Category Archives: Hyper-V

Azure Site Recovery: disaster recovery of VMware virtual machines

The solution Azure Site Recovery (ASR) protects virtual or physical systems, hosted both Hyper-V environment that VMware, automating the replication process to a secondary data center or to Microsoft Azure. With a single solution you can implement Disaster Recovery plans for heterogeneous environments orchestrating the replication process and actions needed for the successful recovery. Thanks to this solution, the DR plan will be easily available in any eventuality, even the most remote, to ensure business continuity. Recently, the solution has been expanded while also providing the ability to implement a disaster recovery strategy for Azure virtual machines, allowing you to enable replication between different regions.

In this article I'll show you how ASR can be used to replicate virtual machines in VMware environment to Azure (scenario 6 in the following figure), examining the characteristics and technical procedure to be followed. The following illustration shows all the scenarios currently covered by ASR solution:

Figure 1 – Scenarios covered by Azure Site Recovery

The replication scenario of VMware virtual machines to Azure requires the presence of the following architecture:

Figure 2 - Architecture in the replication scenario VMware to Azure

In order to activate the replication process is required the presence of at least one on-premises server on which you install the following roles:

  • Configuration Server: coordinates communications between the on-premises world and Azure, and manages the data replication.
  • Process Server: This role is installed by default with the Configuration Server, but may be provided more Process Server based on the volume of data to be replicated. It acts as a replication gateway, then receives replication data, performs an optimization through caching and compression mechanisms, provides encryption and sends them to the storage in the Azure environment. This role is also responsible to make the discovery of virtual machines on VMware systems.
  • Master target server: even this role is installed by default with the Configuration Server, but for deployment with a large number of systems can be more servers with this role. Take action during the failback process of resources from Azure by managing replication data.

On all virtual machines subject to the replication process is required the presence of Mobility Service, that is installed by Process Server. It is a special agent in charge of replicating the data in the virtual machine.

Following describes the process to follow to make the deployment of on-premises and Azure components required to enable replication of VMware virtual machines to Microsoft's public cloud.

The core component required on Azure side is the Recovery Service Vault within which, in the section Site Recovery, you can start the configuration process controlled by the chosen scenario.

Figure 3 – Choice of replication scenario of VMware virtual machines within the Recovery Service Vault

Then you must install on the on-premises machine the Configuration Server by following the steps listed:

Figure 4 – Steps to follow to add the Configuration Server

In this section of the Azure portal it is possible to download the Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Unified Setup and the key required for the registration of the server to the vault. Before starting the installation make sure that the machine on which you intend to install the Configuration Server be able to access the public URLs of the Azure service and that is enabled during the setup the web traffic on port 80 needed to download the MySQL component used by the solution.

The setup prompts you for the following information:

Figure 5 – Choice of roles to install

Select the first option for installing the roles Configuration Server and Process Server. The second option is useful if you need to install additional Process Server to enable a scale out deployment.

Figure 6 - Accept the license agreement by MySQL Community Server

Figure 7 - Key selection required for the registration to the Site Recovery Vault

Figure 8 - Choice of the methodology to access the Azure Services (direct or via proxy)

Figure 9 – Check to verify prerequisites

Figure 10 – Setting passwords for MySQL

Figure 11 – Further check on the presence of the required components to protect VMware VMs

Figure 12 – Choice of the installation path

Installation requires approximately 5 GB of available space, but are recommend at least 600 GB for the cache.

Figure 13 — Select the network interface and the port to use for replication traffic

Figure 14 – Summary of installation choices

Figure 15 - Setup of the different roles and components successfully completed

At the end, the setup shows the connection passphrase which is used by the Configuration Server, that is good to save with care.

Then you must configure the credentials that will be used by Azure Site Recovery to discover virtual machines in the VMware environment and for the installation of the Mobility Service on virtual machines.

Figure 16 - Definition of the credentials used by the service

After complete these steps you can select the Configuration Server from the Azure portal and then define VMware system data (vcenter or vSphere) with which to interface.

Figure 17 - Select the Configuration Server and add vCenter / vSphere host

On completion of this configuration it is necessary to wait few minutes to allow the Process Server to perform the discovery of VMware virtual machine on the specified environment.

Then you need to define the settings for the target of the replica:

  • On which subscription and what recovery model (ASM or ARM).
  • Which storage account use to host the replicated data.
  • vNet on which attest the replicated systems.

Figure 18 – Target replication settings

The next step involves defining the replication policy in terms of RPO (in minutes), retention of the recovery points (expressed in hours) and how often make consistent snapshot at the application level.

Figure 19 – Creation of the replication policy

Upon completion of this task is proposed to carry out the analysis of your environment using the tool Deployment Planner (available directly through the link in the Azure Portal) in order to ensure that the requirements, network resources and storage resources are sufficient to ensure the proper operation of the solution.

Figure 20 - Steps of infrastructure preparation completed successfully

After completing the infrastructure preparation steps you can activate the replication process:

Figure 21 - Source and Replica Target

Figure 22 - Selection of the virtual machines and of the related discs to be replicated

This section also specifies which account the Process Server will use to install the Mobility Service on each VMware virtual machine (account configured previously as documented in Figure 16).

Figure 23 - Replication policies selection and optionally enable Multi-VM consistency

If the "Multi-VM consistency" option will be selected it will create a Replication Group within which will be included the VMs that you want to replicate together for using shared recovery point. This option is recommended only when you need a consistency during the fail over to multiple virtual machines that deliver the same workload. Furthermore, by activating this option you should keep in mind that to activate the system failover process is necessary to set up a specific Recovery Plan and you can not enable failover for a single virtual machine.

At the end of these configurations you can activate the replication process

Figure 24 – Activation of the replication process and its result

Figure 25 - State of the replica for the VMware virtual machine

One of the biggest challenges when implementing a Disaster Recovery scenario is to have a chance to test its functionality without impacting production systems and its replication process. Equally true is that do not test properly the DR process is almost equivalent to not having it. Azure Site Recovery allow you to tests in a very simple way the Disaster Recovery procedure to assess the effectiveness:

Figure 26 – Testing the Failover procedure

Figure 27 - Outcome of the Test Failover process

Conclusions

Being able to rely on a single solution as Azure Site Recovery that lets you enable and test procedures for business continuity in heterogeneous infrastructures, contemplating even virtual machines in VMware environment, certainly has many advantages in terms of flexibility and effectiveness. ASR makes it possible to deal with the typical obstacles encountered during the implementation of Disaster Recovery plans reducing the cost and complexity and increasing the levels of compliance. The same solution can also be used to deal with the actual migration to Azure with minimal impact on end users thanks to nearly zero application downtime.

Windows Server 2016: Introduction to Hyper-V VHD Set

In Windows Server 2016 a cool new feature was introduced in Hyper-V, codenamed VHD Set. This is a new way of creating virtual disks that need to be shared among multiple virtual machines, useful for implementing guest cluster. In this article you will learn the characteristics of VHD Set, you will learn how to implement them at best and how to effectively address migration scenarios.

Features

The ability to share virtual disks across multiple virtual machines is required for clustered configurations guest requiring shared storage and to avoid having to configure access to storage via for example virtual HBA or through the use of iSCSI Protocol.

Figure 1 – VHD Set

In the Hyper-V this feature was introduced with Windows Server 2012 R2 technology called Shared VHDX, which has the following important limitations that often prevent the use in production environment:

  • Back up the Shared VHDX should occur with specific agents and host based backup is not supported
  • Hyper-V replication scenarios are not supported
  • The resize online of Shared VHDX is not covered

With Hyper-V in Windows Server 2016 This feature was revolutionized with the introduction of the VHD Set instead of Shared VHDX which removes the limitations listed above making it a mature technology and reliable even for production environments. In fact the virtual machines that are configured to access the VHD Set you can protect them by host based backup, without having to install agents on guest machines. In this case we recommend a check to determine whether the backup solution supports this configuration. Also the discs in the VHD format Set support online resizing, without the need to stop the guest cluster configured to access it. Even the Hyper-V replication supports VHD format disks Set allowing you to implement disaster recovery scenarios for guest cluster configurations.

At the moment the only limitations in using VHDs Set are given by non-support for creating virtual machine checkpoint that access and the inability to perform a live migration of virtual machines with VHD storage Set. Microsoft's goal for the future is anyway to make virtual machines configured with VHD joint Set all other functionality.

Requirements for using VHD Set

The VHD Set format is supported only for guest operating systems Windows Server 2016. You can also configure guest cluster where virtual machines are accessing shared virtual disks you must fall into one of the following scenarios:

  • Hyper-V failover cluster with all files of VMs, including in the VHD Set format , residing on a Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV).
  • Hyper-V failover cluster that has as a storage location for VHD Set a SMB share 3.0 output from one Scale Out File Server (SOFS).

Figure 2 – Supported scenarios for using shared virtual disks

How To Create VHD Set

Creating virtual disks in the VHD Set format can be made either with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that using Powershell. To create them via GUI simply open Hyper-V Manager and from the Actions Select New, Hard Drive. Among the possible formats will also be VHD Set as shown in the following figure:

Figure 3 – Selecting the virtual disk format in the creation wizard

Continuing with the Wizard, you can specify whether the disk should be classified as Fixed rather than Dynamic, the name, the location and its size if you choose to create a new blank disk. The same thing can also be done using Powershell cmdlet New-VHD, specifying as an extension of the virtual disk the new extension .vhds, as shown in the following example:

Figure 4 – Example of creating a disc in the VHD format Set using Powershell

Creating a disk in VHD Set format creates the following files in the specified location:

Figure 5 – Files generated by creating a disc in VHD format Set

The file with extension .avhdx contains data and can be fixed or dynamic depending on the choice made when creating, while the file .vhds contains the metadata required to coordinate access by different guest cluster nodes.

Virtual machine configuration with VHD Set

In order to add the drives in VHD Set format to virtual machines by modifying the properties and configure properly connecting SCSI controller:

Figure 6 – Addition of the Shared Drive in the properties of the VM

Next you must select the location of the file:

Figure 7 – Configuring the location of the shared drive

The same thing you will have to do it for all the virtual machines that will make up the guest cluster. After configuring the shared storage, that adds to the virtual machines the disks in VHS Set format, you can continue to configure the guest environment cluster according to the standard procedure for creating a cluster is described in Microsoft's official documentation.

Converting Shared VHDX in VHD Set

In Hyper-V infrastructure upgrade scenarios from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016, may have to deal with the migration of Shared VHDX in VHD Set to take advantage of all the benefits in the new technology of virtual disk sharing. Moving to Windows Server 2016 there is no automatic update of Shared VHDX in VHD Set and is not prevented from continuing to use the shared disks in Shared VHDX format in Windows Server 2016. In order to migrate the Shared VHDX in VHD Set format you need to follow the steps manual:

  • Shut down all virtual machines connected to the Shared VHDX you intend to migrate.
  • Disconnect the Shared VHDX from all VMs using Powershell cmdlet Remove-VMHardDiskDrive or by using Hyper-V Manager.
  • Start converting the Shared VHDX in VHD format Sets via Powershell cmdlet Convert-VHD
  • Connect the disk you just converted to the VHD format Set to all VMs using Powershell cmdlet Add-VMHardDiskDrive or by using Hyper-V Manager.
  • Turn on virtual machines connected to VHD Set.

When using disks in VHD format sets can be useful the following Powershell cmdlets:

  • Get-VHDSet: useful for displaying various information about the disk in the VHD Set format, including a list of any checkpoint.
  • Optimize-VHDSet: needed to optimize space allocation used by the disk in the VHD Set format.

Conclusions

In Windows Server 2016 the introduction of VHD Set in Hyper-V enables you to easily implement architectures guest cluster without using storage sharing technologies that require heavy and complex configurations. Were also removed most of the restrictions regarding the methodology of sharing of virtual disks, present in the previous version of Hyper-V, making VHD Set a mature technology, reliable and therefore can also be used in production environments.

Virtual Machine Manager 2016: Installation of ’ agent in Windows Server 2016 (Server Core)

This article contains the steps that are required in order to install the Virtual machine Manager Agent via push 2016 on a Windows server 2016 installed in Server Core mode, that is certainly the most common installation option for Hyper-V systems.

Let's start with the specified that during the installation of Windows Server 2016 the wizard asks you to choose one of the following options:

  • Windows Server 2016 that equates all installation ’ Server Core. This is the recommended server installation mode less than special needs which require the use of the user interface or the graphical tools of management as it requires less disk space usage, reduces the potential attack surface and reduces l ’ management effort. This installation mode is not present in the standard user interface (“Server Graphical Shell”) and to manage the server you must use the command line, Windows PowerShell or you can do it from a remote system.
  • Windows Server (Server with the Desktop Experience) that corresponds to an equivalent version ’ Full of Windows Server 2012 R2 with installed the feature “Desktop Experience”.

Unlike previous versions of Windows Server there is the possibility of converting a Server Core installation to a Server installation with the Desktop Experience or vice versa, the only possibility of conversion is to perform a new installation of the operating system.

In Windows Server 2016 You can also use the Nano Server mode (for owners of the Datacenter Edition) for having a footprint further reduced. For more information about Nano Server I invite you to consult the following articles Windows Server 2016: Introduction to Nano Servers and Windows Server 2016: Use Nano Server Image Builder.

Trying to push install VMM agent 2016 on a default installation of Windows Server 2016 (Server Core) you will receive the following error message because it is necessary to make a number of preliminary tasks:

Figure 1 – VMM error 2016 on default installation of WS2016

By checking the details of the error you are directed towards a series of checks that should be carried out and that require different corrective actions.

  1. Ensure ' Host ' is online and not blocked by a firewall.

The first point is obvious and requires that the system is online and that there is no firewall blocking the communication systems from the VMM server.

  1. Ensure that file and printer sharing is enabled on ‘Host’ and it not blocked by a firewall.

Using the following command you can check that by default the firewall rule ‘File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request – ICMPv4-In)’ non è abilitata. Nell’immagine seguente è riportato il comando necessario per consentire questo tipo di traffico in ingresso:

Figure 2 – Gestione regola del firewall ‘File and Printer Sharing (Echo Request – ICMPv4-In)

  1. Ensure that WMI is enabled on ‘Host’ and it not blocked by a firewall.

Similar situation also regarding the firewall rule to allow traffic Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) inbound, default is inactive and you must enable the feature:

Figure 3 – Gestione regola del firewall ‘Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI-In)

  1. Ensure that there is sufficient free space on the system volume.

Of course you need to make sure that on the system volume there is enough disk space for the installation of the VMM agent that requires a few dozen MB.

  1. Verify that the ADMIN $ share on ' Host ' exists. If the ADMIN $ share does not exist, restart ' Host ' and then try the operation again.

During the first phase of push installation of the VMM agent is done copying the setup share ADMIN $ remote server. Windows Server 2016 installed in server core mode is devoid of the File Server role:

Figure 4 – Check for File Server role

By default there is instead the feature to support the SMB Protocol v 1.0 / CIFS which in this case can safely be removed as unnecessary.

To allow access to this share ADMIN $ You then add the File Server role by using the following Powershell command:

Figure 5 – File Server role installation and removal feature for SMB support v 1.0 / CIFS

Terminate these operations you can install the VMM agent push 2016 on a default installation of Windows Server 2016 (Server Core):

Figure 6 – Job of the VMM agent installation successfully completed

 

Conclusions

In Windows Server 2016 installed in Server Core mode task as simple as the VMM agent push installation 2016 require a careful and timely system setup, Despite this I believe this installation mode is the preferred choice in most deployment of Hyper-V.

Windows Server 2016: the new Virtual Switch in Hyper-V

In this article we'll delve into the characteristics and we will see how to configure a Virtual Switch to Hyper-V in Windows Server 2016 in the mode Switch Embedded Teaming (SET). This is a new technology, alternative to NIC Teaming, allowing you to have multiple network adapters on the same physical host joins virtualization Hyper-V Virtual Switch.

With Windows Server 2012 It was introduced the ability to create an operating system natively network teaming (up to a maximum of 32 network adapters) without having to install special software vendors. It was common practice to define virtualization hosts of Hyper-V virtual switch attestandoli on these NIC teaming. To have high availability and balance virtual machine network traffic was necessary to unify these two different constructs, the Team and the Hyper-V Virtual Switch. Using this configuration, you should specify that the teaming LBFO tradition (Load Balancer Fail Over) It wasn't compatible with RDMA.

In Windows Server 2016 introduces a further possibility regarding Hyper-V Virtual Switch configuration Switch Embedded call Teaming (SET), figura 1, which allows you to unify multiple network adapters (up to a maximum of 8) in one Virtual switches without configuring any teaming. SET includes the teaming of network within the Virtual Switch providing high performance and fault tolerance in the face of hardware failure of the single NIC. In this configuration there is the possiblity to RDMA technology on individual network adapters, and therefore becomes invalid the need to have a separate set of NIC (one for use with the Virtual Switch and one for using RDMA).

2016_ 12_16_virtualswitch-01
Figure 1 – Architecture SET

When evaluating the adoption of Embedded Teaming mode Switch (SET) It is important to consider the compatibility with other technologies related to networking.

SET is compatible with:

  • Datacenter bridging (DCB)
  • Hyper-V Network Virtualization in both NVGRE that VxLAN
  • Receive side Checksum offloads (IPv4, IPv6, TCP) – If supported by the hardware model of NIC
  • Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)
  • SDN Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Transmit-side Checksum offloads (IPv4, IPv6, TCP) – If supported by the hardware model of NIC
  • Virtual Machine Queues (VMQ)
  • Virtual Receive Side Scalaing (RSS)

SET is Not compatible with the following network technologies:

  • 1X authentication
  • Ipsec Task Offload (IPsecTO)
  • QoS (implemented the host side)
  • Receive side coalescing (Us $)
  • Receive side scaling (RSS)
  • Single root i/o virtualization (SR-IOV)
  • Tcp Chimney Offload
  • Virtual Machine QoS (Vm-QoS)

 

Differences from the NIC Teaming

Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) It differs from traditional NIC Teaming in particular to the following aspects:

  • When you do a deployment of SET is not supported use NIC in standby mode, but all network adapters must be active;
  • You cannot assign a specific name to the team, but only to the Virtual Switch;
  • SET only supports the mode Switch Independent, While the NIC teaming has several modes of operation. This means that your network switches, where the NIC that belong to the SET are attested, I am not aware of the presence of this configuration and therefore does not introduce any control over how to distribute network traffic between the different members.

When you configure SET you only need to specify which network adapters belong to the team and the mechanism of balancing of traffic.

A Virtual Switch in SET should consist of network adapters that are certified by Microsoft that have passed compatibility testing "Windows Hardware Qualification and Logo (WHQL)"for Windows Server 2016. An important aspect is that the NIC must be identical in terms of brand, model, drivers and firmware.

As for how network traffic is distributed among the different members of SET has two modes: Hyper-V Port and Dynamic.

Hyper-V Port

In this configuration, the network traffic is divided between different team members based on the virtual switch port binding and virtual machine's MAC address associated. This mode is particularly suitable when using Virtual Machine technology in conjunction with the Queues (VMQs). It is also necessary to consider that in the case where there are a few virtual machines on the virtualization host you might not have a homogeneous traffic balancing being a little granular mechanism. In this mode also available bandwidth for a network adapter to a virtual machine (with traffic so always from a single switch port) is always limited to the available bandwidth on a single network interface.

Dynamic

This mechanism of load balancing has the following features:

  • The outgoing traffic is distributed (based on a hash TCP ports and IP addresses) the principle called flowlets (based on TCP communication breaks present in fluxes). Also in Dynamic mode is a mechanism of re-balancing of traffic in real time between the various members of SET.
  • The incoming traffic Instead it is distributed exactly as in Hyper-V mode Port.

Regarding the configuration of sets as well as for all components belonging to software-defined networking (SDN) It is recommended to adopt System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). In configuring the Logical Switch simply select "Embedded" in the Uplink Mode as shown in Figure 2.

2016_ 12_16_virtualswitch-02
Figure 2 – SET configuration in VMM

As an alternative to configuring SET you can use the following PowerShell commands:

Create Virtual Switch in SET

2016_ 12_16_virtualswitch-03

The parameter EnableEmbeddedTeaming to create a team SET is optional in case they are listed multiple network adapters, but it is useful when you want to configure a Virtual Switch in this mode with a single network adapter to be extended with additional NIC subsequently.

Review of traffic distribution algorithm

2016_ 12_16_virtualswitch-04

Conclusions

Thanks to this new mechanism for creating Virtual Switch introduced in Hyper-V 2016 You can have more flexibility in networking management by reducing the number of network adapters and configuration complexity, while enjoying high performance and high availability.

Windows Server 2016: What’s New in Hyper-V

Windows Server 2016 was officially released and there are several new features related to Hyper-V that make it increasingly a powerful virtualization platform full of new and exciting features. In this article, I will show the new Hyper-V feature in Windows Server 2016 and attention will be paid to the changes from the previous version.

Nested Virtualization

This feature allows you to have a virtual machine using the Hyper-V role and consequences to host on it other virtual machine. This feature is useful for test and development environments, but it is not suitable to be used in production environments. In order to use the nested virtualization must be respected the following requirements:

  • The virtual machine using the Hyper-V role must have at least 4 GB RAM
  • Guest virtual machines must also be Windows Server 2016
  • When the nested virtualization is available only if the physical host that holds the VM with Hyper-V has Intel processors (VT-x and EPT).

For further information about can you see Windows Server 2016: Introduction to Hyper-V Nested Virtualization edited by Silvio Benedict or the Microsoft document Nested Virtualization.

Networking Features

Also in networking introduces important new features that allow you to take full advantage of the hardware and get more performance:

  • Remote direct memory access (RDMA) embedded switches and teaming (SET). Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) is a new technology alternative to NIC Teaming allowing you to have multiple network adapters that are joined to the same Virtual Switch to Hyper-V. Prior to Windows Server 2016 It was necessary to have a separate set of NIC (one for use with the Virtual switches and one to take advantage of RDMA) Since the teaming of the OS was not compatible with RDMA. In Windows Server 2016 There is the possiblity to RDMA on network adapters that are associated with a Virtual switches configured with or without Embedded Switch Teaming mode (SET)
  • Virtual machine multi queues (VMMQ). Improvement on QMV throughput with the ability to allocate multiple hardware queues per virtual machine
  • Quality of service (QoS) for software-defined networks

Hot add and remove for network adapters and memory

For generating virtual machine 2 running both Windows and Linux you can add or remove network adapters while the virtual machine is running, without no catch. In addition to build both virtual machines 1 build confidence 2, but running Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10 You can change the amount of RAM assigned to it while it is running, Although dynamic memory is not enabled.

Hyper-V Cluster Rolling Upgrade

Important are the changes in the cluster. Provides the ability to add a node Windows Server 2016 to an existing Hyper-V cluster consisting of Windows Server nodes 2012 R2. This allows us to update the cluster systems without any downtime. As long as all cluster nodes are not upgraded to Windows Server 2016 the cluster remains with the features of Windows Server 2012 R2. After the update process of the various nodes in the cluster, you must upgrade the level of functionality via Powershell cmdlet Update-ClusterFunctionalLevel.

Start Order Priority for Clustered Virtual Machines

Thanks to this feature it is possible to obtain more control over the virtual machine boot priority in clustered environment. This can be useful to start virtual machines that provide services before others that take advantage of these services. All this is easily achieved by configuring the set, assigning virtual machines to different sets and defining dependencies.

Production Checkpoints

The creation of production checkpoint relies on backup technologies inside the virtual machine instead of the save state (Save state of Hyper-V). For Windows OS based machines uses Volume Snapshot Service (VSS), While Linux virtual machines is done a flush of different file system buffers to create a checkpoint that is consistent at the file system level. The Production checkpoint are the default for new virtual machines, but there is always the possibility to create checkpoints based on the State to save the virtual machine, called checkpoint standard time.

Host Resource Protection

This feature helps prevent conditions where the operations carried out by a single virtual machine can degrade the performance of the Hyper-V host or other virtual machine. When this monitoring mechanism detects a VM with excessive activity in this reduces the resources assigned. By default this control mechanism is disabled and you can activate it using the following Powershell command: Set-VMProcessor-EnableHostResourceProtection $true

Shielded Virtual Machines

The Shielded virtual machines, aggregating several features, make it much more difficult all those activities that can be made by malware or Hyper-V administrators themselves to inspect, tampering and misappropriation of data. The data and status of Shielded virtual machines are encrypted and Hyper-V administrators is not permitted to view the output videos and data on virtual disks. These virtual machines can be carried out on specific Hyper-V hosts defined and in health status according to the policies issued by Guardian Server Host. The shielded virtual machines are compatible with the Hyper-V feature Replica. To enable replication that can be authorised for Hyper-V hosts on which you want to replicate the shielded virtual machine. For more details about these new features, please consult the document Guarded Fabric and Shielded VMs.

Virtualization-based Security for Generation 2 Virtual Machines

New security features were introduced to the virtual machine generation 2 (starting with version 8 of the configuration file) What Device Guard and Credential Guard, they are able to increase the security of the operating system from malware attacks.

Encryption Support for the Operating System drive in Generation 1 Virtual Machines

Now there is the possibility to protect the operating system disks using BitLocker to build virtual machine 1. Thanks to new feature Key Storage (requires at least version 8 of the configuration file) creates a small drive dedicated to hosting the keys used by BitLocker instead of using a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that is only available for virtual machines by generation 2.

Linux Secure Boot

Build the virtual machine 2 based on the Linux operating system can boot using the Secure Boot. Are enabled to Secure Boot on Windows host Server 2016 the following Linux distributions:

  • Ubuntu 14.04 +
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 +
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 +
  • CentOS 7.0 +

Windows PowerShell Direct

This is a new way to run Windows PowerShell commands on a virtual machine directly from the host impartendoli, without requiring an access via network and remote management tools regardless of configuration. Windows PowerShell Direct is an excellent alternative to the tools currently used by Hyper-V administrators as PowerShell, Remote Desktop or Hyper-V Virtual Machine Connection (Vmconnect) and offers a great experience in scripting and automation (for example, difficult to achieve with VMConnect).

Compatible with Connected Standby

When the Hyper-V role is enabled on a system that uses as power model Always On/Always Connected (AOAC) is now available as a power state Connected Standby.

Discrete Device Assignment

This exciting feature enables you to provide direct and exclusive access to a virtual machine to some harware PCIe devices. Using a device in this mode is bypassed the entire Hyper-V virtualization stack thus ensuring faster access to hardware. For more information about hardware requirements, please refer to the section "Discrete device assignment" in the document System requirements for Hyper-V on Windows Server 2016.

Windows Containers

Speaking of what's new in Hyper-V is also worth mentioning the Windows Containers that enable on a system of isolated applications. Among the main strengths of containers we find the speed of creation, high scalability and portability. There are two types of runtime containers, each provides a different level of application isolation:

  • Windows Server Containers using namespace and process isolation
  • Hyper-V virtual machine that uses a small Containers for each container

For more details on containers I invite you to consult official documentation of the Windows Container And the specific section on WindowServer.it containing several very interesting articles.

 

Update feature in Windows Server 2016

More Memory and Processors for Generation 2 Hyper-V Virtual Machines and Hosts

Build the virtual machine 2, starting with version 8 of the configuration file, can be configured with more resources in terms of virtual processors and memory RAM. Have also been revised even the maximum resource usage of physical hosts. For all details about Hyper-V scalability in Windows Server 2016 You can read the document Plan for Hyper-V scalability in Windows Server 2016.

Virtual Machine Configuration File Format

Virtual machine configuration file uses a new format that allows you to read and write more efficiently the different configurations. This new format also makes it more resilient to corruption if you experience failure disk subsystem. The extension of the new configuration file that holds the virtual machine configuration is .vmcx While the extension .vmrs is used to hold the runtime state.

Virtual Machine Configuration Version

The configuration file version represents the level of virtual machine compatibility with the version of Hyper-V. The virtual machine configuration file version 5 are compatible Windows Server 2012 R2 and can be activated either on Windows Server 2012 R2 on Windows Server 2016. Virtual machines with configuration file versions introduced in Windows Server 2016 cannot be performed in Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 R2. In order to use all the new features on virtual machines created with Windows Server 2012 R2 and then migrated or imported in Hyper-V on Windows Server 2016 You must update the configuration of virtual machines. The update is automatic. The downgrade of the configuration file is not supported. Full details on how to upgrade the version of the virtual machine configuration can be found in the following: Upgrade virtual machine version in Hyper-V on Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016.

Hyper-V Manager Improvements

Hyper-V manager also introduces important improvements:

  • Alternate credentials support – Provides the ability to use a different set of credentials in Hyper-V Manager when connecting to a remote host Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10. Credentials can also be saved to be easily reused.
  • Manage earlier versions – Using Hyper-V Manager on Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 You can also manage Hyper-V Windows Server based systems 2012, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.
  • Updated management protocol – Hyper-V Manager uses the WS-MAN to communicate with the remote Hyper-V host. This communication protocol enables CredSSP authentication, Kerberos or NTLM and facilitates the host configuration to allow remote management.

Integration Services Delivered Through Windows Update

Very useful is the ability to update the virtual machine integration services based on Windows operating system via Windows Update. This is a matter of particular interest to service providers because thanks to this mechanism on monitoring the application of these updates is left in the hands of the tenant who owns the virtual machine. Tenants can then update independently its own virtual machine Windows with all updates, including the integration services, using a single method..

Shared Virtual Hard Disks

Provides the ability to resize the virtual hard disks including shared, used to create environments guest clustering, without any downtime. The size of the shared virtual hard disks can be extended or reduced while the virtual machine is online. The guest cluster using shared virtual hard disks can now be protected with the Hyper-V Replication for disaster recovery.

Storage Quality of Service (QoS)

In storage you can create QoS policy on Scale-Out File Server and assign them to different virtual disks associated with Hyper-V virtual machines. This gives you the ability to check the performance of the storage by preventing the use of the same for individual virtual machines can impact the entire disk subsystem. You can find full details of this topic in the document Storage Quality of Service.

 

Conclusions

There are many new features in Microsoft Windows Server virtualization platform 2016 that make it even more complete and rich in new features. Microsoft Hyper-V is now available on the market for several years, has reached the highest levels of reliability and offers a great enterprise-class virtualization solution. In choosing the virtualization platform is well not to overlook even the various possibilities that we offer to scale down public cloud or to implement hybrid architectures.

You can test all the new features of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016 by downloading the trial version from the TechNet Evaluation Center.

For more insights on the topic I invite you to participate in the sessions devoted to Hyper-V during the SID // Windows Server 2016 Roadshow, the free event dedicated to the new operating system, open to all companies, consultants and partners who want to prepare for the future and who want to know the latest news and best practices to implement new server operating system.

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery: Hyper-V virtual machine replication in Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery provides the ability to replicate virtual machines on Hyper-V towards a specific cloud service for disaster recovery.

By accessing the following link you can see all the details about prerequisites and about supported scenarios for using Azure Site Recovery: http://msdn.microsoft.com/it-it/library/azure/dn469078.aspx Continue reading

Hyper-v 2012 and System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager: Network Management

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 introduces a new paradigm for managing virtual networks leading to all intents to fully level virtualization networking. Virtual Machine Manager allows you to manage this new model at its best. This post wants to shed light on the management of new artifacts necessary for the virtual network infrastructure definition by showing how to better integrate Virtual Machine Manager and Hyper-v and what mistakes you should avoid. Continue reading