Hyper-V

Adding an Update Server to VMM

I have been playing with compliancy in VMM recently which requires update baselines to be configured. Before that is possible an Update Server needs to be add to VMM. The following post steps through how to do this, ready to then begin playing with the compliancy elements of VMM.

Prerequisites:

  • Run As Account that has local administrator rights on the WSUS server.
  • WSUS server, either dedicated for SCVMM or installed as part of a SCCM deployment.

Setup Run As account:

Before adding an Update Server we need to create a Run As account that has local administrative rights on the WSUS server we plan to add.

  • Create an AD service account (in this example SVC_SCVMMWSUS)
  • Add the service account to the local administrators group on the WSUS server

Open VMM, select the Settings workspace, click on Run As Accounts and then from the top ribbon select Create Run As Account.

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Fill in the Name, Description, User name and Password then click OK. Once complete, the Run As Account should be displayed in the list of Run As Accounts on the right.

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Now the Run As Account has been created, we are good to begin adding the Update Server.

Adding an Update Server to VMM:

The first step to adding an Update Server to VMM is to open the VMM console and click on the Fabric workspace to bring up the Fabric View.

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On the ribbon bar at the top, click on Add Resources, then select Update Server from the drop down menu.

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This will initiate the Add Windows Server Update Services Server dialog box.

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Fill in the Computer Name of the WSUS server and TCP/IP port that the WSUS website listens on for connections.

  • WSUS on a computer with Windows Server 2012 or later, use port 8530 (non-SSL) or 8531 (SSL).
  • For earlier versions of Windows, use port 80.

Select the Run As account we created earlier or enter the details of an account which has administrative rights on the WSUS server. If necessary, select the Use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to communicate with the WSUS server and clients check box.

Finally click Add.

VMM will begin a job to install the VMM agent on the WSUS server, add the Update Server to VMM, followed by an initial synchronization of the updates catalog. Obviously depending on numbers of updates and so on, this part of the job may take a while but can be monitored on the Jobs workspace of VMM.

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Once the WSUS server has been added to VMM, you can open the Fabric workspace then expand Servers, Infrastructure then finally Update Server to list the WSUS server as attached.

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Now the update server has been added to VMM, the update categories, products and so on need to be configured and baseline policies to be created and assigned.

NOTE: To configure VMM to use a WSUS server shared with Configuration Manager, we have to manage all the WSUS settings in SCCM rather than SCVMM. Open the VMM console, select the Fabric workspace, expand Servers, Infrastructure then Update Server. Right click on the update server and on the General tab of the properties window, make sure the Allow update Server configuration changes is unchecked.

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Clustering

Failover Cluster Nodes with Mixed Upper & Lower Case Names

Over the years I have come across clusters in all sorts of states. Many with nodes that have a mixture of none standardised names or letter case. In my mind, a naming standard for nodes should be decided on in advance, one that will allow for additional nodes to be added to the cluster at a later date.

The issue that I come across the most, is that of cluster node names that are a mixture of upper and lower case. This in itself wont stop the cluster functioning but it is a personnel bugbear of mine.

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Nodes can be add to a cluster in a mixture of case due to a number of reasons such as the case of the NETBIOS name and its not something you can ever be sure of when using the GUI.

One way you can be sure that the case will remain at what you specify, is to use the cluster.exe command to add the nodes to the cluster. The following shows one of the ways it can be used to import a new node into a cluster.

cluster.exe /cluster:clustername /add /node:NODENAMEINCASE

This command can be used on a 2008, 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2 clusters, however if planning to use cluster.exe on a 2012 or 2012 R2 cluster, you will first need to enable the Failover Cluster Command Interface feature. To do this open the Add Roles and Features Wizard then browse to Features\Remote Server Administration Tools\ Failover Clustering Tools\ and select the Failover Cluster Command Interface feature.

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Once the feature has been enabled, its possible to go ahead and use cluster.exe to add the node into the cluster in the necessary case.

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Once the command has run successfully and the node has been added and validated against the cluster, things will look nice and standardised.

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Hyper-V

Dual boot from VHDX

I have recently purchased a new laptop and been researching the best ways to dual boot in Windows 8.1. I chose to dual boot from a VHDX file so I could either boot directly into my sandbox OS or run it from within Hyper-V should I have booted into my main OS.

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The first step to do this was to install my main OS, then once installed open up Hyper-V manager and build myself a VM in the normal way.

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The next step is to browse to the location on the hard disk where you have created the VMs hard disk. Once located, right click on the VHDX and select mount to mount the VHDX as a local drive.

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Once you have mounted the drive, take note of the drive letter assigned to it.

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The next step is to open an admin command window and using the BCDBOOT command run:

bcdboot <drive>:\Windows

Where <drive> is replaced with the letter of the mounted VHDX, in my case:

bcdboot F:\Windows

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Once that has completed successfully, eject the mounted drive by right clicking on in and selecting eject. Now you can reboot and should be offered the option to boot to the VHDX OS as well as the main OS.

It is possible to run MSCONFIG and change the default boot and boot time. Its also possible to use BCDEDIT to change the description displayed on the boot window, as well as many other setting.

NOTE: Always make a backup with BCDEDIT before making changes.

To list boot options:

bcdedit

To change the description of a boot option:

bcdedit /set {boot loader identifier} description “Windows 8.1”

To list more information about the command:

bcdedit /? 

 

System Center

Installing Update Rollups to SCVMM in HA

I have been on a number of customer sites recently that have had System Center Virtual Machine Manager deployed as HA and were looking to install the latest Update Rollup. I have made note of the steps and the order, that has been suggested as the best in this scenario.

The first thing I would say is, wait at least a month before installing Update Rollups in your production environment. It has been known for Update Rollups to contain bugs and be called back. Assuming that the Update Rollup has been given chance to bed in, the following steps can then be used to deploy it.

  1. Backup the VMM DB
  2. Run the UR installer on the passive node(s)
  3. Failover the active node
  4. Run the UR installer on the now passive (before failover, active) node

 

Hyper-V

‘Access to path: is denied’ error after installing SCVMM 2012 R2 console

After installing the SCVMM console you get the error message “Access to the path: “C:Program FilesMicrosoft System Center 2012 R2Virtual Machine ManagerbinAddInPipelinePipelineSegments.store” is denied.”

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To resolve these issues, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the following folder: C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center 2012 R2Virtual Machine Manager\bin
  2. Right-click the AddInPipeline folder, and then click Properties.
  3. On the Security tab, click Advanced, and then click Continue.
  4. Select the BUILTIN group, and then click Edit.
  5. Click the Select a principal link, type Authenticated Users, and then click OK.
  6. Click OK to close each dialog box that is associated with the properties.

The steps for this fix were originally taken form the Microsoft article below which relates to Update Rollup 1 for SCVMM 2012 R2 and a potential issue that might be encountered.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2904712

Azure

StorSimple: Enabling Microsoft Azure Cloud Storage for Enterprise Workloads

A great video from TechEd 2014 giving a great overview of the StoreSimple SAN appliance and how it integrates with Windows Azure to offer a complete Hybrid Cloud Storage solution.

StorSimple offers DR, archiving, backup, availability and all the standard SAN technology’s such as compression, deduplication, snapshots, thin provisioning, automated tiering and so forth. StorSimple can enable the use of Microsoft Azure Cloud Storage for enterprise workloads, delivering the benefits of cloud economics, and a simplified storage architecture by automatically tiering large amounts of data to the Azure cloud.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzv2L681qn0

 

Hyper-V

Configuring CSV Cache in Server 2012 R2

Microsoft introduced CSV Cache for Hyper-V and Scale-Out File Server Clusters in Windows Server 2012. Essentially CSV Cache allows the administrator to configure a percentage of the hosts RAM  to cache read IOPS in the memory of the Hyper-V or the Scale-Out File Server Cluster nodes. When introduced in Windows Server 2012 the administrator was required to set the CSV Block Cache and enable it on every CSV volume. In Windows Server 2012 R2 CSV Block cache is by default enabled for every CSV volume but the size of the CSV Cache is set to zero, this obviously makes administration much simpler as only the size of the cache needs to be configured.

The following PowerShell can be used to set the Block Cache size.

# Get CSV Block Cache Size
(Get-Cluster).BlockCacheSize
# Set CSV Block Cache Size to 512MB
(Get-Cluster).BlockCacheSize=512

Microsoft recommendations:

  • Hyper-V Host – 512MB cache
  • Scale-Out File Server Node – Windows Server 2012 allowed a cache size up to 20% of the servers RAM, in Windows Server 2012 R2 Microsoft changed this to be up to 80% of the RAM of a Scale-Out File Server Node.
Veeam

Veeam: File is locked by running session

I seem to have come across this issue quite often recently, where Veeam reports “File is locked by running session (Name of Current Job)”

I have found that more often than not, the issue is caused when a job is stopped incorrectly, for example the Veeam server is rebooted during a backup job. In this example the SQL database has insufficient time to shutdown the job cleanly and requires some administrative intervention to clean the database.

Its a simple job that requires opening SQL Server Management Studio and connecting to the Veeam database, then running a small query to clear a number of entry’s.

Run the following SQL Query against the Veeam Database:

delete from [Backup.TrackedActions.Leases]
delete from [Backup.TrackedActions.LockItems]
delete from [Backup.TrackedActions.Locks]

NOTE: Make sure no jobs are running before running the query. 

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