Windows Server 2016 Core configuration. Part 3: Failover Clustering
Posted by Alex Khorolets on April 3, 2018
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Looking back at the previous articles in our “How-to-Core basics”, we have managed to install the Core version of Windows Server 2016. As well, the required networks were set, and the storage for the virtual machines was created.

In the final part of the trilogy, I’ll cover the steps left to prepare the environment in order to make your production highly available and fault-tolerant.

Being short, last time, we were up to installing Windows Server Core version on a single server and adding the storage as an iSCSI target. Highly available and fault-tolerant storage requires another server to create the failover cluster. There’s not much difference between the required configuration and the steps we did previously.

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Configure Live Migration in Hyper-V clusters
Posted by Romain Serre on March 28, 2018
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In part of my job, I audit some Hyper-V clusters to remediate issues such as Live Migration. Most of the time, Live Migration part is not well configured. For example, the wrong network is selected or authentication is left to CredSSP. In this topic, I’ll show you how I configure Live Migration in Hyper-V clusters (S2D or not).

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Don’t break your fingers with hundreds of clicks – automate Windows iSCSI connections
Posted by Boris Yurchenko on February 20, 2018
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If you have a single environment with only several iSCSI targets discovered from a couple of target portals, messing with automation may not be worth it. Yet, if you have multiple environments with a bunch of portals and targets that need to be discovered and connected, and all of them are more or less similar in terms of configuration, you might find your resort in automating the whole process.

I hope to post some other automation things here, so tune in and check the StarWind blog from time to time.

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Migrate On-Premises VHD files to Azure
Posted by Nicolas Prigent on February 8, 2018
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Azure Virtual Machines

You may need to move a couple of Azure Virtual Machines from on-premises to your Azure subscription. Thanks to Windows PowerShell, uploading a VM to Azure is really easy to do! You must check only one prerequisite before uploading your VM to Azure: you will need to check what type of virtual hard disk is being used by the virtual machine. Hyper-V can use either VHD or VHDX based virtual hard disks. However, only VHD disks can be uploaded to Azure. Azure does not support VHDX disks.

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Improve your Cluster Shared Volume security with Microsoft BitLocker
Posted by Ivan Ischenko on January 4, 2018
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Introduction

Nowadays, every company is doing its best to protect its data, which is pretty much its most valuable asset. As you know, data is vulnerable to unauthorized access and that’s when Microsoft BitLocker saves the day. BitLocker is the encryption technology from Microsoft, which makes possible to encrypt the Logical Volume on the transparent blade-based level (not physical disk). In this article, we will see how to encrypt Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) using Microsoft BitLocker to protect your data against unauthorized access.

Starting from Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has added the BitLocker support for Cluster Shared Volumes to create an additional layer of protection for sensitive, highly available data. It allows adding an extra barrier to security by allowing only certain user accounts access to unlock the BitLocker volume. BitLocker uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption algorithm with either 128-bit or 256-bit keys. As to authentication options…well, there are few to choose from. You can authenticate by specifying a PIN or by storing a key on a flash drive, which you would then need to insert in order to boot the system.

Bitlocker Drive Encryption status

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Deploying Microsoft LAPS
Posted by Gary Williams on December 7, 2017
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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.

LASP settings

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Managing User Mailboxes in Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 with PowerShell
Posted by Karim Buzdar on November 22, 2017
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Managing user mailboxes in Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 is a day-to-day task of system engineers. This article focuses on managing user mailboxes in Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 including very common features like creating, removing and disabling the mailboxes with the help of PowerShell.

Importing an Exchange Management Shell

Your first step is to import an Exchange Management Shell before you can start executing Exchange Server’s related PowerShell commands.

create a user mailbox via PowerShell

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Getting started with PowerShell and VMware vSphere
Posted by Romain Serre on November 2, 2017
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Since some time, VMware provides PowerCLI which is a set of modules for VMware vSphere. Except if you were in a cave last 10 years, you should know that PowerShell is a powerful scripting language. Initially, PowerShell enabled to manage only Windows Workstation or Server but since sometimes, a lot of vendors make their own modules to manage their solutions (such as Veeam, VMware and so on). Moreover, PowerShell is available on Linux.

For my job, I always use PowerShell. I’m a lazy guy, and if I have to make something two times, I make a script. This is the same thing for VMware vSphere. In this topic, we’ll see how to connect to vCenter and some commands to start.

install PowerCli from the PowerShell gallery

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How to configure a Multi-Resilient Volume on Windows Server 2016 using Storage Spaces
Posted by Vitalii Feshchenko on October 24, 2017
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Introduction

Plenty of articles have been released about Storage Spaces and everything around this topic. However, I would like to absorb all actual information and lead you through the journey of configuring Storage Spaces on a Standalone host.

The main goal of the article is to show a Multi-Resilient Volume configuration process.

How it works

In order to use Storage Spaces, we need to have faster (NVMe, SSD) and slower (HDD) devices.

So, we have a set of NVMe devices along with SAS HDD or SATA HDD, and we should create performance and capacity tier respectively.

NVMe tier is used for caching. When hot blocks are written to the storage array, they are written to the caching tier first (SSD’s or NVMe):

Data in Performance Tier

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Accessing esxcli through PowerCLI
Posted by Mike Preston on October 4, 2017
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Picture this – you are working away developing a PowerCLI script that is performing multiple actions – you have it just about complete when you come to a roadblock.  After frantically googling around you find out that this one task you are trying to perform simply cannot be done through PowerShell, yet you know it exists within the local ESXi esxcli command namespace!  This has happened multiple times to me and thankfully, there is a way to access ESXi’s esxcli command namespace without having to leave the comforts of the PowerShell Console.

Chances are that if you have been working at all with ESXi you are familiar with the esxcli command – but for those that aren’t let’s take a quick look at what exactly it does.

esxcli namespaces

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