MENU
A little about Disk write cache on Windows VM
Posted by Bogdan Savchenko on March 9, 2017
5/5 (3)

Introduction

There are lots of great materials on optimization of virtualized environments that I think many of you will enjoy reading about. Such topics are all over the IT community and they cover a wide range of the technical questions. This article will focus on the matter which is not quite clear yet, especially when it comes from theory to practice. It’s about Windows Disk write cache feature and its implications for data consistency and performance of the virtual hard drives.

Test VM settings

(more…)

Please rate this

Backup and restore your first VMware VM with Veeam
Posted by Romain Serre on March 8, 2017
No ratings yet.

In the previous topics, we have installed and updated Veeam B&R 9.5. Then we have connected Veeam to vCenter 6.5 to get visibility on VMware VM and backup them. To finish, we have added a backup repository to store backup files. Now we can backup a virtual machine. Once we have some restore points, we can also recover the VM.

Veeam Backup and Replication VM tools Add to backup job

(more…)

Please rate this

Specialize Windows Server Hyper-V guest OS automatically
Posted by Romain Serre on February 6, 2017
No ratings yet.

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.

Specialize OS from unattended file

If you read this documentation (Implicit Answer File Search Order section), you can see that we can specialize the OS from unattended file. This unattended.xml file will be placed in C:\Windows\Panther\Unattend. To prepare the unattended file, I use ADK (Assessment Deployment Kit). When you install the ADK, select Deployment Tools. Then you can open Windows System Image Manager.

Windows System Image Manager

(more…)

Please rate this

Encryption of VMware vSphere 6.5 virtual machines and vMotion migrations. And their performance
Posted by Alex Samoylenko on January 26, 2017
5/5 (2)

As many admins of virtual infrastructures know, for the first time ever, VMware vSphere 6.5 received the long awaited encryption feature of both virtual disks content and vMotion hot migrations.

The VMs encryption works based on AES-NI algorithm, and the key management is carried out based on KMIP 1.1 standard. When I/O operation comes to the disk of the virtual machine, it is immediately encrypted on-the-fly, which provides complete security against data security attack.

Virtual machine Encryption How it works

(more…)

Please rate this

How to Deploy and Manage Software-Defined Networking using SCVMM 2016 – Part I
Posted by Charbel Nemnom on December 7, 2016
3.5/5 (4)

Rack

Introduction

Software Defined Networking (SDN) in Windows Server 2016 provides a method to centrally configure and manage physical and virtual network devices such as routers, switches, load balancers and gateways in your datacenter. Virtual network elements such as Hyper-V Virtual Switch, Hyper-V Network Virtualization, and RAS Gateway are designed to be integral elements of your SDN infrastructure.

Please note that you must install Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition for Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines (VMs) that run SDN infrastructure servers, such as Network Controller and Software Load Balancing nodes. However, you can run Windows Server 2016 Standard edition for Hyper-V hosts that contain only tenant workload virtual machines that are connected to SDN-controlled networks.

(more…)

Please rate this

Nano Server Image Builder tool
Posted by Romain Serre on November 15, 2016
4.5/5 (2)

Nano Server is a new way to deploy Windows Server in your datacenter or in the Cloud. Nano Server is a low footprint operating system which handles what you need and no more. When you create the Nano Server, you choose the role that you want to add to the image (Hyper-V, Storage, containers and so on). Nano Server doesn’t contain Windows Logon, 32-bit legacy or cannot be managed by GPO.

Currently, I don’t really like Nano Server for some jobs as Hyper-V or storage. Nano Server comes with the Current Branch for Business servicing model. So, to be fully supported, your Nano Server has to be upgraded two or three times in a year. You can imagine what happens with hundreds of Hyper-V/Storage nodes? Anyway, Nano Server can run other jobs as IIS and Containers, and in these cases, it could be fine.

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.

Nano Server Image Builder

(more…)

Please rate this

VMware Horizon FLEX. The architecture and the key features
Posted by Alex Samoylenko on October 20, 2016
4.5/5 (2)

As far back as 2 years ago at VMworld Europe 2014 conference VMware announced the release of the VMware Horizon FLEX solution. It is a virtualization platform for desktops, which allows running virtual machines locally on users’ computers, both on Mac and with Windows, while connection to the company’s datacenter isn’t available. At the same time, the virtual machine utilized by the user can be Windows-based or have guest OS Linux inside.

Many virtual infrastructures administrators still remember that before VMware had VMware ACE and VMware View Local Mode products, which passed long ago and now have been replaced with FLEX technology. Since VMware Horizon FLEX 1.9 version, as well as the new versions of Workstation and Fusion desktop platforms, has been released just recently, let’s look closer at the FLEX solution and consider its key features.

VMware Horizon FLEX isn’t a standalone product, but a mixed technology based on three solutions:

three solutions of VMware Horizon FLEX

(more…)

Please rate this

Manage VM placement in Hyper-V cluster with VMM
Posted by Romain Serre on September 23, 2016
5/5 (1)

The placement of the virtual machines in a Hyper-V cluster is an important step to ensure performance and high availability. To make a highly available application, usually a cluster is deployed spread across two or more virtual machines. In case of a Hyper-V node is crashing, the application must keep working.

But the VM placement concerns also its storage and its network. Let’s think about a storage solution where you have several LUNs (or Storage Spaces) according to a service level. Maybe you have a LUN with HDD in RAID 6 and another in RAID 1 with SSD. You don’t want that the VM which requires intensive IO was placed on HDD LUN.

Storage Classification in Virtual Machine Manager

(more…)

Please rate this

Is NVMe Really Revolutionary?
Posted by Jon Toigo on August 19, 2016
4/5 (1)

To hear advocates talk about NVMe – a de facto standard created by a group of vendors led by Intel to connect flash memory storage directly to a PCIe bus (that is, without using a SAS/SATA disk controller) – it is the most revolutionary thing that has ever happened in business computing.  While the technology provides a more efficient means to access flash memory, without passing I/O through the buffers, queues and locks associated with a SAS/SATA controller, it can be seen as the latest of a long line of bus extension technologies – and perhaps one that is currently in search of a problem to solve.

I am not against faster I/O processing, of course.  It would be great if the world finally acknowledged that storage has always been the red-headed stepchild of the Von Neumann machine.  Bus speeds and CPU processing speeds have always been capable of driving I/O faster than mechanical storage devices could handle.  That is why engineers used lots of memory – as caches ahead of disk storage or as buffers on disk electronics directly – to help mask or spoof the mismatch of speed.

latency comparison

(more…)

Please rate this

How to Deploy and Manage Storage Spaces Direct Cluster using SCVMM 2016?
Posted by Charbel Nemnom on August 18, 2016
4/5 (2)

Hyper-converged stack

Windows Server 2016 – Storage Spaces Direct Hyper-converged [image credit: Microsoft]

Introduction

With the release of Windows Server 2016, Microsoft is introducing Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), which enables building highly available Software-Defined Storage systems with local attached storage. This storage can be leveraged by VMs running on the same cluster (in hyper-converged mode) or the storage can be presented as a File Share (in disaggregated mode). The hyper-converged deployment scenario has the Hyper-V (compute) and Storage Spaces Direct (storage) components on the same cluster. Virtual machine’s files are stored on local CSVs. Once Storage Spaces Direct is configured and the CSV volumes are available, configuring and provisioning Hyper-V is the same process and uses the same tools that you would use with any other Hyper-V deployment on a failover cluster.

(more…)

Please rate this