Dell AppAssure Universal Backup

Dell AppAssure was the winner of the 2012 Virtualization Review VMworld Best of Breed Awards as the Best Backup and Data Protection Product, which got me thinking what is so special about it. Further, if AppAssure did not have anything special about them Dell would not have enough to reason to happily acquire them back in February. After all those news about AppAssure and my personal interest in storage/backup & recovery arenas I have decided to try it out.

After trying it out for a bit in my lab & reading more about it, I have found the below three features about Dell AppAssure to be the most exciting ones :

1- Backup from any where & restore to any where or as I would like to call it Universal Backup. It was really interesting to know that Dell AppAssure can take virtual machines(VMware, Hyper-V, Citrix) & Physical machine backup and restore it to any desired target. For example you can backup a VM on Hyper-V then restore it to a VMware environment or backup a physical machine the restore it to a VM on any desire hypervisor or to a different physical machine even if it has a different hardware.… Read More

Who’s Really Stuck in the IT Past? VMware vs Microsoft?

I have been enjoying my weekend, when a tweet popped on my Twitter that pointed out to Paul Rubens article titled: Microsoft or VMware — Who’s Really Stuck in the IT Past? which was a respond by Paul on a video released earlier by Microsoft “Don’t get stuck in the IT Past” which can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hewedqvSWaI

The Microsoft video was really disturbing, but the first thing that got on my mind after watching it was the old quote: “If your house is made of glass don’t throw stones on others”. The great part Paul Rubens article agreed exactly with that quote. I really recommend reading Paul Rubens article found at: Microsoft or VMware — Who’s Really Stuck in the IT Past which give a totally independent view of the video as he is not a VMware nor Microsoft employee unlike the video maker as well he is totally independent of both companies. I believe Paul Rubens article was a great respond to the video, but below are just few reminders for people watching the video.

1- Microsoft still build their hypervizor based on their Operating System, just like they do for any other Solution Microsoft produce. Have Microsoft not looked into the future, where Operating Systems will not be as important & solutions that are Operating Systems independent will have a better chance of surviving.… Read More

My Take of infoworld.com Virtualization shoot-out: Citrix, Microsoft, Red Hat, and VMware

Infoworld has published a quite interesting comparison between Citrix, Microsoft, Red Hat, & VMware at Virtualization shoot-out: Citrix, Microsoft, Red Hat, and VMware. Its quite detailed and the methodologies and comparison basis was documented clearly which make it worth going through.

Although I agree with the comparison to a great degree I still had few comments to post on it. First of all let look at the great news the article has brought:

- VMware are the leaders when it comes to Advanced/Creative features.

- VMware were the only hypervisor to give a consistent performance with every OS & all kind of loads. (Hyper-V performed well when virtualizing Windows, but not Linux or other OS’s. Where RHEV & Citrix Xen performed Well for Linux OS, but not consistently well for Windows). Although it was mentioned in the comparison, I believe this point need to be given a great emphasizes as you don’t want to have a different hypervisor for different OS’s and work load in your environment, when you can have one Hypervisor that will perform will for all. Further, using one hypervisor for all will give you a better utilization of your resources.

- VMware has the widest guest OS Support, over double of the closest hypervisor.… Read More

Microsoft will not showcase Hyper-V at VMworld

For the second year, Microsoft will not bring their Hyper-V to VMworld as per reuters.com. The fun part behind it Microsoft claim that VMware does not allow competing products to be shown in VMworld, where VMware deny that. To make the argument more fun, Citrix will be presenting their Xen Desktop in VMworld which compete directly with VMware View. I don’t want to come with a final conclusion about the reason why Microsoft will now bring Hyper-V to VMworld & will leave that for you to research.  Though I thought to share with you the news, so you don’t expect to see Hyper-V in VMworld this year.

Though Microsoft will not totally be absence from VMworld, they will be having a booth where they will be showing Microsoft Windows Azure (operating system for the cloud) and a self-service portal toolkit that helps customers build private clouds (the product is known as System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal and will be generally available by the end of October).

I have noticed lately that Microsoft are really putting more effort to push Windows Azure than Hyper-V. It make me wonder, if that one day will replace Hyper-V. I know that Hyper-V and Windows Azure are totally a different kind of technology, but it seems to me Windows Azure is the new hype Microsoft is trying to push into the cloud and virtualization market.… Read More

Are Microsoft really better at virtualizing their own products?

As our company is a partner of VMware, Citrix, & Microsoft. Yop, you heard it all of them at one shop. I get to visit many customers & try to help them find the best virtualization product for their enviornment. Lately, I have noticed a tendancy of many customers saying, “I will go Hyper-V as Microsoft know how to virtualize their products better than others.” It seems the Microsoft local partners have found a good stereo type to use that “the solution for every customer virtualization need is a hammer.”

I decided to do some study & find out if Microsoft really support their products in Virtualization better than others & below some of the findings that make me believe the opposite.

1- VMware & Xen support more versions of Microsoft Operating Systems on their enterprise virtualization solutions than Microsoft ever did with MS Hyper-V R2.

2- Microsoft has a restrict limitation on the number of CPUs that are supported on their earlier versions of Windows when running on Hyper-V as shown below:

▫ Windows 2003 can at max use 2 virtual CPUs
▫ Windows 2000 can at max use  1 virtual CPU
▫ Windows Vista can use at max 2 virtual CPUs
▫ Windows XP can use at max 1 virtual CPU (although Windows XP Professional with SP3 and XP Professional x64 Edition can use 2 virtual CPUs)

These limitation on the number of supported virtual CPUs specially on Windows 2000 & Windows 2003 can be a major turn off for customers who still not yet ready to upgrade to Windows 2008.… Read More

DHCP is not working on MS Windows 2008 Hyper-V

I have been hearing many IT Professionals on many forums on the web complaining that their DHCP Server which is setup at the parent partition of their MS Windows 2008 Hyper-V Server is not working. Further more many of them has reported an error similar to the below one in their error logs:

1041:
The DHCP service is not servicing any DHCPv4 clients because none of the
active network interfaces have statically configured IPv4 addresses, or
there are no active interfaces.

The first thing I would like to bring to these administrators attention & to everyone else trying to setup any services or application in the parent partition of Hyper-V to consider avoiding that if possible at all cost. As its not recommended and almost not supported to use the parent partition for serving roles & services beside the Hyper-V role.

As most people who had been reading my blog for a while, they know I would not write this post to only hammer others of it being not recommended :). I am actually going to provide the work around below, but this should only be used in a test or development enviornment not production enviornemnt and as usual at your own risk.… Read More

Sony VAIO laptops disabled Intel VT

This article title say “Sony VAIO laptops disabled Intel VT“, but what should that mean to you. It should mean the world to a lot of us. It should mean think twice trice before you buy a Sony VAIO laptop, due to the amount of limitation that come with disabling Intel VT. Ok, let’s see some of the most obvious limitation:

1- Sony VAIO Laptops will not support Windows 7 XP mode, which require enabling hardware Virtualization:

Windows 7 will be offering a great feature which is called XP mode, which will allow you to run most of XP applications on Windows 7 without having to worry about application compatibility with Windows 7. As Windows 7 XP mode requires Hardware Virtualization which Sony has decided to disable on their laptops. This means if you are upgrading to windows 7 then Sony VAIO laptop might not be for you.

2- Sony VAIO Laptops will not support MS Hyper-V.

If you are the average Joe, & you don’t care about testing stuff and Virtualization is only a buzzword to you then this might not affect you. Though if you care even a bit of running Hyper-V on your laptop for testing Hyper-V it self or test multiple OS on your laptop at a time then again Sony VAIO is not the laptop for you.… Read More

Finaly Microsoft opens Hyper-V code to the Linux community

In a very interesting article by Jeffrey Schawartz in Readmondmag.com, has published an interesting news about Microsoft’s decision – “unthinkable” until a few days ago – MS “open” more than 20,000 lines of code to the Linux community under the license GPLv2 (General Public License version 2).

The code, published on Monday, includes three device drivers that will allow any business enterprise or any distribution of Linux community to use this device in a virtual machine within the stack virtualization of Microsoft Hyper-V battery.

This would be the first time Microsoft opened its code to the Linux community, free of any licensing or patent restrictions under the GPLv2 license.

It’s very interesting to see at least a historical opponent to open source as Microsoft, releasing part of its code to the Linux community. Something is definitely changing – which is hopefully for the better.

I wonder what would be the next code that Micorosft will open up as GPLv2 :). Leave your guess in comments.… Read More

Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V is now offered 4 free

Citrix Systems, Inc. has just made available to the general public, Citrix Essentials for HyperV – Express Edition version, for free.

The new version of Express Edition is available for immediate download and includes Citrix StorageLink technology. With StorageLink, Windows administrators can dramatically simplify storage management.

The Express Edition version of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V is designed specifically for IT professionals in Windows environments that are in the early stages of adoption of Hyper-V.

Express Edition Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V supports up to two servers and a Hyper-V cabin storage.

This version can be upgraded easily to the Enterprise version ($ 1500) or Platinum ($ 3000) which include dynamic server provisioning and management through automated workflow orchestration.

Definitely, Citrix does not want to neglect the SMB market.… Read More

MS Hyper-V Crashes under heavy load

This video is just what the title said, MS Hyper-V Crashes under heavy load. Watch out what a mess you are planning to go into!!!!!

I expect to see too many comments on this one, don’t get me disappointed :).… Read More

Building a Cluster with Hyper-V and Server Core (Part 3) and Creating a Windows Server 2008 Cluster

In this series of posts, I will explain how to build a Windows Server 2008 cluster with Server Core and Hyper-V. There will be three posts as linked to below. Each post will be published as it get ready. Each post will have step-by-step snapshots. If it happens a certain image thumbnail is not good enough for you, then click on the snapshot to see a larger image.

1st Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – Server preparation

2nd Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – ISCSI Storage preparation & Configuration

3rd Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – Creating Windows Server Core 2008 & Hyper-V Cluster (You are here)

3rd Part: Creating Windows Server Core 2008 & Hyper-V Cluster:

We now have almost everything ready.

Go to a server that has GUI (e.g. the DC) and run the Failover Cluster tool (you can choose to install the RSATs or to add the Failover cluster feature to get the tool).

windows 2008 failover cluster management

Go to Validate a Configuration.

windows 2008 validate cluster configuration
Click Next.

windows 2008 failover cluster add nodes

Then add the nodes (don’t ask me why one is called ar-naplab-hv01 and the other ar-techlab-hv02 because I don’t know)

windows 2008 cluster validation run all tests

Run all the tests and cross your fingers ….

windows 2008 validating keep finger cross

Next ..… Read More

Building a Cluster with Hyper-V and Server Core (Part 2) and Creating a Windows Server 2008 Cluster

In this series of posts, I will explain how to build a Windows Server 2008 cluster with Server Core and Hyper-V. There will be three posts as linked to below. Each post will be published as it get ready. Each post will have step-by-step snapshots. If it happens a certain image thumbnail is not good enough for you, then click on the snapshot to see a larger image.

1st Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – Server preparation

2nd Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – ISCSI Storage preparation & Configuration (You are here)

3rd Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – Creating Windows Server Core 2008 & Hyper-V Cluster

2nd Part: ISCSI Storage Preperation & Configuration:

From now on, we will perform all operations under the domain log-in administrator. This is very important because if we were logged in as local administrators for each node, we would not be able to conduct operations that have an impact on Active Directory.

Go to Switch User and make sure to log in as the domain administrator, in my case ponicke\administrator.

We are going to enable remote management and disable the firewall (Be careful with this last step as, here, we are in the laboratory, this should not be done in production so adjust the firewall appropriately)

Cscript /windows/system32/scregedit.wsf /ar 0

Cscript /windows/system32/scregedit.wsf /cs 0

Netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off

MS Windows 2008 servercore shuting down firewall

Now comes a very exciting and important moment!… Read More

Building a Cluster with Hyper-V & Server Core (Part 1) and Creating a Windows Server 2008 Cluster

In this series of posts, I will explain how to build a Windows Server 2008 cluster with Server Core and Hyper-V. There will be three posts as linked to below. Each post will be published as it get ready. Each post will have step-by-step snapshots. If it happens a certain image thumbnail is not good enough for you, then click on the snapshot to see a larger image.

1st Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – Server preparation (You are here)

2nd Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – ISCSI Storage preparation & Configuration

3rd Part: Hyper-V & Server Cluster – Creating Windows Server Core 2008 & Hyper-V Cluster

1st Part: Server Preparation:

We all know that Server Core offers the best way to build a Hyper-V infrastructure because it reduces the area of attack and maximizes the availability of resources. On the other hand, it does not have GUI and is therefore a little harder to manage.

This series of posts will try to show Server Core in a more manageable light as well as describe how to work in pure cmd.

First, in order to save time and space, I’m going to make a few assumptions.

We’re going to build a two-node cluster, with each containing a Server Core.… Read More

Hyper-V Live Migration vs. Quick Migration

As we find out more about Windows Server Virtualization, it is only natural to start having doubts about its features. One of the most famous is Live/Quick Migration.

I would therefore like to spend some time clarifying everything I can about this subject.

First of all, Quick and Live Migration are not the same thing. They are not synonymous or interchangeable terms. Quick Migration is completely different from Live Migration.

The WSV RTM will have Quick Migration available right away while Live Migration (which is the equivalent of VMware VMotion) will be ready in an update a few months after WSV RTM.

While both are used to “move” a VM from one host to another, each one does so in a different way and at a different time. Live Migration can start a VM on another host in less than a second while Quick Migration needs more time, which depends on the amount of RAM in the VM and the connection speed to the storage.

Now that the distinction has been made, we’re going to elaborate on each of them.


Quick Migration

Basically, it works in three steps:

1. The machine is put in “Saved” state.
2. The VM is taken by another host
3.… Read More

Hyper-V: Questions and Answers

After the Hyper-V conference, I was asked some questions which I would now like to share with you.

Drivers and Synthetic Hardware

 

What is Synthetic Hardware?

Synthetic Hardware uses the VMBus to send requests from the virtual machine device to the physical device. This type of hardware is available only to VMs that have Integration Services installed.

How can I tell if the hardware in my virtual machine is emulated or synthetic?
An easy way is to look at the hardware administration console: emulated hardware appears with the name of the hardware manufacturer, while synthetic hardware appears with names like “Microsoft VMBus”.

 

Virtual networks


How do I set up virtual networks?

Why does the VM network card say that it is connected to 100 MBps when in fact I have a Gigabit network?
“Legacy” network cards emulate an NIC Fast Ethernet (100 MBps).

Why does the VM network card say it is to be connected to 10 GBps when the network is actually only 1 GBps?
Synthetic network cards do not emulate any NIC, but connect directly to the virtual BUS of the hypervisor. This synthetic network card will run at the highest possible speed.… Read More

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