In my last post I used two clusters; one to host a high availability (HA) file server where I stored a virtual machine and another cluster to run the virtual machine. The file server cluster was built from two virtual machines (VMs) and is commonly known as a guest cluster. However to enable HA for VM I needed to cluster two physical server (aka my Dell Precision Laptops).
What I could have done was to put both the File Server role and the VM role into the same cluster (which would still have to be built from physical servers), and this what is known as a collapsed cluster. My screencast on how to make one of those is here..
But you may be wondering why you would bother as this seems to be needlessly adding another layer of complexity and another potential source of problems rather than just using a SAN. The answer is that a HA File Server doesn’t have to be built on top of a SAN it could be built on any disks you have including JBOD (Just A Bunch of Disks and SAS (Shared Serially attached SCSI) disks. Hardware vendors are bringing out these cluster in a box appliances ; two servers SAS storage multiple controllers and network interfaces and a collapsed cluster like this is an ideal way to set these up to run lots of VMs in a small business that wants to run its own infrastructure.
The two roles (the VMs and the storage) don’t have to run on the same node, but if you are doing maintenance on one node in a two node cluster then they will have to be. I used a small disk as a quorum disk which is needed to decide which node “owns” the cluster after a node fails the answer being the one that has ownership of the quorum disk. Nodes in a Windows Server Clusters need to members of the same domain. Does this mean you have to have a physical domain controller outside the cluster in case of a cluster failure? No clusters in Windows Server 2012 will start without one but remember they need to find each other and so you will need to use things like fixed IP addresses and an etc/hosts file in each node so this can happen before your DNS and DHCP infrastructure comes up. You could also run a DC as a non HA VM on each node of the cluster and these only need modest resources (512Mb RAM 10GB disk etc.) While I used the evaluation edition of Windows Server 2012, I could have built all of this using the free Hyper-V Server 2012 and while you would still need to license any operating systems in the VMs with this, you can build collapsed clusters/cluster in a box solutions for production with this edition.
The two roles (the VMs and the storage) don’t have to run on the same node, but if you are doing maintenance on one node in a two node cluster then they will have to be.
I used a small disk as a quorum disk which is needed to decide which node “owns” the cluster after a node fails the answer being the one that has ownership of the quorum disk.
Nodes in a Windows Server Clusters need to members of the same domain. Does this mean you have to have a physical domain controller outside the cluster in case of a cluster failure? No clusters in Windows Server 2012 will start without one but remember they need to find each other and so you will need to use things like fixed IP addresses and an etc/hosts file in each node so this can happen before your DNS and DHCP infrastructure comes up. You could also run a DC as a non HA VM on each node of the cluster and these only need modest resources (512Mb RAM 10GB disk etc.)
While I used the evaluation edition of Windows Server 2012, I could have built all of this using the free Hyper-V Server 2012 and while you would still need to license any operating systems in the VMs with this, you can build collapsed clusters/cluster in a box solutions for production with this edition.
Today I’ve been playing with my System Center Configuration Manager SP1 lab and came across a very painful little bug. A little searching and I came across this thread on the TechNet forums. Essentially the problem I suddenly started having today, after it was working fine last week, was that my Config Manager client wasn’t installing through Windows Update.
It started by giving me a Code 1 message, as below:
That 1 update is the Config Man client being deployed through WSUS. So the next thing I did was ran the ccmsetup.exe install from my Primary Site Server. Nothing. So I checked out the ccmsetup.log file that’s in c:\windows\ccmsetup\logs and low and behold spotted the following:
That line that says Couldn’t verify ‘c:\windows\ccmsetup\MicrosoftPolicyPlatformSetup.msi’ authenticode signature is a bit of a problem. It turns out that there’s a bit of a bug luckily there is already a hotfix for it and there are some updates on Windows Update already to solve the issue…that said there is still work to do…
In order to now install the Config Manager client on a new device we first need a patch in place on that client machine:
KB2749655 for anything other than Windows 8 or Server 2012 and KB2756827 for Windows 8 or Server 2012. I tested this on my Windows 8 client by manually running the MSU, then installing the update and the Config Manager client installed like a champ!
Now however I need to be able to do OSD on a regular basis, so I just offline serviced my Windows 8 image with DISM to get the job done quickly…here’s what you need to do:
Then I updated my distribution points and jobs a good-un. I did the same to my Windows 7 OS image too.
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Take the first Microsoft Licensing – Programs Fundamentals course to begin your licensing discoveries and put to rest any niggling queries you may have on licensing. This course provides a comprehensive but simple overview of Microsoft's licensing programs and licensing models. Topics covered include the benefits of volume licensing, ways to purchase licenses, and the various licensing programs and models available. Descriptions of license types such as device licenses and client access licenses (CALs) are also included, as well as overviews of Software Assurance benefits.
Whether you are beginner, intermediate or more advanced you are sure to find the course extremely useful. Not only that, but the course is extremely valuable no matter the size of organisation you work in. For those who work in organisations with more than 5 but fewer than 250 devices or users you may be keen to gain knowledge about the different choices of Open Agreements. For those in larger organisations with 250+ devices or users you will learn all you need to know about Select Plus Agreements and Enterprise Agreements.
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Server virtualisation is all about decoupling the operating system form the hardware it’s running on, and one of the benefits of doing this is to ensure that a virtual machine (VM) can be made resilient to any underlying hardware failure. In the world of Hyper-V this is achieved by building a Windows Server cluster and adding the VM as a role into that cluster. From Windows Server 208 R2 this also gives the benefit of moving the virtual machine around nodes on the cluster without stopping the virtual machine (known as live migration).
In Windows Server 2012 you still need to use a cluster to make virtual machines highly available, but you also have the option to build a cluster without any shared storage using a file share to host the virtual machines storage and metadata. This screencast shows how that works..
Things to note.
This builds on two other posts in this series:
What I have done here illustrates the technology for high availability in Windows Server 2012 and is not a high availability solution itself – the high availability file server is running on two virtual machines but these are connecting to an iscsi target that isn’t highly available itself and I have no redundant network infrastructure.
As with several of my screencasts it’s a SQL Server 2012 VM that's is being migrated around. I run my Resource Governor demo application on the VM while it’s being migrated as this enables me to max out the CPU on the VM to show that migration doesn’t significantly slow this process and certainly doesn’t stop it. I also use remote desktop to connect to the VM because if I used the VM console it would drop during migration because the console is connecting to the VM via the host and of course the host changes during the migration.
To try this yourselves you’re going to need at least two physical hosts (laptops/servers etc.) as well as Windows Server 2012.
TechDays Online is returning for 2013 and we want you to get involved in the process of choosing the topics, speakers and content so that you get the most out of your time with us. Last year we ran TechDays Online as a 2 day event and focused only on Server and Cloud technologies but this year we are also going to include a developer track and add a third day!
Feel free to share the event poll and date with your colleagues and friends who you think may also be interested in attending this event as well by using the social sharing buttons. We know that many of you haven’t been able to attend our in person events so we are hoping to consolidate those events to bring a really useful 3 day event.
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In some smaller organisations virtual machines (VM) often run on local storage DAS – Direct Attached Storage on the hosts whereas in bigger businesses many if not all production VMs are hosted on shared storage (e.g. a SAN) , so the virtual machine executes on a given host but the virtual hard disk and VM metadata resides elsewhere. In either case there might be times where you would want to move the storage for a virtual machine but leave it running on its current host. For example you might want to move a virtual machine from DAS to a SAN as it becomes more critical to a business, or you are upgrading or replacing a SAN. This is no a simple process in Windows Server 2012 and you can leave the machine running while you do it as you can see in this short screencast..
where my poor SQL Server 2012 VM gets moved around my demo rig while running a complex query again and again.
Things to note:
This screencast moves the VM to a highly availability file share, which I created in an earlier post in this series. Note that that file share is specifically designed to host running VMs using the new SMB 3 capabilities in Windows Server 2012, and configured to do so as opposed to storing conventional files or to run as an NFS file share. Permissions to that share are granted to the hosts running hyper-V in my case I created a group called Hyper-V Servers to put my hosts in and assigned permissions to that.
This screencast moves the VM to a highly availability file share, which I created in an earlier post in this series. Note that that file share is specifically designed to host running VMs using the new SMB 3 capabilities in Windows Server 2012, and configured to do so as opposed to storing conventional files or to run as an NFS file share.
Permissions to that share are granted to the hosts running hyper-V in my case I created a group called Hyper-V Servers to put my hosts in and assigned permissions to that.
As I continue to build my System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (CM12) lab I continue to shoot myself in the foot in a number of ways. Over the weekend I discovered that my WSUS service was unable to start and was logging “WSUS Service is not a valid Win32 application” in the event log.
After some digging around I found this great post by David Obrien (and great Config Manager blog by the way) that points to the issue: http://www.david-obrien.net/2012/09/18/re-adding-pxe-support-to-configuration-manager-site/
Essentially a file had been created called c:\program and it was stopping the service from starting and renaming it worked a charm. I’ll have to dig around a little more to work out what really happened here down the line. But thanks David!
In earlier versions of Windows Server you needed to build a cluster with shared storage (i.e. a SAN) if you wanted to move a virtual machine from server to server without stopping it (known as Live migration in Hyper-V). In server 2012 you just need to configure Live Migration in each of the servers as per this screencast..
But why does this matter? in a word - agility. Particularly for smaller businesses who don't have the budget or expertise to run a SAN, and for whatever reason want to manage their services in house rather than use the cloud. Key services can be moved around as needed without stopping them and this means that planned maintenance tasks can be carried out during the working day.
Setting this up is really easy and we usually get our delegates at our IT Camps to pair up and do this using their own laptops without too many problems. If you have two desktops/laptops lying around you can get and an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2012, and follow along.
The number of live migrations you configure is up to but if you only have limited networking you’ll set this low as you don’t want to interfere with access to the VM if that traffic is on the same network (You can set live migrations to use specific IP addresses). You can use CredSSP or Kerberos (i.e. the host machines are in the same domain) to setup the trusts between the hosts for this to work. Note the domain etc. of the virtual machine isn’t relevant There is no high availability here – If the host running the VM stops working so does the VM and if the host suffers a disk crash the virtual machine will be gone as well, so this technique just helps with planned maintenance.
The number of live migrations you configure is up to but if you only have limited networking you’ll set this low as you don’t want to interfere with access to the VM if that traffic is on the same network (You can set live migrations to use specific IP addresses).
You can use CredSSP or Kerberos (i.e. the host machines are in the same domain) to setup the trusts between the hosts for this to work. Note the domain etc. of the virtual machine isn’t relevant
There is no high availability here – If the host running the VM stops working so does the VM and if the host suffers a disk crash the virtual machine will be gone as well, so this technique just helps with planned maintenance.
As many of you may have heard we ran a series of competitions across the 12 days in the run up to Christmas which resulted in a final challenge for one lucky winner to receive this fantastic prize list:
Earlier today the judging panel met up and the winner was chosen.
We are delighted to announce that Chiraag Swaly is the winner of the 12 Days of Geekmas Day 12 Competition!
The judges found that Chiraag’s entry provided a fantastic amount of high quality in depth content on Windows Server 2012, it was well presented and a lot of thought, time and effort had gone into this. There were a large range of useful links and resources included and if you are looking to find out about Windows Server 2012 then we would recommend that you take a look at this competition entry and the OneNote notes that go along side it as they provide a broad range of useful information and learning resources in one place. Well done!
The judges also wanted to give an honourable mention to MagnetmanEXE as this was the best of the rest. The video had a really nice pace and some great content as well as a nice style however got pipped to the post as it didn’t have as much depth of content as the winner.