April News: #StarWind Virtual SAN @StarWind #HyperV

Hello folks,

I am glad to share with you the latest news of StarWind for April 2015.

1. Tap Room Meeting: VMware and StarWind Virtual SAN: from Two, to Infinity and Beyond

StarWind_TapRoom
Date: 2 April, 11 am ET / 4 pm BST

Host: Anatoly Vilchinskiy, Head of Support Department, StarWind Software Inc.

Let’s put all cards on the table: VMware is good, their VSAN is good. But does it good for all situations? Get yourself on the most comfortable chair in the Tap Room, open the whisky bottle, and our host will tell you why is it better to start with two shots instead of shugging the whole bottle.

*The only Tap Room, where no one will snatch your cocktail if you leave it on a table.

Virtualize properly!

Book your table here!

2. Free Webinar! Critical SQL Server Databases: Provide HA with SQL Server Failover Clustering and Cluster Shared Volumes

15_Apr_Webinar

Date: 15 April, 11 am PM / 2 pm ET

Speakers: Edwind Sarmiento, Microsoft SQL Server MVP and Microsoft Certified Master

Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software Inc.

Highly-Available SQL Server with reliable Disaster Recovery is traditionally hard to achieve but necessary to have. We say it is possible to build a fully redundant SQL Server 2014 cluster with just 2 servers, StarWind Virtual SAN and Cluster Shared Volumes while implementing disaster recovery to several places with minimal RTO and RPO!
Join SQL Server MVP and Microsoft Certified Master Edwin M Sarmiento to learn how to use Windows Server Failover Clustering with Cluster Shared Volumes to provide high availability and disaster recovery solutions for mission-critical SQL Server 2014 databases.
We will look at how to configure a highly available SQL Server on top of Cluster Shared Volumes and also discuss best practices and recommendations.

Register here!

3. Free Webinar! Make Your Storage Work For You: VAAI and ODX offload up to 30% of disk operations to the SAN

21_Apr_Webinar_Banner

Date: 21 April, 11am PT / 2pm ET

Speakers: Aidan Finn, Microsoft MVP, Technical Sales Lead at MicroWarehouse Ltd.
Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software Inc.

StarWind always considered virtual storage systems to be valued for uptime, performance and flexibility – take one out and the system is useless. Hypervisor CPU and Networking overhead is a common issue for operations like VM provisioning, migration, and cloning. There should be a way to enhance performance by offloading the unnecessary CPU load and shrinking the SAN traffic. ODX and VAAI features do exactly this by offloading routine disk tasks to the storage array so they will be executed more effectively. That is if your SAN supports one of these features. StarWind Virtual SAN does both – just saying.

Join Aidan Finn and Max Kolomyeytsev at this webinar dedicated to the use of Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) and APIs for Array Integration (VAAI). They will explain exactly how you can greatly enhance the storage system performance and increase VM density with Hyper-V and vSphere.

Register here!

4. Win the Full Conference Pass for the Microsoft Ignite 2015!

Win_the_MS_Ignite

Attend or register for any ‪‎StarWind ‪‎webinar or ‪#TapRoom Meeting till 16 April and take a chance to win the Full Conference Pass for Microsoft ‪#‎Ignite 2015!

The winner will be announced at StarWind blog, and on Facebook and Twitter pages on the 20th of April!

5. Meet StarWind at MS #Ignite 2015!

Meeting_470_246

Request a chance to schedule a personal meeting with Anton Kolomyeytsev, StarWind Founder and CTO, or Joseph Preston, VP of Sales at Microsoft Ignite 2015

Enjoy!

Cheers,
/Charbel

Posted in Hyper-V, StarWind Tagged with: , , , , ,

Error Applying Virtual Switch Properties Changes. The Requested Resource Is In Use (0x800700AA). #HyperV

Hello folks,

The other day, I came across the following error when I was trying to create a Hyper-V vSwitch using a WiFi network adapter.

HV-WiFi-vSwitch01

As some of you might know that wireless networking is a bit tricky in virtualization, and sometimes does not work.

There is a great post that goes into the needy-greedy details on why supporting VM communication through wireless network adapters is sometimes problematic.

As you can see in the error message above, we don’t have much information to find the root cause of the issue.

Let’s try to create the same Virtual Switch with PowerShell this time.

HV-WiFi-vSwitch06

The error is different now, [The virtual switch cannot be bound to the WiFi adapter because the network bridge is already in use]. No, we are not talking about San Francisco bridge here Winking smile

When you create a Hyper-V vSwitch and bound it to a WiFi Adapter, Hyper-V behind the scene integrates the bridge as part of creating the virtual switch in such a way that when you create an external virtual switch using a WiFi adapter, Hyper-V will do the following:

  1. Create a single adapter bridge connected to the WiFi adapter.
  2. Create the external virtual switch.
  3. Bind the external virtual switch to use the bridge, instead of the WiFi adapter directly.

The error message shows clearly that we have a network bridge already created and bound to the WiFi adapter.

We can confirm this by running: netsh bridge show adapter

HV-WiFi-vSwitch07

Yes indeed we have a network bridge.

Let’s open Network and Connections applet in control panel

HV-WiFi-vSwitch02

Yes, the Network Bridge is already available and connected, but have you noticed something different here?

The Virtual Switch is unplugged, we can confirm this in Hyper-V Manager under Virtual Switch Manager:

HV-WiFi-vSwitch03

We can see the Ethernet External vSwitch, but where is the WiFi vSwitch? Confused smile

Sometimes when you remove the virtual switch that is bound to the WiFi adapter, the network bridge is not deleted automatically.

The resolution is very simple. We will remove the network bridge manually and create the Virtual Switch again:

HV-WiFi-vSwitch09

Here you go, the WiFi vSwitch is created successfully now Smile

HV-WiFi-vSwitch10

However there is a better way to use Hyper-V with a Wireless Network adapter, here is a great post on how to do it documented by Ben Armstrong (Principal program manager on the Hyper-V team).

Hope this helps!

Enjoy your day…

Cheers,
/Charbel

Posted in Hyper-V, Network Tagged with: , , ,

New Webinar: Upcoming features in #HyperV #vNext #Altaro

Are you ready for Hyper-V in Windows Server vNext?

We’re warming up for the release of Hyper-V vNext… My fellow Microsoft Hyper-V MVP, Aidan Finn and Microsoft Sr. Technical Evangelist Rick Claus will take you through what’s coming up in a new Altaro webinar, hosted by my fellow MVP Andy Syrewicze!

Looking to get a good view of what’s coming up? Do you have Hyper-V vNext questions you’d like to ask Aidan or Rick directly?

Here’s your chance! We’re live on Thursday, 26th March 2015 at 4PM CET  / 11am EDT / 8am PDT (30-45mins + live Q&A!)

HyperV-vNext

Enjoy the webinar!

Cheers,
/Charbel

Posted in Altaro, Hyper-V Tagged with: , , ,

How To Load Balance Remote Desktop Session Host With #KEMP Virtual LoadMaster? @KEMPtech #RDS #HyperV

KEMP-RDSH-Logo

I have been working with Remote Desktop Services (aka Terminal Services) since Windows Server 2003, as you know that support is ending on July 14th 2015 for Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, SBS 2003 and SBS 2003 R2, but still you plan on not upgrading, so if you are not upgrading, then you should have started upgrading yesterday.

Remote Desktop Services High Availability Challenges

As more organizations begin to adopt Desktop Virtualization in Windows Server 2012 R2, users are becoming increasingly dependent on Remote Desktop Services to securely access corporate resources from virtually anywhere while they stay productive when they are away from the office. To ensure the highest levels of availability, system engineers should identify and eliminate any potential single points of failure in the solution.

Remote Desktop Services Role Highly Available

KEMP-RDSH-LBHA12R2

Microsoft Remote Desktop Services – High Availability. (Image Source: Microsoft)

  1. Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host)
  2. Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker)
  3. Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host)
  4. Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access)
  5. Remote Desktop Licensing (RD Licensing) and Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway)

Remote Desktop Services includes several components designed to eliminate single point of failure.

RD Gateway: High availability of the RD Gateway role service is achieved by deploying it in Windows Network Load Balancing (WNLB) cluster to load balance the RD Gateway traffic, or you could also use DNS round robin in place of an NLB cluster to make the RD Gateway role service highly available. One disadvantage with DNS round robin (DNSRR) is that it cannot act as a fail-over cluster. Therefore, if one server fails, clients might continue to attempt connection to the failed server. The optimal and effective solution is to use a third-party load balancer such as KEMP!

RD Web Access: High availability of the RD Web Access role service is achieved by deploying it in an active-active mode. Multiple RD Web Access servers can be configured as part of a Windows Network Load Balancing (WNLB) cluster to achieve this, or you could also use DNS round robin in place of an NLB cluster to make the RD Web Access role service highly available.

RD Connection Broker: One of the biggest improvements to high availability in Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services is the RD Connection Broker (Active/Active). This RD Connection Broker will start automatically load balancing sessions for the RD Session Host servers farm in your deployment. In previous versions, the RD Connection Broker was only supported (Active/Passive) clustering. That provided basic redundancy, but it did not allow you to scale out as load increased.

RD Session Host: A high availability solution for the RD Session Host server consists of high availability of the hardware, as well as high availability of the Remote Desktop Session Host role service. You create a farm of multiple RD Session Host servers.

RD Virtualization Host: This role is installed on the Hyper-V host for virtual desktops. Setting up a failover cluster environment with multiple Hyper-V hosts will ensure that in the event of a hardware failure on a Hyper-V host, the virtual machines will fail over to another Hyper-V host and automatically start on a second node.

RD Licensing: A high availability solution for the RD Licensing role consists of high availability of the hardware, as well as high availability of the Remote Desktop Licensing role service. You can deploy multiple RD Licensing servers.

KEMP-RDSH-LB00

Microsoft Remote Desktop Services – High Availability Deployment. (Image Credit: Charbel Nemnom)

Windows Network Load Balancing Clusters

It’s time to graduate and say goodbye to Windows NLB. NLB suffers from many serious drawbacks and should be avoided in production if possible. NLB cluster uses layer two broadcasts for heartbeat communication, which generates an excessive amount of noise on the network. NLB also lacks application awareness, which may result in network traffic being delivered to a RDS host that is not capable of handling those requests. In addition, NLB requires static ARP configuration for Multicast mode over routed subnet, and finally you need to make sure that MAC address spoofing is enabled on the appropriate vmNIC or vmNICs if NLB is used inside a Virtual Machine. Have I complaint enough about NLB Winking smile so… it’s time to move!

In today’s blog post, I will show you how to effectively Load Balance your Remote Desktop Session Host servers with #KEMP virtual LoadMaster.

KEMP Load Balancers and Remote Desktop Services

The KEMP LoadMaster load balancer is an excellent solution for providing high availability for Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services. Using the LoadMaster to provide load balancing for RDSH server clusters provides numerous benefits over Windows NLB. With RDS functions enabled on LoadMaster users are able to maintain persistence even in the absence of a RD Connection Broker, including better service health checks, granular traffic delivery and accurate load balancing that can monitors resource consumption on RD Session Hosts to ensure that servers are not overloaded with connections.

It is important to realize that starting with Windows Server 2012, in most cases, Remote Desktop Services is deployed using the Scenario-Based Deployment as part of the Server Manager. In these cases you will automatically get an RD Connection Broker as part of your RDS deployment. However, there are certain scenarios when you don’t require to use RD Connection Broker such as public Kiosk deployments for example, these kiosks will be located in public areas, such as libraries, schools and airports, and will run a restricted set of applications. One set of requirements for these Kiosk machines is to ensure that it’s secured and users cannot interactively exit, shutdown, logoff, lock or switch user accounts.

N.B. For more details on using RD Session Host without RD Connection Broker, please refer to the following Microsoft link.

Before we start with the deployment, you need to disable RD Connection Broker Load balancing to avoid overlap between RD Connection Broker and KEMP Session Broker. You can do that in Group Policy Object on the OU where your RD Session Host servers are located and set the following GPO to disabled:

Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\RD Connection Broker\Use RD Connection Broker load balancing

Installing Virtual LoadMaster using Hyper-V Manager

The Virtual LoadMaster (VLM) is packaged as .VHDX file for ease of deployment. This image can be freely downloaded from KEMP Technologies website for a 30 day evaluation period. To download the VLM please follow the detailed instructions here.

Importing the Virtual LoadMaster Into Hyper-V

Click the Import Virtual Machine menu option in Hyper-V Manager console, and follow the import virtual machine wizard by selecting the LoadMaster VLM folder. The virtual machine should be imported and should now appear within the Virtual
Machines pane in the Hyper-V Manager.

Configure the Network Adapter Settings

Ensure that the Enable spoofing of MAC addresses checkbox is selected, and Static MAC address is selected as well.

KEMP-RDSH-LB20

The LoadMaster is now fully installed and ready to be used. Please refer to the LoadMaster documentation for step by step Licensing and Configuration which can be downloaded from the http://www.KEMPtechnologies.com/documentation page.

Configure The LoadMaster For Remote Desktop Session Host Service

Configure the LoadMaster settings by following the steps below in the LoadMaster Web UI:

1. Add New –> Virtual Services.
2. Enter the relevant IP address in the Virtual Address (VIP).
3. Enter 3389 as the Port.
4. Enter a recognizable Service Name, such as RDSH-LB.
5. Click Add this Virtual Service.

KEMP-RDSH-LB02

6. We can set an Alternate Address as well in case the primary Virtual IP Address is not reachable.

KEMP-RDSH-LB17

7. Expand the Real Servers section.
8. Click Add New to add the RD Session Host servers as Real Servers.
9. Enter the Real Server IP Address.
10. Enter 3389 as the Port.
11. Click Add This Real Server.
12. Repeat step 11 above until all Real RDSH Servers have been added.

KEMP-RDSH-LB08

13. When all of the RDS server have been added, you can check the status of the Virtual Service by selecting Statistics in the main menu, and then click on Real Servers. The status will be displayed. Confirm that the Status is Up.

KEMP-RDSH-LB09

14. The next step is to configure the load balancing method. Click Modify on the relevant Virtual Service.
15. Expand the Standard Options section.
16. Deselect the Transparency mode. We do not require Layer 7 transparency for our deployment.
17. Select Session Broker as the Persistence Mode. (The LoadMaster is able to redirect a user to an existing session based on the persistence token. This is perfect in our scenario, because we deployed RD session host farm without an RD Connection Broker.
18. Set the Scheduling Method to Weighted Least Connection. This to ensure that user sessions are equally spread over the RD Session Host servers.
KEMP-RDSH-LB04

The load-balanced RD Session Host configuration is completed.

Test The Load-Balanced RD Session Host

Fire up your kiosk machines and enjoy the accurate load balancing Winking smile

In the main menu of the LoadMaster Web UI, select Statistics.

KEMP-RDSH-LB15

Click the Real Servers button.

KEMP-RDSH-LB19

Click the Virtual Services button.

KEMP-RDSH-LB12

Last but not least, do you want to take any RD Session Host into maintenance mode? very simple, you can select the desired real server and click Disable. The LoadMaster will stop redirecting users sessions to that server.

KEMP-RDSH-LB14

The Virtual LoadMaster is Highly Available

As we discussed at the beginning of this article, the RDS roles services are highly available now, but the Virtual LoadMaster is still a single point of failure, you need to avoid that by leveraging Hyper-V Cluster and make this VM highly available as well. in the event of a hardware failure on a Hyper-V host, the virtual LoadMaster will fail over to another Hyper-V host and automatically start. Thus will make sure the load balancer is always available and serving your users’ request.

Closing Thoughts

Remote Desktop Services is a compelling virtual desktop solution that can be used to provide secure desktop and RemoteApp access with unrivaled ease of use. The users become more dependent on it for their productivity and day to day job, therefore building a scalable and highly available Remote Desktop Access solution is critical. You want to avoid using Windows NLB for Remote Desktop Services in production and implement the KEMP LoadMaster load balancer to provide load balancing and high availability solution. This will ensure the best experience for users and administrators alike.

As a free gift! KEMP has just launched FreeLoadBalancer, where you are able to download a free version of their popular KEMP LoadMaster. The free version is available for unlimited use Open-mouthed smile and is perfect for certain scenarios, such as Windows Network Load Balancing (WNLB) replacement. It is an ideal Load Balancer for smaller environments, especially since this has a load more features and is a Layer 7 Load Balancer compare to Windows Network Load Balancing. Are you still using NLB in production? What are you still waiting for Winking smile

Hope this helps some of you out there.

Until the next time… Enjoy your Day!

Cheers,
-Charbel

Posted in RDS, Remote Desktop Services Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

March News: #StarWind Virtual SAN @StarWind #HyperV

I am glad to share with you the latest StarWind news for March 2015.

1. Free Webinar “Scale Out Freely: No Hardware Lock-in”

25_March_Webinar

25 March, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Speaker: Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software Inc.

Scale-out has come up as technology to meet the constantly increasing demands to the storage capacity. Unlike Scale-up it allows scaling horizontally. However, it also has some caveats. In most cases, you need to stick to the specific hardware with none or limited configuration options, which is cost- and efforts- consuming. You have to follow only one scenario – “compute and storage separated” or “hyper-converged” one, which essentially kills the idea of flexibility. The entry price is also an issue since most of the vendors sell minimum 3 hosts, even if you just need 2 for your environment.

Join Max Kolomyeytsev to learn to avoid these caveats and benefit from:
- Scale-out and scale up with NO hardware lock-in
- Scale-out with ANY hypervisor
- Support “compute and storage separated” and “hyper-converged” scenarios simultaneously
- Asymmetric Scale-out

Register now!

2. Tap Room Meeting: No Irish Handcuffs of Windows Server Solutions with StarWind Virtual SAN

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19 March, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

Host: Anatoly Vilchinskiy, Head of Support Department, StarWind Software Inc.

Sometimes the IT cocktails taste much better rather than pure drinks. Few examples: Arak Typhoon has better aftertaste comparing to pure raki Moscow Mule gets results much faster comparing to pure vodka. Windows Server may be less expensive and more efficient when talking about speed is mixed with StarWind.

*The only Tap Room where no one will actually eat your peanuts*, book your table below:

Virtualize responsibly!

Enjoy.

Cheers,
-Charbel

Posted in Hyper-V, StarWind Tagged with: , , ,

Step By Step: How To Extend and Resize A Two-Way Mirrored Storage Tiered Space? #StorageSpaces #WS2012R2

Hello folks,

A few blogs ago, I showed you step by step on how to create a Two-Way mirrored Storage Space, and how to replace a failed disk and repair the storage space.

In today’s blog post, I will walk through how to extend and resize an existing Two-Way mirror Storage Space and volume.

First things first, we need to check the current status of the existing virtual disk before doing any changes.

Let’s open PowerShell and get the existing virtual disk information:

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-01

As you can see, we have a mirror storage space with 363GB SSD Tier and 2.2TB HDD Tier, but we don’t have any remaining space to extend the existing volume.

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-02

The current volume “D” has 2.53TB of disk space and 1TB of free size remaining.

In my demo, I will add 1TB to the HDD Tier, as a side note, the same will apply if you are resizing the SSD tier as well.

Now before we start increasing the pool capacity and resizing the virtual disk, you have to pay a close attention on how many physical disks you can add to your existing storage space?

The answer to that question, it depends on what options were chosen when the virtual disk was initially created.

Let’s consider the following example:

You have a storage pool which has a 2-column, two-way mirror space. The two-column, two-way mirror space suggests you expand the pool capacity in sets of four disks for mirror spaces, in other words you have to multiple the number of columns by the number of copies, and since we have 2 columns, we need at least four physical disks.

Another thing to remember is, that after adding disks to the pool, there is no rebalancing mechanism. So the existing disks will be filled up first, before data is written to the added disks. That’s why the amount of columns must be chosen carefully at the time you created a virtual disk, because you can’t change the number of columns once the virtual disk is created.

With Get-VirtualDisk you can find many things about a virtual disk that you’ve created within a storage pool.

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-03

Since I am running a two-way mirror space with one column, I will add 2 X 1TB HDD into my JBOD.

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-04

Next, we will add the newly added disks to the existing Storage Pool, and then set the media type to HDD.

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-05

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-06

Let’s see now the maximum capacity that we can add to the storage tier and extend the existing volume.

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-07

As you can see, we can add roughly 1.1TB.

Here is another important point to remember: When you are resizing the storage space, you have to specify the new total size, and not the amount you want to increase, so in my example above, the existing Storage Space for HDD tier is 2,232GB, I need to add 1,116GB (new) + 2,232GB (existing) = 3,348GB total HDD tier, this of course if I need to add the whole capacity otherwise. The same concept will apply if you are resizing the SSD tier.

Let’s proceed and add the whole capacity.

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-08

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-09

Last but not least, we need to extend the existing partition which extends the volume “D” as well, and finally confirm the changes.

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-10

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-11

ExtResize-TwoWay-SS-12

Microsoft has a great Storage Spaces Overview which goes in more detail and is well worth a read.

Hopefully the above notes and screenshots illustrate how you can extend and resize a storage pool when you have a need to do so.

Until next time… Enjoy your day!
/Charbel

Posted in Storage Spaces, Windows Server, Windows Server 2012 R2 Tagged with: , ,

How to Create L2 Cache in #StarWind Virtual SAN for Hyper-V Failover Cluster? #HyperV

Hello folks,

In StarWind V8 – Virtual SAN, StarWind introduced a new feature called L2 cache.

The L2 cache is used to avoid an overall drop in performance while processing the spiked data through the cache.

The L2 cache has a defined size that is why it’s advisable to be located on SSD storage, as when L2 cache is stored on SSD, it results in additional wearing off the flash memory.

It’s recommended to be using the write-through mode for L2 cache instead of write-back mode, taking the following example into consideration:

{L1 cache is configured in the write-back mode, L2 cache on SSD configured in the write-through mode, and the flat storage will be on spinning HDD disks}.

Adding of a device with L2 cache is actually an easy thing to do, as shown in the steps below:

1. Open StarWind Management Console
2. Select the StarWind server on Node 1
3. Press the Add Device (advanced) button on the toolbar
4. Add Device Wizard will appear. Select Hard disk device and click Next.
5. Select Virtual disk and click Next.
6. Specify the virtual disk location and size.

StarWind-L2Cache-01

7. Click Next
8. Specify virtual disk options (Thick-provisioned).

StarWind-L2Cache-02

9. Click Next.
10. Define the L1 caching policy (Write-Back) and specify the cache size (in MB).

StarWind-L2Cache-03

11. Click Next.
12. Define the L2 caching policy (Write-Through) and size (in GB). Click Next to continue.

StarWind-L2Cache-04

13. Specify the destination directory for the L2 Cache.
Note: It is strongly recommended to use SSD-based storage for L2 caching.

StarWind-L2Cache-05

14. Click Next.
15. Specify target parameters.
Select the Target Name checkbox to enter a custom name of a target.

StarWind-L2Cache-06

16. Click Next to continue, and then click Create to add a new device and attach it to the target.

StarWind-L2Cache-07
17. Click Finish to close the wizard.

The added device will appear in the StarWind Management Console. If you noticed, the L1 Cache and L2 Cache have been created on Node 1!

StarWind-L2Cache-08

Now in order to create a Highly Available Storage for Hyper-V failover cluster, you need to right-click on the device that we just created in above steps and select Replication Manager.

Replication Manager Window will appear. Press the Add Replica button.

StarWind-L2Cache-09

Select Synchronous “Two-Way” Replication.

StarWind-L2Cache-10

Click Next to proceed. Specify the partner server IP Address or Host name (Node 2).
By default StarWind management listen on port 3261. If you have configured a different port, please type it in the Port number field.

StarWind-L2Cache-11

Click Next. Choose Create new Partner Device.

StarWind-L2Cache-12

Please leave the default path to header file on this step. Click Next.

StarWind-L2Cache-13

Click Next. Click Change network settings….and specify the interfaces for network Synchronization and Heartbeat.

StarWind-L2Cache-24

Click OK. Then click Next. Press the Create Replica button. Then click Finish to close the wizard.

StarWind-L2Cache-15

The added device will appear in the StarWind Management Console.

StarWind-L2Cache-16

Here is the right time to be very attentive.

We have already successfully created the L1 Cache.

In order to configure the L2 Cache on Node 2 you have to do the following:

  • Create the same image device with L2 Cache on Node 2 as well, but this time, in the Target Parameters window, please choose the Target Attachment Method: Unassigned as showing on below figure:

StarWind-L2Cache-17

  • Run “Add replica” wizard on Node 1, and “Select existing Device” instead of “Create new Partner Device” on Partner device setup window.

Let’s walk through the wizard again and show you how to create the L2 Cache on Node 2 Smile.

Please repeat Step 1 through Step 17 on Node 2 as described above, and select “Unassigned” as target parameters

When you are done with above steps, then you can move with the following steps.

1. Select the StarWind server on Node 1.
2. Right-click on the device that you created on Node 1 and then select Replication Manager.
3. Replication Manager Window will appear. Press the Add Replica button.

StarWind-L2Cache-18
4. Select Synchronous “Two-Way” replication.

StarWind-L2Cache-19

5. Click Next to proceed. Specify the partner server IP Address or Host name (Node 2).

StarWind-L2Cache-20
6. Click Next.

7. Here is the important step, Choose Select existing Device” instead of “Create new Partner Device”.

StarWind-L2Cache-21

8. Please leave the default path to header file on this step. It is name of the new header file replicated devices. It is a wrapper for existing device that you have created during previous steps. Click Next.

StarWind-L2Cache-22

9. As you can see, the wizard will ask you for existing device name, please select the “image file” device name here. Click Next.

StarWind-L2Cache-23

10. Click Change network settings….and specify the interfaces for synchronization and Heartbeat.

StarWind-L2Cache-24

11. Click Next. Press the Create Replica button. Then click Finish to close the wizard.
StarWind-L2Cache-25

Congratulations! The operation is succeeded… Winking smile

The L1 Cache and L2 Cache are created on both Hyper-V Nodes!

StarWind-L2Cache-28

Once StarWind team adds the L2 replication configuration to the 2nd node through the console during one of their upcoming product updates, it will take you even less time to create the Cache on the 2nd node.

You may also like to check these resources (created by StarWind Support Team) on this topic.

Hope this helps!

Enjoy your day!

Cheers,
-Charbel

Posted in Hyper-V, StarWind Tagged with: ,

March News: StarWind Virtual SAN @StarWind #HyperV

Hello folks,

I am glad to share with you the latest StarWind news for March 2015!

1) StarWind Special Offers

StarWind-vSAN

StarWind Virtual SAN is entirely software-based, hypervisor-centric virtual machine storage. It creates a fully fault-tolerant and high-performing storage pool that is built for the virtualization workload “from scratch”. StarWind Virtual SAN basically “mirrors” inexpensive internal storage between hosts. Virtual SAN completely eliminates any need for an expensive SAN or NAS or other physical shared storage. It seamlessly integrates into the hypervisor for unbeatable performance and exceptional simplicity of use.

This month StarWind Software is introducing a March Discount Countdown and a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee special offers!
So, when buying StarWind Virtual SAN, you are automatically benefiting from both campaigns!

March Discount Countdown Offer

The faster you take advantage of this offer, the more you save.
The Discount begins at 20%, and will decrease by 5% every week until the end of the month.
So, act fast, and maximize your discount!

March 1st-8th

20%

 

March 9th-15th

15%

 

March 16th-22nd

10%

 

March 23rd-31st

5%

Please either contact your existing StarWind representative, email sales@starwind.com or submit the request form here.

30-Day Money Back Guarantee Offer

Special Offers_blog

Starting from March 5, 2015 on, StarWind is providing a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee* to all new customers due to our confidence in the quality of StarWind Virtual SAN
If you, as a new customer, are not satisfied with the product*, we will refund the price paid within 30 days after the order placement.
Do not hesitate,
request the quote, or contact StarWind Sales team at sales@starwind.com
*The Money Back Guarantee offer is based on the product not meeting technical specifications, which must be confirmed by our engineering staff.

2) Webinar! Microsoft Hyper-V: 4 Things You Should Know to Ensure Storage HA and Security

Webinar_10_March_Final

Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 8 am PT / 11 am ET / 3 pm GMT
Speakers: Alexander Karavanov, Director of Sales Engineering, 5nine Software
Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software

Data protection, storage security and 24/7 operations are minimum requirements for every IT infrastructure. Virtualization offers many benefits, but it makes these three items absolutely crucial for business continuity. All Hyper-V administrators must  deliver storage high availability (HA), properly secure the virtual environment and have redundant disaster recovery plans in place.

Join us and learn how to:

· Secure and protect stored data

· Simplify network administration

· Increase storage HA

· Reduce expenses

Register now!

3) Whitepaper “Server-Side Caching” by Chris M Evans

 470_123_new_white_paper

Learn how ‪‎caching can be a cost-effective way of improving performance where external shared ‪‎storage systems are in use, particularly when compared to the cost of upgrade or replacement with all-flash solutions.

Check it out here!

4) Tap Room Meeting: StarWind drop makes a pint of Microsoft Windows Server environment taste better

tap_room_long

12 March, 11 am ET / 2 pm PT

Host: Anatoly Vilchinskiy, Head of Support Department of StarWind Software Inc.

Sit comfortable in your sits, `cause on this tap room we will have a long discussion about how exactly StarWind Virtual SAN allows Windows Server based datacenters squeeze  out maximum from cost-, performance- and capacity-efficiency.
*Our Tap Room Meeting is the only one where you can make bubbles through a straw*

Book your table here!

Cheers,
-Charbel

Posted in Hyper-V, StarWind Tagged with: , , ,

Review: Windows Server 2012 R2 Administrator Cookbook @PacktPub #WS2012R2 #WindowsServer

Hello folks,

Do you want to implement the commonly used roles and features provided by Windows Server 2012 R2 effectively, do you want to make your Microsoft network infrastructure more streamlined and efficient than ever?

The answer is:

Windows Server 2012 R2 Administrator Cookbook

3625_Windows Server 2012 R2 Administrator Cookbook

I am happy to announce that I was selected to review the book!

This book has over 80 hands-on recipes to effectively administer and manage your Windows Server 2012 R2 infrastructure in enterprise environments.

Here is the detailed table of contents and what to expect to learn from this book:

What this book covers:

Chapter 1, Learning the Interface, starts us on our journey working with Windows Server 2012 R2 as we figure out how to navigate the look and feel of this new operating system, and gain
some tips and tricks to make our daily chores more efficient.

Chapter 2, Core Infrastructure Tasks, will take us through configuring and working with the core Microsoft technology stack. The recipes contained in this chapter are what I consider
essential knowledge for any administrator who intends to work in a Windows network.

Chapter 3, Security and Networking, teaches us some methods for locking down access on our servers. We will also cover commands that can be very useful tools as you start
monitoring network traffic.

Chapter 4, Working with Certificates, will start to get us comfortable with the creation and distribution of certificates within our network. PKI is an area that is becoming more and more
prevalent, but the majority of server administrators have not yet had an opportunity to work hands-on with them.

Chapter 5, Internet Information Services, brings us into the configuration of a Windows Server 2012 R2 box as a web server in our network. Strangely, in the field I find a lot of Microsoft
networks with Apache web servers floating around. Let’s explore Internet Information Services (IIS) as a better alternative.

Chapter 6, Remote Access, digs into using your Server 2012 R2 as the connectivity platform that brings your remote computers into the corporate network. We will discuss DirectAccess
and VPN in this chapter.

Chapter 7, Remote Desktop Services, encourages you to look into using Server 2012 R2 as a virtual session host or VDI solution. RDS can be an incredibly powerful tool for anyone
interested in centralized computing.

Chapter 8, Monitoring and Backup, covers some of the capabilities included with Server 2012 R2 to help keep tabs on the servers running in your infrastructure. From monitoring
system performance and IP address management to backing up and restoring data using the tools baked into Windows, these recipes will walk you through some helpful tasks related to
monitoring and backup.

Chapter 9, Group Policy, takes us into the incredibly powerful and far reaching management powers contained within Active Directory that are provided out of the box with Windows Server
2012 R2.

Chapter 10, File Services and Data Control, provides us with information and step-by-step recipes on some of the lesser known ways that data can be managed on a Windows server.
We will cover technologies such as DFSR, iSCSI, and Server 2012 R2 Work Folders.

By the end of this book, you will know how to take your Windows Server 2012 R2-powered server and turn it into any common infrastructure role that might be required in your organization.

The book is available for immediate download from Packt Publishing website after registration here.

Get your copy today and enjoy!

Cheers,
/Charbel

Posted in Books, Windows Server, Windows Server 2012 R2 Tagged with: , ,

How To Migrate Virtual Machines From One Logical Switch To Another Logical Switch in Virtual Machine Manager? #SCVMM #SysCtr #HyperV

Hello folks,

A few blogs ago I showed you how to migrate from Standard Virtual Switch to Logical Switch in Virtual Machine Manager.

In today’s post I will show you how to migrate your virtual machines from an existing logical switch to another logical switch.

But before start doing that, let’s see in what scenario you might require this migration.

Scenarios

1- You have upgraded your Hyper-V host with higher network adapters and now you want to move all your VMs workload over the new NICs.

2- You are using converged virtual network within Hyper-V deployments that is managed by System Center Virtual Machine Manager, and now you need to move all your VMs traffic off the converged vSwitch and use a dedicated logical switch.

More information on how to create a Logical Switch in VMM.

In order to move your virtual machine from one logical switch to another one is very simple.

To choose a logical switch
> Open the VM and Services workspace.
> Choose any host group, and then select the desired virtual machine.
> On the Virtual Machine tab, click Properties.
> The Virtual Machine window properties opens.
> Choose the Hardware Configuration, and then browse to Network Adapters.
> Select the desired Virtual Network Adapter, and then change the Logical Switch as showing in below figure.

VMM-LS01

Select the Logical Switch for virtual machines in VMM. (Image Credit: Charbel Nemnom)

Now the challenge is, what if you need to migrate 50 VMs and each VM has multiple vNICs and each is on different VLAN? 

Because when you change the Logical Switch in the UI, you need to select again the port classification and enable the VLAN ID.

VMM-LS02

Changing the Logical Switch for virtual machines in VMM. (Image Credit: Charbel Nemnom)

This indeed a long homework! Crying face

So what is the solution then?

The answer is PowerShell of course Winking smile

I have created the following tool that will help you to migrate all Virtual Machines on a particular Hyper-V host from an existing logical switch to another logical switch, while preserving all the existing configuration:

VMM-LS03

Do you have any other scenarios? please feel free to leave a comment below.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
-Charbel

Posted in Networking, PowerShell, System Center, System Center 2012 R2, Virtual Machine Manager Tagged with: , , , , ,

StarWind V2V Converter Update, Newly Released Technical Paper, Tap Room Meeting, and Free Webinar #StarWind #HyperV

Hello folks,

I am glad to share with you the latest StarWind news!

StarWind V2V Converter Update

V2V_Converter

StarWind V2V Converter allows the user to convert VMs from one format to another, basically “cloning” them and keeping the original copy intact. It comes either with any version of StarWind Virtual SAN, or as a standalone free tool. We have just updated StarWind V2V Converter to version V8 Build 161, adding a number of convenient features.

Here is the list of latest improvements:

· Added support for MS VHDX container format. It requires running on Windows 8/2012 or higher version of Windows.

· Windows Repair Mode may be activate for converted image, allowing virtual machines to adapt to hardware environment of new hypervisor automatically.

· Command-line utility extended to support VHDX format and repair mode option.

· New style of GUI in V2V Converter Wizard.

· Help file added to installation.

Download StarWind V2V Converter V8 Build 161 here!

Newly Released Technical Paper “Near-FT Support of ‪OLTP Applications using StarWind Virtual SAN and a Hyper-V Cluster”

‪OLTP Applications using StarWind Virtual SAN

If you consider yourself to be an advanced StarWind user, please check this technical paper out and find out how to use StarWind Virtual SAN in OLTP applications and what the best configurations for this case are.

Moreover, the analysis contains testing data that’s completely relevant to real business conditions.

It is worth reading!

Tap Room Meeting: How to get more from Microsoft SoFS with StarWind

tap_room_long

(26 Feb, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET)

Host: Anatoly Vilchinsky, Head of Support Department of StarWind Softwarу

Imagine there is no CapEx, Neo.
This Thursday we will taste the single malt scotch while discussing how exactly StarWind helps to improve the IT infrastructure for Microsoft fans and users. Our base line here – piece of cake.
*The only place where it’s allowed to put the elbows on the table while dining*

Order your table here!

Webinar: 10x faster back-ups: Virtual Tape Libraries

Webinar_long_banner

(3 Mar, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET)

Speaker: Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software Inc.

Tapes will never die. They are ideal for long-term vaulting and are an absolute winner in the capacity/price competition versus any disk storage.

But even being long lasting and cost-effective, tapes are considerably slower compared to even commodity hard disks. As amounts of data used by companies are constantly growing, tape backup speed becomes a major vulnerability in modern BC and DR strategies. As soon as a backup job exceeds its backup window, it starts consuming application performance during business hours. The problem is solved by rebuilding and extending the tape backup infrastructure, but it’s extremely cost-consuming. Or you can implement Virtual Tape Library to complement physical tape storage.

Join StarWind Product Manager Max Kolomyeytsev and learn how to:

-          Shrink backup window by implementing Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape strategy using fast and cost-effective SATA as a primary backup storage,

-          Keep up with regulatory requirements without disrupting IT infrastructure work

-          Replace physical tape with VTL completely

Register here!

Cheers,
-Charbel

Posted in Hyper-V, StarWind Tagged with: , , ,

Slide Deck: Hyper-V Know-Your-Tech #3 @ Microsoft Gulf IT Pro #HyperV #KnowYourTech #Microsoft

I would like to thanks Microsoft® and all the IT Pros who attended my session today at the Ramada Hotel, Abu Dhabi.

After a successful Know-Your-Tech#1 event in November last year, we continue our journey with Know-Your-Tech#3.

MSFT_Feb2015_HV02

The session was focused on Hyper-V history, features, top functionalities and what’s coming in the next release of Windows Server.

The main topics were discussed are the following including 20 live demos Fingers crossed:

  • Hyper-V Evolution and Overview.
  • Failover Clustering in Depth: Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • Hyper-V Replica in Depth: Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • Getting Started with Azure Site Recovery (ASR).
  • What’s new in Hyper-V Technical Preview?
  • Q & A

At the end of this article, I’ve included a downloadable copy of the session deck 188 slides for offline review Winking smile

MSFT_Feb2015_HV03

The attendees enjoyed the training and the feedback was awesome! Open-mouthed smile

MSFT_Feb2015_HV04

Get-SD

Until the next one!

Enjoy your day…Cheers,

-Charbel

Posted in Microsoft, TechDays Tagged with: , , , , ,

Newly Released Whitepaper, Tap Room Meeting and Webinar: Hyper-V Failover Clustering: Virtualizing ROBO without Breaking the Bank #StarWind #HyperV

StarWind-NoSAN

Hello folks,

Here are the latest news at StarWind Inc:

1. Newly Released Whitepaper

Read a new featured ‎whitepaper by Jon Toigo “Microsoft Clustered Storage Spaces and ‪‎StarWind Virtual SAN for a Complete Software-Defined Storage Solution”

Feel free to download it here.

2. Tap Room Meeting (Thu, Feb 19, 2015 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EET)

Topic: Microsoft Clustered Storage Spaces, StarWind and a clear head in the morning

StarWind_Tap_room_bloggers

To blend or not to blend, that is the question!
Whether its Nobler in the mind of suffer, the I/O blender and bottlenecks of outrageous Fortune, Or to take StarWind against a Sea of troubles? …the only tap room that welcomes laughing out loud from under the table.

Book your table now here!

3. Webinar: Hyper-V Failover Clustering: Virtualizing ROBOs without Breaking the Bank

(Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET
Speakers: Howard Marks, Founder and Chief Scientist, DeepStorage

StarWind_Webinar_18_Feb_2015

Ryan Post, Inside Systems Engineer, Veeam Software, Inc.

Max Kolomyeytsev, Product Manager, StarWind Software
Regardless of whether you call them stores, branch offices, plants or something else, remote sites present a unique set of engineering challenges. Customer facing applications require high availability but replicating the solutions we use in the data center to tens, or thousands of sites would cost more than the GDP of a small country.
Hyper-converged architectures, which turn server local storage into highly available, shared storage, promise to be more affordable, but some appliance solutions cost as much or more than the traditional server and SAN solutions.
This webinar will explore how StarWind Virtual SAN can fulfill the promise of hyper-convergence providing a highly available platform for virtual machines while Veeam Backup and Replication protects it from the unexpected.

Register here!

Enjoy!

Cheers,
-Charbel

Posted in Hyper-V, StarWind Tagged with: , ,

Microsoft MVP Profile

About Me

Microsoft Ignite

Sponsor – StarWind

Sponsor – ALTARO

Technical Reviewer

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