Windows Server 2012 R2 – Learn what’s new

One of my main sources for TechUpdates is Microsoft’s Channel 9 (http://channel9.msdn.com). Here you will find sessions from all the great events like, TechEd, MMS, Build and many more.

Reading up on Server 2012 R2 I found this series, a very good and organized source http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/NewInWS2012R2 This covers everything you need to know before booting up your lab environment to try it all yourself.

Main topics for Server 2012 R2: 

What's new

Unable to create storage Tier in Windows Server 2012 R2

Storage tiers in Windows Server 2012 R2 enables the file server to automaticly move the most accessed files or storage blocks to SSD (fast) storage while rarely accessed data is stored on spindle disks (slow). This function let’s you create larger storage pools and virtual disks while maintaining good performance. In my case this gives me a performance boost in my Hyper-V environment.

My lab/demo setup looks like this:

  • Connected disk cabinet with 4 x 2TB SATA disks (Hardware Raid 10).
  • 2 x 240GB SSD Drives

After creating a storage pool with this disk configuration I found that “Create storage tiers on the virtual disk” was greyed out.

TIER1

After some investigation I found that the Operating System was unable to classify my “Slow” storage. Media type showed: Unknown.

TIER2

Solution:

  • Start Powershell.exe (to get cracking)
  • We need to list our disks: Get-PhysicalDisk | ft FriendlyName,CanPool,Size,MediaType 

TIER3

  • As you can see, Physical Disk 3 has “UnSpecified” set as Media Type.
  • Next, we need to set MediaType manually: Get-PhysicalDisk | Where FriendlyName -EQ PhysicalDisk3 | Set-PhysicalDisk -MediaType HDD

TIER4

  •  Run the following command again to verify: Get-PhysicalDisk | ft FriendlyName,CanPool,Size,MediaType 

TIER5

  • Problem solved, I am now able to select “Create storage tier on this virtual disk”

TIER6

Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 available for Technet and MSDN subscribers!

Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 are now available for IT-Pro’s and Developers!!.

Windows_8.1_1 Windows_8.1_2

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Tools of the trade: How to create Self-Extracting Archives with Windows

It’s a well hidden deployment secret that you can create self-extracting archives with Windows. Although 3’rd party software may give you some benefits, the IExpress tool in Windows usually has what you need. You can extract files and run commands, you can do post install commands, user prompts, license agreements, select run behavior, completion message and handle or require reboots.

You can launch IExpress from the command line or “run” (win+r) I have noticed that the tool works best when you run it as administrator.

1. Let’s say I want to create a new archive “MyApp”, this app has a install.vbs script that needs to be executed as part of the installation. I start the IExpress Wizard.

IEx1

2. I select the package purpose, I want to extract files and run an installation command.

IEx2

3. I name my package “My Demo App”

IEx3

4. In this case I do not want to prompt the user in any way.

 

IEx4

5. Neither to I have a license agreement.

IEx5

6. I then add the files I want included in my package. In this case I only add Install.vbs but usually you would want to add multiple files and folders.

IEx6

7. I specify the command line to launch after the package is extracted. Wscript.exe install.vbs

 

IEx7

8. I select “default” behaviour on the show window tab.

IEx8

 

 

9. I do not want any “completion message”.

IEx9

10. I select where to create the self-extracting archive and name of the .exe file.

IEx10

11. The package should only require a restart if it’s needed by my install.vbs script.

IEx11

 

12. If I wanted to I could save the steps (“Package definition”) in a file, this is a good idea If you need to update the package later on.

IEx12

13. I click next to create the package.

IEx13

 

 

14. “Your Package has been created, click Finish when you are ready to quit”

IEx14

Windows Server 2012: Planning for Direct Access

I’ve been running Direct Access on Server 2012 for a while, beeing frustrated with complicated configuration and difficult requirements on Windows Server 2008 R2. I must say Microsoft has really improved the implementation in Server 2012. If you want to enable all features the old requirements are still there such as PKI and two Public IP-Adresses but in real life the IP-HTTPS tunnel does the trick for most of us. I get a lot of questions about requirements, scaling and implementation. With this post i’m sharing some useful resources to get this information.

Direct Access

1. Get an understanding of Remote Access with Direct Access in Server 2012: Sandeep Singhal did a good presentation at TechEd North America 2012.

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2012/WSV302

2. Understand all the components and featureset of Direct Access.

Remote Access Overview: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831416.aspx

3. Plan your implementation.

Technet Direct Access Planning Guide: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj574101.aspx

Direct Access Capacity Planning: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj735301.aspx

Windows Server 2012 Product Family Comparison

Microsoft has released a datasheet including information about locks and limits and supported server roles and features. As you will see, standard and datacenter edition now has the same features. For if you are planning to install one of those, you will only need to decide on the license model. But less known editions like Windows Server 2012 Essentials or Windows Multipoint Server has a limited feature set worth knowing about.

DataSheet

Download here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38809&ocid=aff-n-we-loc–ITPRO40886&WT.mc_id=aff-n-we-loc–ITPRO40886

 

Follow TechEd Europe Madrid Live!

If you are not one of the lucky ones attending TechEd…. Don’t worry, you can still follow the sessions online! Navigate to: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Europe/2013#fbid=wipqIKVlFpz

Windows Server: Getting started with SMI-S on Windows Server 2012

“SMI-S support is available, coupled with the new Storage Management API (SMAPI), which consists of new WMI interfaces and cmdlets, it is possible to manage SAN or direct attached storage in a vendor-independent fashion, and also in a system-independent fashion if you have more than Windows in your datacenter. The new File and Storage Services canvas in Server Manager can take advantage of SMI-S providers, giving you a GUI for managing basic array functionality right out of the box.”

http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2012/07/06/3507632.aspx

 

How to Configure a Clustered Storage Space in Windows Server 2012

Troubleshooting a clustered Storage Space in Server 2012 I came accross this blog post: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/clustering/archive/2012/06/02/10314262.aspx

A great guide on how to create a clustered storage space, and necessary prerequisites:

  • A minimum of three physical drives, with at least 4 gigabytes (GB) capacity each, are required to create a storage pool in a Failover Cluster.
  •  The clustered storage pool MUST be comprised of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) connected physical disks. Layering any form of storage subsystem, whether an internal RAID card or an external RAID box, regardless of being directly connected or connected via a storage fabric, is not supported.
  •  All physical disks used to create a clustered pool must pass the Failover Cluster validation tests. To run cluster validation tests:
  • Clustered storage spaces must use fixed provisioning.
  • Simple and mirror storage spaces are supported for use in Failover Cluster. Parity Spaces are not supported.
  • The physical disks used for a clustered pool must be dedicated to the pool. Boot disks should not be added to a clustered pool nor should a physical disk be shared among multiple clustered pools.
  • Storage spaces formatted with ReFS cannot be added to the Cluster Shared Volume (CSV).

System Center 2012: The order in witch you upgrade System Center 2012 components is very important.

“In an environment that includes two or more components of Microsoft System Center 2012, the order in which you upgrade those components to System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is very important.”

Personally I recommend using this order also for cumulative updates and update rollups.

Upgrade Path

Read more here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj628203.aspx

MMS 2013: View sessions online

If you are not one of the lucky ones attending MMS 2013 …. Don’t worry, you can still follow the sessions online!

“The Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) brings together the brightest IT professionals from around the world to increase their technical expertise through an intensive week of training led by experts in desktop, device management, datacenter, and cloud technologies.”

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/MMS/2013

Hyper-V Best Practise!

When designing a Hyper-V solution it’s a lot to think about regarding network and storage configuration. NetApp writes good best practise documents for Hyper-V. If you are in the process to install or optimize your hyper-v environment, I can reccomend  I really recommend you to read «NetApp Storage Best Practices for Microsoft Virtualization and NetApp SnapManager for Hyper-V» Even if Your Storage vendor is not NetApp 🙂

Get it here: http://www.netapp.com/us/media/tr-3702.pdf

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: The requested resources is in use.

Recently i’ve upgraded my private lab environment. I have moved from a combination of VMware workstation and oracle virtualbox to a Server 2012 Hyper-V Cluster. So far so good, storage is also upgraded to a NetGear iSCSI NAS, in my environment this has proven to do the trick. Even if you can now use SMB shares in failover clusters, I still use iSCSI.

Recently I ran into this error: «The requested resource is in use». Storage showed status reserved on both hosts, I was unable to bring the resources online. My storage was in a stale state, with both hosts reserving the storage.

So how to solve?

  1. In powershell type, Clear-ClusterDiskReservation –Disk <DiskNumber> on the hyper-v hosts. (disk number from disk management or diskpart)
  2. If this fails, another option in my case was to disconnect the iSCSI storage on one of my hosts claiming ownership. Then I was able to bring the resource online, reconnect iSCSI storage. Problem solved.

Server 2012: Initial configuration of windows server core with powershell

Windows Server core is now Microsoft’s preferred choice. Even though we have great remote management tools, we still have to do a initial setup of the server.

Launch: Powershell.exe

1. Give the server a name: rename-computer DemoComputer

2. Give the server a Ipv4 address: New-NetIPAddress -IPAddress 192.168.1.10 -InterfaceAlias “Ethernet” -DefaultGateway 192.168.1.1 -AddressFamily IPv4 -PrefixLenght 24

3. Specify dns server: Set-DnsClientServerAddress -interfaceAlias “Ethernet” -ServerAddresses 192.168.1.1

4. Join server to domain: add-computer -DomainName systemcenter.no

More information: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj592692.aspx

5. If you are getting “WinRM Negotiate authentication error” use following command to add the Remote server to the trusted host list of Your management server:

Set-Item wsman:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts Server01 -Concatenate -Force

6. If you need to disable the firewall during initial setup: netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off

Microsoft, Infrastructure planning and design guides

Yes! They exist, If you are planning an implementation of a Microsoft System Center 2012 or other Microsoft Products or just seeking information on what is new, recommended planning steps or an overview of the product architecture. The Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) Guide Series provides you with quick an concrete information specified to each Product.

Great Tools whether you are a product specialist, receiving customer, a technical sales resource or project manager. Read up!

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/ee395430

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V vs. VMware vSphere 5

Windows Server 2012 is released, I get a lot of questions regarding Hyper-V and how it compares to VMware. I recommend reading this whitepaper to get an overview. In my point of view, Hyper-V has evolved to a powerful virtualizing platform. Add the System Center 2012 suite and you got some really powerful tools 🙂

http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/E/3/0E38E6AD-0ADF-4ADC-AABC-40820CC8374B/Competitive_Advantages_of_Windows_Server_2012_Hyper-V_over_VMware_vSphere_5.0.pdf

 

System Center 2012 Private Cloud

Microsoft has released a whitepaper where they compare private cloud solutions from Microsoft and VMware. If you are curious about private cloud technology and what Microsoft has to offer, i recommend reading this whitepaper.

Download it her: http://download.microsoft.com/download/F/3/6/F36D9AE8-6238-4EA3-9ABC-BF7BB848BF70/MicrosoftPrivateCloudWhitepaper.pdf