Microsoft News – 19 November 2014

Pay attention to the security update for Windows that was released out of band last night. It’s an important one that prevents people from crafting custom Kerberos tickets.


Windows Server



Office 365

Microsoft News – 17 November 2014

I’ve had a crazy few weeks with TechEd Europe 2014, followed by the MVP Summit, followed by a week of events and catchup at work. Today, I’ve finally gotten to go through my news feeds. There is a LOT of Azure stuff from TEE14.


Windows Server

System Center

Windows Client

  • Windows 10 – Making Deployment Easier: Using an in-place upgrade instead of the traditional wipe-and-load approach that organizations have historically used to deploy new Windows versions. This upgrade process is designed to preserve the apps, data, and configuration from the existing Windows installation, taking care to put things back the way they need to be after Windows 10 has been installed on the system. And support for traditional deployment tools.
  • Windows 10 – Manageability Choices: Ensuring that Windows works better when using Active Directory and Azure Active Directory together. When connecting the two, users can automatically be signed-in to cloud-based services like Office 365, Microsoft Intune, and the Windows Store, even when logging in to their machine using Active Directory accounts. For users, this will mean no longer needing to remember additional user IDs or passwords.



ASR SAN replication topology

Office 365


Operational Insights


New Features in Windows Server 2016 (WS2016) Hyper-V

I’m going to do my best (no guarantees – I only have one body and pair of ears/eyes and NDA stuff is hard to track!) to update this page with a listing of each new feature in Windows Server 2016 (WS2016) Hyper-V and Hyper-V Server 2016 after they are discussed publicly by Microsoft. The links will lead to more detailed descriptions of each feature.

Note, that the features of WS2012 can be found here and the features of WS2012 R2 can be found here.

This list was last updated on 25/May/2015 (during Technical Preview 2).


Active memory dump

Windows Server 2016 introduces a dump type of “Active memory dump”, which filters out most memory pages allocated to VMs making the memory.dmp file much smaller and easier to save/copy.


Azure Stack

A replacement for Windows Azure Pack (WAPack), bringing the code of the “Ibiza” “preview portal” of Azure to on-premises for private cloud or hosted public cloud. Uses providers to interact with Windows Server 2016. Does not require System Center, but you will want management for some things (monitoring, Hyper-V Network Virtualization, etc).


Azure Storage

A post-RTM update (flight) will add support for blobs, tables, and storage accounts, allowing you to deploy Azure storage on-premises or in hosted solutions.


Backup Change Tracking

Microsoft will include change tracking so third-party vendors do not need to update/install dodgy kernel level file system filters for change tracking of VM files.


Binary VM Configuration Files

Microsoft is moving away from text-based files to increase scalability and performance.


Cluster Cloud Witness

You can use Azure storage as a witness for quorum for a multi-site cluster. Stores just an incremental sequence number in an Azure Storage Account, secured by an access key.


Cluster Compute Resiliency

Prevents the cluster from failing a host too quickly after a transient error. A host will go into isolation, allowing services to continue to run without disruptive failover.


Cluster Functional Level

A rolling upgrade requires mixed-mode clusters, i.e. WS2012 R2 and Windows Server vNext hosts in the same cluster. The cluster will stay and WS2012 R2 functional level until you finish the rolling upgrade and then manually increase the cluster functional level (one-way).


Cluster Quarantine

If a cluster node is flapping (going into & out of isolation too often) then the cluster will quarantine a node, and drain it of resources (Live Migration – see MoveTypeThreshold and DefaultMoveType).


Cluster Rolling Upgrade

You do not need to create a new cluster or do a cluster migration to get from WS2012 R2 to Windows Server vNext. The new process allows hosts in a cluster to be rebuilt IN THE EXISTING cluster with Windows Server vNext.



Deploy born-in-the-cloud stateless applications using Windows Server Containers or Hyper-V Containers.


Converged RDMA

Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) NICs (rNICs) can be converged to share both tenant and host storage/clustering traffic roles.


Delivery of Integration Components

This will be done via Windows Update


Differential Export

Export just the changes between 2 known points in time. Used for incremental file-based backup.


Distributed Storage QoS

Enable per-virtual hard disk QoS for VMs stored on a Scale-Out File Server, possibly also available for SANs.


File-Based Backup

Hyper-V is decoupling from volume backup for scalability and reliability reasons


Host Resource Protection

An automated process for restricting resource availability to VMs that display unwanted “patterns of access”.


Hot-Add & Hot-Remove of vNICs

You can hot-add and hot-remove virtual NICs to/from a running virtual machine.



This is made possible with Storage Spaces Direct and is aimed initially at smaller deployments.


Hyper-V Cluster Management

A new administration model that allows tools to abstract the cluster as a single host. Enables much easier VM management, visible initially with PowerShell (e.g. Get-VM, etc).


Hyper-V Replica & Hot Add of Disks

You can add disks to a virtual machine that is already being replicated. Later you can add the disks to the replica set using Set-VMReplication.


Hyper-V Manager Alternative Credentials

With CredSSP-enabled PCs and hosts, you can connect to a host with alternative credentials.


Hyper-V Manager Down-Level Support

You can manage Windows Server vNext, WS2012 R2 and WS2012 Hyper-V from a single console


Hyper-V Manager WinRM

WinRM is used to connect to hosts.



This is a new protocol for Microsoft Storage QoS. It uses SMB 3.0 as a transport, and it describes the conversation between Hyper-V compute nodes and the SOFS storage nodes. IOPS, latency, initiator names, imitator node information is sent from the compute nodes to the storage nodes. The storage nodes, send back the enforcement commands to limit flows, etc.


Nested Virtualization

Yes, you read that right! Required for Hyper-V containers in a hosted environment, e.g. Azure. Side-effect is that WS2016 Hyper-V can run in WS2016 via virtualization of VT-X.


Network Controller

A new fabric management feature built-into Windows Server, offering many new features that we see in Azure. Examples are a distributed firewall and software load balancer.


Online Resize of Memory

Change memory of running virtual machines that don’t have Dynamic Memory enabled.


Power Management

Hyper-V has expanded support for power management, including Connected Standby


PowerShell Direct

Target PowerShell at VMs via the hypervisor (VMbus) without requiring network access. You still need local admin credentials for the guest OS.


Pre-Authentication Integrity

When talking from one machine to the next via SMB 3.1.1. This is a security feature that uses checks on the sender & recipient side to ensure that there is no man-in-the-middle.


Production Checkpoints

Using VSS in the guest OS to create a consistent snapshots that workload services should be able to support. Applying a checkpoint is like performing a VM restore from backup.


Nano Server

A new installation option that allows you to deploy headless Windows Servers with tiny install footprint and no UI of any kind. Intended for storage and virtualization scenarios at first. There will be a web version of admin tools that you can deploy centrally.


RDMA to the Host

Remote Direct Memory Access will be supported to the management OS virtual NICs via converged networking.


ReFS Accelerated VHDX Operations

Operations are accelerated by converting them into metadata operations: fixed VHDX creation, dynamic VHDX extension, merge of checkpoints (better file-based backup).



OpenFL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1 API are supported.


Replica Support for Hot-Add of VHDX

When you hot-add a VHDX to a running VM that is being replicated by Hyper-V Replica, the VHDX is available to be added to the replica set (MSFT doesn’t assume that you want to replicate the new disk).


Replica support for Cross-Version Hosts

Your hosts can be of different versions.


Runtime Memory Resize

You can increase or decrease the memory assigned to Windows Server vNext guests.


Secure Boot for Linux

Enable protection of the boot loader in Generation 2 VMs


Shared VHDX Improvements

You will be able to do host-based snapshots of Shared VHDX (so you get host-level backups) and guest clusters. You will be able to hot-resize a Shared VHDX.

Shared VHDX will have its own hardware category in the UI. Note that there is a new file format for Shared VHDX. There will be a tool to upgrade existing files.


Shielded Virtual Machines

A new security model that hardens Hyper-V and protects virtual machines against unwanted tampering at the fabric level.


SMB 3.1.1

This is a new version of the data transport protocol. The focus has been on security. There is support for mixed mode clusters so there is backwards compatibility. SMB 3.02 is now called SMB 3.0.2.


SMB  Negotiated Encryption

Moving from AES CCM to AES GCM (Galois Counter Mode) for efficiency and performance. It will leverage new modern CPUs that have instructions for AES encryption to offload the heavy lifting.


SMB Forced Encryption

In older versions of SMB, SMB encryption was opt-in on the client side. This is no longer the case in the next version of Windows Server.


Storage Accounts

A later release of WS2016 will bring support for hosting Azure-style Storage accounts, meaning that you can deploy Azure-style storage on-premises or in a hosted cloud.


Storage Replica

Built-in, hardware agnostic, synchronous and asynchronous replication of Windows Storage, performed at the file system level (volume-based). Enables campus or multi-site clusters.

Requires GPT. Source and destination need to be the same size. Need low latency. Finish the solution with the Cluster Cloud Witness.


Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)

A “low cost” solution for VM storage. A cluster of nodes using internal (DAS) disks (SAS or SATA, SSD, HDD, or NVMe) to create a consistent storage spaces pools that stretch across the servers. Compute is normally on a different cluster (converged) but it can be on one tier (hyper-converged)


Storage Transient Failures

Avoid VM bugchecks when storage has a transient issue. The VM freezes while the host retries to get storage back online.


Stretch Clusters

The preferred term for when Failover Clustering spans two sites.


System Center 2016

Those of you who can afford the per-host SMLs will be able to get System Center 2016 to manage your shiny new Hyper-V hosts and fabric.


System Requirements

The system requirements for a server host have been increased. You now must have support for Second-Level Address Translation (SLAT), known as Intel EPT or AMD RVI or NPT. Previously SLAT (Intel Nehalem and later) was recommended but not required on servers and required on Client Hyper-V. It shouldn’t be an issue for most hosts because SLAT has been around for quite some time.


Virtual Machine Groups

Group virtual machines for operations such as orchestrated checkpoints (even with shared VHDX) or group checkpoint export.


Virtual Machine ID Management

Control whether a VM has same or new ID as before when you import it.


Virtual Network Adapter Identification

Not vCDN! You can create/name a vNIC in the settings of a VM and see the name in the guest OS.


Virtual Secure Mode (VSM)

A feature of Windows 10 Enterprise that protects LSASS (secret keys) from pass-the-hash attacks by storing the process in a stripped down Hyper-V virtual machine.


Virtual TPM (vTPM)

A feature of shielded virtual machines that enables secure boot, disk encrypting within the virtual machine, and VSC.


VM Storage Resiliency

A VM will pause when the physical storage of that VM goes offline. Allows the storage to come back (maybe Live Migration) without crashing the VM.


VM Upgrade Process

VM versions are upgraded manually, allowing VMs to be migrated back down to WS2012 R2 hosts with support from Microsoft.


VXLAN Support

The new Network Controller will support VXLAN as well as the incumbent NVGRE for network virtualization.


Windows Containers

This is Docker in Windows Server, enabling services to run in containers on a shared set of libaries on an OS, giving you portability, per-OS density, and fast deployment.

TEE14 – Software Defined Storage in Windows Server vNext

Speaker: Siddhartha Roy

Software-Defined Storage gives you choice. It’s a breadth offering and unified platform for MSFT workloads and public cloud scale. Economical storage for private/public cloud customers.

About 15-20% of the room has used Storage Spaces/SOFS.

What is SDS? Cloud scale storage and cost economics on standard, volume hardware. Based on what Azure does.

Where are MSFT in the SDS Journey Today?

In WS2012 we got Storage Spaces as a cluster supported storage system. No tiering. We could build a SOFS using cluster supported storage, and present that to Hyper-V hosts via SMB 3.0.

  • Storage Spaces: Storage based on economical JBOD h/w
  • SOFS: Transparent failover, continuously available application storage platform.
  • SMB 3.0 fabric: high speed, and low latency can be added with RDMA NICs.

What’s New in Preview Release

  • Greater efficiency
  • More uptime
  • Lower costs
  • Reliability at scale
  • Faster time to value: get customers to adopt the tech

Storage QoS

Take control of the service and offer customers different bands of service.


Enabled by default on the SOFS. 2 metrics used: latency and IOPS. You can define policies around IOPS by using min and max. Can be flexible: on VHD level, VM level, or tenant/service level.

It is managed by System Center and PoSH. You have an aggregated end-end view from host to storage.

Patrick Lang comes on to do a demo. There is a file server cluster with 3 nodes. The SOFS role is running on this cluster. There is a regular SMB 3.0 file share. A host has 5 VMs running on it, stored on the share. One OLTP VM is consuming 8-10K IOPS using IOMETER. Now he uses PoSH to query the SOFS metrics. He creates a new policy with min 100 and max 200 for a bunch of the VMs. The OLTP workload gets a policy with min of 3000 and max of 5000. Now we see its IOPS drop down from 8-10K. He fires up VMs on another host – not clustered – the only commonality is the SOFS. These new VMs can take IOPS. A rogue one takes 2500 IOPS. All of the other VMs still get at least their min IOPS.

Note: when you look at queried data, you are seeing an average for the last 5 minutes. See Patrick Lang’s session for more details.

Rolling Upgrades – Faster Time to Value

Cluster upgrades were a pain. They get much easier in vNext. Take a node offline. Rebuild it in the existing cluster. Add it back in, and the cluster stays in mixed mode for a short time. Complete the upgrades within the cluster, and then disable mixed mode to get new functionality. The “big red switch” is a PoSH cmdlet to increase the cluster functional level.


Cloud Witness

A third site witness for multi-site cluster, using a service in Azure.


Compute Resiliency

Stops the cluster from being over aggressive with transient glitches.


Related to this is quarantine of flapping nodes. If a node is in and out of isolation too much, it is “removed” from the cluster. The default quarantine is 2 hours – give the admin a chance to diagnose the issue. VMs are drained from a quarantined node.

Storage Replica

A hardware agnostic synchronous replication system. You can stretch a cluster with low latency network. You get all the bits in the box to replicate storage. It uses SMB 3.0 as a transport. Can use metro-RDMA to offload and get low latency. Can add SMB encryption. Block-level synchronous requires <5MS latency. There is also an asynchronous connection for higher latency links.


The differences between synch and asynch:


Ned Pyle, a storage PM, comes on to demo Storage Replica. He’ll do cluster-cluster replication here, but you can also do server-server replication.

There is a single file server role on a cluster. There are 4 nodes in the cluster. There is assymetric clustered storage. IE half the storage on 2 nodes and the other half on the other 2 nodes. He’s using iSCSI storage in this demo. It just needs to be cluster supported storage. He right-clicks on a volume and selects Replication > Enable Replication … a wizard pops up. He picked a source disk. Clustering doesn’t do volumes … it does disks. If you do server-server repliction then you can replicate a volume. Picks a source replication log disk. You need to use a GPT disk with a file system. Picks a destination disk to replicate to, and a destination log disk. You can pre-seed the first copy of data (transport a disk, restore from backup, etc). And that’s it.

Now he wants to show a failover. Right now, the UI is buggy and doesn’t show a completed copy. Check the event logs. He copies files to the volume in the source site. Then moves the volume to the DR site. Now the replicated D: drive appears (it was offline) and all the files are there in the DR site ready to be used.

After the Preview?

Storage Spaces Shared Nothing – Low Cost

This is a no-storage-tier converged storage cluster. You create storage spaces using internal storage in each of your nodes. To add capacity you add nodes.

You get rid of the SAS layer and you can use SATA drives. The cost of SSD plummets with this system.


You can grow pools to hundreds of disks. A scenario is for primary IaaS workloads and for storage for backup/replication targets.

There is a prescriptive hardware configuration. This is not for any server from any shop. Two reasons:

  • Lots of components involved. There’s a lot of room for performance issues and failure. This will be delivered by MSFT hardware partners.
  • They do not converge the Hyper-V and storage clusters in the diagram (above). They don’t recommend convergence because the rates of scale in compute and storage are very different. Only converge in very small workloads. I have already blogged this on Petri with regards to converged storage – I don’t like the concept – going to lead to a lot of costly waste.

VM Storage Resiliency

A more graceful way of handling a storage path outage for VMs. Don’t crash the VM because of a temporary issue.


CPS – But no … he’s using this as a design example that we can implement using h/w from other sources (soft focus on the image).


Not talked about but in Q&A: They are doing a lot of testing on dedupe. First use case will be on backup targets. And secondary: VDI.

Data consistency is done by a Storage Bus Layer in the shared notching Storage Spaces system. It slips into Storage Spaces and it’s used to replicate data across the SATA fabric and expands its functionality. MSFT thinking about supporting 12 nodes, but architecturally, this feature has no limit in the number of nodes.

TEE14–Software-Defined Compute In Windows Server vNext

Speaker: Ben Armstrong

Almost everyone in the room using Hyper-V. Large number also using VMware. About 1/3 using public cloud. Maybe 20% doing hybrid cloud.

Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft believes that hybrid cloud is the endpoint – seamless movement between on-premises and the public cloud.

Hyper-V scales. Azure runs on stock Hyper-V. It required a lot of work for WS2012, but it’s stock Hyper-V and that’s over 1 million servers running Hyper-V. If 1 in 10,000 installs shows a bug, and you run a hypervisor on that many host deploying 500m VM per day, then you test the product heavily. We benefit from this with our on-premises deployment.


What have Microsoft learned from Azure: Standardize your build – Keep the hosts simple and standardized. Don’t vary. Change does not scale.

Private Cloud Improvements

  • Large scale VMs and clusters
  • Accelerated live migration
  • Dynamic memory with hot add
  • Comprehensive host and guest clustering support
  • Rolling upgrades
  • Mixed mode cluster support
  • VM compute resiliency
  • Cluster-aware updating
  • Broad linux distro support
  • In-guest vRSS support
  • hot add and online resize virtual disk storage
  • Live backup
  • Comprehensive management

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud is about extending your data centre, not replace it. In the MSFT Cloud OS, that’s Hyper-V, with SysCtr/WAP for private cloud, and Azure/partner run hosting cloud for public cloud. MSFT makes it seamless.

Right now, only Microsoft is listed as a leader in 4 categories of hybrid cloud computing by Gartner.

Linux and Windows parity on Hyper-V

Run Linux without compromises on a single host: Hyper-V. you don’t have to partition hosts. A single UI for managing Linux. Backup, monitoring, capacity planning, etc. All too often, the Linux people want to run their own virtualization, and it makes no sense. It’s a waste of time, effort, and importantly, money.

Open Source

Yes, Hyper-V is supported in OpenStack. And it’s supported in something called Vagrant. Microsoft has been working closely with them.


Only company offering on-premises IaaS, public IaaS, public PaaS, and Public SaaS.


People are running more VMs on:

  • More hardware
  • Less hardware

Hmm! How we scale is different now. Half a rack can run thousands of VMs. And in hyper scale clouds, you see a lower density for cost effectiveness and performance SLA. In private cloud, we focus on smaller clusters.

Virtualization is now assumed. Physical is no longer the default.

Workload mobility is assumed: People expect Live Migration or vMotion.

Secure isolation is assumed. Customers in different VMs expect that they are secure from other tenants’ VMs.

Hardware failure fault tolerance is assumed.

“I am the fabric administrator”. This is a new job title for the person who runs virtualization, network, and storage. What happens inside the VMs is not their worry. MSFT hearing from businesses that they want fabric admins have no access to data in the VMs. No solution to that today. In contradiction to this, that person used to be the domain admin that fixed everything. But now, it’s not uncommon that they don’t have sign-in credentials for the tenants’ VMs and cannot provide support.

Cluster Rolling Upgrades

Hyper-V upgrades are frequent. Downtime is hated by admins and tenants alike. Admins want to hide the fact that an upgrade is happening. This new process allows mixed mode clusters and Live Migration so you can rebuild nodes in a cluster with a new OS and LM VMs around without anyone noticing. Yes: you keep the cluster – it’s a host rebuild within the cluster and not a cluster migration of the past.

Compute Resiliency

Hyper-V failure are nearly always caused by hardware, drivers, firmware by OEMs. Big area of investment for Microsoft, including transient failures.


I know that this has been a focus point for Ben. Hyper-V is decoupling VM backup from the underlying storage. File based backup is the way forward, with efficient change tracking for backup. Provides reliability, scale, and performance. This session is on right now (Taylor Brown) so watch the recording in 24 hours.

Many more changes

  • Delayed VM upgrade
  • New IC servicing model
  • Secure boot for Linux Generation 2 VMs
  • Distributed Storage QoS
  • Resilienvt VM Configuration
  • And more.

Demo: Compute Resiliency

Clustering saves people over and over. But clustering is complex and it can break. Often caused by a transitory error, such as a cable being unplugged, etc. When there is a heartbeat failure, then you get a 30 second outage while VMs are failed over, and then there’s a wait time for the VMs to boot.

Ben demos with 3 nodes. A script will kill the cluster service on one of the nodes. In 2012 R2, the cluster would panic and do a failover. In vNext, the server is marked as isolated – there’s a problem. VMs are still “running” but market as unmanaged. A failover won’t happen immediately in case the node comes back online. The wait time is 4 minutes by default, but it is configurable. This behaviour is only applied to running VMs.

Another new feature is quarantine. When a host is frequently going in and out of isolated state, then it will be quarantined. It’s a disruptive server that causes a lot of churn. It is quarantined. VMs are migrated off (green quarantine) and then moved into red quarantine. Now it’s persona non-grata (no new workloads placed there) until you resolve the intermittent issue. There is a time for automatic quarantine so a host can come out of quarantine automatically.

Microsoft Were The First to Do Lots in Virtualization

  • Hardware assisted live migration for balzing performance.
  • SR-IOV with Live Migration
  • Fibre Channel in VMs with Live Migration.
  • TRIM and UNMAP

Is VMware really the market leader and inniovator?

Ben goes into Q&A.

Question: Is Hyper-V Manager going away? No. Emphatically. It’s used even by the happiest SysCtr and fabric controller admins, especially when things go wrong.

That’s a wrap!

TEE14–Optimizing Your Data Centre With Windows Server, System Center, and Microsoft Azure

Speakers: Jeff Woolsey and Matt McSprit.

I am bursting – and I don’t just mean to use the toilet. Here comes the grand reveal for Windows Server & System Center vNext.


Here we go with a video: your data centre is an orchestra and you are the conductor. Left: compute. Right: networking. In front: storage. Keeping everything is the rhythm of management. Software-define all of it, make it possible in your data centre with Windows Server & System Center. Extend it with Azure.

Jeff Woolsey starts things off. We get the 3 clouds in one obligatory slide. Hundreds of new features that couldn’t be shown in the keynote. This foundation session will dive a little deeper. Jeff talks about “software-defined everything”.

MSFT Cloud OS hybrid cloud:

  • Empower enterprise mobility
  • Create internet of things
  • Enable application innovation
  • Unlock insights on any data
  • Transform the data center

Ugh: CPS. Yawn IMO.

More on WAP. You can run an Azure-consistent cloud on premises. Use this internally or as a service provider. Expect big pushes on WAP: it’s the front-end for enterprise deployments of Hyper-V/System Center for vNext onwards.

MSFT not bothering to change the scalability figures for Hyper-V because they haven’t had a customer hit the WS2012 numbers yet. The numbers were Top Gear numbers – big whoah but so high that they aren’t a blocker.

There is a major emphasis on guest clustering in Hyper-V. No artificial scale limitiations. You can do in-place or rolling upgrades of clusters in vNext from WS2012 R2. This includes mixed mode and live migration within the cluster.

Linux is getting vRSS support for network scalability.


Software-defined networking still puzzles people. Decouples the application/service from the underlying network. Doing lots to increase reliability and manageability.

Now RDMA to be added in network virtualization. Supporting VXLAN and NVGRE for SDN.

A new Netwrok Controller from Azure is being added to Windows Server.

A software load-balancer based on Azure is being added in the box in vNext.

Distributed firewall and cloud-scale network traffic management.


There is no such thing as a happy storage customer – Jeff Woolsey.

2012 gave us storage spaces. 2012 R2 added auto scaling. In vNext you get more. Microsoft does not use proprietary storage from the usual names. They use software-defined storage.

Storage Replica is synchronous replication in the box that works with any storage – you can even do it with a couple of laptops (allegedly).

Storage QoS is a killer feature for service providers.

Patrick Lang comes on stage to do Storage QoS demo. Perfmon is running, showing storage throughput from a bunch of VMs. VM1 is dominating.

He creates SLAs and applies them to VMs. Note: all PowerShell. He starts a bunch of more VMs. Some rogue ones try to take the storage bandwidth but the heavy user (a file server)  gets the throughput that it needs for its SLA.

In 2012 they demod 1m IOPS from a single Hyper-V VM. Last year, they did it with 1.6m IOPS. In Server vNext, right now, they can do 2 millions IOPS from a single Hyper-V VM.

something Winter comes in to talk System Cetner. About 1/3 using SysCtr 2012. One or two hands using older. 2/3 of the room NOT USING SYSTEM CENTER.

MSFT will “ship another version of System Center in the Summer along with Widows Server”.

Making CPS work was an eye opener for System Center. They took over 500 improvements into SysCtr 2012 R2 and vNext. It was too complex to install/integrate the suite.

There is a cultural shift happening. Cloud is now. Users want services now, not in 4 hours or tomorrow. Do on-premises cloud or they’ll do it directly in public cloud. The solution is WAP offering service, SysCtr offering management, and Windows Server/Hyper-V offering compute, networking and storage.

You can do Azure Operational Insights with or without System Center:



Matt McSpirit comes on. He’s between us and lunch.

Azure Site Recovery now manages DR replication for:

  • Between Hyper-V and Azure
  • Between two Hyper-V sites
  • Between two VMware sites using InMage
  • Between two Hyper-V sites using array replication (just gone into preview)

Coming soon: From VMware to Azure DR replication using Azure Site Recovery Services.

Matt demos the setup of ASR and configuring a one-click failover plan.

Lunch time!

Summary: Azure is more than just cloud. It’s tricking down to on-premises infrastructure.

Microsoft News Summary – 22 October 2014


Windows Server


System Center

Microsoft Partners


Microsoft News Summary – 8 October 2014

Welcome to today’s cloud-heavy Microsoft news compilation.

Windows Server


Windows Client


  • Introducing the Azure Automation Runbook Gallery: The time it takes to create functional, polished runbooks is a little faster thanks to the new Azure Automation Runbook Gallery.
  • More Changes to Azure by Scott Guthrie: Including support for static private IP support in the Azure Preview Portal, Active Directory authentication, PowerShell script converter, runbook gallery, hourly scheduling support.
  • Microsoft Certification Test Tool Preview for Azure Certified: The Microsoft Certification Test Tool for Azure Certified is designed to provide an assessment of compliance to technical requirements as part of the Azure Certified program. The test tool includes a wizard style automated section and questionnaire section to assess characteristics of a Virtual Machine image running in Microsoft Azure and generate results logs. More information on the Azure Certified program is available.
  • Announcing Support for Backup of Windows Server 2008 with Azure Backup: Due to feedback. Please note that this is x64 only and that there are system requirements.
  • Hybrid Connection Manager ClickOnce Application: ClickOnce installer for the Hybrid Connection Manager.
  • D-Series Performance Expectations: The new D-Series VMs provide great performance for applications needing fast, local (ephemeral) storage or a faster CPU; however, it’s important to understand a little about how the system is configured to ensure you’re getting an optimal experience.
  • Cloud App Discovery – Now with Excel and PowerBI Support: One of the top customer requests was to be able to perform analytics on the data collected in tools like Excel and PowerBI. Now you can take cloud app discovery data offline and explore and analyze the data with tools you already know–Excel and PowerBI.
  • A new region will open in India by the end of 2015: It makes sense; there are 1 billion people and some big corporations there.
  • Microsoft Azure Speed Test: Which Azure region is closest to you (remember that Internet geography is different to the planet’s geography. For example, where I work is a few miles from Europe North (Dublin), but the test shows me that Europe West provides me with lower latency (beaten, obviously, by CDN). My own testing using Azure Traffic Manager with geo-dispersed websites has verified this.


Office 365


Microsoft News Summary – 6 October 2014

The big news today is that HP is “planning” to split. No, not leave, but divide into two.


Windows Server

Office 365


Microsoft News Summary – 3 October 2014

The dust has settled a little bit after the craziness of the past few days. Here’s some regular news.

Windows Server

System Center

Windows Client



How you can currently use ASR