Yesterday Microsoft published a new download which is called Capacity Planner for Hyper-V Replica. The Capacity Planner for Hyper-V Replica guides the IT administrator to design the server, storage and network infrastructure which is required to successfully deploy Hyper-V Replica.
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V administrators can replicate their virtual machines from a primary server/cluster to a replica server/cluster for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes. The Capacity Planner for Hyper-V Replica provides server, storage and network provisioning guidance which would allow IT administrators to successfully plan for a Hyper-V Replica deployment.
In the past weeks I was giving a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V workshop to customers and as we went to the Hyper-V host management I talked about how you can update your Hyper-V infrastructure and how you can automatically update your Hyper-V cluster.
If we do not think about System Center Orchestrator we have basically two solutions to fully upgrade our Hyper-V clusters first is the System Center Virtual Machine Manager Fabric Patching which is available since System Center 2012. The second one is a new one called Cluster Aware Updating which is included in Windows Server 2012.
Both solutions do basically the same thing and using the same concept:
Scanning the Hyper-V host for updates
Putting the first node in maintenance mode and pause the node in the cluster
Moving all virtual machines to other nodes of the cluster
Installing the patches
rebooting the server
checking if all services are up again
stop the maintenance mode
start doing the same with the next node
This is basically what both solutions are doing, but there are small differences between them and both have advantages and disadvantages.
Cluster Aware Updating (CAU)
Moving not only virtual machines to other nodes, it does also move other cluster roles and cluster disks to other nodes
Cluster Aware Updating can use different update sources (Windows Update, Microsoft Update, WSUS, SCCM,…)
You can apply hotfixes via CAU
Cluster Aware Updating has APIs for third party vendors
You can do driver or firmware updates via CAU
You can schedule it via Self-Updating mode
Run pre- and post-scripts
Update Approval process over WSUS or SCCM
Only supporting Windows Server 2012
Coordination via cluster role
System Center Virtual Machine Manager
Does only move virtual machines to other nodes
Needs a WSUS server where the updates come from
Only updates which can be installed via WSUS
Virtualization (Fabric) Administrator will create update baselines and approve updates
Not third-party integration
Log – logs which administrator approved the updates
Integration in System Center Operations Manager, sets host in maintenance mode on SCOM so no alerts are generated.
Role based update management
Supports Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.
Coordination via Virtual Machine Manager
Both solution do a great job and can of course be extended by using Windows PowerShell, System Center Orchestrator or third-party products.
The two main differences are Windows Server 2012 Cluster Aware Updating is definitely the newer solution with extensibility for third-party solutions with support for other cluster roles not just Hyper-V. Where System Center Virtual Machine is the clear winner, is where you have security roles in place and you need logs and other security features. And System Center Virtual Machine Manager has also a connection to System Center Operations Manager which lets you set Hyper-V nodes to maintenance mode.
Microsoft finally released an video ad which shows why the Surface is such a great device. Surface Imagine shows you a device that can finally do it all. It has the power of a laptop with the portability of a tablet. It has a USB port and a click-in keyboard and the power to run Office.
Finally the event will be a two day event on September 16th/17th 2013 in Bern Switzerland. There will be sessions in 4 parallel tracks, 2 Keynotes (day 1 and day 2) and approx. 36 Breakout sessions with a lot of System Center and Windows Server specialist, Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft employees as speakers.
Markus Erlacher (CH) General Manager itnetx and former Microsoft Senior Technical Solution Professional http://www.itnetx.ch/ @markuserlacher
In Windows Server 2008 R2 you had a setting in the Hyper-V Manager GUI to enable Processor Compatibility for legacy operating systems such as Windows NT 4.0 Server or Windows Server 2000. In Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V this setting is gone from the GUI, but you can still change it via Windows PowerShell.
By using the Get-VMProcessor cmdlet you can list the virtual CPU information of your Hyper-V virtual machines.
As you can see you can find a property called CompatibilityForOlderOperatingSystemsEnabled which is set to “False” by default and this is okay in 99% of all cases. But even if Windows NT 4.0 Server or Windows Server 2000 is not officially supported by Microsoft anymore there are some customers which have to run some VMs with legacy operating systems and by changing this setting via Windows PowerShell and the Set-VMProcessor cmdlet you can allow VMs to run old operating systems.
Together with Symantec, Mahmoud Magdy (Microsoft MVP for Exchange Server) and Mikko Nykyri (VMware vExpert) we produced a whitepaper called “Virtual Machine Backup and Recovery: Five Critical Decisions”. This whitepaper covers an overview about virtualization and the challenges which come with the new workloads in terms of backup and recovery.
Because of the outstanding economy, flexibility, and service levels it offers, virtualization is transforming data centers at breakneck speed: by 2016, an estimated 80 percent of the world’s x86 servers will be virtual machines (VMs).1 But the speed of this transformation, along with the high resource utilization, ease of cloning, moving workloads, and other ways virtualization works its magic, raise challenges for “traditional” IT services and the teams that deliver them. Nowhere is the complexity that virtualization creates for traditional IT services more apparent than in backup and recovery, which participants in a recent Symantec survey ranked among their least-successful IT initiatives. This paper addresses five critical decisions organizations must make when building a backup and recovery plan to:
Maintain protection, visibility, and control of applications and data.
Maximize utilization of established infrastructure, processes, staff, and budget.
Use virtualization to improve backup and recovery processes.
Create an efficient, scalable, future-prepared backup and recovery environment.
Each issue is presented first in general terms that apply across IT environments, and then add comments for specific platforms, applications, or industries based on our individual experience as VMware® vExperts and Microsoft® MVPs.
Join a panel of virtualization experts including Microsoft MVPs Mahmoud Magdy & Thomas Mauer and VMware vExpert Mikko Nykyri as they discuss the white paper they co-authored and offer their thoughts on the most important things to consider for a virtualized server environment.