pass with some warnings. So we click “View Report” to take a look. It’s OK we only have one node, we don’t have storage yet and networking wise we still need to configure some things but we can create a one node cluster, So click “Finish”

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I named my new cluster “warriors”, the old one was called “warrior”.

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I define the IP Address for the Access Point for administering the cluster

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We’re ready to create the cluster so we click “Next” and the creation process starts

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And we’re informed we’ve have successfully created a cluster. Click Finish. Any experienced cluster builder should find this process very familiar without surprises.

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So now we have a cluster existing out of one node and we haven’t got any storage assigned yet.

We have several options for storage here. We could assign new storage but we cannot do a Quick Storage Migration between cluster using SCVMM2008R2 but that doesn’t fly as SCVMM2008R2 can’t manage Windows 8 clusters and I don’t know if it ever will.  We can do a good old manual or scripted export and import of the VMs what takes a considerable amount of time.

We can recuperate the old storage with the VMs still on there. This could get tricky as no two cluster should be able to see & use the storage at the same time. The benefit could be that we can just use the import type in Windows 8 ("Register the virtual machine in-place" (use the existing unique ID) and be done with it. We’ll try that one. We’ll still have some down time but it should be pretty fast. It’s only from Windows 8 on that we’ll be able to do Shared Nothing Live Migrations between clusters Smile We’ll address that in Part 3.

I’m off to Attend MMS 2012 In Las Vegas


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Life is good people. I have to good fortune to work in an interesting industry, doing great projects with modern technologies. On top of that my employer allows me to fully develop my skills . In that respect it makes a serious difference to have a good boss & management that understands the benefits of ongoing education. They look a both the short & long term value of people educating & developing themselves a lot more than at that nagging Excel sheet on the screen. Professional development is not just a cookie cutter 4 day training course once or twice a year but real opportunities to become a better professional if and when you’re willing to put in the effort. They’ve figured out that you cannot just use utmost cost reduction to catapult both your business and employees in to prosperity & wellbeing. You need to keep learning, evolving, networking, … The contacts I make and the education I get by working with and learning along very smart & motived people are priceless. Sure it costs money and effort form everyone involved but it beats doing nothing and saving a few € as a long term strategy for growth & success. On top of that I feel appreciated & valued for my contributions and the efforts I put in.So to the tunes of some eighties rockers I’m off again.

Here I go again on my own, goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known.
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone. An’ I’ve made up my mind, I ain’t wasting no more time. I’m attending MMS 2012

Alone, heck no, many thousands of us will be descending on Las Vegas (Nevada, USA) to attend the summit. This event sells out fast each year. A friend told me to register a.s.a.p. or miss out, so I did as soon as I got the go ahead to attend, securing my spot. So now I’m travelling over LHR to LAS following my buddies & other attendees journey from their respective countries to Las Vegas on line, mostly via Twitter.

If you can’t come, whatever the reason, you can always enjoy a good number of sessions here MMS 2012 goes digital: LIVE streaming and On-Demand for attendees AND non-attendees! 48 hours after the live presentation.

I don’t have to tell you what System Center 2012 means to the IT Pro in the Microsoft ecosystem. Combine that with the RTM of Windows 8 later this year and I just had to go and attend the Microsoft management Summit 2012 in Las Vegas.  It’s more than training. It’s networking and an education.

Apart from the formal agenda & sessions I already a have some meetings lined up with vendors, colleagues from around the globe. We’re making the most of this opportunity to meet face to face with people we other wise only get to talk to on line and often with huge time zone difference.

MMS2012_Server

I’ve you’re going and you read my blog or follow me on twitter. Give us a shout out and perhaps we can have a meet & greet.

To all my geek & nerd friends, colleagues, MEET members, business partners, Microsoft employees & MVPs in route to Vegas & the Summit at The Venetian, I’m looking forward to seeing you all again! But first I have some traveling to do in the next 24 hours, to make my way over there.

NIC Teaming in Windows 8 & Hyper-V


One of the many new features in Windows 8 is native NIC Teaming or Load Balancing and Fail Over (LBFO). This is, amongst many others, a most welcome and long awaited improvement. Now that Microsoft has published a great whitepaper (see the link at the end) on this it’s time to publish this post that has been simmering in my drafts for too long. Most of us dealing with NIC teaming in Windows have a lot of stories to tell about incompatible modes depending on the type of teaming, vendors and what other advanced networking features you use.  Combined with the fact that this is a moving target due to a constant trickle of driver & firmware updates to rid of us bugs or add support for features. This means that what works and what doesn’t changes over time. So you have to keep an eye on this. And then we haven’t even mentioned whether it is supported or not and the hassle & risk involved with updating a driver Smile

When it works it rocks and provides great benefits (if not it would have been dead). But it has not always been a very nice story. Not for Microsoft, not for the NIC vendors and not for us IT Pros. Everyone wants things to be better and finally it has happened!

Windows 8 NIC Teaming

Windows 8 brings in box NIC Teaming, also know as Load Balancing and Fail Over (LBFO), with full Microsoft support. This makes me happy as a user. It makes the NIC vendors happy to get out of needing to supply & support LBOF. And it makes Microsoft happy because it was a long missing feature in Windows that made things more complex and error prone than they needed to be.

So what do we get form Windows NIC Teaming

  • It works both in the parent & in the guest. This comes in handy, read on!

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  • No need for anything else but NICs and Windows 8, that’s it. No 3rd party drivers software needed.
  • A nice and simple GUI to configure & mange it.
  • Full PowerShell support for the above as well so you can automate it for rapid & consistent deployment.
  • Different NIC vendors are supported in the same team.  You can create teams with different NIC vendors in the same host. You can also use different NIC across hosts. This is important for Hyper-V clustering & you don’t want to be forced to use the same NICs everywhere. On top of that you can live migrate transparently between servers that have different NIC vendor setups. The fact that Windows 8 abstracts this all for you is just great and give us a lot more options & flexibility.
  • Depending on the switches you have it supports a number of teaming modes:
    • Switch Independent:  This uses algorithms that do not require the switch to participate in the teaming. This means the switch doesn’t care about what NICs are involved in the teaming and that those teamed NICS can be connected to different switches. The benefit of this is that you can use multiple switches for fault tolerance without any special requirements like stacking.
    • Switch Dependent: Here the switch is involved in the teaming. As a result this requires all the NICs in the team to be connected to the same switch unless you have stackable switches. In this mode network traffic travels at the combined bandwidth of the team members which acts as a as a single pipeline.There are two variations supported.
      1. Static (IEEE 802.3ad) or Generic: The configuration on the switch and on the server identify which links make up the team. This is a static configuration with no extra intelligence in the form of protocols assisting in the detection of problems (port down, bad cable or misconfigurations).
      2. LACP (IEEE 802.1ax, also known as dynamic teaming). This leverages the Link Aggregation Control Protocol on the switch to dynamically identify links between the computer and a specific switch. This can be useful to automatically reconfigure a team when issues arise with a port, cable or a team member.
  • There are 2 load balancing options:
    1. Hyper-V Port: Virtual machines have independent MAC addresses which can be used to load balance traffic. The switch sees a specific source MAC addresses connected to only one connected network adapter, so it can and will balance the egress traffic (from the switch) to the computer over multiple links, based on the destination MAC address for the virtual machine. This is very useful when using Dynamic Virtual Machine Queues. However, this mode might not be specific enough to get a well-balanced distribution if you don’t have many virtual machines. It also limits a single virtual machine to the bandwidth that is available on a single network adapter. Windows Server 8 Beta uses the Hyper-V switch port as the identifier rather than the source MAC address. This is because a virtual machine might be using more than one MAC address on a switch port.
    2. Address Hash: A hash (there a different types, see the white paper mention at the end for details on this) is created based on components of the packet. All packets with that hash value are assigned to one of the available network adapters. The result is that all traffic from the same TCP stream stays on the same network adapter. Another stream will go to another NIC team member, and so on. So this is how you get load balancing. As of yet there is no smart or adaptive load balancing available that make sure the load balancing is optimized by monitoring distribution of traffic and reassigning streams when beneficial.

Here a nice overview table from the whitepaper:

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Microsoft stated that this covers the most requested types of NIC teaming but that vendors are still capable & allowed to offer their own versions, like they have offered for many years, when they find that might have added value.

Side Note

I wonder how all this is relates/works with to Windows NLB, not just on a host but also in a virtual machine in combination with windows NIC teaming in the host (let alone the guest). I already noticed that Windows NLB doesn’t seem to work if you use Network Virtualization in Windows 8. That combined with the fact there is not much news on any improvements in WNLB (it sure could use some extra features and service monitoring intelligence) I can’t really advise customers to use it any more if they want to future proof their solutions. The Exchange team already went that path 2 years ago. Luckily there are some very affordable & quality solution out there. Kemp Technologies come to mind.

  • Scalability.You can have up to 32 NIC in a single team. Yes those monster setups do exist and it provides for a nice margin to deal with future needs Smile
  • There is no THEORETICAL limit on how many virtual interfaces you can create on a team. This sounds reasonable as otherwise having an 8 or 16 member NIC team makes no sense. But let’s keep it real, there are other limits across the stack in Windows, but you should be able to get up to at least 64 interfaces generally. Use your common sense. If you couldn’t put 100 virtual machines in your environment on just two 1Gbps NICs due to bandwidth concerns & performance reasons you also shouldn’t do that on two teamed 1Gbps NICs either.
  • You can mix NIC of different speeds in the same team. Mind you, this is not necessarily a good idea. The best option is to use NICs of the same speed. Due to failover and load balancing needs and the fact you’d like some predictability in a production environment. In the lab this can be handy when you need to test things out or when you’d rather have this than no redundancy.

Things to keep in mind

SR-IOV & NIC teaming

Once you team NICs they do not expose SR-IOV on top of that. Meaning that if you want to use SR-IOV and need resilience for your network you’ll need to do the teaming in the guest. See the drawing higher up. This is fully supported and works fine. It’s not the easiest option to manage as it’s on a per guest basis instead of just on the host but the tip here is using the NIC Teaming UI on a host to manage the VM teams at the same time.  Just add the virtual machines to the list of managed servers.

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Do note that teams created in a virtual machine can only run in Switch Independent configuration, Address Hash distribution mode. Only teams where each of the team members is connected to a different Hyper-V switch are supported. Which is very logical, as the picture below demonstrates, because you won’t have a redundant solution.

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Security Features & Policies Break SR-IOV

Also note that any advanced feature like security policies on the (virtual) switch will disable SR-IOV, it has to or SR-IOV could be used as an effective security bypass mechanism. So beware of this when you notice that SR-IOV doesn’t seem to be working.

RDMA & NIC Teaming Do Not Mix

Now you need also to be aware of the fact that RDMA requires that each NIC has a unique IP addresses. This excludes NIC teaming being used with RDMA. So in order to get more bandwidth than one RDMA NIC can provide you’ll need to rely on Multichannel. But that’s not bad news.

TCP Chimney

TCP Chimney is not supported with network adapter teaming in Windows Server “8” Beta. This might change but I don’t know of any plans.

Don’t Go Overboard

Note that you can’t team teamed NIC whether it is in the host or parent or in virtual machines itself. There is also no support for using Windows NIC teaming to team two teams created with 3rd party (Intel or Broadcom) solutions. So don’t stack teams on top of each

Overview of Supported / Not Supported Features With Windows NIC Teaming

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Conclusion

There is a lot more to talk about and a lot more to be tested and learned. I hope to get some more labs going and run some tests to see how things all fit together. The aim of my tests is to be ready for prime time when Windows 8 goes RTM. But buyer beware, this is  still “just” Beta material.

For more information please download the excellent whitepaper NIC Teaming (LBFO) in Windows Server "8" Beta

Don’t Be Afraid To Learn PowerShell, You’ll Need It & You’ll Learn To Love It!


As I started my career in IT doing data crunching, OLAP & development in VBA & VB5.00/6.0 it isn’t that surprising I’ve done most of my automation in VBScript. I’m very familiar with it and even in the Windows 2008 Core era it was very useful as we didn’t have .NET in it at that time, meaning no PowerShell (no, the unsupported hack to get it on there does not count).

The first real PowerShell use for me came with Exchange 2007. That worked out pretty well, but at the time we didn’t use it for much more than Exchange. Today, more and more I’m starting to use PowerShell versus VBScript. For one sometimes VBScript can’t get it done, it’s not being developed any more in its capabilities and two, PowerShell commandlets do pack a serious punch!

Since Windows Server 2008 R2 PowerShell has gotten better overall support and with Windows 8 it is everywhere, natively. That’s very good and it means we can do all we need to do now (well a whole lot of it) in PowerShell. And then I haven’t even mentioned the entire workflow support in Windows 8 PowerShell!  As an old VB guy I had to get over my dislike for curly braces. I also need to earn the different syntax and especially the way in which to use the programming constructs (control flow, sub routines, operators, data types).

A lot of people tend to focus on the one liners. These are great and powerful, but they often reminded me of the old discussion with C/C++ developers about code readability & maintainability.  For that purpose we don’t mind that the code is more verbose. One liners are not the goal  but they are fun. Just remember that all code, how small it may be, one day will have to be maintained. The more readable, logical and easy to understand it is, the better. The whole “self documenting” thingy Smile.  One liners do not always fit in here. But to demonstrate I have nothing against them I’ll show you a real easy example for all you out there dealing with the jump to PowerShell. If you get hooked on one liners just be sure to use them with reason and go visit the blog of Jeff Wouters , you’ll become good scripting buddies.

Let’s say in VBScript you needed to format a date in a specific way. In VBScript you have a very limited number of format option to use. So when you want something funky like “20120414” (YearMonthDay) as a date format you’d use a function that builds that string and pads the numbers with zero if needed. You can either write a generic function to handle all possible date needs or a custom/purpose built one for just the needs at hand.

Just to get the gist of this, it could look a bit like this:

WScript.echo FormatDateForMyNeed() PrivateFunction FormatDateForMyNeed () Dim sDate, sYear, sMonth, sDay sDate =Now() sYear =Year(sDate) sMonth =Month(sDate) IfLen(sMonth) =1Then sMonth ="0"& sMonth sDay =Day(sDate) IfLen (sDay) =1Then sDay ="0"& sDay FormatDateForMyNeed = sYear & sMonth & sDay End Function

Driven by “routine” & a VBScript background you could mash up some functions in PowerShell and make it a convoluted scripting exercise:

function BuildDate { $date=Get-Date $String= [string]$date.year $MONTH= [String]$date.month $String+= PadString "0"2$Month$DAY= [String]$date.day $String+= PadString "0"2$DAYReturn$String } function PadString ($PadChar, $PaddedLength, [String]$StringToPad) { $StringToPad= ($padChar* ($PaddedLength-$stringToPad.length)) +$stringToPadReturn$StringToPad } BuildDate

But PowerShell has way better date format support than VBScript and you can just write this:

Get-Date -format "yyyyMMdd"

Now that’s a one liner I have nothing against and yes, it saves a whole lot of effort. Sure this is a real simple example but it proves a point. Do your self a favor, take out a couple of hours a week and dabble around in PowerShell. You’ll add a valuable time saving tool to your inventory and gain a precious skillset Smile for a bright future! Need a good example? See this blog post by Janssen Jones to see some workflow goodness and what it can do.

Learning Resources for Windows 8 Clustering, WNLB & Hyper-V 3.0


I know a lot of you are, just like me, actively investigating Windows 8 & Hyper-V. You’re downloading the Beta, reading blog post, discussing scenarios and use cases and that’s great. You’re investing in a bright future Smile

Here are some blog post that contain gems of information and that I’d like to bring to your attention:

Enjoy!

No Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell After Upgrading to Windows Server 8?


When I upgraded some of my Hyper-V hosts from Windows 2008 R2 to Windows 8 I noticed I wanted to do some experiments using the Hyper-v Module for Windows PowerShell. So the first thing I did was install the Windows PowerShell integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) via the Add Roles and Features Wizard on my client. You don’t usually install this on your servers.

ISEPosh

 

We opted to restart automatically if required, so we get a warning this server might restart.

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Windows PowerShell ISE is installing

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We are informed of our successful installation.installISE3

That was easy and no reboot required. So we launch ISE and start testing some commands of our new Hyper-V Module. But that doesn’t do much for us. Nothing happens.get-command 1

 

So I try some more commands. But no luck, just some errors that the commands are not recognized or Get-Help can’t find anything of that command.  I also not that for non of the Hyper-V commands I have any IntelliSense support.

Nope2 

No jio

So it seams the Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell is not installed. But I can’t make that out from the Roles Wizard.

I needed to get this going fast so I uninstalled the Hyper-V role and than added it again. That did the trick as now the Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell is also installed because I can execute commands

Success.

 

Just install the Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell via Features

But after discussing this with Microsoft it turns out that uninstalling and reinstalling the Hyper-V role is not necessary at all. You see when you upgrade a Window 2008 R2 node to Windows 8 it does not install Hyper-V by default as this would change the original install base and they try not to install features you didn’t have before during an upgrade. On a clean install where you add the Hyper-V role you won’t have this issue as the Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell is installed by default. What confused me is that I didn’t see an option under Roles to add Role Services to roles as I was used to do in Windows 2008 R2. There is no sub tree or anything.

Hyper-VRoleIInstalled

 

I was thinking along the same path in Windows 8 but here we can find it in the in “Add Roles and Features Wizard” under Features / Remote Server Administration Tools sub tree. That has two entries. One for Feature Administration Tools and one for Role Administration tools and und the latter we find the Hyper-V Management Tools with Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell. Just a tip Smile

You can add it your self after the upgrade by going to Server Manager and starting the Add Roles & Features Wizard.

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You go through the normal steps and select to install Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell.

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We are asked for confirmation of our request actions.

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The Hyper-V Module for Windows PowerShell is being installed.

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And we have a successful install. We can start scripting on that node right way Smile

Installit3

Happy scripting!

Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 2012 (Beta) – Part 1


This is a multipart series based on some lab test & work I did.

  1. Part 1 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 2012 (Beta) – Part 1
  2. Part 2 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows Server 2012 (Beta) – Part 2
  3. Part 3 Upgrading Hyper-V Cluster Nodes to Windows 8 (Beta) – Part 3

After I got back from the MVP Summit 2012 in Bellevue/Redmond I could wait to start playing with a Windows 8 Hyper-V cluster so I decided to upgrade my Windows 2008 R2 cluster nodes to Windows 8. That means evicting them on by one, upgrading them and adding them to a new Windows 8 cluster. As we can build a one node cluster this can be done a node at the time. This isn’t a fail proof definite “How To”, I’m just sharing what I did.

Evicting a node

Before evicting a node make sure all virtual machines are running on the other node(s). As you can see the cluster warrior has 2 nodes, crusader & saracen (I was listening to some Saxon heavy metal at the time I built that lab setup). We evacuated node saracen prior to evicting it.

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Evict the node & confirm when asked.

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When this is done all storage is off line to the node evicted from the cluster. No need to worry about that.

Upgrade that node to Windows 8

To anyone having installed/upgraded to Windows 2008 R2 this should all be a very recognizable experience. Being lazy, I left the iSCSI initiator configuration in there with the Hyper-V & failover cluster roles installed during the upgrade. Now for production environments I like to build my nodes from scratch to have an exactly known, new and clean installation base. But for my test lab at home I wanted to get it done as fast as possible. If only the days had more hours …For extra safety you can pull the plug (or disable the switch ports) on your iSCSI or FC connections and make sure no storage is presented to the node during the upgrade process. Now please do mind is use Intel server grade NIC adaptors for which Windows 8 beta has drivers. Your situation may vary so I can’t guarantee the 7 year old FC HBA in your lab server will just work, OK!?

So run setup.exe from the Windows 8 (Beta) ISO you extracted to a folder on the server or  from the (bootable) USB you created with the downloaded ISO.

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The Windows Setup installer will start.

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Click on “Install now” to proceed and start the setup process.

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Select to “Go online to get the latest updates for Setup (Recommended)”

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So it looks for updates on line.

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It didn’t find any but that’s OK.

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Select the installation you want. I went with for Server with a GUI as I want screen shots. But as I wrote in the blog post Windows 8 Server With GUI, Minimal Server Interface & Server Core Lesson with the Desktop Experience Feature you can turn it into a Server Core Installation and back again now. So no regrets with any choice you make here, which is a nice improvement that can save us a lot of time.

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Accept the EULA

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We opt to upgrade (in production I go for a clean install)

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I get notified that I have to remove PerfectDisk. I had an evaluation copy of Raxco PerfectDisk installed I used to do some testing with redirected CSV traffic and defragmentation (see Some Feedback On How to defrag a Hyper-V R2 Cluster Shared Volume).

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So the upgrade was cancelled.

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I uninstalled PerfectDisk but still it was a no go. I  had to remove all traces of it in the registry & files systems that the uninstall left or the upgrade just wouldn’t start. But after that it worked.

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That means we can kick of the upgrade! It all looks very familiar Smile It takes a couple of reboots and some patience. But all in all it’s a fast process.

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After this step it takes a couple of reboots and some patience. But all in all it’s a fast process. After some reboots and a screen that goes dark in between those …we get our restyled beta fish.

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And voila we’re where we need to be … Smile

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After the upgrade process I ran into one error. The GUI for Failover Clustering would not start. The solution if found for that was simply to remove that role and add it again. That did the trick.

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So this was a description of the first steps to transition a  Windows 2008 R2 SP1 cluster to a  Windows 8 (Beta) Cluster. As seen we evict the nodes one by one to upgrade them or do a clean install. In the latter case you’ll need to do the iSCSI initiator configuration again,  install the Failover Cluster role and in the case of a Hyper-V cluster the Hyper-V role. The nodes can than be added to a new Windows 8 cluster, starting out with a one node cluster. More on that in the second part of this blog post.

Windows 8 Hyper-V Improved Integration Services Setup


In Windows 8 Beta there is a nice and functional improvement in Hyper-V Manager when you want to install or upgrade the Integration Services. It shows you what version (if any) is installed and if an upgrade is needed or not. Until now it just “mentioned” that “a previous” (no version, could be the latest one) were installed and happily let you reinstall them needed or not. Begs the questions how does this all deal with “corrupted” integration services if such a thing exists. I, personally, have never seen it. Uninstall/reinstall I guess when you come across it as I don’t know of a forced/repair install option.

Walkthrough of The Improved Integration Services Setup

In the Virtual Machine console navigate to Action and select “Insert Integration Services Setup Disk”

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In the Virtual Machine console you’ll see that inserting the integration services disk succeeded.

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Like before, if the setup process doesn’t start automatically just navigate to the DVD and kick start it yourself.

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As you can see below it now shows what version (if any) of the integration services is already installed and asks you if you want to update. In the example below you can see it has the Windows 2008 R2 SP1 version of the integration services. This is as expected as this machine (a W2K3R2SP2 guest) was imported from a Hyper-V cluster running that Windows 2008 R2 SP1.

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You click OK and the installation process for the integration services will start.

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When the installation is done you’ll be notified that the virtual machines needs to restart.

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The server will reboot and if you then try to install the integration services again it will notify you that it has already the correct version of the integration tools running.

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Remarks

If you hit an error in the Beta of Windows 8 Hyper-V I advise two things I have experienced myself in the labs.

  1. Make sure you have enough disk space. I had one test server that had only a few MB left on the C partition and that bit me Smile
  2. Make sure you do it after a clean reboot. Just to make sure you have no pending hardware detection/installs lingering around. I experienced this one on a Windows 2003 R2 SP2 guest. Error code 1618, yup that means Another installation is already in progress.

04

Windows 8 Server With GUI, Minimal Server Interface & Server Core Lesson with the Desktop Experience Feature


I’m one of those people that run Windows Server on their desktop workhorse. The reason for this is that this gives me the server features for rapid testing, scripting and taking screenshots for documentation. When you tweak it right you have a very nice desktop that doesn’t lack anything in functionality compared to a desktop but you do get the extras I just mentioned. An alternative is to run a Virtual Machine locally. The latter has become a lot easier & better now we have Hyper-V in the client Open-mouthed smile.

This subject leads to another interesting capability of Windows 8. You can install Windows 8 as Server Core or Server with GUI, which is the full GUI option. But there is a world between those. This is the Minimal Server Interface option. How do these differ? Well actually “only” by the features that are enabled.

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The feature Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure is the set of features that makes up the difference between a Server Core installation and the Minimal Server Interface option of a Full server installation. This means that uninstalling this feature will convert a Full server to a Server Core installation. Server Graphical Shell cannot live without the Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure as both are needed to get the full GUI server.

Server Graphical Shell is the same user interface that is installed by default when you choose the Server with GUI installation option during Setup. This always installs “Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure” as a prerequisite. To decrease the servicing requirements of your server while still being able to use Microsoft Management Console (MMC) locally, you can uninstall the Server Graphical Shell using Server Manager, leaving you with the Minimal Server Interface. As stated above the Minimal Server Interface requires the “Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure” feature to be installed.

The real good news is that you can switch between these server options with reinstalling. You can switch from Full Server with all whistles & bells to Server Core by enabling or disabling features. This an very nice improvement compared to Windows 2008 (R2) as with those versions you’re stuck with your choice and only a reinstall is the way to change this. Not only that but I can help out when you need the GUI for some reason temporarily.

A Walk Through of Installing The Desktop Experience

Even for lab environments it also can be handy to have some tools available. On my Windows Server 8 Beta Machine I needed the Snipping Tool for example. So I had to install the Desktop Experience feature.

Using the GUI

In Windows Server 8 you’ll find that under Server Manager, Manage “Add Roles and Features”.

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The “Add Roles and Features Wizard “ pops up at the default start screen which you can elect to skip for future use.

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Select the Installation Type.

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Select the server on which you want to work.

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The Desktop Experience is a feature so go straight to “Features”. Scroll down until you see User Interfaces & Infrastructure (Installed), open the tree and you’ll see that you can select Desktop Experience.

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As you can see The Desktop Experience feature requires that you also install the Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure and Server Graphical Shell features, meaning it will only run of the Full Server GUI option.

Once you select that a message will pop up telling you that the Ink Support feature under Ink and Handwriting services and the Media Foundation Feature are required for the Desktop Experience feature. Accept the defaults and click Add Features.

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You can scroll along the GUI to check these features have indeed been selected.

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Click next and you’ll be asked to confirm the installation of the features. You can opt to restart automatically when needed.

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The Add Roles and Features Wizard starts the installation/ Please note that you can close the wizard and get o with something else. You don’t have to baby sit the GUI.

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When finished the shows you need a restart.

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If you closed the wizard and came back to server manager late it will warn you about the fact something is pending with the yellow exclamation mark.

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Using PowerShell

To install Desktop Experience with Windows PowerShell, use the following commands:

Import-Module ServerManager

Install-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience

You’ll find that this also installs the “Ink Support” under “Ink and Handwriting Services” automatically for you. Note below than wen using DISM you’ have to manage all that yourself.

To install Media Foundation with Windows PowerShell, use the following commands:

Import-Module ServerManager

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Media-Foundation

Using DISM

This works but you need to do some more work. Each and every single feature part needs to be installed separately. You need Server Media Foundation, Desktop Experience, but here you’ll need to add Ink Support AND the yourself or you may run in to issues. In the Example below we left out ink support.

dism /online /enable-feature /all /featurename:ServerMediaFoundation

dism /online /enable-feature /all /featurename:DesktopExperience

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That means It looks like you have no Desktop Experience installed in the GUI while the extra tools do appear on your desktop.

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So to fix this we need to add Ink Support but also Ink And Handwriting Services as top level feature. If you don’t it wont be “grayed in” to indicate sub features have been selected (in our case the Ink Support).

dism /online /enable-feature /all /featurename:InkAndHandwritingServices

dism /online /enable-feature /all /featurename:InkSupport

You might have noted that DISM is a bit more hands on than PowerShell. PowerShell is perhaps the best automation tool to use but don’t forget that DISM has off line editing capabilities that can come in handy for all kinds of stuff from injecting drivers to fine tuning your deploy image. Powerful stuff!