Load balancing Hyper-V Workloads With High To Continuous Availability With a KEMP Loadmaster


I’m working on some labs and projects with KEMP Loadmaster load balancing appliances (LM 2400, LM-R320) That will lead to some blog post on  load balancing several workloads, which are all on Windows Server 2012 R2  Hyper-V or integrate in to Azure. The load balancers used in the labs are the virtual appliances, depending on the needs and environment these are a very good, cost effective option for production as well and depending on the version you get they scale very well. Hence their use in cloud environments, they will not hold you back at all!

To stimulate your interest in load balancing and high availability I’ve put up a video on load balancing RD Gateway services. Consider it a teaser or introduction to more about the subject.

Why use an appliance (hardware/virtual)? Well let’s look at the 2 alternatives:

  • Round robin DNS, which is also sometimes used is just to low tech for most real life scenarios and sometimes can’t be used or is less efficient which impacts scalability and performance. On top of that it doesn’t provide health checking for failover purposes.
  • I’ve also said  before that while Windows NLB  provides layer 4 load balancing out of the box it’s pretty basic. It also often causes a lot of network grief and the implementation can be tedious. This has not improved in an ever more virtualized & cloud based world. On top of that, when network virtualization comes into play you might paint yourself into a corner as those two don’t mix. But if that’s not a concern and you’re on a budget, I’ve used it with success in the past as well.
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RD Gateway Messaging Tab Windows Server 2008 R2 & 2012


Since Windows 2008 R2 and as such in Windows Server 2012 RD Gateway has a nice couple of new features in it’s properties under the tab Messaging.

System Message

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That’s great as now you can warn logged on users of the gateway of any impending maintenance actions that otherwise might be a disconcerting loss of connectivity to them. Just go to the messaging tab and type in your message. Set the start and end date/time and that’s all there is to it. A user that is logged or logs in during the specified time frame will see this window appear. I like the fact that we can communicate to the active users via the system message. It makes for a better experience of the service delivered.

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Logon Message

Another option you have under the messaging tab is to to specify a logon messageimage

You simply type this into text file that you then browse to and apply so that it will be displayed.image

You have to browse and apply every time you edit the text file. 

Below is a screen shot what a user logging on to a system via your RD Gateway would see. It all depends on the legal department of the manager what will go in here. Do note that you cannot continue until you accept the terms. This could be annoying to regular users after a while. That’s why you have the option of selecting “Do not ask again unless changes to the policy occur”. That should keep both legal and the users happy Smile.

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Fixing Event ID 2002 “The policy and configuration settings could not be imported to the RD Gateway server "%1" because they are associated with local computer groups on another RD Gateway server”


Introduction

I was working on a little project for a company that was running TS Gateway on 32bit Windows 2008. The reason they did not go for x64 at the time was that they used Virtual Server as their virtualization platform for some years and not Hyper-V. One of the drawbacks was that they could not use x64 guest VMs. Since then they have move to Hyper-V and now also run Window Server 2012. So after more than 5 years of service and to make sure they did not keep relying on aging technology it is time to move to Windows Server 2012 RD Gateway and reap the benefits of the latest OS.

All in all the Microsoft documentation is not to bad, all be it that the information is a bit distributed as you need to use various tools to complete the process. Basically, depending on the original setup of the source server you’ll need to use the TS/RD Gateway Export & Import functionality, Web Deploy (we’re at version 3.0 at the time of writing) and the Windows Server Migration Tools that were introduced with Windows 2008 R2 and are also available in Windows Server 2012.

In a number of posts I’ll be discussing some of the steps we took. You are reading Part 3.

  1. x86 Windows Server 2008 TS Gateway Migration To x64 Windows Server 2012 RD Gateway
  2. Installing & using the Windows Server Migration Tools To Migrate Local Users & Groups
  3. TS/RD Gateway Export & Import policy and configuration settings a.k.a  “Fixing “The policy and configuration settings could not be imported to the RD Gateway server "TARGETSERVER" because they are associated with local computer groups on another RD Gateway server”

The Migration

Their is no in place upgrade from a x86 to an x64 OS. So this has to be a migration. No worries this is supported. With some insight, creativity and experience you can make this happen. The process reasonably well documented on TechNet, but not perfectly, and your starting point is right here RD Gateway Migration: Migrating the RD Gateway Role Service. These docs are for Windows Server 2008 R2 but still work for Windows Server 2012. Another challenge was we needed to also migrate their custom website used for the employees to check whether their PC is still on and if not wake it up or start it up remotely.

As you read in the previous part we had to migrate local users and groups that are also used by the TS Gateway x86 Windows 2008 Server as we still need those in the Windows Server 2012 RD Gateway. The Active Directory users and groups used in Connection Authorization Policies (CAP) and Resource Authorization Policies (RAP) require no further work.

TS/RD Gateway Export & Import

I’m not going to write on how to install  a brand new RD Gateway. That’s been done just fine by Microsoft and many other. I’ll just discuss the import and export functionality in the TS/RD Gateway manager and help you with a potential issue.

Export

This is easy. On the source TS/RD Gateways server you just right click the server in TS/RD Gateway Manager and select Export policy and configuration settings. In our case this is a Windows Server 2008 TS Gateway, X86, so 32 bit. But that doesn’t matter here.

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Give the export file a name and chose a location.

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You’ll get a notification of a successful import.

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Import

Ordinarily you’ll launch the RD Gateway Manager Import policy and configuration settings feature and follow the wizard.image

Select a export file (from the old TS Gateway server) to import

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But instead of getting a success message you get an error.

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If you are moving the TS/RDGateway to a new server and will not recuperate the name you’ll have to deal with the following issue: The policy and configuration settings could not be imported to the RD Gateway server "TARGETSERVER" because they are associated with local computer groups on another RD Gateway server.

This also manifests itself as an error in the TerminalServices-Gateway Admin log with Event 2002

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“The policy and server configuration settings for the TS Gateway server "%1" could not be imported. This problem might occur if the settings have become corrupted.”

What? Corrupt? The Export went fine!? Now if you start researching this error you’ll end up here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc727351(v=ws.10).aspx which will tell you what to do if you get this error duse to a bad export but basically tells you you’re stuck otherwise. Not so! The solution to this is very easy, you just have to know it works. I found out by testing & verifying this. All you have to do is edit the source TS/RD Gateway export XML file.

Open op the XML file in notepad. Select Edit/Replace from the menu and do a Find "SOURCESERVER" with Replace All "TARGETSERVER" and use that XML File. Save the file and use that for the import.

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So now start the import again with your edited file and after a while you’ll see that you have been successful this time.

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If you are recuperating the name you will not have this issue as the name in the export file will match the host name. However as this server is domain joined to the same domain as the original one you’ll have to respect the order of taking down the original one, resetting it’s AD computer account and reusing it for then new RD gateway server. This is more risky as you take down the service before you switch over. With a new server and a DNS alias you can just swap between the old and the new one by simply updating the DNS record(s) or even recuperating the old IP address, that switch can go fast.

x86 Windows Server 2008 TS Gateway Migration To x64 Windows Server 2012 RD Gateway


Introduction

I was working on a little project for a company that was (still) running TS Gateway on a 32 bit  x86) version Windows 2008. The reason they did not go for x64 at the time of deployment was that they then used Microsoft Virtual Server as their virtualization platform and had been for some years.

In a number of posts I’ll be discussing some of the steps we took. You are reading the first one.

  1. x86 Windows Server 2008 TS Gateway Migration To x64 Windows Server 2012 RD Gateway
  2. Installing & using the Windows Server Migration Tools To Migrate Local Users & Groups
  3. TS/RD Gateway Export & Import (Fixing Event ID 2002 “The policy and configuration settings could not be imported to the RD Gateway server "%1"" because they are associated with local computer groups on another RD Gateway server”)

In those early days of W2K8 they had not yet switched to Hyper-V. As an early adopter I was able to show the the reliability of Hyper-V, so later they did.

One of the drawbacks of using Microsoft Virtual Server was that they could not use x64 guest VMs and that’s how they ended up with x86, which was still available for a server OS for W2K8. Since then they have move to Hyper-V and now also run Window Server 2012. Happy customers! So after more than 5 years of service and to make sure they did not keep relying on aging technology it is time to move to Windows Server 2012 RD Gateway and reap the benefits of the latest OS.

The Migration

Their is no in place upgrade from a x86 to an x64 OS. So this has to be a migration. No worries this is supported. With some insight, creativity and experience you can make this happen. The process reasonably well documented on TechNet, but not perfectly, and your starting point is right here RD Gateway Migration: Migrating the RD Gateway Role Service. These docs are for Windows Server 2008 R2 but still work for Windows Server 2012. Another challenge was we needed to also migrate their custom website used for the employees to check whether their PC is still on and if not wake it up or start it up remotely.

There are some things to take care of and I’ll address these I some later blog posts but I want you to take to heart this message. While an in place upgrade of an 32 bit X86 operating system to X64 version of that OS is not possible that doesn’t mean you’re in  a pickle and will have to start over from scratch. For many scenario’s there are migration paths and this is just one example of them, or better two combined,TS Gateway and a Website.