Microsoft News Summary – 14 August 2014

There’s a new craze out there with famous people called the Ice Bucket Challenge. A person is dared to take a bucket of ice water over the head (and post the video online) or donate to charity, in in of of “raising awareness” of a disease called ALS. Nadella and Zuckerberg have done it. Gates has been challenged.

Microsoft News Summary – 13 August 2014

Overnight, Microsoft released the August 2014 Update Rollup for WS2012 R2 and Windows 8. Lots of hotfixes!

Microsoft News Summary – 6 August 2014

I’ve done photography in some of the most rural parts of the world, but I’ve never been without phone or Internet for 3 days before. *exaggeration alert*  Being in a dark valley in Scotland over a long weekend was like having an arm removed. Anywho, here’s the news from the last few days. Note that there is an “August Update for …” Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 coming out next week, what the media will probably called “Update 2 for …”.

Microsoft News Summary – 30 July 2014

The big news here for MSFT techies are the releases of update rollups for SysCtr 2012 SP1 and SysCtr 2012 R2. Please wait 1 month before deploying to avoid the inevitable issues (history indicates that I am probably right) and use that time to carefully review the installation instructions.

Microsoft News Summary-30 May 2014

Greetings from Belgium where I will be presenting a Hyper-V over SMB 3.0 session (designing & implementing a SOFS) at E2EVC, a community virtualization conference. Here is the Microsoft news of the last 24 hours. It appears that the momentum to signing up to support and partner with Azure is growing.

 

Microsoft News Summary-28 May 2014

It’s been a slow few days for news. Here’s what popped up overnight.

TechEd NA 2014–SCVMM Bare Metal Host Deployment

Speakers: Damian Flynn, MVP and Marc Van Eijk, MVP.

Confusing topic for many. The guys are very experienced in the real world so a good session to take notes from and share.

Environment Preparation

  • Rack the servers and configure the BMC card.
  • Build an OS image and add it to the library.
  • Configure DNS aliases for BMCs, set up certs (if required), and set up VMM Run As profiles, e.g. join a domain, log into BMC, etc.

Infrastructure Services

  • Set up WDS for SCVMM
  • You need a DHCP scope for your bare metal hosts for the deployment phase. The hosts will get static IPs after deployment.
  • Prep SCVMM – Import WDS, add OS image to the library (and refresh), add a Run As account for the domain join, and add a Run As account for the BMC.

The deployment

  • Configure the networking stack in SCVMM
  • Do a deep discovery to get hardware of the host
  • Deploy the VHD as boot-from-VHD on the host, install drivers, join domain, configure networking, enable Hyper-V,  etc.

YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET

Concepts of the network in SCVMM

  • Logical network: A role
  • Network site: Part of logical network
  • Subnet/VLAN ID: A subnet that’s a part of a site
  • IP Pool: A pool of IPs for a subnet

A VM Network is an abstraction of a logical network. Required to connect NICs to a logical network.

Demo of Logical Network

Marc asks who has used VMM. Almost everyone. Who has done bare metal deployment: Very few. Who was successful first time: one brave person puts his hand up (I mock him – seeing as he is a friend).

Marc does:

  1. Create a host group.
  2. Creates a logical network called management. He sets VLAN-basd independent networks. There will be converged networks that are split up based on VLANs.
  3. Creates a network site called host that is set to be available on the host group. He sets a VLAN on 0 for PXE boot, and sets the IP subnet.
  4. Additional network site for Live Migration with a different VLAN
  5. Then he adds a third site for cluster communications with a VLAN. So one logical network with 3 network sites.
  6. Creates IP pools for each network site. Use to assign static IPs during deployment. Configures gateway and DNS settings for the management network.

Note that there is no need to do anything special to enable NVGRE. No subnets, logical networks, or anything else. A check box was left checked to allow NVGRE to be used when creating the logical network.

  1. Creates a new logical network called Cloud Network. This is what would appear in WAP when a customer creates a virtual network – so choose a suitable name.
  2. Checks “allow new VM networks ….” to use NVGRE.
  3. Creates a site with a VLAN and associates with the host group.
  4. Now he creates an IP pool for that site/logical network. The number of IPs in the pool will limit the number of VMs. No DNS or gateway settings.

So now we have two logical networks: Management and Cloud Network. The Cloud Network appears to be used for the PA Space.

  1. A third logical network called tenant VLANs
  2. Network site: Names the site after the VLAN ID.
  3. Adds more network sites, named based on the VLAN IDs.
  4. Adds IP pools.

WIN_20140513_154431

These VLANs appear to be used for tenants.

  1. Creates VM network for host/management.
  2. Creates VM network for cluster.
  3. Creates VM network for live migration.
  4. Creates a VM network for tenant A and another for tenant B

Back to presentation.

Network Design

Note that for VMM to create a team, you need to create a logical switch. BAD! Needless creation of virtual switches and limits things like RDMA. Complet convergence also not good for some storage, e.g. RDMA or iSCSI storage. Might do some convergence and non-converge your storage networks.

Benefit of logical switch

Repeatable consistency.

Note: also required for NVGRE, unless you want to go to PowerShell hell.

The design they are deploying:

image

Demo

  1. Create an uplink port profile to define a NIC team. This one is created for HNV/Tenants. Selects the Cloud Network and the tenant VLAN network sites. Also makes sure the enable NVGRE check box is left enabled.
  2. Creates an uplink port profile for the mangagement network. Now adds the cluster, host, and live migration network sites.

What he’s done: configure the above two network teams from the diagram and defined which networks will pass through the respective teams.

  1. Creates a logical switch for management. Selects the management uplink port profile and selects the teaming option. Even if you have just one NIC, you can add a NIC later and join it to the team. Now to define the convergence by adding virtual ports. A step in this is to define port classification – this does QoS. Select Host Management and match with management network – repeat for the reset of management networks.
  2. Creates a logical switch for tenants. And also teams with the tenant HNV uplink port profile. Adds three adapters (port profile classifications) for QoS – low, medium, and high (out of the box – weights of 1, 3, and 5).

WIN_20140513_160608

  1. Next up: create a physical computer profile. Choose a host profile. Select the virtual hard disk from the library that will be the host OS. Now the fun bit – network configuration in Hardware Configuration.
  2. Tip: Expand this dialog using the control in the bottom right corner.
  3. It starts with a single physical NIC with the management role. Add 4 more physical NICs.
  4. First and second added to the logical switch of management.
  5. Configure 3rd and 4th to the tenant logical switch.
  6. Edit the original physical NIC and select “Create a Virtual Network Adapter as the management NIC”. Set the transient physical newtork adapter as NIC 1. Apply a classification – host management. Set the IP Pool as Host.
  7. Add 2 virtual NICs. Connect 2st to logical switch management. Set to Live Migration. Connect the 3rd to the mangement logical switch and configure for cluster.
  8. Can also do some other stuff like filtering drivers from the library for precise PNP.
  9. Continue the wizard – set domain join and runas account. Set the local admin password, the company info and product key. An answer file can be added to customize the OS more, and you can run tasks with GUIRUNONCE.
  10. You can skip the default VM storage path for clustered hosts – VMM will control this in other ways later.

Deployment Demo

  1. Kicks off the wizard from the host group. Provision the new machine.
  2. Select a host group that has a valid host profile. Select the host profile.
  3. Kick off the deep discovery. The host reboots into WinPE to allow VMM to audit the host h/w. With CDN enabled, you can pre-bind NICs to logical switches/teams. Without it, you’ll need to know which NIC is plugged into which switch port, then you can bind NICs to right logical switches. The server schedules a shutdown after the audit.
  4. In VMM you can finish the host configuration: naming of the host. Binding of NICs to logical switches if you don’t have CDN in the host. If you’re quick, the server will not shutdown and the setup will kick off.

Notes

Converging things like SMB 3.0 or Live Migration through a logical/virtual switch disables RSS so you limit 10 GbE bandwidth to 3.5 Gbps or thereabouts. Can create multiple management OS vNICs for SMB multichannel, where VMQ dedicates a queue/core to each vNIC.

My approach: I do not converge my SMB/cluster/storage rNICs. They are not teamed, so they are basic logical networks. No need then for logical switch.

Microsoft News Summary-2 May 2014

The big news yesterday was the general release of the new patch for IE on XP. Personally, I think this is a stupid mistake by Microsoft, and it will lead to some laggards to reason that Microsoft has reversed course on the end of support. Microsoft can comment all they want; most people never read blogs, press, or attend events. The mistake has been made, and it was one of the dumbest releases since Bob.

How Do I Plan And Size A Hyper-V Deployment – MAP 9.0

You measure and assess.  And Microsoft gives you a tool to do that called MAP.  They’ve been giving us this tool for many years, and it’s now on version 9.0 (just released).

When planning a traditional Hyper-V conversion (not a new bare-metal cloud) you can run MAP to identify the physical or virtual (VMware) servers that you want to convert to Hyper-V, measure their resource utilization, enter in potential Hyper-V host specifications, and then MAP will produce reports that size your environment.  It’s something you kick off, let it measure, and run the reports after (maybe – you choose) a week while you’ve been doing something else.

There’s some new stuff in MAP 9.0:

    • New Server and Cloud Enrollment scenario helps to simplify adoption: Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) is a new offering under the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that enables subscribers to standardize broadly on one or more Microsoft Server and Cloud technologies.  The MAP Toolkit 9.0 features an assessment scenario to identify and inventory SCE supported products within an enterprise and help streamline enrollment.
    • New Remote Desktop Services Licensing Usage Tracking scenario creates a single view for enterprise wide licensing: With an increase in enterprises deploying Remote Desktop Services (RDS) across wider channels, RDS license management has become a focus point for organizations.  With the new RDS Licensing scenario, the MAP Toolkit rolls up license information enterprise-wide into a single report, providing a simple alternative for assessing your RDS licensing position.
    • Support for software inventory via Software ID tags now available: As part of the Microsoft effort to support ISO 19770-2, the MAP Toolkit now supports inventory of Microsoft products by Software ID (SWID) tag.  SWID enhanced reports will provide greater accuracy and assist large, complex environments to better manage their software compliance efforts by simplifying the software identification process and lowering the cost of managing software assets.
    • Improved Usage Tracking data collection for SQL Server Usage Tracking scenario: As part of our ongoing improvement initiatives, Usage Tracking for SQL Server 2012 has been enhanced to use User Access Logging (UAL).  UAL is a standard protocol in Windows Server 2012 that collects User Access information in near real time and stores the information in a local database, eliminating the need for log parsing to perform Usage Tracking assessments.  UAL vastly improves the speed and helps to eliminate long lead times for environment preparation associated with running Usage Tracking assessments.

If you want to plan and size desktop deployment, Office deployment, RDS, Azure, Hyper-V, SQL Server, and more, then you need to be checking out the FREE (yes FREE!!!!) MAP 9.0.

Installing Windows 8.1 And Missing Drivers On Samsung ATIV 500T Tablet

Last week I tried twice to perform the online update of Windows 8.1 on my Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T.  Twice it failed.  I had the commonly encountered (during the Preview!!!!) issue where the machine would perform the install, including device detection, and then hang on the final boot up with a black screen and busy mouse cursor.  From what I can tell, that’s a graphics drivers (Intel) issue that requires some McGuyver hacking to work around (not fix).  I wanted a clean working machine.

<<<< Here’s where I should say – Don’t be a moron, do the download drivers step that I mention later, BEFORE you wipe the machine.  You will also need a keyboard that physically plugs into the tablet >>>>

So I resorted to deploying Windows 8.1 from an ISO.  The first step was to prep a USB stick that a UEFI machine would like.  And remember, this machine has an x86 processor so a 64-bit build is useless.

The Windows 7 ISO Download Tool will prep a USB stick that only works with BIOS machines.  I needed a FAT32 stick

Next I needed to boot the tablet up with the stick.  Turn the machine off, hold in the Volume Up button, and power it up.  This brings you to an advanced startup menu.  I muddled around in here to get the command prompt, browsed to the USB drive (D:), and ran Setup.Exe.  Now I walked through the Windows setup, including wiping all of the existing volumes. 

The first clue that something was wrong was when I was asked to name a new user and set a password.  Huh!?!?  Where was the log into my Microsoft account?  Uh oh, I was missing drivers.  I touched the screen – nada!  I had no touch.  Thank f**k that I bought the keyboard or I’d be royally screwed.

I logged in, ran Device Manager and found, yes, I was missing LOTS of drivers.  Luckily I had a USB wired network adapter.  I plugged it in and went online.

Samsung do not share drivers for this tablet on their site.  The support page had me fearing that I’d bricked the tablet.  But I remembered that the SW Update tool was available to download.  Maybe that would update my device?  I installed SW Update and check for updates.  All that was there were 2 bloatware apps and the touchpad software.  Hmm.

But there was a solution!  This is the solution that I should have run before rebuilding my machine.  It was a rookie mistake, but I’ve become so used to Windows having most, if not all, of drivers out of the box.  But it was a dumb rookie mistake.  Here’s the solution:

1) Run SW Update and click Find Model.

1 Find Model

2) Enter the SKU of the tablet.  A quick google and XE500T1C-A01US worked for me.

2 Find SKU

3) Do not select Windows Blue as the OS.  That only contained the SW Update tool.  Hopefully Samsung will replace that with a populated Windows 8.1 entry.  Instead, I selected Windows 8.

4) Select the drivers.  I did not select the bloatware. 

3 Select Windows 8 Drivers

6) Select a safe download location.  My drivers are now in my Drivers folder on my Storage Spaces share on a Windows 8 tower PC.  Pop them onto a USB stick for handy access after rebuilding your tablet.

7) Install the drivers after rebuilding the machine.

Let me remind you: PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE DRIVERS BEFORE REBUILDING THE MACHINE.

AND DO NOT REBUILD THE MACHINE WITHOUT A PLUGGED IN KEYBOARD, either USB or the clamshell keyboard that this machine sometimes is sold with.

The machine is fully working now.  I associated my Microsoft account, moved SkyDrive to the MicroSD card, and relocated My Documents to the same folder.

It’s such a pity that the online Windows 8.1 upgrade did not work.  I wonder how many retail consumers will get “bricked” by this?