Understanding Network Virtualization in SCVMM 2012 R2

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Networking in SCVMM is a communication mechanism to and from SCVMM Server, Hyper-v Hosts, Hyper-v Cluster, virtual machines, application, services, physical switches, load balancer and third party hypervisor. Functionality includes: Logical Networking of almost “Anything” hosted in SCVMM- Logical network … Continue reading

How to implement hardware load balancer in SCVMM

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The following procedure describe Network Load Balancing functionality in Microsoft SCVMM. Microsoft native NLB is automatically included into SCVMM when you install SCVMM. This procedure describe how to install and configure third party load balancer in SCVMM. Prerequisites: Microsoft System … Continue reading

Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch for Microsoft Hyper-V

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Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch for Microsoft Hyper-V provides following advanced feature in Microsoft Hyper-v and SCVMM. Integrate physical, virtual, and mixed environments Allow dynamic policy provisioning and mobility-aware network policies Improves security through integrated virtual services and advanced Cisco NX-OS … Continue reading

Hyper-v Server 2016 What’s New

Changed and upgraded functionality of Hyper-v Server 2016.

  1. Hyper-v cluster with mixed hyper-v version
  • Join a Windows Server 2016 Hyper-v with Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-v
  • Functional level is Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Manage the cluster, Hyper-V, and virtual machines from a node running Windows Server 2016 or Windows 10
  • Use Hyper-V features until all of the nodes are migrated to Windows Server 2016 cluster functional level
  • Virtual machine configuration version for existing virtual machines aren’t upgraded
  • Upgrade the configuration version after you upgrade the cluster functional level using Update-VmConfigurationVersion vmname cmdlet
  • New virtual machine created in Windows Server 2016 will be backward compatible
  • Hyper-V role is enabled on a computer that uses the Always On/Always Connected (AOAC) power model, the Connected Standby power state is now available
  1. Production checkpoints
  • Production checkpoints, the Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) is used inside Windows virtual machines
  • Linux virtual machines flush their file system buffers to create a file system consistent checkpoint
  • Check point no longer use saved state technology
  1. Hot add and remove for network adapters, virtual hard drive and memory
  • add or remove a Network Adapter while the virtual machine is running for both Windows and Linux machine
  • Adjust memory of a running virtual machine even if you haven’t enabled dynamic memory
  1. Integration Services delivered through Windows Update
  • Windows update will distribute integration services
  • ISO image file vmguest.iso is no longer needed to update integration components
  1. Storage quality of service (QoS)
  • create storage QoS policies on a Scale-Out File Server and assign them to one or more virtual disks
  • Hyper-v auto update storage policies according to storage policies
  1. Virtual machine Improvement
  • Import virtual machine with older configuration version, update later and live migrate across any host
  • After you upgrade the virtual machine configuration version, you can’t move the virtual machine to a server that runs Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • You can’t downgrade the virtual machine configuration version back from version 6 to version 5.
  • Turn off the virtual machine to upgrade the virtual machine configuration.
  • Update-VmConfigurationVersion cmdlet is blocked on a Hyper-V Cluster when the cluster functional level is Windows Server 2012 R2
  • After the upgrade, the virtual machine will use the new configuration file format.
  • The new configuration files use the .VMCX file extension for virtual machine configuration data and the .VMRS file extension for runtime state data.
  • Ubuntu 14.04 and later, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 supports secure boot using Set-VMFirmware vmname -SecureBootTemplate MicrosoftUEFICertificateAuthority cmdlet
  1. Hyper-V Manager improvements
  • Support alternative credential
  • Down-level management of Hyper-v running on Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.
  • Connect Hyper-v using WS-MAN protocol, Kerberos or NTLM authentication
  1. Guest OS Support
  • Any server operating systems starting from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2016
  • Any desktop operating systems starting from Vista SP2 to Windows 10
  • FreeBSD, Ubuntu, Suse Enterprise, CentOS, Debian, Fedora and Redhat

9. ReFS Accelerated VHDX 

  • Create a fixed size VHDX on a ReFS volume instantly.
  • Gain great backup operations and checkpoints

10. Nested Virtualization

  • Run Hyper-V Server as a guest OS inside Hyper-V

11. Shared VHDX format

  • Host Based Backup of Shared VHDX files
  • Online Resize of Shared VHDX
  • Some usability change in the UI
  • Shared VHDX files are now a new type of VHD called .vhds files.

12. Stretched Hyper-V Cluster 

  •  Stretched cluster allows you to configure Hyper-v host and storage in a single stretch cluster, where two nodes share one set of storage and two nodes share another set of storage, then synchronous replication keeps both sets of storage mirrored in the cluster to allow immediate failover.
  • These nodes and their storage should be located in separate physical sites, although it is not required.
  • The stretch cluster will run a Hyper-V Compute workload.

 

Unsupported:

Hyper-V on Windows 10 doesn’t support failover clustering

Migrating VMs from Standalone Hyper-v Host to clustered Hyper-v Host

Scenario 1: In-place migration of two standalone Windows Servers (Hyper-v role installed) into clustered Windows Servers (Hyper-v role installed).

Steps involved in this scenario. There will be downtime in this scenario.

  1. Delete all snapshots from VMs
  2. Update Windows Server to latest patches and hotfixes
  3. Reboot hosts
  4. Install Failover Clustering Windows Feature in both hosts
  5. Connect hosts with shared storage infrastructure either iSCSI or fibre channel
  6. Present shared storage (5GB for Quorum disk and additional disk for VMs store) to Hyper-v Hosts.
  7. Run Failover cluster Wizard, create cluster.
  8. From the failover cluster manager, Click Disk, select virtual machine storage and convert the disk to clustered share volume
  9. Open Hyper-v Manager from Server Manager, run storage migration and migrate all VM data to single location which is shared storage.
  10. Now use Configure Role Wizard from Failover Cluster Manager, Select Virtual Machine from drop down list, Select one or More VMs and migrate those VMs to Failover cluster node.
  11. Test Live migration.

Scenario 2: Migrating standalone Windows Servers (Hyper-v role installed) using local storage to different Windows Servers (Hyper-v role installed) cluster using shared storage.

In this scenario, clustered Windows servers doesn’t see local storage available in old Hyper-v host and old Hyper-v host doesn’t see shared storage in new Hyper-v clustered environment. There will be downtime when you migrate VMs. Delete any snapshot, backup all VMs before you proceed.

Option A: Download Veeam Backup & Replication 8 trial version, configure a VM as Veeam management server. Add Source host as standalone hyper-v host and target host as Hyper-v cluster. Replicate all the VMs. Shutdown old VMs in standalone Hyper-v Hosts, then Power on VMs in Hyper-v cluster. Delete old VMs.

Option B: Copy VHD and configuration file and save into clustered shared storage. Log on to one of the clustered hyper-v host, Open Hyper-v Manager, Import VM option to import VM. Then use Configure Role option in failover Cluster Manager in same host to migrate the VM into cluster, then Power on VM in cluster.

My recommendation: use Veeam B&R.

Scenario 3: Migrating standalone Windows Servers (Hyper-v role installed) using iSCSI storage to different Windows Servers (Hyper-v role installed) cluster using fibre channel or iSCSI storage.

Option A: shutdown VMs. Present same iSCSI storage connected standalone hosts to clustered hosts. Use storage migration to migrate VMs to clustered Hosts. Then use configure role option, Failover cluster manager to migrate VMs to Hyper-v cluster.

Option B: Again use Veeam to do the job.

There are many factors/challenges when migrating VMs from standalone environment to clustered environment.

  1. iSCSI storage to Fibre Channel storage. When new cluster has host bus adapter (HBA) and old standalone host doesn’t have HBA. You can use Microsoft iSCSI initiation to fulfil the initiator requirement in new host.
  2. Fibre channel storage to iSCSI storage. There will heaps of downtime to fulfil this requirement because of new architecture. Veeam can be part of a solution.
  3. Multi-site and geographically diverse cluster will depend on MPLS or IPVPN network latency and bandwidth.

In conclusion, there is no silver bullet for individual situation. You have to consult with Microsoft partner to get a correct migration path that best fit your requirements.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Gateway

Windows server 2012 R2 can be configured as a Gateway VM in a two or four node cluster on Hyper-v Host. Gateway VM or router enhance Data Center by providing them a secure router for public or private cloud. Gateway VM cluster can provide routing functionality up to 200 tenants. Each Gateway VM can provide routing functionality for up to 50 tenants.

Two different versions of the gateway router are available in Windows Server 2012 R2.

RRAS Multitenant Gateway – The RRAS Multitenant Gateway router can be used for multitenant or non-multitenant deployments, and is a full featured BGP router. To deploy an RRAS Multitenant Gateway router, you must use Windows PowerShell commands

RRAS Gateway configuration and options:

  • Configure the RRAS Multitenant Gateway for use with Hyper-V Network Virtualization
  • Configure the RRAS Multitenant Gateway for use with VLANs
  • Configure the RRAS Multitenant Gateway for Site-to-Site VPN Connections
  • Configure the RRAS Multitenant Gateway to Perform Network Address Translation for Tenant Computers
  • Configure the RRAS Multitenant Gateway for Dynamic Routing with BGP

Windows Server 2012 R2 Gateway – To deploy Windows Server Gateway, you must use System Center 2012 R2 and Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). The Windows Server Gateway router is designed for use with multitenant deployments.

Multi-tenancy is the ability of a cloud infrastructure to support the virtual machine workloads of multiple tenants, but isolate them from each other, while all of the workloads run on the same infrastructure. The multiple workloads of an individual tenant can interconnect and be managed remotely, but these systems do not interconnect with the workloads of other tenants, nor can other tenants remotely manage them.

This feature allow service provider the functionality to virtually isolate different subnets, VLANs and network traffic which resides in same physical core or distribution switch. Hyper-v network virtualization is a Network Virtualization Generic Routing Encapsulation NVGRE which allows tenant to bring their own TCP/IP and name space in cloud environment.

Systems requirements:

Option Hyper-v Host Gateway VM
CPU 2 Socket NUMA Node 8 vCPU for two VMs

4 vCPU for four VMs

CPU Core 8 1
Memory 48GB 8GB
Network Adapter Two 10GB NICs connect to Cisco Trunk Port1 4 virtual NICs

  • Operating Systems
  • Clustering heartbeat
  • External network
  • Internal network
Clustering Active-Active Active-Active or Active-Passive

1-NIC Teaming in Hyper-v Host- You can configure NIC teaming in Hyper-v Host for two 10GB NICs. Windows Server 2012 R2 Gateway VM with four vNIC that are connected to the Hyper-V Virtual Switch that is bound to the NIC Team.

Deployment Guides:

Windows Server 2012 R2 RRAS Deployment Guide

Test Lab Guide: Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Network Virtualization with System Center 2012 R2 VMM

Clustering Windows Server 2012 R2

VMware vSphere 6.0 VS Microsoft Hyper-v Server 2012 R2

Since the emergence of vSphere 6.0, I would like to write an article on vSphere 6.0 vs Windows Server 2012 R2. I collected vSphere 6.0 features from few blogs and VMware community forum. Note that vSphere 6.0 is in beta program which means VMware can amend anything before final release. New functionalities of vSphere 6.0 beta are already available in Windows Server 2012 R2. So let’s have a quick look on both virtualization products.

Features vSphere 6.0 Hyper-v Server 2012 R2
Certificates

 

Certificate Authority Active Directory Certificate Services
Certificate Store Certificate Store in Windows OS
Single Sign on VMware retained SSO 2.0 for vSphere 5.5 Active Directory Domain Services
Database vPostgres database for VC Appliance up to 8 vCenter Microsoft SQL Server

No Limitation

Management Tools Web Client & VI

VMware retained VI

SCVMM Console & Hyper-v Manager
Installer Combined single installer with all input upfront Combined single installer with all input upfront
vMotion Long distance Migration up to 100+ms RTTs Multisite Hyper-v Cluster and Live Migration
Storage Migration Storage vMotion with shared and unshared storage Hyper-v Live Storage Migration between local and shared storage
Combined Cloud Products Platform Services Controller (PSC) includes vCenter, vCOPs, vCloud Director, vCoud Automation Microsoft System Center combined App Controller, Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager, Operations Manager, Orchestrator, Service Manager, Virtual Machine Manager
Service Registration View the services that are running in the system. Windows Services
Licensing Platform Services Controller (PSC) includes Licensing Volume Activation Role in Windows Server 2012 R2
Virtual Datacenters A Virtual Datacenter aggregates CPU, Memory, Storage and Network resources. Provision CPU, Memory, Storage and network using create Cloud wizard

Another key feature to be compared here that those who are planning to procure FC Tape library and maintain a virtual backup server note that vSphere doesn’t support FC Tape even with NPIV and Hyper-v support FC Tape using NPIV.

References:

http://www.wooditwork.com/2014/08/27/whats-new-vsphere-6-0-vcenter-esxi/

https://araihan.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/vmware-vs-hyper-v-can-microsoft-make-history-again/

https://araihan.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/microsofts-hyper-v-server-2012-and-system-center-2012-unleash-ko-punch-to-vmware/

https://araihan.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/hyper-v-server-2016-whats-new/