Linux Integration Services 4.0.11 released for Hyper-V

Microsoft just released and update for Linux integration tools.
The new integration tools are available for download here

The integration tools allow running of the supported Linux distributions on the following platforms:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (applicable editions)
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 8 Pro, 8.1 Pro, 10 and 10 Pro
  • Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 and 2012 R2
  • Windows Server Technical Preview
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server Technical Preview
  • Microsoft Azure

The new integration tools add support for the following Linux releases:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5-5.11 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0-6.7 32-bit and 64-bit
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0-7.1 64-bit
  • CentOS 5.5-5.11 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit
  • CentOS 6.0-6.7 32-bit and 64-bit
  • CentOS 7.0-7.1 64-bit
  • Oracle Linux 6.4-6.7 with Red Hat Compatible Kernel 32-bit and 64-bit
  • Oracle Linux 7.0-7.1 with Red Hat Compatible Kernel 64-bit

Also remember that many Linux distributions already have Integration tools included with them and there is no need for a separate install.
You can find the list of supported Linux versions over here.

P2V a GPT based Disk To Hyper-V

So anyone who’s ever tried to perform a P2V of a GPT based computer, By GPT based I mean that the boot disk is GPT and not basic, knows that after the P2V the new VM will not boot.

However, luckily, there is a way around this.

First of all perform the P2V using a toll such as Disk2VHD.
Take the newly created VHD file and attach it to an existing Virtual Machine. I would recommend a Windows 7 workstation VM if you have one. alternatively you can also mount the new VHD in your own Windows workstation using disk management. If your new file is a VHDx file then your going to need a windows 8 workstation or higher.

atatch vhd

Now install on the workstation a product called AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. The standard version is free and can perform the functionality required to perform the following tasks.

Open Partition Assistant, locate your converted disk (it should show up as a GPT disk), right click the disk and choose the option “Convert to basic disk”, Confirm the prompt and then click apply in the top right corner.

Now that we’ve converted the disk to basic we need to reattach the VHD to our virtual machine, if you haven’t created a VM yet now is the time to do it.

The new VM still won’t boot, the next step is to boot with a Windows 2008R2 installation disk (any other version will also work).

Boot the VM from the Windows 2008R2 installation disk and choose the “repair your computer option”.

In the windows that opens choose from the top “use recovery tools”, click next and the choose the command prompt option.

Now we need to type a few commands.

1. diskpart

2. list disk

3. select disk #

4. List Partition

5. Select Partition # (this is the partition with our windows installation)

6. active

7. Exit

Now reboot the VM. Boot from installation CD again and return to the command prompt.

now type the following commands.

1. bootrec /fixmbr

2. bootrec /fixboot

3. bootrec /rebuildbcd and click y

reboot VM again and once again boot from installation CD and return to the command prompt.

run these final commands

1. cd recovery

2. startrep

reboot VM again, but this time not from the installation CD, your windows VM should now successfully boot.

Good Luck!!!




What is Storage Spaces Direct In Windows 2016?

Windows 2016 will continue to focus on Software Defined Storage. In Windows 2012 Storage spaces was introduced as a tool that would allow pooling together disk resources to create a large and redundant pool of disk space (Similar to Raid but without certain limitations-Such as all disks must be of the same size).  Storage spaces could also be used in a cluster environment as long as the Storage space as based on a JBOD with direct SAS connectivity to both nodes in the Cluster.

In Windows 2016 we’re receiving storage spaces direct. This technology will allow us to pool multiple local DAS disks from Multiple servers in to one pool. That’s correct local disks from multiple servers into one large shared pool. The pool can be used in a failover cluster for storing your Hyper-V VM’s.

just think, you can have 3 servers all with 3TB of local disk space all pooled together to create a large pool of clustered disk space. Now that’s COOL!
The pool will be fault tolerant and the loss of a single server will not bring down the pool itself.

The possibilities are endless. Smaller environments will defiantly be able create clusters without purchasing expensive Storage appliances, data can be stretched to a remote site for DR scenarios. Yes this is also totally supported.

I’ve been playing around with the preview version, and so far things look extremely cool.


Veeam Backup & Replication v8 – The small improvmnets that mean a lot

In my previous post i described the new major features of Veeam Backup & Replicaton V8.

I also mentioned that there are around another 150 additional improvments. I’m not going to mention every single one of them but I do want to point out some of the best ones.

Forever forward incremental backup mode: This new, default backup mode for primary backup jobs creates forward incremental backups for all the following runs after the initial full backup, which always remains the oldest restore point in a full backup chain. When the retention policy needs to remove the oldest restore point, the job merges the oldest incremental backup into the full backup file, discarding any data replaced in the full backup file by this process. This is identical to how Backup Copy jobs store the backup files. Because forward incremental backup creation involves mostly sequential write I/O, the forever forward incremental backup mode reduces the time a VM runs off of a snapshot by up to 3x when compared to the reverse incremental backup mode. This prevents a VM snapshot from growing large and making its commit much faster, thus reducing both backup window and load on production storage.

Quick rollback: When restoring an entire VM, the new quick rollback option can be used to restore only the data blocks known to be changed since the last backup was taken. This option is not selected by default, and should only be enabled in case of application-level issues. Basically meaning you can use it when your original VM is intact but you wish to restore it because of an issue with in the VM itself.

Job script enhancements: Both pre and post-job scripts are now executed as a part of the job, instead of being launched in a separate, unmonitored process. This allows us to reflect script execution results (depending on the exit code) right in the job status.

Preferred networks selection: Enables the selection of preferred networks for multi-homed backup proxy and backup repository servers. This helps to ensure the backup and replication traffic istransferred over dedicated backup networks, without impacting the production network. Great when setting up a dedicated backup network.

Multi-streaming of restores: Veeam Data Movers now leverage multiple TCP/IP streams when performing restores, in addition to backups. This helps to improve performance by more fully leveraging available network bandwidth of high latency links.

Copy-only VSS processing: Application-aware processing can now be configured to perform “copyonly” backups, which allows application-consistent images to be created without touching transaction logs. This can be required if transaction logs are processed with a third-party application.

Microsoft Exchange VSS improvements: If standard VSS processing of a Microsoft Exchange Server times out, the job will retry processing using persistent in-guest VSS snapshot, which should prevent VSS processing timeouts commonly observed with Microsoft Exchange 2010. Persistent snapshots are removed from the production VMs once backups are finished. All VM, file-level and item-level restore options have been enhanced to detect and properly handle restores from Exchange backups created with the help of persistent VSS snapshots.

Oracle VSS improvements: Oracle databases that do not meet the requirements for successful VSS processing are automatically excluded from application-aware processing to avoid job failures.

Shared VHDX support: Backup jobs can now back up shared VHDX virtual disks in a crash-consistent state. The full VM restore wizard has also been enhanced to account for shared VHDX restore specifics.

Checkpoint-based replicas: Replica restore points are now stored as VM checkpoints for faster recovery to any replica restore point, better reliability and the ability to power on any required restore point manually if required.

CBT driver certification: The proprietary changed block tracking (CBT) driver has passed Microsoft Windows Hardware Certification testing for Windows Server 2012 R2.

Rotated Drives: Rotated drives functionality can now be enabled with a checkbox in the advanced backup repository settings, as opposed to being controlled by registry settings.

Remote tape server: This enables leveraging tape libraries and standalone drives connected to any Windows server in the environment, as opposed to the requirement of attaching them directly to the backup server. Adding multiple tape devices connected to different servers is supported.

Quick Backup: Enables fast, incremental backups of one or more selected VMs. Quick Backup looks up the job to which the selected VM belongs, and runs incremental backup for the selected VM only. If multiple jobs exist for the same VM, the one with most recent restore point will be used to ensure smallest incremental backup and fastest backup. Restore points produced by Quick Backup do not affect overall job retention; they are “glued” to the previous restore point produced by a standard job run, and are removed during regular job retention processing.

Job-level email notifications: Email notification settings can now be configured on the job level. Joblevel notification can include a custom set of recipients and be triggered by different status than global notifications.

These changes help show the progress that Veeam is making in the backup sector. The product now not only focuses on backing up your VM infrastructure but also looks inside your infrastructure to help guarantee application & item level recovery. Also the improved backup to cloud and tape show how veeam is applying both modern and classic technology to allow for full off site backup and replications including encryption to allow for protection of hte offsite data.

Hyper-V Differential Export

Just saw this on Aidan Finn’s blog. Couldnt find any information on this from Microsoft except for this blog but have confirmed in lab 🙂

Windows Technical preview allows you to perform differential exports of VM’s using checkpoints.

What this means is that you can export a VM and at  later point perform a second export of the VM. However the second export won’t be a full export it will just export the changes since the previous export and link it to the previous export in the form of a AVHDX (checkpoint) file.

Very useful, could even be used as a poor mans backup. Also pretty sure that we’re going to see backup software take advantage of this new feature.

Hyper-V VM Backup leaves VM in Backup State

Sometime after running backups you’ll open Hyper-V Manager and see that the VM is still in backup mode even though the backup Jobs has already finished. status-backing-up So to fix this we has to find the process usually by using process explorer and kill it. Quite a nag to be honest. Anyway I just saw this patch for Windows 2012R2 & Windows 8.1 that is meant to address the issue. So if you’re experiencing the same problem, I would recommend installing this patch on your systems Good Luck

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 Now Available

Microsoft Just released the new version of MVMC (Virtual Machine Converter).
The new version includes new features and extended support for new platforms.
The biggest change being that the tool now supports conversion of physical machines running Windows 2008 or Windows Vista and later.

The tool is totally standalone and does not require System Center or even Hyper-V to run though of course can be fully integrated with the help of powershell.

As well as performing P2V’s the tool can

  • Converts virtual disks that are attached to a VMware virtual machine to virtual hard disks (VHDs) that can be uploaded to Microsoft Azure.
  • Provides native Windows PowerShell capability that enables scripting and integration into IT automation workflows
  • Supports conversion and provisioning of Linux-based guest operating systems from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts.
  • Supports conversion of offline virtual machines.
  • Supports the new virtual hard disk format (VHDX) when converting and provisioning in Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
  • Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.1, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts Hyper-V virtual machines.
  • Supports Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 as guest operating systems that you can select for conversion.
  • Converts and deploys virtual machines from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts on any of the following operating systems:
    o Windows Server® 2012 R2
    o Windows Server® 2012
    o Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Converts VMware virtual machines, virtual disks, and configurations for memory, virtual processor, and other virtual computing resources from the source to Hyper-V.
  • Adds virtual network interface cards (NICs) to the converted virtual machine on Hyper-V.
  • Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.0, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts to Hyper-V.
  • Has a wizard-driven GUI, which simplifies performing virtual machine conversions.
  • Uninstalls VMware Tools before online conversion (online only) to provide a clean way to migrate VMware-based virtual machines to Hyper-V.
  • Supports Windows Server and Linux guest operating system conversion.
  • Includes Windows PowerShell capability for offline conversions of VMware-based virtual hard disks (VMDK) to a Hyper-V–based virtual hard disk file format (.vhd file).

You can download the tool from Microsoft here