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Fibre Channel Virtualisation in Windows 2012 Hyper-V August 22, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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One of the issues with Hyper-V R2 that I come across is that in order to create VMs that are clustered we have to use iSCSI, you may say, “well that’s not a problem”, but to some people it is, they  have invested time, effort and money to create their shared storage.

Well, that has now been address with Windows 2012 Hyper-V

The product now supports Virtual Fibre Channel, this enables VMs to now use a Fibre Channel HBA, which in turn allows the VM to use Fibre Channel devices.

All we have to do is ensure that our Hyper-V host has a supported and compatible Fibre Channel HBA

Resource Metering in Windows 2012 Hyper-V August 21, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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Just a short one today relating to Windows 2012 Hyper-V new features.

Another new feature within Windows 2012 Hyper-V is the addition of Resource Metering.

Resource Metering allows administrators to track resource utilisation of individual virtual machines.

Why do it? Nice and straight forward really, in a cloud environment you may be hosting many virtual machines for your customers or internal cost centers, the ability to be able to meter the usage of virtual machines and the resources they consume will allow you to charge appropriately.

We enable resource metering on a per VM basis.

Memory improvements in Windows 2012 Hyper-V August 20, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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Within Windows 2012 Hyper-V we get numerous improvements, I’ve decided in this post to combine two of the features together, they are NUMA and memory improvements.

NUMA or Non-Uniform Memory Access is a hardware feature.

Under NUMA, a processor can access its own local memory faster than non-local memory, that is, memory local to another processor or memory shared between processors.

With NUMA integration the hypervisor can place virtual machines on cores that allow for good NUMA locality. Or if you like stick the VMs on cores with high speed RAM.

EG 2x quad core with 32GB of RAM per socket, a VM with 48GB of RAM and 2 vCPUs would be placed on the a single core on each of the 2 sockets, rather than on 2 cores on a single socket.

Memory Improvements

Dynamic memory is a feature that lets virtual machine memory to be allocated as necessary, rather than as a fixed amount. For example, rather than setting a virtual machine with a fixed 8 gigabytes (GB) of memory, which Hyper-V allocates to the virtual machine, an administrator can use dynamic memory to allocate a minimum and maximum amount.


In this scenario, the virtual machines requests only what it needs. Although Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 included the ability for virtual machines to use dynamic memory, you had to make any adjustments to these settings after you shut down the server.


Hyper-V 3.0 enables administrators to adjust dynamic memory settings on virtual machines that are running. You can use smart paging to configure start up memory, which differs from the minimum and maximum memory allocations.


When you use smart paging, the Hyper-V host uses memory paging to ensure that a virtual machine can start when there are not enough memory resources available to support start up, but enough to support the virtual machine’s minimum memory allocation.


The above gives us a huge improvement over how Hyper-V R1 used to allocate memory and this in turn gives us more efficient VMs.

Network bandwidth QoS in Hyper-V August 19, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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One of the problems with Virtualisation is potentially ensuring that a VM or process gets the resource that is required.

Networking is one the areas that causes concern, so wouldn’t it be nice if we could prioritise the networking traffic based on its function.

Well in Windows 2012 Hyper-V we can, we can use Quality of Service (QoS) bandwidth management; we can also define minimum and maximum network bandwidth for each Virtual Machine.

Below is a brief description of the technology and its uses

“Windows Server 2012 includes new Quality of Service (QoS) bandwidth management features that enable cloud hosting providers and enterprises to provide services that deliver predictable network performance to virtual machines on a server running Hyper-V. In Windows Server 2012, QoS supports the management of upper-allowed and lower-allowed bandwidth limits, referred to in this document as maximum bandwidth and minimum bandwidth. Windows Server 2012 also takes advantage of data centre bridging (DCB)-capable hardware to converge multiple types of network traffic on a single network adapter with a guaranteed level of service to each type. With Windows PowerShell, you can configure all these new features manually or enable automation in a script to manage a group of servers, regardless of whether they stand alone or are joined to a domain.

For example, cloud hosting providers want to use servers running Hyper-V to host customers and still guarantee a specific level of performance based on service level agreements (SLAs). They want to ensure that no customer is impacted or compromised by other customers on their shared infrastructure, which includes computing, storage, and network resources. Likewise, enterprises have similar requirements. They want to run multiple application servers on a server running Hyper-V and be confident that each application server delivers predictable performance. Lack of performance predictability often drives administrators to put fewer virtual machines on a capable server or simply avoid virtualization, causing them to spend more money on physical equipment and infrastructure.

Furthermore, most cloud hosting providers and enterprises today use a dedicated network adapter and a dedicated subnet for a specific type of workload such as storage or live migration to achieve network performance isolation on a server running Hyper-V. Although this deployment strategy works for those using 1-gigabit Ethernet network adapters, it becomes impractical for those who are using or plan to use 10-gigabit Ethernet network adapters. Not only does one 10-gigabit Ethernet network adapter (or two for high availability) already provide sufficient bandwidth for all the workloads on a server running Hyper-V in most deployments, but 10-gigabit Ethernet network adapters and switches are considerably more expensive than their 1-gigabit Ethernet counterparts. To best utilize 10-gigabit Ethernet hardware, a server running Hyper-V requires new capabilities to manage bandwidth.”


VCP5-IaaS exam is now here August 16, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware Training.
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The VCP5-IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is here.

The exam focuses on VMwares vCloud Director software.

The VMware Certified Professional 5 – Infrastructure as a Service (VCP5-IaaS) validates your ability to install, configure and administer a Cloud environment using vCloud Director and related components. Achieving this certification demonstrates your understanding of basic cloud concepts including public/private/hybrid clouds, multi-tenancy and cloud security, as well as your skills in using vCloud Director to create and manage vApps, service catalogs, and organization/provider VDCs, as well as administering cloud enabled networking and storage.

Achieving a VCP5-IaaS certification validates your ability to:

  • Install and Configure vCloud Director
  • Administer Users, Roles, and Privileges in a vCloud
  • Configure and Administer vCenter Chargeback, vCloud Networking, and vCloud Organizations
  • Allocate and Manage vCloud Resources
  • Create and Administer vCloud Catalogs
  • Monitor a vCloud Implementation

For more info follow the link

Also for details on the course that will help you prepare go to VMware


PowerShell in Windows 2012 Hyper-V August 16, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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With Windows Server 2012 we get a new version of Hyper-V.

As a best practice Microsoft recommend that you install Hyper-V on Server Core. Not a problem.

PowerShell allows us to administer, configure and manage our Hyper-V install. It also allows us to script complex tasks.

Anyone that had used Exchange will know how complex these commands can be.

Well with Hyper-V in 2012 we get over 100 Cmdlets which are used for managing not only the host, but networking, storage and VMs.

I’m not going to list them all, instead here’s a link to the Hyper-V Cmdlets

Have a search through and then think about your most common tasks that you perform on a daily basis………………………………………….. Great now think how much easier your day would be if you created your own little script library to perform those tasks.



Windows 2012 Hyper-V VM replication August 15, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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One of the new features of Windows 2012 Hyper-V is a feature called Hyper-V Replica.

This feature enables the administrator to replicate a single virtual machine over WAN or LAN to another Hyper-V host.

Hyper-V replica enables you to have two instances of a single VM residing on different hosts, one VM is the primary or live and the other is the replica or offline copy.

The copies are synchronised and you can failover at any time, however the failover will incur minimal downtime.

In order to support this technology Windows 2012 uses the following components.

Replication Engine: It manages the replication configuration details and handles the initial replication, delta replication, and failover and test failover operations.

Change Tracking: Tracks changes that are happening on the primary copy of the virtual machine.

Network Module: Provides a secure and efficient way to transfer virtual machine replicas between the primary host and replica host.

Hyper-V Replica Broker Role: This new role in Windows 2012 is configured in Clustering; it enables you to have Hyper-V replica functionality even when the VM being replicated is highly available and can move from one cluster node to another. The role redirects all VM specific events to the correct node in the replica cluster. The Broker queries the cluster database to determine which node should handle which events. This therefore ensures that all events are directed to the correct node in the cluster in the event that a VM migration was executed.

A quick list of new features in Windows 2012 Hyper-V August 14, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Windows 2012 Hyper-V.
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I’ve now started looking at Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 and have just read an article on the new features.

Hyper-V in Windows server has undergone a substantial change. Now I’ve started using the product I have to say, yes it’s quite impressive.

So to summarise here’s a list, in subsequent Blogs we’ll look at the new features in a bit more depth.

Virtual Machine Replication

Hyper-V PowerShell Support

QoS bandwidth Management

Non-Uniform Memory Access Support (NUMA)

Memory Improvements

Resource Metering

Virtual Fibre Channel NPIV

Live Migration without shared storage

New Virtual Hard Disk Format

SMB 3.0 storage

Network virtualisation


How many Virtual Machines per datastore, here’s something to think about August 13, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in VMware blogs.
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I sometimes get asked the question about how many Virtual Machines should be placed on a VMFS datastore and sorry to give a sales answer but it depends.

There are quite a few variables that need to be taken into account.

The first variable for me is what is the VM used for? If it’s a disk intensive application, then perhaps it should have its own datastore.

How is the datastore built? By that I mean how is the LUN built, a LUN built with multiple spindles will perform better that a LUN with few spindles.

How much cache does the array have? More cache means better performance.

What is the technology that the array is built on? SSD is better than 15k disks, which are better than 10k.

But, the best answer is talk to a vendor partner, they can analyse the work load and advise, talk to the SAN provider, they can advise based off the technology you buy.

If you want a ball park, then quite a few blogs and community site state 20-25 VMs, but again it depends.

Virtualising Microsoft Active Directory Domain Controller August 11, 2012

Posted by vbry21 in Microsoft Virtualisation blogs.
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Virtualising Microsoft Active Directory Domain Controllers has always given me cause for concern.

Not the virtualisation bit, that works brilliantly, but the snapshotting bit, and this is why.

AD DS replication uses InvocationID and USNs on each domain controller to determine what changes need to be replicated to other domain controllers. If a domain controller is rolled back in time outside of the domain controller’s awareness and a USN is reused for an entirely different transaction, replication will not converge because other domain controllers will believe they have already received the updates associated with the re-used USN under the context of that InvocationID. A virtual machine (VM) makes it easy for hypervisor administrators to roll back a domain controller’s USNs (its logical clock) by, for example, applying a snapshot outside of the domain controller’s awareness.

Or to summarise in English, be very careful with Snapshots in AD it may, I say may just STUFF YOUR AD, when you revert back for any reason.

Fortunately Microsoft gave us a fantastic document on virtualising Active Directory Domain controllers

But it gets even better, Active Directory for Windows 2012 was designed with the cloud in mind, so you may want to have Domain Controllers on premise and then have some sitting off premise, so Microsoft have given us features galore, read the link, it’s really rather all quite good