Looking Forward to Hyper-V in Server 10

06 Jan 2015 by Eric Siron     0    
Hyper-V- in Server 10

New year, new products! Some time in 2015, we’re all going to be graced with the newest edition of Windows and Windows Server, and along with them, Hyper-V. I wish I had a slick code name to give you, like “Viridian”, but it seems like most in-progress Microsoft products are now just code-named “vNext”. I’ve spent some time going over the published feature list. Some of the introductions will be very welcome. Some make me a bit less than enthusiastic. Sole Sourcing I’ve been burned more than once by writing about pre-release features and software conditions, even within a few months of release. The next version of Hyper-V is still quite a ways away, so there is still time for significant change. To that end, I’m only going to work with the officially published material on Hyper-V. Even that material could still be considered malleable at this point, but, in… Read More»

The Time for Hyper-V Pass-Through Disks has Passed

01 Jan 2015 by Eric Siron     0    
The Time for Hyper-V Pass-Through Disks has Passed

Hyper-V is no longer the newcomer in the virtualization space. After springing forth from its Virtual Server parent, it’s now had over half a decade to mature into the reliable, enterprise-grade hypervisor that it is today. As with any complex software, Hyper-V is composed of many parts, like the branches and leaves of a great tree. Like a tree, some of those branches form into major trunks that define the tree’s silhouette. Others become a twisted impediment to the proper growth of the larger organism and must be pruned away for its overall well-being. In Hyper-V, one of those latter branches is the pass-through disk. Many of you are already aware of this fact and have long since moved on. The reasoning behind this post is that there are still a handful of people out there clinging to this old tech, wishing that branches that were solid in 2008 weren’t… Read More»

Hyper-V and PowerShell: VM Process

30 Dec 2014 by Eric Siron     0    
Hyper-V and Powershell: VM Process

In the article that contains the Restart-VM script, I mentioned that a VM that can’t be stopped with Stop-VM requires you to kill its VMWP process. It might not be obvious how to determine which process that is. I’ve written a script to help you do that. This article is part of the “Hyper-V and PowerShell” series. This script is extremely straightforward so it doesn’t require a lot of explanation. I opted to only allow you to input a single VM name at a time. If you use the pipeline, it will run once for each input object as normal. As with the Restart-VM script, I designed this one as a function that must be dot-sourced. Please read that article for directions. Parameters There are only three parameters: Name, ComputerName, and VM. Name: The name of the virtual machine whose process you wish to retrieve. Cannot be used with VM.… Read More»

The Hyper-V Hub 2014 Year in Review

23 Dec 2014 by Eric Siron     0    
The Hyper-V Portal 2014 Year in Review

Like any creative work, a blog post is never really done; it’s just abandoned. Unlike many other mediums, blogs do allow us to easily refresh those older articles, but we so rarely ever do it. To close out this year, a few of us on the editorial team got together and selected a few highlights from the past year. Our 14 selections from 2014 (in no particular order): Hyper-V Guest Licensing This was our first licensing article directly related to guest licensing. We followed it up with a downloadable eBook that was expanded to include a number of examples, and Andy Syrewicze and Thomas Maurer gave a fantastic webinar on the topic. We’ve received quite a few questions and some great feedback. Keep an eye out for a follow-up post that takes on some of those questions and incorporates some of the suggestions. If you’ve got questions or suggestions of… Read More»

Hyper-V and PowerShell: Get Hyper-V VM MAC Address

16 Dec 2014 by Eric Siron     0    
Hyper-V and Powershell series: Get Hyper-V VM MAC Address

While not common, there are times when you might need to know the MAC address for a virtual machine. This is a quick script to help you quickly retrieve that information. This article is part of the “Hyper-V and PowerShell” series. This script is meant to be as much a matter of teaching as functionality, and may be even more useful in that regard. I literally took the script from the earlier Get-VMIPAddresses script and made the necessary changes to produce this script. That’s a common way to get a head start on making tools that you need when none already exist: start from one that’s close to what you want. Parameters Name: The name of the virtual machine whose MAC address you wish to retrieve. Cannot be used with VM. ComputerName: The name of the host that contains the virtual machine whose MAC address you wish to receive. Cannot… Read More»

Hyper-V and PowerShell: Get Hyper-V VM IP Addresses

11 Dec 2014 by Eric Siron     6    
Hyper-V and PowerShell: Get Hyper-V Virtual Machine IP Addresses

Retrieving a virtual machine’s IP addresses isn’t an especially difficult process, but it’s still something you might do often enough that it would be convenient to have a quicker way. For me, I don’t do it often, but I still like to have a single function. I’ve improved the one I use to make it more useful for a variety of purposes. This article is part of the Hyper-V and PowerShell series. The script is quite simple. It just needs a VM, either by name or by using a VM object. I gave it a few extra parameters. Parameters Name: The name of the virtual machine whose IP addresses you wish to retrieve. Cannot be used with VM. ComputerName: The name of the host that contains the virtual machine whose IP addresses you wish to receive. Cannot be used with VM. VM: The VM object whose IP addresses you wish… Read More»

Hyper-V and PowerShell: A Deep Dive into Get-VM

09 Dec 2014 by Eric Siron     2    
Hyper-V and PowerShell: Get-VM

In the introductory article of this series, we talked about objects in PowerShell and how the large and grandiose uses of PowerShell are difficult to explain. While reflecting on that article, I realized that out of all the programming languages that I know, PowerShell’s verb-noun convention is probably the best way there is. This article will revisit that subject along with an investigation of the Get-VM cmdlet. If you’ve already got a good understanding of PowerShell objects and just want to learn about Get-VM, skip to the second half. PowerShell Objects The concept of objects in PowerShell is extremely important, as they are what sets it apart from almost every other interactive command-line system. In comparison, let’s examine a typical Windows command-line: a directory listing: Now, let’s look at the same thing in PowerShell: They look mostly the same, don’t they? Well, it turns out that they’re quite a bit different.… Read More»

Monthly Round-Up: November 2014

04 Dec 2014 by Eric Siron     0    
Monthly Hyper-V Round-Up: November 2014

Our monthly commentary and link round-up for November 2014. Don’t Underestimate the Sniff Test If you read very much of what I write, you’ll know that I don’t put a lot of stock in fancy titles or credentials and I certainly pay little attention to self-anointed experts, regardless of how many popularity contests they’ve won. The only thing I pay attention to is what really, truly works, and it doesn’t matter at all to me who says it. This has been my only principle ever since the first time I was at the mercy of a support “technician” that had no idea what to do and whose only goal was to get me off the phone. Over the course of the past decade and a half, I’ve gotten fairly good at quickly determining who the fraud in the room is. It’s not always simple. I still get fooled from time… Read More»

Hyper-V and PowerShell: Part 1 of However Many It Takes

25 Nov 2014 by Eric Siron     1    
Hyper-V and PowerShell

I, and a lot of other authors, have been cheerleading for PowerShell for quite some time. I think that a major problem with the most common approach is that it highlights all the wonderful things about PowerShell as a technology. I have my doubt that very many IT professionals decide to adopt new things based on that sort of presentation, especially when it comes to something that requires as much time and effort investment as PowerShell might. What needs to be done for those pros is to show them that the investment pays off for them. That’s what this open-ended post series aims to do. We Understand Why You Didn’t Jump On It I’ve seen a lot of writings attempting to shame or scare admins into dropping everything and devoting their lives to becoming PowerShell experts. They’ll tell you that you’re stupid or that your boss is on his way… Read More»

Free Script: Find Orphaned Hyper-V VM Files

20 Nov 2014 by Eric Siron     0    

If you’ve had very much virtual machine churn in your environment, it’s almost inevitable that you’ve wound up with a few disconnected virtual machine files here and there. This free script will help you to locate orphaned Hyper-V VM files. For fellow infrastructure scripters, there is a special bonus script included as well. The worst thing about my testing environment is that I often wind up with files that look legitimate, but are no longer part of any virtual machine. Even in live environments, some virtual machine moves and operations leave a trail of unwanted files. Errors and failures can produce more. Finding virtual machine files isn’t hard, but ensuring that they’re not really attached to something can be much more difficult than it might at first seem. I tried very hard to include a great many features to cover every scenario I could think of. Feature List Aware of… Read More»

Free Script: Gracefully Restart Virtual Machines on Hyper-V

18 Nov 2014 by Eric Siron     2    

There is one function whose absence in all official Hyper-V tools is blatantly obvious, and that is the ability to gracefully restart virtual machines. A Restart-VM function was introduced in 2012, but it just hard stops the VM before turning it back on. I suppose it has uses, but I’ve never found a good one. So, I set out to create my own. Here are the results. Script details The core functionality of the script is very basic. It performs a graceful shutdown of the VM, waits for it to be in an Off state, then turns it back on. It can work against multiple VMs at once, and runs each process in a separate background job so that the virtual machine restarts occur simultaneously. There are a number of things to be aware of with this script, so please read carefully before using. This Script Should be Dot-Sourced The… Read More»

12 Common Hyper-V Deployment Mistakes

13 Nov 2014 by Eric Siron     3    
12 Hyper-V deployment mistakes

I’ve seen a lot of questions from those who have recently deployed Hyper-V for the first time. Some just need a few pointers to iron some minor glitches, but some are in really bad shape. Here are some of the common deployment mistakes and their solutions. 1. Mis-Provisioning Resources in Hyper-V There are a lot of ways to get the hardware wrong. This is usually the result of not having system profiles or by taking advice from people that don’t have to write the checks for your systems. Improper Balance of CPU and Memory You are almost guaranteed to run out of memory resources long before you run out of CPU. Don’t be one of those poor souls that buys dual 20-core CPUs with 64GB of RAM. Memory can’t be shared. Even though you can use Dynamic Memory to squeeze in more VMs than might otherwise fit, the memory that… Read More»

Quorum in Microsoft Failover Clusters

06 Nov 2014 by Eric Siron     0    
Quorum in Microsoft Failover Clusters

The topic of quorum in Microsoft Failover Clustering often gets very little mention. Quorum guides the actions of surviving nodes when there are system-level failures. This technology has evolved substantially over the last few versions of Windows/Hyper-V Server and many are not aware of the changes. The Purpose and Function of Quorum Quorum has one basic purpose: to ensure that protected roles can always find their way to one, and only one, live host. If you’ve ever wondered why Hyper-V Replica doesn’t have any built-in automatic failover capability, this is why. It’s simple enough for the Replica host to know that it can’t reach the source host anymore, but that’s not enough to be certain that it isn’t still up. If it were to simply start the replicas, it’s entirely possible that the source and the replica machines would all be running simultaneously. This is known as a split-brain situation.… Read More»

Monthly Round-Up: October 2014

04 Nov 2014 by Eric Siron     0    
Monthly Hyper-V Round-Up: November 2014

Our monthly commentary and link round-up for October 2014. Think in Tiers In the world of computer systems, you often see tiered designs. Software developers talk about “n-tier applications”, in which you have a “data layer” and a “business logic layer” and a “presentation layer” and whatever other layers make sense for that application. Storage architects design tiered storage that combines solid-state drives with spinning disks. Systems architects create and manage tiered designs of database, web, and application servers. Even though I’ve never seen them referred to as tiers, network engineers set up perimeter and core and voice and user and guest and all sorts of other networks. There are a lot of reasons to take this style of approach. For one thing, you are “chunking” your solution by breaking it down into smaller, specialized bits, presumably making the total problem easier to manage. This lets you apply staff with… Read More»

Live Backup Changes in Hyper-V Server 2012 R2

29 Oct 2014 by Eric Siron     0    
Live Backup Changes in Hyper-V Server 2012 R2

Quite some time ago, we wrote a post about taking live backups in Hyper-V. Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 really changed the mechanics of backup. This post examines how those changes have affected live, or hot, backups. Until 2012 R2, backup was strictly based on VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) operations. Backup applications trigger VSS in the host. For standard backup operations of the file system, VSS responds by flushing buffers and pausing I/O. It also notifies any applications that had registered with VSS that a backup was about to occur, granting those applications the ability to perform any additional preparations necessary. One such application is Hyper-V. Hyper-V in these earlier versions would simply use the Integration Services, specifically the backup service, to notify the guest’s VSS of an impending backup operation. It would perform the same operations as VSS in the host by preparing its own operating system and registered… Read More»