Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: You want everything, and you want it for FREE? (Part 9 of 31)

    It's here, and it's FREE.  And it does everything!In today’s “31 Days of our Favorite Things” series, Matt Hester is giving away the store.


    Unlike our main competition in the area of virtualization and all things private cloud, Microsoft believes that virtualization is just a ubiquitous part of the datacenter today.  And as such, it should be available and optionally installable as a part of our server platform that is Windows Server 2012.  So.. everything you can do, and no matter how big you want to scale or be flexible on our virtualization platform, you can do with what is simply included in Windows Server.

    Can you say “64 virtual procs in a single VM”?  I knew you could. 

    How about handling up to 8000 virtual machines in failover cluster of 64 nodes?  Or a no-additional-cost platform that does live migration, live storage migration, and even shared-nothing live migration (which is the LIVE move of a virtual machine between to virtualization hosts with no shared storage… just a network path between them.  Yeah.. you heard me right.  I move a VM from the C:\ drive of one Hyper-V host to the C:\ drive of another host, and the VM never goes down or loses connectivity)?  I could go on and on.


    “Ah ha!  There’s a catch!”

    Hold on there, buckaroo.  No catch.  I was just going to say: But if you want all of that scale and all of those same capabilities supported by a FREE  hypervisor without having to purchase Windows Server for the virtualization host OS, you can get it all in Hyper-V Server

    “But seriously.. your competition has a free hypervisor, too.”

    Does their free hypervisor do everything that their top-of-line hypervisor does?  Can you do every form of Live Migration imaginable with it?  Or do they require you to buy their super-ultra-mega-enterpri$e-plu$ edition? 


    Exactly.  Hyper-V Server is full-featured.  Anything you can do with Hyper-V as a role on Windows Server 2012, you can do with Microsoft Hyper-V Server

    Make sure you CHECK OUT MATT’S ARTICLE on the subject.  And then download the free Hyper-V Server and give it a try.

    We can't believe it's free!---

    Are you interested in this?  Have any concerns or questions?  That’s what the comments are for.

  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: Network Virtualization in Windows Server 2012 (Part 8 of 31)

    What is virtualization?

    “It’s when you have a computer that is, um.. virtualized.. and it’s all like ‘Hey.. I’m running on my own hardware’, but really it’s not.”

    Hyper-V Network Virtualization OverviewOkay.. what you’ve described there is a kind of virtualization.  I’d call it Machine Virtualization.  And there are other kinds such as Desktop Virtualization and Application Virtualization.  What’s common about all of those is that there is a disconnecting of something that was once tightly connected.  Operating Systems that were running directly, and with sole ownership of hardware are now running on “machines” that can be picked up and moved around without caring about the physical box they’re running on.  Desktops can run as sessions on local or remote servers.  Applications can be “installed”, but not really, so that they can be simply copied locally and run easily in their own sandboxes, and yet be configured, managed, and updated centrally. 

    And now: Networks can move from place to place. 

    “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?”  (reference)

    The idea is that, like virtual machines, a virtual network (that is, a defined subnet that allows computers to communicate with one another) can be defined that allows you maintain networks of computers that reside in many different physical locations and still maintain their network configurations.  Or place them on physical infrastructures without concern for the other “networks” that use the same wire, because they will never be able to see each other.

    “Sounds cool.  But what is it good for?”

    This is going to allow some pretty amazing flexibility and convenience.  For example, your hosting provider won’t require you to re-address the virtual machines you’re moving out of your datacenter and into theirs, because you’re simply extending your existing network.  And they’re able to securely allow this because, even though there may be other customers of theirs running on their network fabric that have similar IP addressing schemes to yours, the “networks” won’t conflict.

    The Virtual Switch in Windows Server 2012 and the new Hyper-V network virtualization capabilities make this possible.

    There is soon coming a day when businesses will define their networks of virtualized resources as logical entities on top of what could span many physical boundaries, all so that they can take advantage of the flexibility for resource distribution that this provides.

    For a detailed description of how this is done – today’s “31 Days of our Favorite Things” author is Keith MayerCHECK OUT HIS ARTICLE for the details!


    This may be a new concept for many of you.  Are you intrigued?  Have any questions?  That’s what the comments are for.

  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: Yes, there is an “I” in Team. The NIC Team in Windows Server 2012 (Part 7 of 31)

    NIC TeamingHappy Sunday!  It’s my turn again to provide today’s article in our series of “31 Days of our Favorite Things”.  And today I am pleased to introduce to you the topic of NIC Teaming.

    “’Introduce’?  But, Kevin… I’ve been doing NIC Teaming for years now.”

    Sure.  But not as a built-in feature of Windows Server.  Long requested and desired, Microsoft has finally made NIC Teaming a native, built-in feature of the Server in Windows Server 2012

    To start things off, let me ask you a couple of questions: If you’re currently doing NIC teaming, you are probably doing it through some NIC vendor’s solution, right?


    And if you go to that vendor and say/ask, “I want to team your NICs with this other NIC from another vendor.  Can I?”, what do they say?

    “They won’t let me.” Sad smile 

    Right.  And that’s understandable.  Every vendor has their own proprietary solution and implementation, and they can’t (won’t, can’t support, etc).  Their solutions work great; but at the expense of real choice or flexibility.  So Microsoft has finally added NIC Teaming into Windows Server 2012 that:

    • Doesn’t care what the NIC vendor is,
    • Doesn’t’ care about the NIC’s network speed, and
    • Actually doesn’t care if it’s wired or wireless. 

    Oh.. and it’s just included for no additional cost.  Smile

    “Nice.  What are the benefits of having a NIC team?”

    In general there are two benefits: Resiliency and Performance.

    By resiliency, I mean that if any one of the network paths (or network cards) becomes disconnected or somehow fails, the remaining NICs in the team are in place to continue making sure that traffic is getting through.

    And in terms of performance, your team is able to take advantage of the aggregate of all bandwidth available.  So in theory, your 4 x 1 GB NICs should be able to give you 4GB of bandwidth.

    “Fantastic!  How does one set this up?”

    It’s pretty easy from Server Manager.  Let’s say your local computer area looks like this:


    See the area I’ve circled?  There you can see the fact that this server has 4 NICs all currently getting their IP addresses through DHCP.  And you can also see right above those that NIC Teaming is currently disabled.

    Click on the word “disabled”.  This brings up the NIC Teaming window.


    Notice that under the TEAMS section, I don’t have any.  Above that section, click on Tasks…


    And select New Team.  That will bring up the New Team Window.


    Notice that I’ve named my team (Go Vikings!), and selected all four of my NICs to become members of the team.  ALSO, I’ve expanded the Additional Properties area to show you that you have additional options available for configuration.

    Click OK, and now you’ll see that I have a team.


    When I close this window and refresh the Server Manager window, now you’ll see that I only have one NIC being used by the server.  But underneath we know that this is really a team of 4 physical NICs.


    In fact, if you click on the NIC here, you’ll be taken to the Network Connections window, where you’ll see all of the physical as well as team NICs.


    The properties and the status of this team “NIC” look just like any other ordinary NIC.  Notice that the status shows that my 4 x 10 Gbps NICs are giving me 40 Gbps!  (Not really, in my case, because this is a virtual machine with virtual NICs all associated with the same Virtual Switch that connects them to my 1 Gbps laptop NIC.  But you get the idea.)


    But interestingly, when I open the properties of any of the other four actual NICs that are members of the team, they have only one item selected: The Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Protocol.


    That’s obviously the protocol used to drive this NIC as a member of a NIC Team.


    So in summary: NIC Teaming is included in Windows Server 2012 to provide aggregated network performance and resilient connectivity for physical servers running Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server, as well as virtual machines running virtually on those platforms.

    For the complete rundown of NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2012, plus greater detail on configurations, traffic distribution algorithms (yawn), using NIC teams in virtual machines, and other errata, CLICK HERE for the TechNet NIC Teaming Overview.


    Have you had a chance to try this out yet?  Are you hoping to do NIC Teaming for the first time, or to perhaps augment what you’re already doing with your NIC vendors?  If you’d like to comment, or if you have any questions, be sure to post a comment below.

  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: Windows Server 2012 and “Storage Spaces” (Part 6 of 31)

    Happy Saturday!  But that doesn’t mean we get a break.  We promised 31 days of our favorite things in October, and we’re going to give you 31 days of our favorite things in October. 


    Yep.  I hope you had a super weekend, and that you’re reading this on Monday.  (Or even Tuesday if you get Columbus Day off.)

    About Keith Mayer ...Today my friend Keith Mayer has created a super post about exciting and useful new storage capabilities available in Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server called “Storage Spaces”

    For example: Did you know that storage is the largest single cost category in most IT budgets?

    “I didn’t know that.  But I need the performance of the solution that I have.”

    Well then you’d better check out Keith’s article.  Not only does he discuss the solution, but also describes how the performance of Storage Spaces can rival the high-end storage solutions out there; for much less money.


    And make sure you come back tomorrow (Sunday) for my article on NIC Teaming

    Or check out the rest of the "31 Days of our Favorite Things" articles.

  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Replica (Part 5 of 31)

    Hyper-V POWER!

    Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 (and in the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server include an easy start to a good disaster recovery solution: Hyper-V Replica.  With Hyper-V Replica you can easily create and maintain an off-line copy – a replica – of a virtual machine on a separate virtualization host.  This means, for example, that if your main location or host for an important virtual machine goes down becomes unavailable, you can easily fail-over to the replica.  The copy will start up and be available in short-order.

    “That sounds really great, Kevin!  But what does it cost to set this up?”

    Absolutely nothing, other than what you’ve already paid for (the OS).  Hyper-V Replica is just a capability that is included with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and Hyper-V Server

    “How do I set it up?”

    I’m glad you asked.  There are really two simple requirements to make it happen:

    1. You need to be running Windows Server 2012 with the Hyper-V Role installed (or Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012) on both the source and destination virtualization hosts, and
    2. You need network connectivity between them.  (and don’t  forget the firewall)

    Here are my 6 steps to working with Hyper-V Replica:

    1. Configuring the Hosts to Allow Replication

    In Hyper-V Manager, right-click on, or select the host, and choose Hyper-V Settings…

    On the left, select Replication Configuration, and then enable and configure your replication options.


    2. Setting up a Replica

    To configure the replica using Hyper-V Manager, right click on the VM you want to replicate and choose Enable Replication…

    Enable Replication...

    On the Before You Begin page, click Next

    On the Specify Replica Server page, Enter the name of the server that is to be the replication host.

    Specify Replica Server

    Click Next.

    The Specify Connection Parameters page is, um, where you specify your connection parameters.

    Specify Connection Parameters

    Click Next.

    Choose the hard disks you want to replicate on the Choose Replication VHDs page.

    Choose Replication VHDs

    Click Next.

    On the Configure Recovery History page, choose whether you want to keep just the most recent recovery point, or perhaps maintain a number of points in the past that you could recover to.  You also have the option to occasionally perform a VSS copy.

    Configure Recovery History

    Click Next.

    On the Choose Initial Replication Method page, notice that you have options on how you want that big initial replication to take place.  Maybe you don’t want to use the network for that initial large transfer, but instead would prefer to use UPS or FedEx.

    Choose Initial Replication Method

    Then click Finish on the summary page, and you’re all set.


    If all was configured properly, you’ll see a new VM appear on the replication host that will be turned off.

    3. Verifying the Replica’s Status

    You can easily verify the status of your replica by selecting either your original VM or your replica VM in Hyper-V Manager, right-click the VM, click Replication, and then View Replication Health.

    View Replication Health

    Replication Health

    4. Testing the Replica

    You can test your replicated machine by right-clicking on the replica VM and under Replication select Test Failover…

    Test Failover

    Pick the point in time that you want to test, and click Test Failover.

    Test Failover

    This will create a linked copy VM with the text “ – Test” appended to the name.  Simply start up that VM (go ahead.  It isn’t connected to the network, so it won’t interfere with anything) and verify that it is a useable machine.

    5. Disaster Strikes!  Time to Fail Over

    The unthinkable has happened.  Time to act.  Your original and important production VM is no longer available.

    On the replica VM, right click.  Under Replication, select Failover.


    Select the recovery point, and click Fail Over.


    And your replica will start up configured, networked, and ready to take on Dr. Proton.

    Recovered VM

    6. Removing the Replica

    Easy.  On both the source and replica VMs, right click.  Under Replication, select Remove Replication


    Now you can safely delete your replica from the replication host.


    Simple, yes?  Do you have any questions?

    “Can I have the failover happen automatically?”

    Not natively.  In its most simple form, Hyper-V Replica is a manual failover.  However, because you can use PowerShell to drive this entire process, there’s no reason why you (or some third party) couldn’t develop a solution that monitors the state of the source VM and launches a script (or some automation in System Center 2012 Orchestrator) to launch the failover.

    “But do I need to have Active Directory?  Or do both of my virtualization hosts need to be in the same domain?”

    Actually, no.  You have the option of using certificate authentication to make the trusted configuration.  (CLICK HERE for details on how to use certificates for Hyper-V Replica.)

    “Do my virtual machines need to be running particular operating systems for this to work?”

    Nope.  There is nothing required of the guest operating system.  You could be running the original Duke Nukum on DOS 6.22 in your VM, and this will still work.

    “I’ve heard good things about using Windows Azure for hosting my virtual machines and extending my datacenter into the cloud.  Can I create my replica up in my Windows Azure account?” 

    Currently the answer to that is no.  But I’ve heard this question enough times, and really it does make sense.. so I have to imagine (and that’s all I personally have to go on) that Microsoft is considering doing that.  Consider the ramifications, though… setting up a replica means configuring something beyond just standing up a virtual machine in Hyper-V.. so the process has to have the ability to manipulate the hypervisor.  I could see it happening sometime, but I don’t know when.

    “Can I replicate machines that are in clusters?  And can I replicate into or out of another cluster?”

    Yes and yes.  You will think of the cluster as and treat it as a single machine.  And to do that there is a special role that you need to add to the cluster called the Hyper-V Replica Broker.  This defines a new named entity that becomes either the source or the destination for replicas coming into or out of a cluster.   For more details on this, check out this Wiki article.

    “What about PowerShell?  Can I use PowerShell to set up a replica?  Can I use it to do the failover or even get status on current replicas?”

    Yes, yes, and yes. 

    For example, to configure the replica destination host, you could use these commands to configure the firewall to allow inbound replication on the destination, and set a server up as a new replication host (each numbered line is a separate complete PowerShell command or script line):

    1. Enable-Netfirewallrule -displayname "Hyper-V Replica HTTP Listener (TCP-In)”
    2. Import-Module Hyper-V
    3. $RecoveryPort = 8080
    4. $ReplicaStorageLocation = “D:\Example”
    5. Set-VMReplicationServer -ReplicationEnabled $true -AllowedAuthenticationType Kerberos -IntegratedAuthenticationPort $RecoveryPort -DefaultStorageLocation $ReplicaStorageLocation -ReplicationAllowedFromAnyServer $true

    And then to create a replication (each numbered line is a separate complete PowerShell command or script line):

    1. Import-Module Hyper-V
    2. $ReplicaServer = “”
    3. $RecoveryPort = 8080
    4. $PrimaryVM1 = “CRMVM”
    5. $PrimaryServer = “”
    6. Enable-VMReplication -VMName $PrimaryVM1 -ReplicaServerName $ReplicaServer -ReplicaServerPort $RecoveryPort -AuthenticationType Kerberos -CompressionEnabled $true -RecoveryHistory 0
    7. Start-VMInitialReplication –VMName $PrimaryVM1

    For the full story, here is the Microsoft online documentation of  Hyper-V Replica: Hyper-V Replica Overview - 
    (NOTE: as of today, the online documents are still based on the RC code.  I’m sure it will be updated soon to work with RTM.)

    And to give Windows Server 2012 a try,

    UPDATE: CLICK HERE for the full list of our "31 Days of our Favorite Things".


    So what do you think?  Good stuff?  Let’s discuss in the comments.

  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: It’s like vMotion, but better. It’s Hyper-V. (Part 4 of 31)

    Hyper-V POWER!

    Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 include some really exciting and flexible new capabilities for moving virtual machines and their resources (storage) around from here to there – all without any virtual machine down-time.  In today’s installment of our “31 Days of our Favorite Things”, my friend and coworker Keith Mayer contributes a very rich discussion of Live Migration (you VMware users call it “vMotion”), and even shows off his PowerShell prowess with some cool examples of driving migrations using PowerShell. 

    Check it out HERE!


    Have you tried out Windows Server 2012 yet?  What about Microsoft Hyper-V Server?

  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: Windows Server 2012 and the shell of POWER! (Part 3 of 31)

    Get the Windows Server 2012 evaluation!In today’s installment of our "31 Days of our Favorite Things" in Windows Server 2012, Matt Hester summarizes the key benefits, plus a couple of really slick improvements available with PowerShell in its newest form.  He specifically focuses on just a couple of his favorites: PowerShell History, and the new Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE), and then concludes with some useful related resources.


  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: Windows Server 2012 Server Manager (Part 2 of 31)

    Get the Server 2012 trial!

    The first time you start up Windows Server 2012, and you login, it is the first thing you see. 

    “Even when I install it as a Server Core installation?”

    Oh.. okay.. no.   When you install “Server with GUI”, you see this: Server Manager.  Server Manager is the one-stop, do-everything, manage-it-all application.  No, this is not the same tool as was in Windows Server 2008/2008 R2, or the original in Windows NT.  Remember that one?  (And here’s a little tidbit for you.  If you need to manage Windows NT 3.51 or NT 4.0 from Windows Server 2003, you can actually download SrvMgr.exe)

    Today’s blog post in our 31 day series is by my buddy Brian Lewis:  In it he lays out the “whats” and “whys”, and even some “how”.


    Want to see more?  Download the evaluation!

  • 31 Days of our Favorite Things: The Windows Server 2012 Blog Post Series (Part 1 of 31)

    Windows Server 2012

    Happy October!  And Happy Monday! 


    Ah.. Somebody hasn’t had enough coffee yet.  Well… trust me.  It is a great day.  It’s the first day of a new blog post series that me and my central region IT Pro Technology Evangelist buddies are facilitating.


    IT Pro Evangelists Matt Hester, Brian Lewis, Keith Mayer, and I. 

    “and me.”

    Yeah, you too.  We are dedicating October to a series of 31 daily blog posts that will discuss and/or demonstrate our top favorite features and functionalities in Windows Server 2012.  And today is day #1.  So, for today, I’m going to briefly answer the question: “Why Windows Server 2012?” by sharing some overview thoughts, and leave you with some useful resources.

    Insert Innovation Here!The Cloud Platform

    Windows Server 2012 was built with “the cloud” in mind.  Now before you completely tune out just because someone from Microsoft yet again said the words “the cloud”, hear me out.  When I say “cloud”, I mean a dynamic, elastic, scalable, secured, self-service, flexible datacenter.  So call it what you want, but that’s basically what I mean when I say “cloud”.  Microsoft created Windows Server 2012 to be the foundation of your clouds by improving or including new features and functionality that address the needs of a dynamic datacenter.  How big do you want to create virtual machines?  How easy should it be to move or migrate resources around?  These are the questions that Windows Server 2012 tackles head on

    Cost Savings and Increased Efficiencies

    How many servers does each IT Professional manage in your organization?  On average, it’s probably something like 40-50 servers at most, if we take into account all organizations and their varied sizes.   Server 2012 includes new tooling that makes it easier to fully configure and manage many more servers and a wider range of resources all from one console, so you can be more efficient with your time.  And new options for providing and managing storage – even storage using cheap disks – that provide new flexibility for allocating and managing capacity while being able to add to the back-end capacity by simply adding more cheap disks into the pools (technology we call “Storage Spaces") means that the next time you’re thinking about adding capacity to your expensive SAN solution, you can also consider maybe moving some of the less-critical stored files or data to a much cheaper, yet fully reliable solution supported by the server operating system.  These are just a couple of examples of how we make you more efficient, and save your organization some money.

    Support for a Modern Workstyle

    Does your company own every device that your users use to connect to your infrastructure and the applications and data you support to allow them to get their jobs done?  If you answered “yes”, then you are in the minority.  And even then you’re probably still being asked again and again, “How can I use my new iPad to connect to my stuff?”  (Or some variation on that theme.)  So you’re looking for ways to securely grant people access to the data or applications they need, maintaining data security and integrity, even while they’re using their devices of choice.  Windows Server 2012 introduces or improves upon many of the technologies that can support this “Consumerization of IT” so that, for example, your users with Internet-connected tablets can easily use a remote desktop session (whether session based or VDI) to do their work.  Or perhaps for your company owned and managed, domain-joined machines, you want to provide a secured, always-on “DirectAccess” connection back to the corporate network.  No special VPN connection process required.  These are things that Windows Server 2012 can support for you.


    So that’s a quick summary of “Why Windows Server 2012”.  In the coming days (30 to be exact), we’re each going to drill down into the details of the new features; each on our own blogs.  Additionally, even on the days that I’m not the main author of the topic, I’ll still create a post with a summary and link to the main author’s post.  We sincerely hope that you enjoy and can make good use out of what we share with you! 


    As promised, here are some important resources relating to Windows Server 2012…

    Windows Server 2012 Download Center -

    Hyper-V Server 2012 Downolad –

    Windows Server Team Blog –

    Windows Server Launch -

    Richard Fichera of Forrester Research: Microsoft Announces Windows Server 2012 -

    Windows Server Jump-Start Recordings  -

    Windows Server 2012 Virtual Labs -

    Microsoft Cloud Home Page -

    Private Cloud Home Page -

    Hyper-V Overview –

    What’s New in Hyper-V –

    Hyper-V getting Started Guide -

    Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started with Hyper-V (download) -

    Hyper-V Support for Scaling Up and Scaling Out Overview -

    SMB 3.0 Overview -

    Hyper-V Replica Overview -

    Hyper-V Replica - Prerequisites for certificate based deployments -

    Live Migration Shared Nothing Video -

    High-Performance, Continuously Available File Share Storage for Server Applications Technical Preview -

    Understanding and Troubleshooting Storage Spaces -

    Windows Virtualization Home –

    Hyper-V Cloud Deployment Guides -

    Microsoft Hyper-V Virtual Machine Converter RC -

    Windows Server 2012 Licensing Datasheet (.PDF download) -