Virtually Yours..

  • Enable Hardware settings in BIOS to run Hyper V

    Hypervserver

    I would be lying if I say that i don't get this question anymore from our customers and partners.

    I just bought a new server and it appears to have a multitude of BIOS options for virtualization. Which BIOS options should be enabled and/or disabled to use with Hyper-V?

    I recently received a well drafted message by our friends in Virtualization product group here in Microsoft. Here is what suggested by Microsoft Virtualization Team with respect to HYPER-V, BIOS & PROCESSOR FEATURES and i cant resist to share it with you all because it makes things so clear and easy.

    Hyper-V RTM/R2 Hardware Requirements                                                                                                                                                                                                                         --

    When it comes to hardware requirements for Hyper-V, the hardware requirements are relatively straightforward and have been mainstream for many years and many generations of systems.

    1. 1. Hyper-V is 64-bit only and thus requires a 64-bit (x64) processor
      1. Windows Server 2008 was the final 32-bit (x86) Windows Server release and Windows Server 2008 32-bit version does not include Hyper-V
    2. 2. Hardware Virtualization Assists* in the form of:
      1. Intel VT-x (initially codenamed Vanderpool)
      2. AMD AMD-V (also called SVM and initially codename Pacifica)
    3. 3. Hyper-V requires Hardware Data Execution Prevention:
      1. Intel refers to it as Execute Disable (XD). This feature must be enabled in the system BIOS.
      2. AMD refers to it as No Execute (NX). This feature must be enabled in the system BIOS.

    Again, these are Hyper-V requirements and Hyper-V will not run without these capabilities.

    *Note: When you enable hardware assisted virtualization (Intel VT or AMD AMD-V) in the BIOS, you must TURN THE SYSTEM OFF. NOT REBOOT. OFF. If you don’t power cycle the system completely, you will not enable hardware assisted virtualization on the majority of systems in the market.

    Hyper-V R2* & SLAT Hardware

    For traditional server virtualization or virtualization desktops without RemoteFX, SLAT hardware is not required, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. The use of SLAT capable hardware offers significant performance improvements across the board.

    • Intel refers to this a Extended Page Tables (EPT)
    • AMD refers to this as Nested Page Tables (NPT) or Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI)

    If there are BIOS option to enable these features (they’re usually on by default), these options should be enabled.

    For virtualizing desktops using RemoteFX, SLAT hardware is REQUIRED. The use of SLAT capable hardware offers significant performance improvements across the board and is especially important when using RemoteFX. These technologies are an extension to the traditional TLB that allow Hyper-V to use the hardware to handle multiple TLBs – one for each virtual machine. This is fundamental requirement for RemoteFX.

    • Intel refers to this a Extended Page Tables (EPT).
    • AMD refers to this as Nested Page Tables (NPT) or Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI).

    If there are BIOS option to enable these features (they’re usually on by default), these options should be enabled.

    Personally, I wouldn’t purchase any system for virtualization that is not SLAT capable.

    *Note: To take advantage of SLAT hardware, you must be running Windows Server 2008 R2 or later or Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 or later. Previous versions (Windows Server 2008/2008 SP2 & Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008/2008 SP2) do not support SLAT hardware and will simply ignore these hardware capabilities.

    Hyper-V : What to Disable in the BIOS

    There are some hardware features that Hyper-V does not utilize and enabling them will prevent Hyper-V from loading. Specifically, please be sure that:                                                     

    • Intel VT-d is disabled
    • Trusted Execution is disabled

    If either of these options is enabled, Hyper-V won’t launch and errors will be posted to the Event Log.

    ===========================================================================

    Q: I’m trying to run Hyper-V on my system and Hyper-V won’t launch. When I look in the event log I see events such as:

    • · Event ID 41: Hyper-V Launch failed; Either VMX not present or not enabled in the BIOS
    • · Event ID 32: Hyper-V Launch failed; At least one of the processors in this system does not appear to provide a virtualization platform supported by Hyper-V

    I’ve ensured that both:

    • Hardware Assists are enabled (Intel VT or AMD-V)
    • Data Execution Prevention is enabled (Intel XD or AMD NX)

    What am I doing wrong?

    A: It sounds like you’re doing a lot right, but there are a few additional BIOS settings you should check. Please be sure that:

    1. Intel VT-d is disabled
    2. Trusted Execution is disabled

    Hyper-V does not utilize these hardware features and enabling them will prevent Hyper-V from loading.

    ===========================================================================

    Q: I see that Hyper-V requires hardware Data Execution Prevention. What does that mean? What does DEP do?

    A: For more information on DEP, check out this article Data Execution Prevention on MSDN and a useful KB here.

     

    Thanks Virtualization Team for such a great written article, I am sure our customers and partners will find them really useful.

    Do send your feedbacks, comments and suggestions, they are always appreciated.

    Cheers!

     


  • RDS Hardware Sizing and Capacity Planning Guidance.

     

    We always felt the need of Hardware capacity guidance and sizing information for Terminal Services or Remote Desktop services for Server 2008 R2, Whenever I am engaged in any architectural guidance discussion for RDS deployment i always get a question what needs to be taken into consideration while deciding the hardware configuration and to do capacity planning.

    Here are some bullet points which I recommend to my partners and customers to consider:

    • 2GB Memory (RAM) is the optimum limit for each core of a CPU. E.g. If you have 4 GB RAM then for optimum performance there should be Dual core CPU.
    • 2 Dual Core CPU perform better then single Quad core processor.
    • Recommended bandwidth for LAN of 30 users and WAN of 20 users.  Bandwidth (b) = 100 megabits per second (Mbps) with Latency (l) Less than 5 milliseconds.
    • On a Terminal Server 64 MB per user is the Ideal Memory (RAM) requirement for GP Only use + 2 GB for OS E.g. (100 users * 64) + 2000 = 8.4 GB i.e. 8GB RAM.
    • More applications used (i.e. Office, CAD Apps and etc.) will require more memory per user to be added to this calculation over the 64 MB base memory per user.
    • 15 TS session per CPU core is the optimum performance limit of a Terminal Server.
    • Network should not have more than 5 hops, and latency should be under 100ms.
    • 64 kbps is the Ideal Bandwidth per user session. (256 color, switched network, bitmap caching only)
    • CPU performance degrades if %processor time per core is constantly above 65%.
    • Terminal servers performance doubles when it is running on a X64 HW and OS.

    In addition to that, Microsoft has just released a whitepaper on Capacity Planning in Windows Server 2008 R2.

    Download it here

    The Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) role service lets multiple concurrent users run Windows®-based applications on a remote computer running Windows Server® 2008 R2. This white paper is intended as a guide for capacity planning of RD Session Host in Windows Server 2008 R2. It describes the most relevant factors that influence the capacity of a given deployment, methodologies to evaluate capacity for specific deployments, and a set of experimental results for different combinations of usage scenarios and hardware configurations.

    You can also use this document for sizing Terminal Services on a Hyper V Platform

    Also use the Remote Desktop Load Simulation Tools available at following link to do the load testing for number of users on RDS Server

    Download it here

    I hope it helps, Let me know if you have any questions.

    Cheers..

  • Implementing Microsoft VDI with Server 2008 R2 RDS

    Microsoft® VDI  image

    If you are following my blog, I discussed about Microsoft VDI solution and how it can proved to be a great solution for organizations to lower their management cost and enable flexible work scenarios such as work from home and hot-desking, increased data security and compliance, as well as easy and efficient management of the desktop OS and applications.

    Today I’ll talk about enhancements in Terminal Services in Server 2008 which is now renamed to Remote Desktop Services,

    Now RDS, in addition to other Terminal Service roles, provides an platform for companies to implement a centralized desktop strategy and for partners to provide additional innovation.

    It introduces the new Remote Desktop Connection Broker – an expansion of the Session Broker in Windows Server 2008 – which provides the administrator with a unified experience for setting up user access to both virtualized desktops (running as a full Windows client OS on top of Microsoft’s virtualization infrastructure) and traditional session-based remote desktops.

    Together with Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager, the Remote Desktop Connection Broker enables a VDI solution for low-complexity, departmental environments, and a platform for partners who are delivering rich, extensible solutions where heterogeneous client support is a prerequisite, and when enhanced management and scalability is a requirement.

    The Remote Desktop Connection Broker it complements other, shared RDS infrastructure components in Windows Server 2008, such as Remote Desktop Web Access or Remote Desktop Gateway. With the Remote Desktop Connection Broker, partners will find an extensive set of APIs that will allow them to continue innovation and deliver added value to customers.

    Other important improvements in our virtualization platform in Windows Server 2008 R2, such as Live Migration, will further contribute to making Windows Server 2008 R2 an excellent platform for VDI, improving both availability and scalability of a virtual desktop deployment.

    RDS in Server 2008 R2 supports two VDI Scenarios:

    1. Personal Virtual Desktops

    • One OS image per user
    • Administrator access, desktop customizable
    • User state typically part of the image

    2. Virtual Desktop Pool

    • Shared OS images, identically configured
    • No administrator access
    • User state temporary (discarded at session end)

    The Architecture of VDI deployment using RDS would look something like this.

    image

    Learn More about Microsoft VDI and RDS, Please follow the links below

    http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization/products/desktop/default.mspx

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/rds-r2.aspx

    Isn’t that Interesting, I know you cant wait to do a hands on with Microsoft VDI with RDS in Server 2008 R2.

    How to setup a VDI lab with RDS?? I’ll be posting step by step soon.

    Please stay tuned.. ;-)

  • Microsoft Virtualization: Hyper V Live Migration Network configuration.

    Its quite hectic these days in Virtualization world as i am actively involved in planning Practice Accelerator for Virtualization. In addition to that I’ve been engaged in lots of Virtualization opportunities and whenever i speak to customers and partners, I tend to get lot of questions about setting up preferred network for Live Migration on Hyper V based clusters.

    Its highly recommended to use Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) while setting up the storage for Live Migration, CSV has following advantages:

    1. All the nodes in the cluster has concurrent access to the shared storage.
    2. Multiple VHDs can be stored on a single shared Volume.
    3. No Drive letter problems
    4. Faster failovers

    It looks like something like the diagram below, You can see in this diagram, that all the three nodes has simultaneous access to the same share running their respective VHD files. In the event of one node failure there is no drive ownership change and hence faster failover.

    image

    By default, Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) and Clustering use a private network with the lowest value for Metric property.  To prevent CSV and Clustering from sharing the same network with live migration, the default network order used for live migration is changed so that a network with the lowest value for Metric property is at the bottom of the list of networks for live migration.  This will reduce the possibility of CSV, clustering, and live migration using the same network.

    This helps ensure live migration speeds by placing live migration traffic in a separate network path.

    In the Failover Cluster Manager, right-click on the virtual machine and select Properties:

    clip_image001

    By selecting the “Network for Live Migration” tab, you can specify what network is used for Live Migration. You can specify multiple networks in order of preference. For me, I normally have my 10 Gb/E network set as the first network.

    clip_image002

    See this screenshot:

    clip_image004

    Once you select the appropriate network, you will see the performance enhancement and decreased failover times However your Virtual Machine is always high available while its being migrated.

    I hope it helps, please feel free to reach me if you need more information.

    Cheers..

  • Hyper V Live Migration Network Configuration Guide: Now Available

    image               image

     

    If you are following my blog, couple of weeks before i posted a blog post on Live Migration Network configuration. Now its time to learn the official way to configure the Live Migration network.

    Microsoft has just released Hyper-V: Live Migration Network Configuration Guide.

    This guide describes how to configure your network to use the live migration feature of Hyper-V™. It provides a detailed list of the networking configuration requirements for optimal performance and reliability, as well as recommendations for scenarios that do not meet these requirements.

    Some of the common questions which are answered in this guide are:

    • “How Many Network Cards do I needs in my host?”
    • “What if my host has 2 NICs, 3NICs, 4NICs, more?”
    • “What network traffic should I consolidate if I have limited NICs?”
    • “Are the recommendations different if I have 1Gbps NICs or 10Gbps?”
    • Etc.

    It also talks about Hyper-V live migration network requirements, Identifying the network access needs for live migration and Networking considerations for live migration.

    We 'have always felt the need of this kind of best practices document on how to setup a live Migration network which can help in efficient and effective live Migrations in Hyper V Clusters. This document should now help us to get there and design the best Virtual Machine. infrastructure.

    Access it here

    If you wish to learn more about Microsoft Hyper V R2 Live Migration, Please download the Hyper-V Live Migration Overview & Architecture whitepaper

    This document describes the live migration feature of Windows Server® 2008 R2 Hyper-V™ in detail, including how live migration moves running VMs and requirements for implementing live migration.

    Hope it helps for now.

    As always do send your comments, feedback and suggestions :)

    Cheers.

  • Managing Hyper-V Server from Windows 7

     

    image

    Now you can manage your Virtual Machines hosted on Windows Server 2008 Hyper V from Windows 7 client OS,

    Windows 7 comes with an inbuilt Hyper V management Snap In which you need to enable from Turn features on/off.

    1. Go to Control Panel.

    image

    2. Click on Programs and Features and click on Turn Windows Features on/off

    clip_image002

    After you turn this feature ON, you can find the Hyper-V Management Console in Administrative Tools via Control Panel.

    Let me know how it goes.. smile_regular

  • Remote Server Admin Tools (RSAT) for Windows 7 : Now Available

    We all know about RSAT tool to manage Windows Server remotely from a desktop or Laptop PC. Microsoft has just released brand new version of RSAT tool for Windows 7.

    RSAT tool also includes Hyper V manager to manage Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper V and Hyper V Server 2008 R2 remotely.

    How to Enable the Hyper-V Manager from the Remote Server Administration Toolkit (RSAT)

    Step 1: Download RSAT from the following link and install

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7d2f6ad7-656b-4313-a005-4e344e43997d&displaylang=en

    Step 2: Go to Add/Remove Programs.

    clip_image001

    Step 3: Turn Windows Features On or Off and Enable the Hyper-V Tools as shown below.

    clip_image002[4]

    Step 4: After enabling the Hyper-V Tools, go to the Administrative Tools in the Start Menu where you will see the Hyper-V Manager. (If you don’t see the Administrative Tools, you can enable this by right clicking on the Start Menu, clicking Properties, click Customize and choose to Display the Administrative Tools in in the Start Menu.)

    clip_image002[6]

     

    Or, just type Hyper-V Manager at the Start Menu

     

    clip_image002[8]

    And you are good to go..!!

    With RSAT for Windows 7, You can manage roles and features that are installed on computers that are running Windows Server® 2008 R2, Windows Server® 2008, or Windows Server® 2003, from a remote computer that is running Windows 7.

    Those who have not tried or used RSAT before, Go for it..!!!

    Let me know how that works for you..

  • Microsoft Virtualization: Windows XP Mode for Windows 7

    If you are read my last Blog post, you are all aware that Microsoft has just released Windows 7 RC for TechNet and MSDN subscribers, and it will be available for general public on May 5th 2009.

    Microsoft Virtualization Team today introduced a new feature in Windows 7 where Windows XP Mode is a virtual Windows XP environment that customers of Windows 7 Pro, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise can use to run older Windows XP applications with virtualization technologies such as Windows Virtual PC.

    And now Windows XPM and Virtual PC will be new features of Windows 7.

    Windows 7 Pro provides Windows XP Mode to run many older Windows XP productivity applications.  With Windows Virtual PC, you can run Windows XP applications with a single click, directly from Windows 7 desktop.

    Hmm… Isn’t it same as MED-V?? 

    Well.. XPM is targeted for small businesses where there is no IT department.

    Businesses with IT Professionals can reduce the cost of deploying and managing Windows Virtual PCs by using Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) which is part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack.

    New Features of Virtual PC for XPM:

    Easy setup of Windows XP Mode – Once both the Windows Virtual PC and the virtual Windows XP environment are installed, Windows Virtual PC provides a simple wizard to setup the Windows XP Mode with just a few clicks. 

    USB Support - Users can access USB devices attached to Windows 7 directly from Windows XP Mode.  These devices include Printers and Scanners, Flash Memory/Sticks and External Hard Disks, Digital Cameras and more.

    Seamless Applications – Publish and Launch applications installed on Windows XP Mode directly from the Windows 7 desktop, as if they were installed on the Windows 7 itself.

    Folder Integration between Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode– Access your Windows 7 Known Folders:  My documents, Pictures, Desktop, Music, Video, from inside the virtual windows environment, such as Windows XP Mode

    Clipboard Sharing – Cut and paste between your Windows 7 and Windows XP Mode.

    Printer Redirection – Print directly to your attached printer from your Windows XP Mode applications either in application mode or desktop mode.

    So what is the system requirement to run Windows XP Mode?

    1. You will need to install Windows 7 release candidate 
    2. You need to have a PC with virtualization feature turned on in the CPU (e.g.  Intel-VT or AMD-V feature should be enabled on CPU through BIOS)

    You can download the Evaluation Guide of Virtual PC to setup XPM from here

    So for all those who have already downloaded Windows 7 RC from TechNet and MSDN sites, go ahead and evaluate this great feature while others will be able to do that after May 5th 2009 when Windows 7 RC releases for general public.

    And please do share your feedback and experience while evaluating XPM for Windows 7…

    And stay tuned for the lots of exciting news and revelation related to Microsoft Virtualization coming up.. ;-)

  • Comeback Post��My thoughts on Enterprise Mobility

     

    Okay.. After two years of asylum, I decided to come back to Blogosphere ( Homeland eh?) as I was finding 140 characters were too less to communicate my thoughts. If you’ve been following me on Twitter you know I have changed roles in Microsoft and now taken up role of Technology Solutions Specialist for Mobility and Devices.

    As we all know how the proliferation of devices has completely changed the way we now live our lives. I don't even remember last time I took out my work laptop just to check my mails and reply few of those which needed my immediate attention and response.  I am not just saying it because I work for worlds greatest technology company, its happening to everyone and in every Industry.

    As I speak to lot of employees of other organizations as a part of my day to day job, they tell me that they don't want to be tied down to their seats and their PC anymore. they’d like to work wherever they are and whatever device they have.

    Gone are those days when you have to drive to office on weekends just because you have to prepare an urgent business report that your boss have asked you to prepare on Friday evening and have to be submitted on Monday.  If you are not one of those consider yourself lucky, privileged and blessed Smile

    As a Modern Employee, I need the flexibility to work from anywhere anytime and still be productive and contribute effectively to my and my organisation success and at the same time take care of my personal life, be with my family and friends when they need me.

    I have seen people replying emails, chatting on IMs and even on call while waiting for a doctors consultations at a clinic on a working day. ( Too bad if you couldn't get a doctor’s appointment on a weekend )

    Organizations understand that this is a new trend or is more sophisticatedly called “Consumerization of IT”. Whether they like it or not it’s happening. Many organizations are now considering adopting this trend and enabling their employees to be productive on the move. This allows a better employee satisfaction as they get more flexibility to work while taking care of other important “Life” things and Organizations are able to squeeze more productivity out of an employee which otherwise may not be possible while they are on their desk for 8-9 hours. 

    Tip for Employers: Just blocking Facebook on your office network doesn't necessarily mean you are getting better productivity from your employees.. Smile

    In the next few posts, I'll talk about how Microsoft is enabling mobile productivity for employees and as an Organization what do you really need to get best from your employees while they may not be necessarily on their desk.

    Talk soon…

  • All New Windows Server ‘8’ Hyper V Component Architecture Poster

    Microsoft has just released brand new Windows Server ‘8’ Hyper V Component architecture poster, if you haven't seen it yet, you can download it from following link

    DOWNLOAD NOW

    image

    Cheers,

    Iftekhar

  • FREE Microsoft Hyper V Server 2008 R2 : Deploy NOW !!!

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    Microsoft Hyper V Server 2008 R2 final release is now available for download and to be deployed in production.

    If you are following this blog, we have reviewed every development phase of this product starting from BETA, RC and RTM.

    Lets review the differenced between Hyper V Server 2008 and Hyper V Server 2008 R2.

    Hyper V Sever R2 Vs Server 2008 R2

    Download it from here

    Here is a list of the features in Hyper-V Server 2008 R2

    To manage the Hyper V Server 2008 R2 remotely, you need RSAT tool for Windows 7 check my last blog post here how to download and install.

    To know more about Microsoft Hyper V Server 2008 R2, Click here

    Let me know how it goes. :)

  • Private Cloud Management with VMM 2012 (Part 1): What's new with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

    This article is cross posted from my original post on PTS Official Blog

    I have been delivering a lot of sessions on the all-new VMM 2012 lately to both external and internal audiences, so I thought of sharing some information with our online community as well.

    I am putting together a 3-part series of blog posts to cover all the aspects of VMM 2012 and how it enables Private Cloud Management. If you are new to Private Cloud concepts and its benefits, you may want to read some of my earlier posts on the same topic:

    Private Cloud– Part 1

    Private Cloud– Part 2

    In March at the Microsoft Management Summit 2011 held in Las Vegas, we announced the public availability of VMM 2012 Beta. I know most of you are evaluating VMM 2012 in your environment and may need some guidance—hence this blog series.

    When we talk about Private Cloud, we expect following benefits:

    1. Reliability and predictability: We would want our application to be highly available and fault-tolerant, the remediation from failure should be simple, and it should be simple to re-start and re-deploy applications.

    2. Highly automated: We want our infrastructure to be highly automated to complete tasks like provisioning new systems and configuring storage, networking, and applications on its own without any manual intervention.

    3. Agility of speed: We would also expect better responsiveness and turnaround time to meet user needs. We want applications to be deployed faster, and changes to be made much easier and faster—not taking weeks to happen.

    4. Focus of Applications and services: Let’s face it, at the end of the day the consumer only cares about applications and services, uptime, and quality of the service as a measure for success of your private cloud. So as a cloud consumer I would want to focus on the application rather than underlying infrastructure.

    Today let’s go through a high-level overview of VMM 2012 and what kind of advanced management capabilities it brings to the table to for virtualized infrastructures and the Private Cloud.

    Microsoft has made investments in 4 different areas in VMM 2012:

    1. Deployment

    • HA VMM Server: VMM 2012 brings some enhanced deployment scenarios, where your VMM server itself is not cluster-aware, so now you can host VMM on a cluster and use the cluster name to connect your VMM console to the server.
    • Non-HA VMs on HA Host: Now you can create non-HA VMs on clustered hosts.
    • Cluster Creation: Now you can create Hyper-V® Host clusters directly from the VMM console itself, without having to go ahead and create clusters using Cluster Manager on the hosts. VMM Cluster creation also allows automated provisioning of storage and creation of CSV and virtual networks. You can even add or remove nodes, clusters, disks, and virtual network from existing clusters using VMM. You can also create clusters in untrusted domains.
      • MM now brings new custom properties not just for hosts, but also for components in VMM which can be really useful from a management perspective.
      • VMM also brings Windows PowerShell® 2.0 with new cmdlets to enable automation.

    2. Fabric Management

    • Bare-metal provisioning: VMM now allows provisioning of bare-metal Hyper-V hosts. VMM can deploy the OS on the host, enable the Hyper-V role, and add it to the cluster and deploy VMs or Service—so the entire VM host lifecycle is now managed by the VMM itself… Isn't that cool? :)
    • Heterogeneous Virtualization Management: In addition to supporting VMware, VMM 2012 now also provides support to manage Citrix XenServer.
    • Logical Network: VMM now can help define Logical Networks using VLANs and Subnets by datacenter location, and also provides feature to manage static IPs, load-balancer VIPs, and MAC addresses. You can now automatically provision a load-balancer.
    • Storage Management: VMM now also connects and queries your storage boxes with SMI-S provided by storage vendors. It can discover storage arrays and pools, and discover capabilities and capacity of storage devices. It can now automatically configure and assign LUNs to hosts and clusters.
    • Updates Management: VMM now offers support for orchestrating the OS update process of clustered hosts. It integrates with WSUS and can now automatically update your cluster nodes without any service disruption to your VMs.
    • Dynamic Optimization: If you have worked with VMM 2008 R2, you know the PRO feature where you can move VMs around from one node to another within a cluster if there is any resource crunch on the host. It used to require Ops Manager integration, but VMM 2012 now provides built-in support for load optimization for Dynamic Optimization, and no longer requires Ops Manager. For other PRO capabilities, Ops Manager 2007 R2 and above are required.
    • Power Optimization: With Dynamic Optimization, VMM also offers Power Optimization. With this feature you can now consolidate VMs on fewer hosts and shut down the rest of the hosts in a cluster in order to save power—powering them up when the load on these VMs increases and requires spreading out.
    • Enhanced Placement: VMM now does over 100 placement checks before placing the VMs on the hosts. It also supports custom placement rules, e.g. when you want to deploy these VMs on the hosts with custom values of Server Room Third Floor. Now you can deploy multiple VMs as a part of a multi-tier service (e g: front-end web server, middle tier, and database tier).

    3. Cloud Management: In VMM 2012, a private cloud provides the following benefits:

    • Self-service. Administrators can delegate management and usage of the cloud while retaining the opaque usage model. Cloud users do not need to ask the cloud provider for administrative changes beyond increasing capacity and quotas as their needs change.
    • Resource pooling. Through the cloud, administrators can collect and present an aggregate set of resources, such as storage and networking resources. Resource usage is limited by the capacity of the cloud and by user role quotas.
    • Opacity. Cloud users have no knowledge of the underlying physical resources.
    • Elasticity. Administrators can add resources to a cloud to increase the capacity.
    • Optimization. Usage of the underlying resources is continually optimized without affecting the overall cloud user experience.

    4. Services Management: It’s not VM Management anymore. Now with VMM you can deploy and manage multi-tier applications across multiple servers as a single unit. Scale out the service with minimal effort based on demand.

    image

    We'll discuss some of these great details in my new few blog posts and will also see how to deploy some of these. Stay tuned!

    Cheers,

    Iftekhar

  • Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

    Microsoft® VDIimage

    Yeah.. its been three weeks i have posted anything on my blog, just trying to organize some stuff which keeping me really busy these days..

    Anyways.. i don't think i talk enough on this blog about Microsoft VDI aka Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution.

    Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is a delivery solution where administrators can centralize the user desktop with OS like Windows Vista as Virtual Machines on servers in your datacenter and make these Virtual Desktop workspace available to users via Remote Desktops, Terminal Services or through connection broker like Citrix.

    Why do we need VDI?

    Through virtualization, employees can access their applications and data very safely over a network and the risk of data loss is minimized. On the IT side, virtualization accelerates deployment of new capabilities without needing to acquire new hardware and configure
    components. It also reduces application testing requirements and compatibility issues and simplifies disaster recovery and compliance.

    With Desktop Virtualization, It administrators can decouple layers like Operating System, Application and data from Hardware and store them at centralized servers.

    image

    Microsoft VDI solution comprises of  following Technologies

    Windows Server® 2008 with Hyper-VTM — provides great value with a reliable virtualization platform and integrated management that enables customers to virtualize their desktop infrastructure.

    System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 — simplifies the deployment, provisioning, and management of virtualized desktops.

    Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services — virtualizes the presentation of entire desktops or specific applications in a virtualized desktop.

    Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) — is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack and delivers desktop applications that are never installed, and are dynamically delivered on demand.

    Windows VistaTM Enterprise Centralized Desktop — is a unique licensing option of Windows Vista for VDI

    Microsoft also has a strategic alliance with Citrix to create a Dynamic desktop delivery model. With Citrix Connection broker Virtual Desktops gets created On Demand as user logs in. This way administrators don't have to create Multiple Virtual Machines, they just create a master copy of the Windows Image which gets provisioned as user logs in.

    It works something like this. 

    When user logs in with his thin client PC or Rich Client PC, image                                                                       

    • Connection broker provisions new Virtual Machine with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
    • Microsoft Application Virtualization publishes the application to the newly provisioned Virtual desktop
    • User gets his profile with Profile Virtualization.

    So three layers Operating System+Application+Data gets combined together and presented to the user.

    This way user always have access to his desktop, his application and his data no matter what device he is using,

    He can use any PC in office or even from home PC. he will always have access to his Desktop.

     Click here for more information on Microsoft VDI solution.

    Check Microsoft Desktop Virtualization Strategy

    Also see the Demo

    So this was just an Introduction, i will get back with some advance information on Microsoft VDI solution very soon.

    And as always, do send me your comments and suggestions..

    image image image image  image

  • Microsoft Virtualization: Hyper V best practices

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    Are you deploying or planning to deploy Hyper V Virtualization in production and need guidelines how you can design the best in class infrastructure with optimum utilization of resources. As a Technology Advisor, I often get the request from customers and partners who are doing real life deployments for best practices and guidelines for Hyper V.

    Virtualization product group has done a commendable job to offer some of these best practices documents related to

    • Deployment
    • Storage
    • Hardware
    • Networking
    • Security
    • Running workloads like
      • Exchange
      • SQL
      • Remote Desktop Services
      • Small Business Server

    I have collated some of these documents for your reference in here..

    Hyper-V Best Practices Analyzer is now available for Windows Server 2008 R2

    What is Best Practices Analyzer?

    Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) is a server management tool that is available in Windows Server 2008 R2. BPA reports best practice violations to the administrator after BPA scans the roles that are installed on Windows Server 2008 R2. Administrators can filter out unnecessary information or exclude results from BPA reports. Administrators can also perform BPA tasks with either the Server Manager GUI, or Windows PowerShell cmdlets

    Download Now

    Here are some of the whitepapers you would need to build up a great Virtual Infrastructure with Hyper V.

    Deployment:

    Best practices: Microsoft Hyper-V Dynamic Data Center in an HP BladeSystem environment

    Hyper-V Planning and Deployment Guide

    Hyper-V Deployment & Best Practices

    Hyper-V Configuration & Deployment Guidance

    Virtualization Security Best Practices

    Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2008- Hyper-V

    Hyper-V: Live Migration Network Configuration/best practices Guide

     

    Small Business Server/ Domain Controllers

    Best Practices for Using Hyper-V with Windows Small Business Server 2008

    Running Domain Controllers in Hyper-V

     

    SharePoint Server

    SharePoint Server Role Recommendations for Virtualized Environments

    Virtualization of SharePoint Products and Technologies

    Microsoft Virtualization Best Practices for SharePoint

     

    Exchange Server

    Microsoft Virtualization Best Practices for Exchange

    HP recommended configuration for Exchange Server 2010 and Hyper-V R2 for 5,000 users

    Exchange Server 2007 and Hyper-V: Best Practices Blog Post

    Policies and Recommendations for Exchange Servers in  Virtualization Environments

    SQL Server

    Running SQL in a Hyper-V Environment

    Consolidation Guidance for SQL Server

    High Performance SQL Server Workloads on Hyper-V

     

    Hope you all find them useful, as always your feedbacks and comments are welcome.

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Avatar theme: Download NOW

    Beside new year celebration, last weekend was also great as I went out with my friends to watch Avatar. The 3D version is awesome and those you haven't seen the movie yet, go ahead and watch it in 3D.

    Its amazing 3D special effects scenes will drive your crazy.

    James Cameron has pulled it off spectacularly.

    For all who are running Windows 7, You will just love the new AVATAR theme released for Windows 7 from Microsoft

    Here is how my desktop looks like :)

    image

    image

    Download it here.

    For more Windows 7 themes, click here

    Its awesome.. isn't it ?

  • Private Cloud Management with VMM 2012 (Part 2): Creation of a Hyper-V Cluster Using VMM 2012

    This article is cross posted from my original post on PTS Official Blog

    See part one of this series here:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Private Cloud Management with VMM 2012 (Part 1): What's new with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

    Before you start deploying cloud and services, we need to first start prepare the fabric.

    A cloud can also host HA applications and services and we need to setup a Hyper V cluster to enable that. VMM 2012 has now introduced inbuilt capability of deploying Hyper V Clusters.

    Fabric Prerequisites

    Make sure that fabric configuration meets the following prerequisites:

    • To use shared storage that is under VMM management, storage must already be discovered and classified in the Fabric workspace of the VMM Administrator Console. Additionally, logical units that you want to use as shared storage must be created and assigned to the host group where the Hyper-V hosts are located.
    • To use shared storage that is not under VMM management, disks must be available to all nodes in the cluster before you can add them. Therefore, you must provision one or more logical units to all hosts that you want to cluster, and mount and format the storage disks on one of the hosts.
    • One or more logical networks that are common across all of the Hyper-V hosts that you want to cluster must be configured in the Fabric workspace of the VMM Administrator Console. Additionally, the logical networks must be associated with physical network adapters on each Hyper-V host. Be aware that you do not have to create external virtual networks on the Hyper-V hosts. External virtual networks are automatically created when you run the Create Cluster Wizard.
    • Although highly recommended, having a common logical network is not required to complete the wizard. You can configure virtual network settings for the cluster later. To do this, make sure that the logical networks that you want to use are associated with physical network adapters on each Hyper-V host. Then, in the Fabric workspace, right-click the host cluster, and then click Properties. In the ClusterName Properties dialog box, click the Virtual Networks tab, and then click Create to add the external virtual network. If there is a common logical network, the external virtual network will be automatically created on the cluster nodes.
    • Let’s go through step by step deploying Hyper V cluster using VMM 2012.

    1. Before you deploy Hyper V cluster, you need to add the hosts in the VMM.

    Also if you are not using automated storage unmasking, you need to unmask the shared storage on these hosts.

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    2. Go to Fabric tab and click on Create Clusters

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    3. Specify the cluster name and provide your domain credentials which has rights to create clusters.

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    4. Select the host group where your standalone Hyper V hosts are located.

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    5. Select the hosts which you would like to be part of the cluster and click ADD

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    6. Ensure that the Network cards are picked up properly.

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    7. Provide a cluster IP address to the respective network card.

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    8. Wizard should automatically detect all the unmasked LUNs on the hosts and it will give you options to format the drives as NTFS or leave it unformatted.

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    9. You can also enable Cluster Shared Volume from here itself.

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    10. Wizard will automatically configure the volume with lowest capacity as Witness disk.

    11. Now you can configure Virtual Network on all the hosts in a cluster from this wizard itself, In order to do that you need to configure Logical Network on the physical network card.

    12. This way you can ensure that all the hosts has an identical Virtual Network to support HA VMs

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    13. Now on the summary page, click on the FINISH button and your cluster is on its way.

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    During the cluster creation process, VMM does the following:

     

    • Validates that all hosts meet the prerequisites, such as required operating system and domain membership
    • Enables the Failover Clustering feature on each host
    • Unmasks the selected storage logical units to each host
    • Creates the configured external virtual networks
    • Runs the cluster validation process
    • Creates the cluster with quorum and enables Clustered Shared Volumes (CSV)
    • For each logical unit that is designated as a CSV, assigns the logical unit as a CSV on the cluster.

     

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    14. Enabling Cluster Shared Volumes

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    Now your Hyper V cluster is deployed and you are ready to deploy HA VMs on it.

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    You can also destroy the cluster using VMM console.

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    If you choose to destroy cluster using VMM 2012, you need to go to your Active Directory and delete the Cluster object manually.

    That’s pretty much for today. In my next post, we’ll talk about update management and how VMM 2012 helps patching clustered nodes in an orchestrated manner.

    Stay tuned.

    Cheers

    Iftekhar

  • System Manageability Solution: Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager

     

    Home

     

    From today I’ll be writing a series of posts regarding my experiences with deploying and managing Microsoft System Center Configuration manager in my test lab scenario.

    Before I start today, I would like to give a brief description about System Center Configuration Manager and what it does:

    Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (ConfigMgr) provides a comprehensive solution for change and configuration management for the Microsoft platform, enabling organizations to provide relevant software and updates to users quickly and cost-effectively.

    Configuration Manager 2007 provides the following features:

    ■ Collecting hardware and software inventory.

    ■ Distributing and installing software applications.

    ■ Distributing and installing updates to software, for example security fixes.

    ■ Restricting computers from accessing the network if they do not meet specified requirements, for example having certain security updates installed.

    ■ Deploying operating systems.

    ■ Specifying what a desired configuration would be for one or more computers and then monitoring adherence to that configuration.

    ■ Metering software usage.

    ■ Remotely controlling computers to provide troubleshooting support.

    Please see the following figure to understand where does the SCCM fits into the System Center Solution:

    image

    Configuration Manager provides a comprehensive solution for change and
    configuration management, enabling organizations to provide relevant software
    and updates to users efficiently. Configuration Manager features provide solutions
    for many key issues that IT administrators face while managing Windows-based PC
    environments today.

    So now we have a overview of what exactly Configuration manager does and how it helps managing Windows based IT infrastructure, we’ll go into deploying it into my lab.

    Stay tuned.. smile_wink

  • Private Cloud Management with VMM 2012 (Part 3): Adding an update server and enable orchestrated update management

    This article is cross posted from my original post on PTS Official Blog

    See the first two parts of this series here:
    Private Cloud Management with VMM 2012 (Part 1): What's new with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012
    Private Cloud Management with VMM 2012 (Part 2): Creation of a Hyper-V Cluster Using VMM 2012

    In my last blog post, we saw how to create a Hyper V Cluster using the VMM 2012 cluster creation wizard as a part of preparing a fabric for the cloud.

    Virtual Machine Manager 2012 also provides a feature by which you can manage updates for your virtual machine hosts, library servers, PXE servers, the Windows Server Update Management (WSUS) server, and the VMM server itself in the VMM console.

    When you perform update remediation on a host cluster, VMM orchestrates the updates, in turn placing each cluster node in maintenance mode, migrating virtual machines off the host by using intelligent placement, and then installing the updates. If the cluster supports live migration of Windows Server-based virtual machines, live migration is used. If the cluster does not support live migration, VMM saves state for the virtual machines and does not migrate them.

    To manage updates in VMM 2012, you need a WSUS server

    Here are the prerequisites:

    1. You must install the 64-bit version of Windows Server Update Server (WSUS) 3.0 Service Pack 2 (SP2).
    2. VMM requires a single, dedicated WSUS root server; downstream servers are not supported.
    3. If you install WSUS on a remote server, you must install a WSUS Administrator Console on the VMM management server and then restart the VMM service.
    4. Before you install the WSUS server ensure that the server meets all WSUS prerequisites described on the Windows Server Update Services 3.0 SP2 download page

    Once you have configured the WSUS server, lets add the WSUS server in VMM 2012.

    1. Open the Fabric workspace.

    2. On the Home tab, in the Add group, click Add Resources, and then click Update Server.

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    3. My WSUS server name is sccm.dd181028.com, hence I have put SCCM as Computer name with port number and credentials.

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    4. Once the WSUS server is added, click on Synchronize to sync the WSUS updates with VMM.

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    5. You will all the update metadata showing on your VMM

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    Create Baseline

    After you enable update management in VMM, you are ready to prepare for patching by configuring update baselines. An update baseline contains a set of required updates. During a compliance scan, computers that are assigned to a baseline are graded for compliance to their assigned baselines. After a computer is found noncompliant, an administrator brings the computer into compliance through update remediation.

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    6. Provide a Name and Description for your Baseline

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    7. Add the updates to your baseline against which your Hyper V hosts will be compared.

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    8. Assign the Baseline to the host groups.

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    9. Finish the wizard

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    10. You’ll see your newly created Baseline

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    To find out the compliance status for each baseline, you must scan the computer for compliance. When a computer is scanned for compliance, WSUS checks each update in the assigned update baselines to determine whether the update is applicable and, if the update is applicable, whether the update has been installed.

    After a compliance scan, each update has a compliance status of Compliant, NonCompliant, Error, or Unknown.

    clip_image022To scan computers for compliance

    1. In Compliance view of the Fabric workspace, select the computers that you want to scan.

    2. On the Home tab, in the Compliance group, click Scan.

    While the scan is in progress, the compliance status changes to Unknown. After the compliance scan completes, the computer's compliance status of each update is Compliant, NonCompliant, or Error.

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    Perform Update Remediations

    To perform update remediations, the target computers must be noncompliant. To make a compliant computer noncompliant, you might need to use Add and Remove Programs to temporarily uninstall one or more of the updates listed in Compliance view.

    On the Home tab, in the Compliance group, click Remediate. (The Remediate task is only available when the selected objects are noncompliant.)

    If you select the host cluster by its cluster name, VMM orchestrates remediations of the hosts in the cluster.

    VMM rolls through the host cluster, remediating one cluster node at a time. If a cluster node is compliant, VMM bypasses that node.

    Before VMM begins remediating a host, it places the host in maintenance mode and migrates all virtual machines to other hosts in the cluster. If the cluster supports live migration, live migrations are performed. If the cluster does not support live migration, VMM saves state before migrating virtual machines.

    If you prefer to restart the computers manually after remediation completes if any updates require a restart, select the Do not restart the servers after remediation check box.

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    Once the remediation is over, you’ll see your Hyper V cluster hosts as Compliant.

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    Hope this post was helpful for some of you who are evaluating VMM 2012 its update management feature.

    In my next post, we’ll configure the rest of the fabric components like Logical Network, Storage and Load Balancers.

    Stay tuned.

    Iftekhar

  • Get Started with RemoteFX Deployment

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    This article is cross posted from my original post on PTS Official Blog

    Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is getting momentum and more and more organizations are looking at VDI to provide Operating system environment to their users.

    One of the challenges that VDI is facing today is to be able to provide the same graphic experience of desktop Operating system as they have today on their physical PC.

    E.g:

    • Amazing Windows 7 Aero features
    • To be able to run 3D applications
    • Silverlight and Flash video etc.

    If you are following this blog and read my previous posts about features like RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory brought in by Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2, you probably already know what is RemoteFX.

    Just to recap,

    " RemoteFX adds new capabilities to the Remote Desktop Services platform by delivering a full-fidelity Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and high-density, scalable, client-agnostic session virtualization capabilities, shifting delivery intelligence to host-based systems running RemoteFX. Through a new graphics payload purpose-built for RemoteFX and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), the session virtualization platform is tightly integrated with the RDP protocol, which enables shared encryption, authentication, management, and local device support."

    In layman’s term, RemoteFX extends the capabilities of GPU on your server hardware into your Virtual Machines running Windows 7 so that you can get rich graphic capabilities which are on par of a physical desktop running Windows 7.

    It leverages the power of virtualized graphics resources and advanced codecs to recreate the fidelity of hardware-assisted graphics acceleration, including support for 3D content and Windows Aero, on a remote user’s device. This allows for a local-like, remote experience.

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    RemoteFX USB Device Redirection

    RemoteFX also provides awesome Device Redirection of Virtually any USB devices, some of the features are:

    • Redirects devices at the USB Request Block (URB) Level.
    • No client drivers necessary
    • One method that works with many devices
    • Only one session can use a USB device at a time
    • Optimized for the LAN

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    Microsoft has recently released bunch of documents on Remote FX deployment and I would like collate all these documentations right here for you.

    Before I take you through the documentations, let me touch briefly on the deployment guidelines of RemoteFX.

    • RemoteFX for VDI is targeted at new deployments, so your existing Server Hardware, processor, GPU and OS may not really work with RemoteFX. It requires latest hardware:
    • Processor supporting SLAT (Second Layer Address Translation)
    • PCI-E x16 based server motherboards
    • Compatible GPU on Server hardware , few compatible GPUs (not limited to) are listed here.

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    The RemoteFX encoder is optional and can be installed for additional scalability on the Microsoft® RemoteFX™ server,

    Latest Operating systems :

    Hyper- V Host

    • Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 (Hyper-v, Standard, Enterprise, and DataCenter editions)

    VDI Virtual Machine

    • Windows 7 Enterprise with SP1
    • Windows 7 Ultimate with SP1

    Remote Client Device

    • Windows 7 with SP1
    • Devices with RDP 7.1

    Now lets review some of the great documentation released couple of weeks back about RemoteFX deployment.

    Microsoft RemoteFX for Remote Desktop Virtualization Host Capacity Planning Guide for Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1

    This white paper is intended as a guide for capacity planning of Microsoft RemoteFX in Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1. It describes the most relevant factors that influence the capacity of a given deployment, methodologies to evaluate capacity for specific deployments, and a set of experimental results for different combinations of usage scenarios and hardware configurations.

    Download

    Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX on a Single Remote Desktop Virtualization Host Server Step-by-Step Guide

    This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working virtual desktop that uses RemoteFX and is accessible by using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) in a test environment. Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a virtual desktop with RemoteFX that can be connected to by using Remote Desktop Connection. You can then test and verify this functionality by connecting to the virtual desktop from a client computer as a standard user.

    Download

    Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX for Virtual Desktop Pools Step-by-Step Guide.

    This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working virtual desktop pool that uses RemoteFX in a test environment. Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a virtual desktop pool with RemoteFX that users can connect to by using RD Web Access.

    Download

    Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX for Personal Virtual Desktops Step-by-Step Guide

    This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working personal virtual desktop that uses RemoteFX in a test environment.Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a personal virtual desktop with RemoteFX assigned to a user account that can connect by using RD Web Access. You can then test and verify this functionality by connecting to the personal virtual desktop from RD Web Access as a standard user.

    Download

    Configuring-USB-Device-Redirection-with-Microsoft-RemoteFX-Step-by-Step-Guide

    This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up USB redirection with RemoteFX in a test environment. Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a personal virtual desktop with RemoteFX assigned to a user account that can connect by using RD Web Access.

    Download

    Microsoft RemoteFX for Session Virtualization: Architectural Overview

    This paper provides an architectural overview of RemoteFX in the context of session virtualization—using a new Windows Server role called the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) designed specifically for modern session virtualization environments using Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

    Download

    Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX on a Remote Desktop Session Host Server Step-by-Step Guide

    This document walks you through the process of setting up a working Remote Desktop Session Host that uses RemoteFX and is accessible by using Remote Desktop Connection in a test environment.

    Download

    I believe these documentations provides enough information about best way of deploying RemoteFX, in case you need more information or clarifications, please feel free to reach me.

    Cheers.

    Iftekhar

  • Free Microsoft Ebooks: Windows 7, Server 2008 R2, Virtualization R2, Office 2010

    image

    We all have seen the great series of products coming out from Microsoft this year, For all you knowledge thirsty out there, who are eager to learn new technologies like Windows 7, Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solution and office 2010 and if you haven’t seen them already here are some of the E Books released by Microsoft and best part is they are all FREE 

    clip_image001    9780735693876f

             Download Now                               Download Now

     

     eBook    Introducing Windows Server 2008 R2

          Download Now                                     Download Now

     

     

    image

            Download Now

    Let me know what you think.. :)

    Cheers !

  • What’s new with SP1 for VMM 2008 R2

    This article is cross posted from my post on PTS Official Blog

     

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    As you all know that SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 just gone RTM adding two new virtualization capabilities: Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX

    Let’s first understand these capabilities in details.

    Dynamic Memory: An enhancement to Hyper-V R2, Dynamic Memory pools all the memory available on a physical host. Dynamic Memory then dynamically distributes available memory, as it is needed, to virtual machines running on that host. Then with Dynamic Memory Balancing, virtual machines will be able to receive new memory allocations, based on changes in workload, without a service interruption.

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    RemoteFX: Microsoft RemoteFX leverages the power of virtualized graphics resources and advanced codecs to recreate the fidelity of hardware-assisted graphics acceleration, including support for 3D content and Windows Aero, on a remote user’s device. This allows for a local-like, remote experience.

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    In the light of new features, service Pack 1 will also be released for VMM 2008 R2 to manage Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX on multiple Hyper V Servers from a single pane of glass.

    Lets understand the requirements on your Hyper V hosts and VMs to be able to manage by VMM 2008 R2.

    System Requirement for Manage Dynamic Memory:

    • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Host
    • Supported Operating System in the VM
    • Upgrade Integration Services in the VM

    RemoteFX Requirements on Hosts

    • CPU must support SLAT
    • One or more GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) that support DirectX 10
    • Enough GPU Memory available for max monitors and resolution
    • RemoteFX feature enabled under the Remote Desktop Services Role

    RemoteFX requirements on VMs

    • Supported Operating System in the VM
    • New Integration Services (part of Windows 7 SP1)
    • Can be combined with Dynamic Memory

    VMM 2008 R2 SP1 now has settings to manage Dynamic Memory setting of VMs which are as follows:

    • Startup Memory (8 to 65536 MB)
    • Maximum Memory (8 to 65536 MB)
    • Memory Buffer (0 to 95%)
    • Memory Priority
    • Normal, Low, High
    • Custom (0 – 10000)

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    To manage the RemoteFX , following settings have been added

    • Default Standard video adapter
    • New RemoteFX 3D video adapter
    • Maximum number of monitors: 1,2,3,4
    • Max monitor resolution
      • o 1024x768 (4 monitors max)
      • o 1280x1024 (4 monitors max)
      • o 1600x1200 (3 monitors max)
      • o 1920x1200 (2 monitors max)
    • Additional VM property
    • GPU ID (PowerShell only)

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    Since RemoteFX requires you to have SLAT CPU and specific GPU and available GPU memory, VMM 2008 R2 SP1 will also let you identify the following on the hosts.

    1. CPU Supports SLAT

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    2. GPU and available Memory

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    3. Intelligent Placement

    While creating a new VM or migrating a new VM from one host to another, VMM 2008 R2 SP1 added new check for Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX in the Intelligent placement.

    o Use Current Memory footprint for DM VMs on hosts: While doing the migration or creating new VM, VMM will check how much is the current memory the VM is running with, for E.g, you have specified startup memory as 1 GB and max memory as 6 GB but at the time of migration the VM is running at 2 GB memory. In that case, VMM will check if the other host has at least 2 GB free memory to be able to migrate this VM.

    o Check for GPU-compatibility when migrating RemoteFX VMs : While migrating a RemoteFX based VM, VMM 2008 R2 checks if identical GPU is available on the other hosts with required memory, Remote FX should be enabled in RDS.

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    4. Updates to Performance and Resource Optimization

    PRO ties specific Operations Manager alerts to remediation actions in VMM, VMM moves a load-balance VMs in a cluster when CPU or Memory exceed a threshold. SP1 update to VMM PRO Pack a consider Current Memory utilization and not the fixed memory for DM VMs and matches it with the memory available on the other nodes.

    How do I upgrade from SCVMM 2008 R2 to SP1.

    Pretty simple, just 4 steps to upgrade

    • Backup VMM Database
    • Launch setup and follow the Upgrade Wizard
    • Repeat on each box [Console, Self-Service Web Server, Operations Manager Server]
    • Remove, then import new PRO Management Pack in Operations Manager
    • R2 Agents are supported in SP1, no need to re-deploy agents to Hosts and Library Servers
    • Upgrade the Integration components on all the VMs.

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    VMM 2008 R2 SP1 will take the virtualization management to a whole new level and is scheduled to be released within 30 days of SP1 released by the Windows Server Team. So we can expect it sometime next month.

    I hope this post was of some help for those who are expecting VMM to be able to manage Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX on multiple hosts from a single console instead of managing it locally using Hyper V manager on each box.

    If you have any further queries, please feel free to reach me

    Cheers

    Iftekhar

  • Sneak Peak into Hyper V vNext in ‘Windows Server 8’

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    If you haven't seen it already, we gave a sneak peak into next release of Hyper V coming with “Windows Server 8” at Worldwide partner conference last week.

    We only demonstrated 2 of hundreds of features which is going to be available with next release of Hyper V to help your Private Cloud initiatives.

    You can take a look at these cool two features in the video hosted on WPC site

    1. Atleast 16 virtual processor support.
    2. Hyper V Replica.

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    Skip to At 36:50 of this online video to see them in action.

    And stay tuned for our BUILD conference in September for more revelation Smile

  • Hyper V R2 + SCVMM R2: Introducing Storage Migration

    Hyper V R2 + SCVMM R2 are better together, Can they be any more better….???

    Yes, they can and Teams here at Microsoft are constantly making it better and better than the best.

    Today Edwin Yuen, Senior Technical Product Manager at Microsoft's Integrated Virtualization team introduced a much awaited feature in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 called Quick Storage Migration(QSM) in a great post on Microsoft Virtualization official blog.

    In addition to Live Migration, I get to hear a lot about storage migration when i interact with our partners and customers, How can they migrate the Hyper V storage (VDHs) from 1 SAN box to another.                                                                                                           Lots of customer uses Shared storage like SAN to store their VMs VHDs to create a failover cluster to make high available VMs and when it comes to move the Storage from 1 SAN box to another storage location, that causes a considerable amount of downtime.

    INTRODUCING QUICK STORAGE MIGRATION (QSM)

    Now with System Center Virtual Machine Manager R2 and Hyper V with Server 2008 R2, You can do the storage Migration with less than 1 minute of Downtime.

    You know the best part i like about this post and this technology, How it helps our customers to further lower the TCO.

    In Edwin’s words,

    One thing our customers have been telling us loud and clear is that they are very, very happy we are offering Live Migration for FREE with Hyper-V R2. With Quick Storage Migration, we knew we had another opportunity to drive down the costs for storage migration capability that has been largely priced out of the reach of most customers. Specifically, VMware Storage VMotion is only available in their Enterprise/Enterprise Plus SKUs ($2875 & $3495 per processor respectively). Contrast this with the fact that Quick Storage Migration is included with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 both the Enterprise Edition and the Workgroup Edition which will be available for starting at about $500.

    For a small five node cluster consisting of two and four processors servers, that would cost at a minimum:

    Storage migration

    That's customer focus.”

    Isn’t this piece of technology so irresistible and adds so much value to your existing investments with so lower cost??

    I strong recommend you to please read the full blog post of Edwin Yuen to understand how Microsoft Quick Migrations works and how it can benefit business continuity HERE

    And do let me know your feedback and comments. :-)

  • Practice Accelerator for Microsoft® Server Virtualization with Advanced Management

     

     
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    If you’ve been following me on Twitter , You may have seen some recent tweets about Microsoft Practice Accelerator for Server Virtualization and Advance Management which i have been delivering to Microsoft partners. In my opinion its a great workshop and will help the partners in developing a Virtualization practice in their organization and gain expertise to work on end to end Virtualization engagements with their customers.

    Build a Services Practice to Fast Track Your Business

    Practice Accelerator (PA) is a Microsoft offering designed to help partners build a technical services practice around Microsoft solutions. PA is a comprehensive set of reusable tools, resources, and best practices introduced in training delivered via Microsoft Live Meeting. PA enables you to identify customer requirements, analyze their needs, scope projects, plan solution requirements, and deploy Microsoft solutions. Practice Accelerator can help you build your business capacity. The complete, reusable documentation set includes project guides, templates, architecture guidance, and planning and design guides, as well as leave-behind materials for your customers.

    PRACTICE ACCELERATOR FOR SERVER VIRTUALIZATION WITH ADVANCED MANAGEMENT

    Virtualization is a key technology for reducing the cost and complexity of IT management.  Microsoft business customers have reported saving on average almost half a million dollars (U.S.) per year through IT projects using Microsoft virtualization products. As organizations around the world deploy The Microsoft® Server Virtualization with Advanced Management (SVAM) they look to skilled Microsoft partners to assist with their planning and deployments. 

    Designed to help you build a services practice around Microsoft SVAM, Practice Accelerator is a comprehensive set of reusable tools, resources, and best practices introduced with training via Microsoft Live Meeting. Enabling you to successfully identify customer requirements and project scope, analyze customer needs, plan solution requirements, and deploy a solution, Practice Accelerator can help you build your capacity. The complete documentation set includes project guides, templates, architecture guidance, planning and design guides, as well as leave-behind materials for the customer.

    Agenda:

    Day 1
    Module 1: Delivery Management
    Module 2: Component Walk-Through
    Module 3: Best Practices: Discovery Phase
    Day 2
    Module 4: Best Practices: Architecture: Hyper-V ™, Clustering, High Availability (HA)
    Module 5: Best Practices: Sub-system Architecture
    Day 3
    Module 6: Best Practices: Management
    Module 7: Best Practices: Advanced Management
    Day 4
    Module 9: Best Practices: Security and Performance
    Module 10: Tips for Success
    Module 11: Ensuring Value

    For a limited time, these sessions are at no cost. Starting in October, you can use your Advisory Hours to purchase Practice Accelerator.

    REGISTER NOW for the sessions at NO COST!

    Delivery Schedule:

    • Aug 9 – 12, 2010
    • Aug 23-26, 2010
    • Sept 13 – 16, 2010
    • Sep 27 – 30, 2010

    For registration details please contact me @ Iftekhar.hussain@microsoft.com

     


  • Online Workshop: Automated Audit of Windows, UNIX and Linux Servers with Operations Manager 2007 R2

    Microsoft Partner Network

    My colleague Nikunj is delivering an online workshop for our Microsoft partners on Automating Audit of Windows, UNIX and Linux Servers with Operations Manager 2007 R2,

    Please feel free to register for the event using the link below if interested.

    Presenter Information

    First Name: Nikunj

    Last Name: Kansara

    Email: Nikunj.Kansara@microsoft.com

    Topic Information

    Primary Track: Systems Management

    Additional Track: Monitoring, Windows, Unix and Linux

    Session Type: Live meeting Session

    Level: 300 – Advanced

    Session Title: Automated Audit of Windows, UNIX and Linux Servers with Operations Manager 2007 R2

    Description:  Most of the organization today want to meet various security standards. But the auditor and IT security professionals struggle to keep the audit data at centralized location for later use. This session describes why security is important to organizations, how we can Meet regulatory compliance and Keep IT environment secure using SCOM 2007 ACS.

    Major Products or Technologies Covered:  SCOM 2007 R2, Windows 2008 R2, Red hat Linux 5

    Audience Category:  IT Professional

    Audience Type:  Infrastructure Architect, IT Manager, Network Administrator, Systems Administrator, Systems Engineer

    Partner Type : Hosted Services, Independent Software Vendor, Large Account Reseller (LAR), Network Services, Software Asset Management, Systems Integrator/Services, Value Added Reseller (VAR)

    Audience Key Learning:

    • The Objective of the session is provide the benefits of using SCOM 2007 R2 Audit Collection Services (ACS) for auditing Windows, Unix and Linux Servers.
    • This session would help audience understand why to use ACS, Scenarios when use ACS and how to use ACS.
    • Audience will get to know what kind of business and technical pain points SCOM 2007 R2 Audit collection feature are targeted to resolve.

    Proposed Demo – How to use Audit Collection Service Management Packs and Usage ACS reports, Example Scenarios for Audit Collection

    Date & Time : Sep 27th 2011, 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM Pacific Standard Time

    REGISTER NOW

    These sessions will be delivered through Microsoft Office Live Meeting with no extra cost, but time will be deducted from your available Partner Advisory Hours (Microsoft Partners are entitled to 10, 20, or 50 hours of Partner Technical Services Advisory Benefits based on your partner level or competencies.)

    Please contact me or email askpts@microsoft.com with your Partner ID, and contact number if you need more information.

    In case you need further information about the Partner Technical Services benefits,

    please visit us at the Partner Technical Services Web site, call us today at 1-800-MPN-SOLVE (1-800-676-7658), or email us to start taking advantage of your benefits.

    Latest Information! To stay updated on the latest offerings and Web seminars on new Microsoft technologies and solutions, subscribe to the U.S. Partner Technical Services Newsletter.

    Check out PTS Web seminars to view the lists of upcoming live Web seminars. Also, for more information download the PTS Catalog.

    Thank you,

    Iftekhar