Microsoft released a few new features in Hyper-V as part of its Windows 10 Creators Update. Here’s what you need to know!
File screening helps mitigate damage from a ransomware attack, allowing file server configuration for real-time auditing on files that become modified.
It can be very frustrating to deal with VMs that are experiencing some sort of checkpoint issue. Luckily, Hyper-V gives us the ability to manually merge the AVHDX files with the parenting disk so that we can potentially resolve the checkpoint headache. In this guide we show you how to manually merge Hyper-V Checkpoints.
If you’re administrating a Hyper-V cluster that is a few years in age and you’re thinking of expanding, you might be at the point where it is no longer feasible to purchase a new host with hardware that matches your existing hosts. However, if the CPU on the newer host is of a different version or generation, live migration or restoring a saved state VM between the new and old host will fail. Luckily, Hyper-V comes with a feature called CPU compatibility mode that will allow these functions to continue between CPU generations.
When creating a Hyper-V checkpoint, it is crucial to know where the checkpoint files are being saved, especially since checkpoint files can fill up storage. When trying to find where the checkpoint files are being stored in your Hyper-V environment, it is important to understand what types of files are generated when creating a checkpoint. This is because components of the checkpoint are stored in two separate locations. The AVHDX file is stored with the VHD storage and the checkpoint configuration files are stored with the VM’s active configuration files.
One of the first things to check for whenever using a snapshot or checkpoint in Hyper-V is the available storage in the location where checkpoints are being stored. If enough space is available, the next thing to verify is how long the checkpoint is going to be left in place. Verifying the proper storage for using checkpoints is an important step and following these two steps can save you from shame later if the environment you are working on has very little wiggle room as far as storage.
Exporting checkpoints is one of those features that is very handy but not commonly used since it’s pretty situational. For example, picture this scenario: let’s say we just applied an update to a VM and the update went south. Thankfully, we created a checkpoint of the VM before we did the upgrade and we can use that checkpoint to revert the VM.
Accessing Hyper-V Manager can be quite a mystery if you’ve never launched it before or when you’re working in an unfamiliar environment. You don’t want to be stuck in the situation of frantically searching for Hyper-V Manager when a critical VM is down and needs attention.
There are different methods of accessing this tool and with the various flavors of Windows, it’s good to know where to look and how to install it for each one.
When administering a Hyper-V cluster with shared storage, it’s important to be aware of the resources provisioned to each VM and the resources available on all the hosts. For example, in a two node cluster, in order for it to be N+1 (the ability for the cluster to be able to withstand a failure of one physical host) each host would need to be able to handle running the normal VM workload all by itself. Most of the time, unless you have a very compute-intensive environment, memory is usually going to be the bottleneck for maintaining an N + 1 cluster. So in this post, we will focus calculating capacity for N + 1 by measuring memory utilization. Thankfully we can easily determine this by using PowerShell.
The Get-VHD cmdlet grabs all VHD information associated with the specified VHD. It can be very useful if you want to either quickly gather information about all the VHDs on a host or just a single VHD. The information generated from Get-VHD can also be used in an automated weekly script to display information of selected VHDs.
In April 2015, Microsoft announced a new feature available in Windows Server 2016 called Nano Server. It is similar to Windows Server Core mode but remarkably smaller. Apparently there are big plans in store for Nano Server. Jeffery Snover, lead architect for Windows Server, consistently stated throughout the Microsoft Ignite event, “Nano Server is the greatest change to Windows Server since Windows NT”. This tiny-sized OS is configured with only the components installed that are needed and nothing else. For example, in a the standard version of server with a GUI, if you want to install IIS all you need to do is go into server manager and click the checkbox to add the role and it gets installed. This is because the files necessary to install IIS are already stored in the OS. With Nano Server this is not the case. One of the biggest changes with this version of Windows Server, is there is no GUI, login interface, or remote desktop capability at all. Instead, Nano Server is managed via PowerShell Remoting and WMI. Because this server is set up this way, it will provide some major benefits in a Hyper-V environment once Windows Server 2016 is released.
Configuring auto start on VMs is very important, especially for smaller companies that don’t have the budget for a power-outage-proof solution. I’ve seen it a few times when a power outage occurred over the weekend and the IT admin was scrambling to get all the VMs powered back on. Configuring auto start on each VM can easily be overlooked, but with a little PowerShell know how, managing and configuring this setting is a breeze.
Checkpoints, or snapshots in previous versions of Hyper-V, can be a lifesaver when used properly in certain situations. For example, if applying a patch to the company payroll software goes south, being able to quickly roll a server back to its previous state is a huge benefit. However, checkpoints are also one of the Hyper-V features that admins have to be careful with. Improper use can cause more harm than good, which is why it is a valuable skill to be able to easily check for any and all existing checkpoints.