Robert has a good post up for folks wanting to run Windows Server 2008 R2 on their laptops. A lot of us do that so that we can run Hyper-V for demos or development purposes. If you enable the Desktop Experience feature along with Wireless LAN and a few other things, you effectively get a Windows 7-like desktop and the ability to run Hyper-V.
One of the challenges of this setup is that for some of the hardware in your laptop, Windows Server 2008 R2 may not detect drivers for it whereas if you were running Windows 7, the hardware would be detected and appropriate drivers downloaded from Windows Update. Robert’s post describes installing Windows 7 into another partition on the laptop and letting Windows Update detect and download the drivers into the Windows 7 install. Then you can boot into Windows Server 2008 R2, go into device manager and search the DriverStore on the Windows 7 partition to find the drivers.
If you know specifically all the hardware in your notebook, either via the Vendor’s website or by taking a screenshot of Device Manager before you upgrade, another way to approach this without doing a separate install of Windows 7 is to search the Microsoft Update Catalog. This KB article talks about how to do that but basically you can search the catalog and download the driver packages directly without Windows Update having to detect your hardware. In my example, I have a Dell D820 with an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 120 display adapter. Sometimes Windows Server 2008 and R2 don’t detect this. Since I know exactly what card I have, I can go to the catalog, search for that adapter, and find then download the Windows 7 driver and install that. The screenshot below shows what the catalog looks like. You can search and add multiple drivers to the download basket then download them all.
Bottom line, if you don’t know all the hardware in your machine, use Robert’s method of installing Windows 7 in another partition to identify all the hardware and use the drivers you download there. If you know your hardware, give the update catalog a try.
New step-by-step guides have been posted for the new Remote Desktop Services (RDS) found in Windows Server 2008 R2 including the new VDI scenarios. These replace the original step-by-step guide from a couple months ago that was basically too big since it included all these scenarios in one and was a bit difficult to follow. I’ve been so focused on the combined Microsoft+Citrix solution lately that I haven’t had time to dig into the RDS-only solution yet. That will change this weekend!
Installing Remote Desktop Session Host Step-by-Step Guide
This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working Remote Desktop Services infrastructure in a test environment. During this process, you create an Active Directory® domain, install the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) role service, and configure the Remote Desktop Connection client computer.
Deploying Remote Desktop Web Access with Remote Desktop Connection Broker Step-by-Step Guide
This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working RemoteApp source accessible by using Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) in a test environment.
Deploying Personal Virtual Desktops by Using Remote Desktop Web Access Step-by-Step Guide
This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working personal virtual desktop accessible by using Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) in a test environment.
Deploying Virtual Desktop Pools by Using Remote Desktop Web Access Step-by-Step Guide
This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working virtual desktop pool accessible by using Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) in a test environment.
A question came up this morning from a customer who wants to create a GPO that applies to a group of machines and maps specific printers to those machines and does not allow logged on users to map additional printers to those machines or remove the already mapped printers.
Unless running Windows Server 2003 R2, there isn't a specific GPO to map printers. In R2 with the Print Management console you can configure it to have a GPO map printers. It uses a combination of GPO and an executable to push printers by user or machine as described here. Absent that I’ve always done it via login script deployed via a GPO.
In this case, the customer wanted it scoped to certain machines so we'd probably need to use a WMI filter on the GPO so it only runs the login script when the user is logging in to those machines. The sticking point is that a simple WMI filter query isn’t going to be able to query AD to see what OU the computer is in.
A way around this would be to apply a machine startup script via GPO for those machines that creates an environment variable. Then have the user login script GPO with a WMI filter looking for that environment variable. If it’s there, run the GPO login script to map printers, if not, don’t run. A little complicated but it’s really only 3 steps and a few lines of code. If WMI filtering isn’t available you could just have the login script check for the variable but it would run on all machines the user logs in to.
1. Machine startup script from GPO applied to desired computers creates an environment variable2. User login script from GPO with a WMI Filter looking for the environment variable only runs if it’s there3. Login script maps the appropriate printers4. GPO (described below) disables user’s ability to add/delete printers
In the second half of the article below it outlines the GPO settings for disabling a user’s ability to both add and delete printers.
Following this methodology you should be able to mandate a set of printers that gets mapped on a machine and prohibit the user from changing the set. Of course this is much easier with Windows Server 2003 R2...
This week I had some folks ask me about the hardware and setup I use for customer meetings and demonstrations. Since I’m in the Consulting side of the business, usually my customer discussions are multi-product scenarios or solution-oriented, not just single product scenarios so I need to have a pretty robust and well-integrated setup because that is the real value of Microsoft’s virtualization stack. Here’s how I do that.
My general requirements are:
So the solution that works for me is one really powerful laptop augmented as needed by additional laptops/netbooks and supporting hardware. My primary laptop is a Dell M6400 with Quad Core mobile processor, 16GB of RAM, an internal 240GB SSD, and an internal 320GB 7200RPM drive. It also has an E-SATA port for an external hard drive. I dual boot between Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 partitions on the SSD. The Windows 7 install is my day-to-day OS for CorpNet access, email, etc. This runs Bitlocker and everything else required for compliance with Microsoft policies. The Windows Server 2008 R2 partition is my demo environment and runs a number of roles and applications in the parent partition (Hyper-V, AD, SQL, VMM, OpsMgr, iSCSI Target). Even with all that running in the parent, I still have plenty of resources for running VMs.
My VMs fall into one of two categories: Integrated demo VMs where they are members of "my" AD domain in the parent partition or stand-alone VMs where they don't integrate with my parent partition and services. The two integrated scenarios I have are Server Virtualization / Private Cloud and VDI. Below is the setup for my VDI scenario. My demo laptop is augmented by a Netbook and a wireless access point. For VMs, I’m running the full stack required to show all of the joint Microsoft + Citrix VDI solution. With this setup I can show Server, Desktop, Application, and Presentation virtualization with full fidelity user experience including HD video over a wireless connection. I will soon be augmenting this with Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX when SP1 comes out.
The next scenario, Server Virtualization / Private Cloud, requires some more gear. Since I want to be able to show all of the Hyper-V and VMM capabilities like failover clustering, Live Migration, etc. I need to have a host cluster of at least two machines. So I add two more laptops to the demo rig. Ideally these would be the smallest laptops that support Hyper-V. In my case, they are two Dell D820s. Now that Hyper-V R2 supports dissimilar cluster nodes via processor compatibility mode, the two machines don’t have to be identical anymore, they just need to have the same processor vendor (i.e. all Intel or all AMD). To create a host cluster you need shared storage and the simplest way to do this is to put a software iSCSI target in the main demo laptop. If you have MSDN access you can get Windows Storage Server and the MS iSCSI target for this purpose or there are a number of 3rd party options, just remember that you will need one that supports connections from multiple servers since there will be two in the cluster. All three laptops get connected to a small Ethernet switch, and a Hyper-V host cluster is configured using the two additional laptops. The cluster is added to the VMM 2008 R2 console, added into Operations Manager, etc. I also have both the VMM Self-Service Portal 2.0 (SSPv2) release candidate as well as the Dynamic Datacenter Toolkit for Hosters (DDTK-H) installed to show a variety of self-service VM provisioning scenarios.
The diagram below illustrates what this looks like. The only downside to this setup is the weight, 3 machines plus accessories, and the funny looks you get from airport security when you’re at the end of the X-Ray machine and taking every laptop that comes out However, with this setup you can demo pretty much every single capability the Microsoft stack provides including Live Migration, Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO), Failover Clustering, etc.
As a preview of blog posts to come, note the inclusion of System Center Service Manager 2010 and Opalis in my demo rig. I’ve mentioned in my recent posts the work I’m doing with a bunch of other top folks in Microsoft Services around new offerings related to private cloud and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) using our current products. Using all of the products above, we’re doing some pretty amazing orchestration and automation of physical and virtual resources. For a conceptual overview of what this is all about, see my Architecture Journal paper. I’ll be detailing our efforts a lot more in the coming weeks and months.