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

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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Posted by Vitalii Feshchenko on February 1, 2018
The main features of 2016 Failover Cluster

In our support work very often we face different environments. They can range from three VMs to a hundred of those, with the number of nodes from two to ten. Today, I will tell you about the main features of Failover Cluster 2016, which are applicable to any environment.

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Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on January 16, 2018
Choosing proper V2V converter for smooth VM migration

Migrating your VMs from one hypervisor to another may be a bit of a challenge if you don’t have some decent virtual machine converter at hand. Different hypervisors have their own proprietary VM formats: VMDK, VHD and VHDX, QCOW, you name it. The problem is that one VM format can be not supported on other platforms. In this case, a V2V converter is a must-have. Now, the question arises: which converter should I choose?

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Posted by Didier Van Hoye on November 21, 2017
Take a look at Storage QoS Policies in Windows Server 2016

In Windows Server 2016 Microsoft introduced storage Quality of Service (QoS) policies.  Previously in Windows Server 2012 R2, we could set minimum and maximum IOPS individually virtual hard disk but this was limited even if you could automate it with PowerShell. The maximum was enforced but the minimum not. That only logged a warning if it could be delivered and it took automation that went beyond what was practical for many administrators when it needed to be done at scale. While it was helpful and I used it in certain scenarios it needed to mature to deliver real value and offer storage QoS in environments where cost-effective, highly available storage was used that often doesn’t include native QoS capabilities for use with Hyper-V.

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Posted by Sergey Sanduliak on September 26, 2017
Hyper-V VMs on an NFS share on Windows Server 2016 – is that real?

A few years ago, we have tried to place a VM on an NFS share. We used Windows Server 2012 because Hyper-V is a native hypervisor from Microsoft. Now we have decided to reproduce the experiment on Windows Server 2016. Just because of boundless curiosity 😊 So, we have 2 nodes: S3n11 serves as NFS Fileserver and S3n12 takes the Hyper-V server role. We will do exactly the same thing as we did before, but this time on Windows Server 2016 on both VMs. Let’s start!

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Posted by Romain Serre on February 6, 2017
Specialize Windows Server Hyper-V guest OS automatically

Last year I have written a topic on Starwind to create VMs from PowerShell. That enables to automate the creation process without using a GUI, either from Virtual Machine Manager or Hyper-V Manager. But a VM deployment is not finished when the VM is created but when the application is deployed. Before deploying the application, the OS must also be installed and specialized. This topic shows you the method I use to deploy and specialize a VM without a single click.

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Posted by Romain Serre on November 15, 2016
Nano Server Image Builder tool

In this topic, I’ll show you how to prepare a Nano Server image which will be deployed in a virtual machine. The operating system will be configured to run containers. To create the Nano Server image, I’ll use the Nano Server Image Builder tool which is a graphical interface to prepare the image in VHD, VHDX or WIM file format.

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Posted by Romain Serre on October 25, 2016
Deploy VM Fleet to benchmark your storage system

VM Fleet is a collection of scripts that enables to deploy virtual machines which perform I/O to stress the underlying storage system. To achieve I/O, the VMs leverages DiskSpd which is a Microsoft tool. When you implement an infrastructure based on Hyper-V, you usually want to get the maximum IOPS and MB/s that your storage can deliver. This tool helps you to get this information by stressing your storage. In this topic, we will see how to deploy a VM Fleet to benchmark the storage system.

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Posted by Didier Van Hoye on September 19, 2016
Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Backup Rises to the challenges

Introduction

In Windows Sever 2016 Microsoft improved Hyper-V backup to address many of the concerns mentioned in our previous Hyper-V backup challenges Windows Server 2016 needs to address:

  • They avoid the need for agents by making the API’s remotely accessible. It’s all WMI calls directly to Hyper-V.
  • They implemented their own CBT mechanism for Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V to reduce the amount of data that needs to be copied during every backup. This can be leveraged by any backup vendor and takes away the responsibility of creating CBT from the backup vendors. This makes it easier for them to support Hyper-V releases faster. This also avoids the need for inserting drivers into the IO path of the Hyper-V hosts. Sure the testing & certification still has to happen as all vendors now can be impacted by a bug MSFT introduced.
  • They are no longer dependent on the host VSS infrastructure. This eliminates storage overhead as wells as the storage fabric IO overhead associated with performance issues when needing to use host level VSS snapshots on the entire LUN/CSV for even a single VM.
  • This helps avoid the need for hardware VSS providers delivered by storage vendors and delivers better results with storage solution that don’t offer hardware providers.
  • Storage vendors and backup vendors can still integrate this with their snapshots for speedy and easy backup and restores. But as the backup work at the VM level is separated from an (optional) host VSS snapshot the performance hit is less and the total duration significantly reduced.
  • It’s efficient in regard to the number of data that needs to be copied to the backup target and stored there. This reduces capacity needed and for some vendors the almost hard dependency on deduplication to make it even feasible in regards to cost.
  • These capabilities are available to anyone (backup vendors, storage vendors, home grown PowerShell scripts …) who wishes to leverage them and doesn’t prevent them from implementing synthetic full backups, merge backups as they age etc. It’s capable enough to allow great backup solutions to be built on top of it.

Let’s dive in together and take a closer look.

Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V backup
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Posted by Didier Van Hoye on September 12, 2016
Hyper-V backup challenges Windows Server 2016 needs to address

Introduction

Personally I have been very successful at providing good backup designs for Hyper-V in both small to larger environments using budgets that range in between “make due” to “well-funded”.  How does one achieve this? Two factors. The first factor is knowing the strengths and limitations of the various Hyper-V versions when you design the backup solution. Bar the ever better scalability, performance and capabilities with each new version of Hyper-V, the improvements in back up from 2012 to 2012 R2 for example were a prime motivator to upgrade. The second factor of success is due to the fact that I demand a mandate and control over the infrastructure stack to do so. In many case you are not that lucky and can’t change much in already existing environments. Sometimes not even in new environments when the gear, solutions have already been chosen, purchased and the design is deployed before you get involved.

Windows Server 2008 (R2) - 2012 Hyper-V Backup
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