Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Poster

Fancy a nice new wallpaper for your big monitor?  Or do you want to print this sucker out, and hang it up to help you learn the new version of Hyper-V?  Microsoft has released an updated poster that digs into the new features of Windows Server 8 Hyper-V.

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Use PowerShell To Reconfigure Dynamic Memory in All Hyper-V VMs

I wanted to get more VMs onto my Windows Server 8 Hyper-V lab, so I wanted to change my Dynamic Memory settings in my virtual machines.  I don’t have the patience to edit every VM.  PowerShell to the rescue:

Get-VM * | Set-VMMemory -DynamicMemoryEnabled $True -MaximumBytes 8GB -MinimumBytes 256MB -StartupBytes 512MB

This script gets every VM on this host, passes through the VM via the pipe into the Set-VMMeory cmdlet, and then reconfigures the Dynamic Memory settings that I care about.  Time required by editing & running this in ISE: 1 minute.

CTP of SP1 for System Center 2012

Following my post on information for VMM 2012 SP1 CTP, Microsoft released the CTP downloads.  This includes the VMM download and a download for DPM 2012 SP1 CTP. 

The CTP enables the Data Protection Manager component’s repository and agents to run on Windows Server ‘8” as well as providing protection in Windows Server “8” environments. The CTP also adds protection for new features in Windows Server “8”:

  • Hyper-V Virtual Machines on Cluster Shared Volumes 2.0 (CSV2.0)
  • Hyper-V Virtual Machines on remote SMB share
  • Files on De-Duplicated Volumes

The supported operating systems for DPM 2012 SP1 CTP are:

  • Windows 2008
  • Windows 2008 R2
  • Windows "8" Beta

VMM CTP of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Documentation

This document just appeared on MS Downloads. 

This download provides a step-by-step guide that walks you through the new Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) features in the CTP of System Center 2012 SP1.

New Features In The CTP Release

The VMM CTP of System Center 2012 SP1 provides the following new features of Windows Server 8:

  • Network virtualization: the multitenant network abstraction mechanism.  Not all the capabilities of network virtualization in Windows Server "8" Beta are supported in this CTP.
  • VHDX support: the new virtual hard disk that support 64 TB.  For the CTP release, the library server must be a Hyper-V host to automatically index .vhdx files.
  • Support for file shares that use the Server Message Block (SMB) 2.2 protocol: the new storage alternative.
  • Live migration enhancements: how Windows Server 8 moves VMs

System Requirements

Item

Requirements

Operating system

· All computers that are used for the following roles must be running Windows Server "8" Beta:

· VMM management server

· VMM console

· VMM library server

· Virtual machine hosts

· The VMM database server can be running on either Windows Server "8" Beta or Windows Server 2008 R2.

· The only supported guest operating system for virtual machines in this CTP is Windows Server "8" Beta.

Hypervisor

Hyper-V only (on Windows Server "8" Beta)

SQL Server

· SQL Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1

· Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter edition

· 64-bit edition only

Upgrade

You cannot upgrade from a previous version of VMM to this CTP. This includes upgrading from System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager.

 

Bear in mind that this is just the CTP release, wa-ay before beta.

Windows Server 8 Beta Downloads and Documentation

Microsoft released a lot of documentation/downloads to go with the Windows Server 8 beta release of last week.  Here’s your chance to start learning and playing:

  • Understand and Troubleshoot Virtualized Domain Controller (VDC) in Windows Server "8" Beta: Windows Server "8" Beta introduces the first specific virtualization capabilities to Active Directory Domain Services. Virtualized Domain Controller (VDC) takes lessons learned from twelve years of virtualizing Active Directory and makes a more supportable, more flexible, more intuitive administrative experience for architects and administrators.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Virtualized Domain Controller (VDC) in Windows Server "8" Beta: This document contains instructions for setting up the Virtualized Domain Controller test lab through: • Deploying a virtualized domain controller through cloning • Safely restoring a domain controller snapshot
  • Test Lab Guide: Base Test Lab Guide for Windows Server "8" Beta: This Microsoft Test Lab Guide (TLG) provides you with step-by-step instructions to create the Windows Base Configuration test lab, using computers running Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Windows Server “8” Beta. With the resulting test lab environment, you can build test labs based on other Windows Server "8" Beta-based TLGs from Microsoft, TLG extensions in the TechNet Wiki, or a test lab of your own design that can include Microsoft or non-Microsoft products. For a test lab based on physical computers, you can image the drives for future test labs. For a test lab based on virtual machines, you can create snapshots of the base configuration virtual machines. This enables you to easily return to the base configuration test lab, where most of the routine infrastructure and networking services have already been configured, so that you can focus on building a test lab for the product, technology, or solution of interest.
  • Creating Continuously Available File Shares with Windows Server “8” Beta: Windows Server “8” Beta contains a set of continuously available storage solutions that provide a cost effective alternative to an expensive storage area network (SAN) without sacrificing availability and performance. These solutions are targeted towards both traditional information worker workloads and application workloads, and they span the scalability and price point needs for different market segments, with systems going from entry-level sub-$10k solutions to scale-out solutions with up to 400 drives. These solutions are based on software developed by several teams at Microsoft, hardware that is already in the market and hardware that is being developed in cooperation with industry partners. This white paper introduces the reader to these new and enhanced features of Windows Server “8” Beta.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Scale-out File Servers in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understanding and Troubleshooting Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Scale-Out File Servers in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Storage Spaces in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understanding and Troubleshooting Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Storage Spaces in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Microsoft Online Backup Service in Windows Server "8" Beta (!?!?!?!?): This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Microsoft Online Backup Service in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in Windows Server "8" Beta: DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is a suite of extensions that add security to the DNS protocol. RFCs 4033, 4034, 4035, and 5155 specify the core DNSSEC extensions and add origin authority, data integrity, and authenticated denial of existence to DNS. In addition to several new concepts and operations for both the DNS server and the DNS client, DNSSEC introduces new resource records (DNSKEY, RRSIG, NSEC, NSEC3, and DS) to DNS.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate IP Address Management (IPAM) in Windows Server "8" Beta: Internet Protocol Address Management (IPAM) is a framework for discovering, monitoring, auditing, and managing the Internet Protocol (IP) address space used in a network. IPAM in Windows Server "8" Beta provides components for IP address space management, audit of configuration changes, monitoring and management of DHCP and DNS services, and IP address usage tracking.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot DHCP Failover in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for DHCP Failover in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrating DHCP Failover in Windows Server "8" Beta: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) failover in Windows Server "8" Beta provides the ability for administrators to deploy a highly resilient DHCP service to support a large enterprise. The main goals of the feature are the following. • Provide DHCP service availability at all times on the enterprise network • If a DHCP server is no longer reachable, the DHCP client is able to extend the lease on its current IP address by contacting another DHCP server on the enterprise network.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Printing in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Printing in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Windows Server "8" Beta Print and Document Services:

    This paper contains an introduction to Windows Server "8" Beta Printing and step-by-step instructions for extending the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration to demonstrate Printing Services in Windows Server "8" Beta.

  • Understand and Troubleshoot High Availability Printing in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for High Availability Printing in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Activation Technologies in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Activation Technologies in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot AD DS Simplified Administration in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for AD DS Simplified Administration in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate ADDS Simplified Administration in Windows Server "8" Beta: This document contains instructions for setting up the AD DS Simplified Administration test lab through: • Graphically upgrading an existing Active Directory forest by adding the first Windows Server "8" Beta GUI domain controller • Adding an additional Windows Server "8" Beta Core domain controller using Windows PowerShell • Adding an additional Windows Server "8" Beta Core domain controller using Windows RSAT from a Windows 8 Consumer Preview computer • Decommissioning the original legacy domain controller • Using new AD DS graphical and Windows PowerShell features for further configuration and administration
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Cluster-Aware Updating (CAU) in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understanding and Troubleshooting Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Cluster-Aware Updating in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understanding and Troubleshooting Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Desktop Virtualization in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot IP Address Management (IPAM) in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for IP Address Management (IPAM) in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Remote Access in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Remote Access in Windows Server "8" Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate DirectAccess Single Server Setup with Mixed IPv4 and IPv6 in Windows Server "8" Beta: DirectAccess provides users with the experience of being seamlessly connected to their intranet any time they have Internet access. When DirectAccess is enabled, requests for intranet resources (such as email servers, shared folders, or intranet websites) are securely directed to the intranet, without the need for users to connect to a VPN. DirectAccess enables increased productivity for a mobile workforce by offering the same connectivity experience both inside and outside of the office. The Windows Routing and Remote Access Server (RRAS) provides traditional VPN connectivity for legacy clients and non-domain members. RRAS also provides site-to-site connections between servers. RRAS in Windows Server 2008 R2 cannot coexist on the same edge server with DirectAccess, and must be deployed and managed separately from DirectAccess. Windows Server "8" Beta combines the DirectAccess feature and the RRAS role service into a new unified server role. This new Remote Access server role allows for centralized administration, configuration, and monitoring of both DirectAccess and VPN-based remote access services. Additionally, Windows Server "8" Beta DirectAccess provides multiple updates and improvements to address deployment blockers and provide simplified management. This guide provides step-by-step instructions for configuring DirectAccess in a single server deployment with mixed IPv4 and IPv6 resources in a test lab to demonstrate functionality of the deployment experience. You will set up and deploy DirectAccess based on the Windows Server "8" Beta Base Configuration using five server computers and two client computers. The resulting test lab simulates an intranet, the Internet, and a home network, and demonstrates DirectAccess in different Internet connection scenarios.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate High Availability Printing in Windows Server "8" Beta: This paper contains instructions for setting up a test lab based on the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration and deploying a highly available Windows Server "8" Beta Print Server using three server computers and one client computer. The resulting High Availability Printing test lab demonstrates Windows Server "8" Beta Print Server functionality.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot BitLocker in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for BitLocker in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Servicing in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Servicing in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization in Windows Server "8" Beta: This paper contains instructions for setting up a test lab based on the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration and deploying Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization using four server computers and one client computer. The resulting Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization test lab demonstrates Desktop Virtualization functionality.
  • Understand and Troubleshoot Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server "8" Beta: This Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) enables you to learn technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server “8” Beta. This UTG provides you with: • A technical overview and functional description of this feature. • Technical concepts to help you successfully install, configure, and manage this feature. • User Interface options and settings for configuration and management. • Relevant architecture of this feature, with dependencies, and technical implementation. • Primary troubleshooting tools and methods for this feature.
  • Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server "8" Beta: Remote Desktop Services (RDS) in Windows Server "8" Beta provides the ideal platform for companies to implement a centralized desktop strategy, helping organizations improve flexibility and compliance while improving data security and IT’s ability to manage desktops and applications. RDS is a centralized desktop and application platform solution that uses Desktop Virtualization and VDI technologies, offering powerful opportunities for IT to deliver and manage corporate desktops and to respond to users’ needs in a flexible way. Remote Desktop Services is the new name for Terminal Services, and reflects the expanded role in Windows Server "8" Beta so that you can run the desktop or applications in the datacenter while your users can be anywhere. This paper contains instructions for setting up a test lab based on the Test Lab Guide Base Configuration and deploying Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization using four server computers and one client computer. The resulting Remote Desktop Services Desktop Virtualization test lab demonstrates Desktop Virtualization functionality.
  • Test Lab Guide-Deploying RD Licensing: Use this test lab guide to install Remote Desktop Services client access licenses (RDS CALs) for Windows Server “8” Beta. This test lab guide uses the VDI standard deployment test lab as a starting place. Complete the steps in Test Lab Guide: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure standard deployment before you proceed with the remainder of the steps in this guide.

Windows Server 8: Microsoft Online Backup Service

What?  You’re kidding, right?  Nope: Microsoft is adding online backup to Windows Server 8.  From the guide:

Microsoft Online Backup Service is an installable service for Windows Server “8” Beta, which allows for file and folder backups to the cloud service

It’s basically an offsite backup solution to the cloud using a Microsoft Online Backup Service Agent.  It provides:

… file and folder backup capabilities for Windows Server “8” Beta computers

It cannot backup system state.  That’s OK.  I’ve worked in in online backup and when people backup everything and see the first invoice for space consumed, well, they quickly decide that business data backup/recovery will be enough.

Access to Microsoft Online Backup Service is limited at first to successful applicants.  The installation:

… is a two-part process, which requires the creation of an online Microsoft Online Services account (not required for BETA since ids are pre-provisioned) and installation of the client components (agent) for the Microsoft Online Backup Service feature. The Microsoft Online Backup Service Agent installer download is located on the Microsoft Connect Site

The backup can be configured via Computer Management or via PowerShell cmdlets:

image

Data is encrypted using a passphrase of your choosing or auto generated (minimum of 16 characters). I love that: passphrase.  MSFT has no record of the passphrase and therefore cannot restore your data for you if you lose the passphrase.

The following table lists the supported list of file and folder attributes/types and the expected behavior of the Microsoft Online Backup Service when it encounters these types:

Attribute/type Supported Expected Behavior
Encrypted Yes Changes in file cause full file transfer
Compressed Yes Change in file cause delta transfer
Sparse Yes Changes in file cause delta transfer
Hard Links No Skipped
Reparse Point No Skipped
Encrypted + Compressed No Skipped
Encrypted + Sparse No Skipped
Compressed + Sparse Yes Backed up as sparse file
Compressed Stream No Saved as uncompressed stream
Sparse Stream No Discarded stream

You pick and choose files/folders just as you would with a normal backup.  You can have X backups per day (3 during beta) and set a retention period for your data (longer = more space = higher cost).

You can restore data using a familiar interface to the original server or another one from a backup of your choosing from within the retention window.  This will require credentials to access and the passphrase to decrypt.

Notes: I don’t see anything about data de-duplication or compression before backup, but that does not mean they are not there, just that this document doesn’t mention them.  I do not see anything for seeding large backups using an out of band device, such as I used when managing an Iron Mountain based service.  There is no mention of backing up Hyper-V VMs.  I think this would price this solution out but it might be an option for some.  I’ll try too find out more.

Windows Server 8 IIS 8 Improvements

I once worked in a hosting environment where we had many thousands of websites per physical web server host.  I was witness to much of the fun with that sort of scale on IIS.

Windows Server 8 brings a lot of improvements to IIS 8, particularly for spinning up websites and SSL scalability (SSL doesn’t require dedicated IPv4 per site) and manageability (SSL certs on the file system and import via copy).

You can find out more at:

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Do You Have A Production Need for SMI-S In The Microsoft iSCSI Target?

The Microsoft iSCSI target enables you to turn Windows into an iSCSI storage platform.  This can provide economic storage, or give you an iSCSI gateway into a different type of storage.  It’s a free download right now, and will be built into Windows Server 8.

Now for the question:

If you could have it, would you use SMI-S in the Microsoft iSCSI target in a production scenario?  I am not talking about labs, or demos, or proof of concept for VMM 2012.  I am talking about production use of SMI-S and the Microsoft iSCSI target.

If you do have a case then please let me know.  I’ll need specifics – customer, case, how it’ll be used, etc.  Who knows …

Hyper-V Server 8 Beta

I’ve been asked, and I’ve seen others are asking, about the future of Hyper-V Server and if there will be a Hyper-V Server 8.  I can confirm that, yes, there will be.  In fact you can get the beta here.

Hyper-V Server 8 is the free Hyper-V product, that includes all the functionality of Hyper-V and Failover Clustering.  The market for it is actually very small.  If you have 4 or more Windows VMs, and if you license them correctly and legally, it’s actually cheaper to license the host (and avail of the virtualisation rights) to license the VMs (BTW, the license is always assigned to the host even if you think you licensed a VM, and Windows volume licenses can only move once every 90 days). 

However, a small percentage benefit from Hyper-V Server, including those doing VDI or Linux virtualisation.

Windows Server 8 Hyper-V Management Improvements

Another big investment by Microsoft in Windows Server 8 Hyper-V was how we interact with the product. With lots more functionality, and some of it being very advanced and not required by everyone, they had to decide how to present it in the GUI.  And with huge cluster scale out (up to 64 hosts per cluster) and target markets such as hosting and large enterprise, automation was of great importance.

The GUI – Hyper-V Manager console (HMC)

On the face of it, the GUI has not changed much.  There is no ribbon bar and things can be found where they previously were in the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V HMCs.

Often we fire up the HMC to just look for information.  Tabs have been added in the lower centre pane of HMC to show us information, e.g. summary, memory, networking, and Hyper-V Replica (aka Replica).

Nested Nodes

When you open the settings of a VM to change it’s configuration you will notice that the CPU and Networking nodes on the left are nested.  There are sub-nodes with more settings.  This is done for some reasons including:

  • It cleans up the GUI  Even with newly added scroll bars, there’s only so much you can squeeze into a single screen without making things messy and unusable.
  • It hides away advanced features that should only be used by engineers who know that they do and know that they need them, e.g. the NUMA override settings.

Clustering Interaction

A classic problem for the forums was when a person would edit the settings of a VM in the HCM and live migrate the VM from one host to another in a host cluster.  Their new settings were lost because the cluster database was not updated.  You had to either use Failover Cluster Manager (FCM) to edit the VM settings (auto-update of settings) or remember to manually update the VM resource in FCM after editing it the VM in HCM.

Now, HCM will detect that a VM is clustered and prevent you from editing the settings.  You must use the FCM instead, and quite right too!

VMConnect

Have you ever been ticked off when you use VMConnect to get a console connection to a VM and then you fail it over to another node in a Hyper-V Cluster?  Actually, ticked off isn’t the right word the first time you see this: you crap yourself when VMConnect loses the console connection to the VM and confusingly tells you that the VM must have been deleted!  That’s changing in Windows Server 8.  Yes, VMConnect will disconnect – briefly.  The source host for the VM will redirect the VMConnect session to the VM on the destination host.  No more tingling in the left arm or tightening of the heart when working on a VM at midnight.  Hyper-V engineers and their doctors thank you, Microsoft!

PowerShell 3.0 Cmdlets

The big change is that Hyper-V will have built-in PowerShell (POSH) cmdlets for the very first time in Windows Server 8.  Even from a POSH-disabled person like me, the cmdlets looked easy to use and very powerful to me in the hands on lab that I did.  For you POSH purists, I’ve been told that the Hyper-V POSH cmdlet specs were written so things would be done the POSH way.

With some hep I had created a script that read in some specs from a CSV file, created a bunch of differential disks, created lots of VMs, and connected them to those disks.  One test lab up and running in a few minutes, that could be recreated in a moment’s notice.  I’m sure with more practice, I could have made the script much more elegant than I had in the limited time window.

It’s this sort of thing that the POSH cmdlets are intended to enable.  Big hosting companies can automate deployment from their “control panels”.  Enterprises can automate bulk configuration changes.  We people who demo can deploy a new lab in seconds.  And with POSH 3.0 Workflows you can build complex scripts that work reliably and in an orchestrated manner across many machines and applications.

Just like Exchange, not every admin function is in the GUI.  Some things will have to be done in POSH.  I guess I will have to learn it after all these years of saying “I will have to learn PowerShell”.