Educational Episodes: Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)

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Augusto Alvarez
  • Augusto Alvarez
  • December 14, 2017

Improving your Azure Experience: How to Create and Configure ExpressRoute Circuits

One of the main objectives for an organization moving to a public cloud, in any type of shape or form, is regarding the overall performance experience: It cannot be a downgraded version of what they have with their on-premises services. Microsoft is well aware of that, therefore created some time back the possibility to use private connections from your datacenter to MS Azure’s datacenters in order to guarantee this performance.

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Vitalii Feshchenko
  • Vitalii Feshchenko
  • December 13, 2017

Combining Virtual SAN (vSAN) with Microsoft Storage Spaces for greater Performance and better Resiliency

Previously, we went through the Storage Spaces configuration journey. The latest step was the creation of the storage pool and the virtual disk. Today I would like to proceed from that point on and create Highly Available (HA) devices with VSAN from StarWind on Storage Spaces as an underlying storage. The main goal of this post is to run the performance tests of StarWind Highly Available (HA) devices located on Storage Spaces created in different ways (Simple and Mirror). StarWind HA devices will be mirrored between two hosts via a 40Gbps synchronization channel.

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Nicolas Prigent
  • Nicolas Prigent
  • December 12, 2017

Azure Cloud Shell with Azure CLI

Microsoft has introduced Azure Cloud Shell, a new way of managing resources from the Azure Portal. Within a browser, you can use Bash to troubleshoot and automate your most common management tasks. Support for Windows PowerShell is expected soon. Azure Cloud Shell will help you to store your favorite scripts in the Cloud.

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Kevin Soltow
  • Kevin Soltow
  • December 12, 2017

Testing iSER on ESXi

VMware ESXi is the industry-leading hypervisor that is installed directly on a physical server. It is a reliable and secure solution with a tiny hardware footprint. At the same time, ESXi architecture is easy in management, patching, and updating.

Recently, Mellanox has released iSER, the stable iSER driver build for ESXi. iSER is an iSCSI extension for RDMA that enables the direct data transfer out and into SCSI memory without any intermediate data copies. Here, we study the driver stability and performance to understand how the protocol streamlines ESXi environments.

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Gary Williams
  • Gary Williams
  • December 7, 2017

Deploying Microsoft LAPS

As a summary, LAPS is the Local Administration Password solution from Microsoft. This software changes the local administrator password on a selection of machines on a schedule and stores that password in plain text in Active Directory. The first time I came across LAPS was when I hear about project Honolulu and I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard about it before which is something of a shame because LAPS is one of those very handy little add-ins that Microsoft should be offering as part of the core AD experience. For those who haven’t come across LAPS before, LAPS is a handy tool for scenarios where you need to change or set the local admin password to something random because you need to give out that password.

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Ivan Talaichuk
  • Ivan Talaichuk
  • December 6, 2017

High-performing and highly available Scale-Out File Server with SMB3

There’s, probably, no IT administrator who hasn’t heard of SMB3 (Server Message Block). is an application-layer network protocol, developed by Microsoft mostly to provide shared access to the files, and allowing communication between nodes. SMB has been designed as a tool for the creation of a DOS-based network file system, but Microsoft took the initiative and renamed SMB into CIFS later on (Common Internet File System) and continued further developing it. The second version – SMB 2.0, has been introduced in Windows Vista with a wide range of new features, thus it became clear that Microsoft was working hard to improve this protocol.

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Didier Van Hoye
  • Didier Van Hoye
  • December 5, 2017

Using a VEEAM off-host backup proxy server for backing up Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Hosts

Many years ago, I wrote a white paper on how to configure a VEEAM Off-host backup proxy server for backing up a Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V cluster that uses a hardware VSS provider with VEEAM Backup & Replication 7.0.  It has aged well and you can still use it as a guide to set it all up. But in this article, I revisit the use of a hardware VSS provider dedicated specifically to some changes in Windows Server 2016 and its use by Veeam Backup & Replication v9.5 or later. The information here is valid for any good hardware VSS provider like the one VSAN from StarWind provides (see Do I need StarWind Hardware VSS provider?)

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Dmitriy Dolgiy
  • Dmitriy Dolgiy
  • December 4, 2017

Configuring Time Synchronization for all Computers in a Windows domain

Microsoft operating systems and server applications are becoming increasingly dependent on proper time synchronization. A skewed system clock can affect your ability to log on, can cause problems with mail flow in Exchange, and be the source of a great many difficult-to-locate problems. To compound matters, the default method of handling time synchronization within a Windows network isn’t exactly reliable or even predictable. If a Hyper-V host’s clock becomes out of sync, it usually affects all of its virtual machines, sometimes catastrophically. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much work to get everything in sync.

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Alex Khorolets
  • Alex Khorolets
  • November 30, 2017

Network File System: access your files remotely as easily as if they were local

Why do I need to use complicated ways to access my files that are located on company’s server or in my homelab, for example? I want to ask the same question in order to make remote files available for my local applications without any extra actions. The answer, as well as the solution to the problems listed above, lies in the next four words – Network File System protocol. I’d like to start with the general description of the NFS technology and some background about its purpose, and how it was created. The story goes back to middle 80’s when, alongside with the Van Halen’s new “1984” album, the company named Sun Microsystems created a Network File System protocol. It allowed users to access some files from the servers over a network, just like if these files were located on users’ machines.

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