Archive for the ‘Microsoft Hyper-V’ Category

Vembu BDR Suite v4.0 Generally Available (GA)

This week Vembu BDR Suite v4.0 became Generally Available (GA). With a lot of new features, customer requests and performance enhancements, it’s a realy nice product to backup your workloads.

My attention goes sepcially to Hyper-V backup, because I’m a real Microsoft geek!!

Here’s a overview of some enhancements:

  • Hyper-V Failover CLuster Support;
  • Checksum Based Incremental Tracking;
  • Shared VHDX support for Hyper-V;
  • Credential Manager;
  • Improvements to the User Interface (UI);
  • Reconnection for VMware and Hyper-V jobs;
  • New Disk Addition for VMware and Hyper-V;
  • Live Recovery to VMware;
  • Live Recovery to Hyper-V;
  • Quick VM Recovery Report;
  • API for VM list with Storage utilization report;

Some major features in the new Vembu BDR Suite:

  • Agentless Microsoft Hyper-V Backup with CBT Incrementals;
  • Disk Image Backup for WIndows Servers and Workstations;
  • Native Tape Storage support;
  • File & Application Backup for Windows, Linux and Mac;
  • Bare Metal Recovery;
  • Vembu Universal Explorer;
  • Failover and Failback;
  • Free Edition support;

This is only just a bunch of new features and major features in the new Vembu BDR Suite v4.0. Check the release notes here.

Personally I’m realy happy with the Hyper-V Failover Cluster Support!! In my daily job I’m designing and building a lot of Hyper-V environments, inclusing huge and complex clusters.

The whole team from Vembu did a realy great job with the new release of Vembu BDR Suite v4.0. Great enhancements, great new features and realy easy to use! With the new features, new major features, enhancements and support for cluster environments, Vembu BDR Suite v4.0 is a very powerful solution for backup and disaster recovery.

Below some handy URL’s. Check it out and try Vembu BDR Suite v4.0 yourself!!

Note:

Vembu BDR Suite v4.0 is available only for fresh installation. Soon it will also be available for existing environments to upgrade from older versions.

 

 

 

 

Upgraded my homelab!!

Last week I’ve upgraded my homelab again. Now Windows Server 2019 is GA, this setup is running Windows Server 2019 with the Hyper-V server role enable. This machines has capacity enough to run several virtual machines and also nested virtualization. Very useful to install for example a virtual Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) cluster of other Hyper-V clusters!

So let’s rock and create some virtual machines running Windows Server 2016 and 2019!!

  • AMD A8 3870K 3.00GHz 4MB FM1 Box
  • Asus F1A75-V PRO AMD A75, SATA600 RAID, HDMI
  • Corsair 32GB PC3-14900 DDR3 SDRAM Vengeance (4x 8GB, 1866MHz
  • 1 x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250 GB
  • 1 x Crucial CT512MX100SSD1 512 GB
  • 1 x WD Cavlar Green 1,5 TB

And this setup is fast….realy fast!! The boot tinme of a virtual machine running Windows Server 2019 is around the 5 seconds!!

     

     

Microsoft Ignite 2018 – Book of News

Ignite Book of News: Your Guide to All the News at Microsoft Ignite

This document contains information on all the announcements made at Microsoft Ignite 2018, including:

  • Microsoft 365;
  • Microsoft Azure IaaS;
  • Azure SQL;
  • SQL Server 2019;
  • Security;
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI);
  • SQL Server 2019;
  • Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Windows Server 2019;
  • Windows Virtual Desktops;
  • Windows Admin Center;
  • Hyper-V;
  • Storage Space Direct (S2D);
  • And many, many, many more……

Download the full document here (or click the big picture below).

Example failover scenarios with Windows Server 2019 S2D cluster

In my previous blogpost, I’ve installed and configured a two node virtual S2D cluster with Windows Server 2019 within Hyper-V on my laptop (Windows 10).

Now the full infrastructure is up and running, and the first guest virtual machine is a live, it’s also nice to take a view on some failover scenarios! In the following examples, you can see the high availability and resiliency of a Storage Space Direct (S2D) cluster. It’s realy, realy, realy powerfull and absolute the feature of virtualization!!

The following scenarios I’m going to cover:

  • Live migration virtual machine;
  • Pause a Hyper-V cluster node (drain roles)
    • for maintenance, for example patching, firmware updates or driver updates.
  • Power Off a Hyper-V cluster node
    • For example a power failure or hardware failure

Scenario 1 – Live Migration:

This feature is already present in the previous versions of Hyper-V and it’s realy powerfull to migrate a virtual machine to another Hyper-V host without any downtime!

        

Scenario 2 – Pause a Hyper-V cluster node:

In this scenario I’m going to ‘pause’ a Hyper-V cluster node with the ‘drain roles’ option. This can be for maintenance, for example: Patching, firmware updates, driver updates or just investigate some issues within Windows.

     

     

As you can see, in my two node S2D cluster, we can ‘pause’ one of the Hyper-V cluster nodes and the virtual machine is still up and running!!

Scenario 3 – Power Off a Hyper-V cluster node:

In this scenario I’m going to simulate a power failure or hardware failure, just to ‘Power Off’ on of the Hyper-V cluster nodes! The virtual machine is saved for a couple of seconds, migrated to the other Hyper-V node and started again!

              

With also with a hardware or power failure, the impact and downtime is that much!! Because the power of Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), your workloads are maximum protected and available!!

Wrap Up:

In this blogpost you’ve seen some scenarios with Storage Space Direct (S2D) in Windows Server 2019. Here you can see the high availability and resiliency of a Storage Spaces Direct infrastructure. Realy powerfull and it meets all your needs for your virtualization environment.

Build a virtual S2D cluster with Windows Server 2019 build 17744

Windows Server 2016 and 2019 Storage Sapces Direct (S2D) allows building HA storage systems using storage nodes with local storage, such as SATA or SSD disks.

In this blogpost, I’ll deploy a two node S2D cluster based on Windows Server 2019 build 17744. The main machine is a HP ProBook 450 G5 with Windows 10, 16 GB memory, 512 GB SSD disk, and Hyper-V enabled.

First of all, I’ve deployed the following virtual machines:

  • S2D-W2019-DC01 (Domain Controller, DNS, Group Policies)
    IP address: 172.16.0.100
  • S2D-W2019-HV01 (Hyper-V host, S2D node)
    IP address: 172.16.0.101 (LAN)
    IP address: 10.10.0.101 (Live Migration)
  • S2D-W2019-HV02 (Hyper-V host, S2D node)
  • IP address: 172.16.0.102 (LAN)
    IP address: 10.10.0.102 (Live Migration)

All the servers are installed with Windows Server 2019 build 17744. The first server I’ve configured is the domain controller. My internal domain is s2dlab.local.

For both S2D nodes (S2D-W2019-HV01 and S2D-W2019-HV02), you’ve to configure some additional settings, because this servers are virtual. So we’re going to run Hyper-V in Hyper-V and on that Hyper-V host there’re some guest virtual machines (nested virtualization) 😀 Cool stuff!!!


$S2DHOST1 = 'S2D-W2019-HV01'
$S2DHOST2 = 'S2D-W2019-HV02'

# List all virtual machines
Get-VM

# Enable nested virtualization on virtual machines
Set-VMProcessor -VMName $S2DHOST1 -ExposeVirtualizationExtensions $true
Set-VMProcessor -VMName $S2DHOST2 -ExposeVirtualizationExtensions $true

Next, you’ve to Configure the following settings within the VM configuration:

  • Disable dynamic memory;
  • Set the number of virtual processors to 2 or 4;
  • Turn on MAC address spoofing on your network interface(s);

           

Now the domain controller is up and running and both S2D nodes are installed and configured with Windows Server 2019, it’s time to add some storage. Both servers have 3 x 50 GB virtual disks attached! Note!! this is only for testing and demo!! 

So we’ve 300 GB storage available for our S2D cluster. After this is done, you can install the following roles and features within Windows Server:

  • (Role) File and Storage Services;
  • (Role) Hyper-V;
  • (Feature) Failover Clustering;

           

Now all the components are ready to build the cluster. It’s recommended to run the cluster validation before building your cluster! The name of my cluster is ‘S2D-CL01’ with IP address 172.16.0.200/16. Note!! Uncheck the option ‘Add all eligible storage to the cluster’!!

The cluster is up and running. As you can see within your Active Directory and DNS configuration, there’re three computer objects (two cluster nodes and one Failover Cluster object).

                 

The last step before enabling ‘S2D’ on our cluster is checking the disk configuration.


# List all available disks within the cluster nodes
Get-PhysicalDisk

# Enable Storage Spaces Direct on the cluster
Enable-ClusterS2D

# List all Storage Pools within the S2D cluster
Get-Storagepool S2D*

     

Now our cluster is Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) enabled. The last step is to create a virtual disk within our Storage Pool and add it as a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) to the cluster, wo we can store workloads on it! Bacause we’ve a two node cluster, the only Resiliency type is Two-Way Mirror.

                 

Wrap Up:

In this blogpost we’ve builded a two nodes virtual Storage Spaces Direct cluster in Hyper-V (Windows 10). The S2D nodes are running Windows Server 2019. It’s really a nice opportunity to run this configuration virtual on your laptop or desktop, while nested virtualization is supported and it works great!!

In the next blogpost I’ll show you to install and configure a virtual machine within our S2D cluster. Also performing some live migrations to show the high availability and resiliency of our setup!

3 Tools for Automating Deployments in the Era of the Modern Hybrid Cloud

This video shows how powerful PowerShell is for doing some automation in Hyper-V and Azure (IaaS).

Failover Hyper-V cluster nodes with mixed Upper & Lower case names

I’ve seen a lot of Hyper-V clusters during my daily work. Most of the time, I see a mixture of none standardised names or letters. Also a mixture of upper and lower case names.

There’s is only one option to have all your cluster nodes in Upper case names within the failover cluster manager, you’ll have to use the command line! For example:

cluster.exe /cluster:<name of the cluster> /add /node:<name of the node in UPPER case>

For this command to work, you’ve to install ‘Failover Cluster Command Interface’.

       

Altaro VM Backup v7

A couple of weeks ago Altaro has released the new version of Altaro VM Backup v7. Within this version there’re some great new enhancements and features. Here are some of the new features and enhancements:

  • Boot from Backup
  • Support for Windows Server 2016
  • Augmented Inline Deduplication

With all these great new features and enhancements, Altaro VM Backup is a really nice solution for backup and disaster recovery in your virtual environment.

Altaro Offsite Server existed in the previous version, but was improved and has also an upgraded user interface.

Installation process:
The installation process of Altaro VM Backup v7 is really, really easy. In just a few steps, the installation is done. Really easy, really fast and just within a couple of minutes you’re ready to rock! If the Windows Firewall is turned on, all the necessary ports are configured automatically for you. After succesfully completing the installation, you can launch the management console. From this console you can perform all the configuration and management.

INST_01    INST_02    INST_03

INST_04    INST_05    INST_06

INST_07    INST_08

Configuration:
When you start the console the first time, there’s is quick wizard. In three easy steps, you can configure the software and you’re ready to make the first backups!

MCON_01    MCON_02

Three steps during the quick wizard:

  • Step 1 – Add Host
    Add your hypervisor to the configuration. It could be a standalone server or cluster environment (Hyper-V or VMware). Within the new version there’s also support for Windows Server 2016!
  • Step 2 – Backup Locations
    Add some backup locations to the configuration. You can choose the following options:
    Physical Drive: USB, eSATA, iSCSI, Internal Drive
    Network Path LAN Only: Network Drive, NAS or other Network Location
    Offsite Locations: Mostly used for Disaster Recovery
    Option 1: Altaro Offsite Server over WAN/Internet Connection
    Option 2: Local backups are copied to one or more rotating drivers.

Simply add one or more backup locations and ‘drag and drop’ the VM’s to one of the backup locations.

  •  Step 3 – Take Backup
    When you take the first backup of your VM’s, they will be assigned to the default retention policy of two weeks on both Backups and Office Copies. You can change the retention to assign a different policy or create a new custom policy that meets your business goals. The default retention policies are ‘Never delete’, ‘2 weeks’ (default), ‘1 month’ or ‘6 months’.

By default the VM’s are not assigned to a backup schedule. There are two backup schedules available out of the box.

  1. 20.00 on Sa and Su
  2. 22.00 on Mo, Tu, We, Th and Fr

Off course you can create your own backup schedule or multiples schedules to meet your business goals. Easily drag and drop your virtual machines to the right schedule to assign that particular virtual machine to the schedule.

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BC_04    BC_05    BC_06

BC_07    BC_08    BC_09

BC_10    BC_11    BC_12

BC_13    BC_14    BC_15

Augmented Inline Deduplication
In pre-version 7 there was also a ‘deduplication’ technology called ‘Reverse Delta’. It’s not exactly the same technique as deduplication, but it served the same purpose. On a VM basis only the most recent data is placed in the most recent backup file. So this will save a lot of diskspace on a VM basis.

With the new version there’s a great new technology called ‘Augmented Inline Deduplication’. The backup operations are not only quicker, but far more efficient for storage as well. It will dedupe data across all your backed-up workloads!! All the backups are stored in a central repository and using a hash database to keep track of the deduped blocks. For example, 20 servers with Windows Server 2016 installed, there’re some similar files and data within each server. With the new Augmented Inline Deduplication technology, the similar files and data is only stored once!! And remember, the process occurs inline. This means that the process runs during the backup, not afterwards!!

So you don’t need to send more data to your backup repository then needed and it’s amazing fast! In my example I’ve 6 Windows Server 2016 virtual machines. When you look at the overall deduplication status, I saved about 88% percent on my storage. So this is incredibly efficient and the backup operations are really fast!

BC_15

Dashboard

When you start the management console, you’ll see the main dashboard. You can see the most important things in one overview (Backup drive status, Active & upcoming Operations, Deduplication & Compression status, Recent Operations). It’s a really powerful dashboard with all the information in one overview.

Free Up Disk Space
It might be useful to delete some older backups. You can easy start a wizard, so you can delete previous backups within a few steps. Most of the time you use this option if you’re low on diskspace.

Boot from Backup
A great new feature within the new release of Altaro VM Backup is ‘Boot from Backup’. Now it is possible to boot a virtual machine directly from your backup. There are two options available, ‘Verification Mode’ or ‘Recovery Mode’.

The verification mode is very useful just to verify your backup is useful to recover from. The second option is to start a virtual machine directly from the backup, but also performing a full recovery of that virtual machine (Disaster Recovery). As soon as the VM is booted, a full restore operation takes place in the background.

When choosing the ‘Verification Mode’ the virtual machine will be booted directly from the backup location. Also you can enable ‘Disable network card’. So the new machine is fully isolated from your production environment!
From the console, you can connect to the specific virtual machine and login to the VM. After choosing ‘Discard VM’ the virtual machine will be shutdown and removed from your hypervisor (Hyper-V in my example). Very powerful to use without interrupting your production environment.

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BFB_04    BFB_05    BFB_06

BFB_07    BFB_08    BFB_09

BFB_10

Sandbox & Verification
The Sandbox Restore feature allows you to test your virtual machines backups using a ‘Sandbox approach’ to ensure that the live original virtual machine is nog corrupted. This feature gives you two options:

  1. Verify Backup Folders. Verify your backup folders without attaching the virtual machines to the hypervisor. This should be used to verify the integrity of the data stored on the backup drive.
  2. Perform Full Test Restore. Performing a full test restore allows you to verify your backup data for a virtual machine as well as restore it to disk as a clone and attach it to the hypervisor to Ensure that it boots. This will not effect your live virtual machines!!

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TEF_04    TEF_05    TEF_06

TEF_07    TEF_08

You can also schedule some ‘Test Drills’ so the whole sandboxing process is automated for you on a given time. Very powerful to guarantee the integrity of your data and virtual machines.

File Level Restore
If you want to restore only some files or data to your virtual machine, but not the whole VM and configuration, you can use ‘File Level Restore’. From the wizard you can select the specific virtual machine, the back-up to restore from and the data you want to restore. Next you’ve to choose a local folder or a network folder where to extract the files.

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FLR_03    FLR_04    FLR_05

FLR_06    FLR_07    FLR_08

FLR_09    FLR_10    FLR_11

FLR_12    FLR_13

Altaro Offsite Server (Master Encryption Key):
When you’re creating a backup of your virtual machines, the data is on one single location. For disaster recovery it could be very useful to replicate the data also to another external location. In case of a disaster, you can boot directly from the ‘offsite server’ and your workloads are up and running again.

You need to configure an offsite location. This could be a physical disk, USB disk, LAN location or even a external location connected through the WAN (the Internet). In my environment I’ve attached some physical disks. Configure the new location and simply drag and drop the virtual machines to the new location. In my environment I only need two server: the domain controller (HV2016-DC01) and my webserver (HV2016-WEB01). All the other servers are included in the normal backup window.

One very important feature is ‘Master Encryption Key’. The Master Encryption Key is used for Offsite copies of all virtual machines & backups of any virtual machines which have been configured to use Encryption. Note: Encryption is disabled by default.

From the management console you can select the specific servers you want to copy to the offsite location and start the copy operations. Also very fast, very easy and powerful! Within a couple of minutes the virtual machines are copied to the offsite location(s). The speed depends on the bandwidth to the offsite location. Also in the offsite copies data deduplication is used.

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OSC_07    OSC_08    OSC_09

OSC_10    OSC_11    OSC_12

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Conclusion:
Altaro VM Backup v7 is easy to install and configure. Within 15 minutes the first backup can be made. With some great new features and enhancements like ‘Windows Server 2016 support’, ‘Boot from backup’, ‘Offsite Server’, ‘File Level Restore’, ‘Sandbox & Verification’ and personally the greatest new feature Augmented Inline Deduplication, this version is a really nice solution to protect for virtual environment including disaster recovery.

Looking to the future, there could be ‘more’ cloud support, for example Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). Currently you can set up Altaro Offsite Server on Microsoft Azure. When you can backup virtual machines directly from Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), this software should even more powerful and you have all the things you need to meet your business goals!

If you have any questions or you want to use Altaro VM Backup in your own environment, you can download the software and use it free for 30 days or completely free for 2 VM’s!!