Monthly Archives: September 2012

Windows Server 2012 Storage redefined part 1

With Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has added loads of new features and functionality and I’m going to take a walkthrough of the new stuff.

Data Deduplication
Is the technology that allows you to eliminating duplicate copies of repeating data, so instead of storing the data twice you would just have a flag which points to the other data.
But a picture says more then a thousand words. Lets say you have a file which consists of these blocks and block 5 has a repeating data.
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So instead of repeating that data, we can just setup a flag pointing to the original data and remove the duplicated data block.
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So if you have a LARGE file with much duplicate data you will be able to reduce the data significantly.
So lets finish up with an example using WS2012.
First of we need to install the Data Deduplication feature.

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After it is installed head back to the server manager –> File and Storage Servers –> Disks
And if you have a VM add a new HD to the VM and create a new disk and a new volume.

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So from here press Configure Data Deduplication.

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And press for Enable Data Deduplication. By default it starts deduplicating files that are older then 5 days. Set that 0 days for the purpose of this demo.
We are going to leave it at that, and press Apply –> OK.
Now go back the Volumes View.

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You can see that Deduplication is enabled for that volume but since there is nothing on the volume yet there is nothing to deduplicate.
So what we are going to do now for the purpose of this demo is to create multiple VHD files on that volume.
NOTE: This part is just to demonstrate how deduplication works
Open Disk Management and choose create VHD

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Enter a name for it and place it on the deduplicated volume. (Make it 3GB)
Open Explorer to the volume and make a copy of that VHD file in the same folder.
So now you should have 2 VHD files with the same usage
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IF you head back to server manager now you can see that the free space decreased by 6 GB.
Go back and create one more VHD file. So you have 3 duplicate files.

Now the schedule says it dedupliates files older then 0 days, so we need to run a PowerShell command to do a manual job to get instant results.
Run the command Start-dedupjob –Type Optimization –Volume E: (In my case it is E: change the letter with the one you have)
After that you can enter the command get-dedupjob to see the status.

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Now after this is done, go back to the volumes view on Server Manager. You can now see that Windows has saved 6 GB which is the equivalent of the 2 VHD files.
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You can also view the Event Log for Deduplication events if you get some sorts of errors.
If you wish to remove deduplication on a volume you can run the command
Start-Dedupjob –Type DeOptimization.

There are also other options when running from PowerShell, you can see all the deduplication cmdlets by running

get-command –module deduplication.

So when to use dedupliction in a production environment?
Remember that deduplication is most useful where you have a lot of duplicate data. But Microsoft does not recommend that you use this for files that are constantly changing and for virtual machines.
For instance an VMM Library ISO share could be a good choice, you can also specify which types of files the deduplication should optimize but use it for most static files (Files that undergo little change)

Great candidates for deduplication:

  • Folder redirection servers
  • Virtualization depot or provisioning library
  • Software deployment shares
  • SQL Server and Exchange Server backup volumes

Should be evaluated based on content:

  • Line-of-business servers
  • Static content providers
  • Web servers
  • High-performance computing (HPC)

Not good candidates for deduplication:

  • Hyper-V hosts
  • VDI VHDs
  • WSUS
  • Servers running SQL Server or Exchange Server
  • Files approaching or larger than, 1 TB in size

This has been part 1 of Windows Server Storage, stay tuned.

ConfigMgr 2012 Service Pack 1 Beta

Microsoft just released the beta of service pack 1 for System Center 2012.
And for ConfigMgr that includes:

  • Deployment and management of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • Distribution point for Windows Azure to help reduce infrastructure costs
  • Automation of administrative tasks through PowerShell support
  • Management of Mac OS X clients and Linux and UNIX servers
  • Real-time administrative actions for Endpoint Protection related tasks

Now you can download each update from Microsoft web site –>
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34607

Now remember before you install this that you need the Windows 8 ADK installed before you can upgrade.
You can read more about the ADK in my previous post –> http://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/sccm-2012-ctp1-sp1/

Now like other ConfigMgr installs you need download the prerequisites before you continue with the installation.
And start the setup from the download and choose upgrade –>
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Now after the installation is complete you can open the console.
What else is new here?

We can now integrate with Intune and we can host an Distribution Point in the Cloud via Azure

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We also have something new for Windows RT
Windows RT Sideloading Keys which allows you to install windows 8 appx (outside of the store) which can be run on Windows RT.I belive this is much like the command.
Add-AppxPackage C:ContosoAppExpenseApp.appx

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For deployment types we have a whole bunch of new types.
So I’m waiting to see how we can deploy these apps to mobile phones.

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We can also now make subscriptions for all the alerts!
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We also have new client policy settings.
For Cloud and Metered Internet Connections.

This is useful if we wish for specific clients to connect to a DP in the cloud to fetch data,
and if we wish that clients try to connect over metered connections.

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Windows Intune connection:

NOTE: I tried to establish an connection but for some reason It timeout.
But I believe that there was something wrong with the URL I tries to connect to Winking smile
And I’m serious!
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NOTE: I didn’t see any Linux/Unix agent on the media(the .install script), there was however an Mac OSX client.

For running PowerShell cmdlets on your ConfigMgr server you need to have Windows Management Framework 3 installed,
After installing the administrator console, you can connect to PowerShell by dropping down the arrow in the blue tab in the upper left corner.  Click “Connect via Windows PowerShell”.
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Now note that Each of your sites will be a drive.  So, if you have site CAS and PRI, you can issue the CD command to change context between them:  CD CAS: or CD PRI.
And we now have a bunch of PowerShell cmdlets.

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For instance I can create a new device collection straight from PowerShell by running the command new-CMdevicecollection.

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And we can also configure Folder Redirection policies under Compliance Settings.

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Now by doing this, it will make it easier and more flexible to create different settings for each user.

This gives a glimpse of what we can expect from ConfigMgr later on, with the possibility to deploy applications to all types of devices (Mac OSX, Ipad/Ipod, Android, Linux/Unix, Windows 8, Windows RT) And you can connect it to XenApp, App-V for advanced deployment types. And you can also integrate it with the cloud for extended management.

Operations Manager and service monitoring

With SCOM 2007 you have the ability to monitor a service within your infrastructure with Distributed Applications.
Distributed Applications are basically made up of different components that make your service.
For instance let’s think of a web shop. Which are typically made up of
1x Webserver
1x Database server
1x File Server
and/or a authentication service like AD
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All these components make the service. So if one of these components go down your service goes down.
So Distributed Applications allow you to monitor your service, with SCOM 2012 you have a better options of monitoring the SLA (Service Level Agreement) for that service.
By default you have an Distributed Application view in SCOM 2012 which includes the health of your SCOM Management Group

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IF you wish to create a new DA monitoring, go to the authoring pane, and choose Distributed Applications right click and choose create new..
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Give the DA a describing name and description. There are already some templates avaliable to choose from but we are going with the Blank one so we can cover all the steps.
And always put the DA in a separate MP, for instance you should have one MP with all the DA.

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Then click OK, Now we enter the Distributed Application designer. From here we draw how the different components are attached to each other, on the left side you have the search fuction so we can find the different compoents we wish to add.
For the purpose of this post, I’m just going do create a new SCOM DA.

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First of now I just added the Management Servers from the left side as an component, next I add the Management Group to the mix, and then I create an relationship between the two, since the servers depend on the Management Group.
As an example, the webserver is dependent on the database server to get its information, the database server on the other hand is not dependent on the webserver.  The designer window will now look like this.

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Now lets save this layout. Click the Save button.
Now back in the authoring pane you will now see the newly created DA. Now we are going to create a SLA monitoring. Further down in the authoring pane you can see the Service Level Tracking.
Right click and click create.
Give it a name and choose the new service as a target class.

Next under service level objectives click Add. Give it a name, choose Availability type and leave the rest at the default. Since will monitor SLA based on critical events on the target “My Service” DA. So if a critical event were to happen on that service my SLA would fall. After you have created the SLA monitoring go back to the my workspace pane, Right click on my workspace and press new dashboard view, and select Service Level Dashboard.

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Under Scope add the new SLA monitor you just created, (You could for the record here add multiple SLA’s to view on the dashboard.
And choose the time scope (Default is 24 hours) click next and create.
You can now see that the new SLA widget appears under Favorite viewes and I get a fancy overview of the SLA for my DA.

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You can also generate reports of the SLA (If you have SQL reporting services installed)
ill give more detail when regarding monitoring of a large service including network devices and SAN solutions in a later post, but this is just to give you the general idea of how you can monitor your services using SCOM 2012.

Backup site servers in SCCM 2012

A bit hidden in SCCM 2012 is the ability to backup site servers in Configuration Manager with a schedule, open the console go to administration –> site configuration –> sites –> settings –> Site Maintance
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From there you choose “Backup Sites Servers” and now you choose a backup location and set a schedule –>

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If you enable an alert for backup task, it will appear in the monitoring tab

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So if an error should occur during the backup, you can see it in the Overview tab in the monitoring pane. You can also view the logs for further info found under smsbkup.log
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This backup includes, the database, logs, inboxes.

Beta of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 released!

This update includes the following:
The Beta of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (“SP1”) enables System Center customers to jointly evaluate System Center 2012 with Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. The Beta is for evaluation purposes only and not to be used in production as described in the EULAs associated with the product. No license keys are required to do this evaluation. The Beta includes updates and enhancements to the following System Center 2012 components:

  • Virtual Machine Manager
    • Improved Support for Network Virtualization
    • Extend the VMM console with Add-ins
    • Support for Windows Standards-Based Storage Management Service, thin provisioning of logical units and discovery of SAS storage
    • Ability to convert VHD to VHDX, use VHDX as base Operating System image
  • Configuration Manager
    • Deployment and management of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
    • Distribution point for Windows Azure to help reduce infrastructure costs
    • Automation of administrative tasks through PowerShell support
    • Management of Mac OS X clients and Linux and UNIX servers
    • Real-time administrative actions for Endpoint Protection related tasks
  • Data Protection Manager
    • Improved backup performance of Hyper-V over CSV 2.0
    • Protection for Hyper-V over remote SMB share
    • Protection for Windows Server 2012 de-duplicated volumes
    • Uninterrupted protection for VM live migration
  • App Controller
    • Service Provider Foundation API to create and operate Virtual Machines
    • Support for Azure VM; migrate VHDs from VMM to Windows Azure, manage from on-premise System Center
  • Operations Manager
    • Support for IIS 8
    • Monitoring of WCF, MVC and .NET NT services
    • Azure SDK support
  • Orchestrator
    • Support for Integration Packs, including 3rd party
    • Manage VMM self-service User Roles
    • Manage multiple VMM ‘stamps’ (scale units), aggregate results from multiple stamps
    • Integration with App Controller to consume Hosted clouds
  • Service Manager
    • Apply price sheets to VMM clouds
    • Create chargeback reports
    • Pivot by cost center, VMM clouds, Pricesheets
  • Server App-V
    • Support for applications that create scheduled tasks during packaging
    • Create virtual application packages from applications installed remotely on native server

So much interesting stuff here! looking forward to trying it out this week! Smile

Certifications on track!

So far this year it has been quite busy!
But for my own sake I’m trying to learn as much as I can, and therefore I had laid some plans regarding certifications test ahead. Since Microsoft has released Windows Server 2012 and has reintroduced MSCE and MSCA titles I have a whole lot to deal with there, and I’m trying to learn more about Citrix as well since I find it interesting but my main goal is more security related, so I have a long term goal of getting CCIE Security and CASP. But back to those plans! I have already started the planning and have ordered two tests.

1: CCA for XenServer A26 http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=418#modalid=2&voucher=
2: CCAA for XenApp 6.5 A22 http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=319#modalid=2&voucher=
3: CCA for Netscaler 9.2 http://training.citrix.com/mod/ctxcatalog/course.php?id=318#modalid=2&voucher=
4: Lync MCTIP 70-665 (http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-665)
5: CASP Comptia http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/casp.aspx
6: Windows Server 2012 70-417 for MSCA Windows Server 2012
7: Windows Server 2012 70-413 and 70-414 for MSCE: Server infrastructure
8: Windows Server 2012 70-415 and 70-416 for MSCE: Desktop infrastructure
9: Office 365
10: CCNP Secure
11: CCNP Firewall
12: CCNP VPN

Let’s see how many I manage to do this year Smile
Something I love about the computer industry is that it is always evolving new stuff is happening all the time, new technology is released all the time and there is always something new to learn.

System Center 2012 and Integration Possibilities

With System Center 2012, Microsoft gathered all of their previous System Center products and gathered it as one large product.
So now in 2012, System Center now contains (Service Manager, Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, Orchestrator, Virtual Machine Manager and App Controller)
It is split in two editions, one for standard and one for datacenter (standard is limited to running 2 OSE)

But all the features are there, and the magic with System Center 2012 is the integration possibilities which I’m going to list down. These integration possibilities are listed on what I know so far, if you have any info about other integrations that are possible please link send me some info Smile

Configuration Manager 2012:
Citrix XenApp (Can connect to XenApp to automate application delivery to XenApp servers, and use XenApp as an deployment type out to the user
Microsofot App-V (Can use Application virtualization as an deployment type out to users)
Citrix XenDesktop (Since you can use Configuration Manager to patch windows systems you can also use SCCM to patch VDI images
Microsoft Exchange (You will use this to manage your mobile devices that are connected to Exchange in SCCM console)
Microoft SCUP (Software Catalog Update Publisher you can use this to update software patches from for instance Adobe, Dell and HP)
Secunia (Corporate Software Inspector you can use this with SCCM to patch all of your software within your enviroment )
Microsoft MDT 2012 (You can integrate this with SCCM 2012 to improve and ease deployment of OS)
Dell Client Integration (For ease of Dell client deployment)
System Center Service Manager (For importing software and hardware information to the CMDB)
System Center Orchestrator (You have an own integration pack for automating SCCM tasks)
RES Workspace Manager (You can integrate with RES Workspace Manager in order to allow for SCCM to deploy applications to RES controlled servers/computers)
AppSense Application Manager (For deployment of UV agents and UV configurations)
Windows Intune (You can connect to your windows Intune account for sentral management)
Windows Azure ( You can deploy distribution Points in Windows Azure)
Wyse Device Manager (It is for 2007, but it will be for 2012 as well)
MDT 2012
Quest Management Xtensions
NOMAD 2012

Operations Manager 2012 (Mostly Management Packs)
System Center Service Manager (For importing of alerts for further investigation in Service Manager)
System Center Virtual Machine Manager (For PRO Performance and resource optimization )
Network Devices with SNMP V3
HP MP (For HP monitoring)
Dell MP (For Dell monitoring)
System Center MP( For System Center monitoring)
Citrix MP via ComTrade (For monitoring of Citrix components)
BIG-IP F5 Monitoring
System Center Orchestrator (For automating of tasks)
NetApp On-command (For monitoring of NetApp solutions)
Cisco USC (For monitoring of UCS solutions )
Brocade (Monitoring of Brocade storage)
IBM Hardware (For monitoring of IBM hardware)
Windows Azure (GSM for application monitoring)
AppSense
NetApp monitoring

Virtual Machine Manager
Citrix Netscaler (For auto deployment of LB rules and access)
F5 BIG-IP (For auto deployment of LB rules and access )
Brocade ACX (For auto deployment of LB rules and access)
Citrix Xendesktop and PVS (For rapid deployment of vdi machines)
Citrix Xenserver (Allows to use SCVMM to manage XenServers)
Vmware vSphere (Allows to use SCVMM to manage vSphere)
Hyper-V (Allows to use SCVMM to manage Hyper-V
NetApp (Automated rapid provisioning of space-efficient VMs with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) or Windows PowerShell™ rapid provisioning cmdlets)
SMI-S (Is a standard storage API which work for most storage solutions)

Orchestrator (Mostly Integration Packs)
System Center 2012 (All of the products)
vSphere (Integration pack for automating of tasks)
NetApp (Integration pack for automating of tasks)
HP (ilo, Service Manager, Operations Manager) (Integration pack for automating of tasks)
IBM Tivoli ((Integration pack for automating of tasks)
Microsoft Exchange (Integration pack for automating of tasks)
EMC (Integration pack for automating of tasks)
Cisco UCS (Integration pack for automating of tasks)
IBM Tivoli
F5 BIG-IP
BMC

(This is a post which is under work, so not all the products are listed yet)

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and Vsphere 5.1

A lot of fuzz is going on regarding virtualization these days, and the primary topic is Hyper-V vs VMware vSphere.
And of course there going to be some arguments regarding which one is better, and which of them has the more features and who is the most enterprise ready so on and so forth.
Just last week VMware released version 5.1 of vSphere which included some new functionality and improvements in  scalability, and Windows Server 2012 was released the 4th of September. So therefore like many before me I’m going to compare the two of them. I have read many blogs lately where people claim that one of the products are better then the other, and a lot of them compare features in the wrong way (For instance if Product 1 has feature 1 and Product 2 has feature 2 even thou they do the same the use different names and therefore aren’t compared). I’m not here to write down a conclusion of which one is better, I’m just going to lay down the facts so you can decide what you think is the better option.  And I’m not going to debate vCenter and System Center comparison, because that is another different story Smile

Windows and virtualization:
Microsoft first came out with its hyper-v virtualization platform in 2008 (With Windows Server 2008) Before that Microsoft has a product which was named Virtual Server, many people claim that Microsoft is pretty fresh in the server virtualization marked but actually Microsoft has been in the marked since 2004 (When the first release of Virtual Server was released) But was again later superseded by Hyper-V. Now the latest version of Hyper is called V 3.0 comes with Windows Server 2012.
You also have the free version of Hyper-V which is called Hyper-V server 2012. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/hyper-v-server/ (This product only contains the hypervisor, Windows Server driver model, virtualization capabilities, and supporting components such as failover clustering but does not contain the rest of the features and roles in Windows Server. Therefore you get a small footprint on the host. But other then that the versions of Server 2012 that contains Hyper-V is Windows Server 2012 Standard and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter.
The difference licensing between the two is the following.

Standard edition = allows you to run 2 virtual machines $882 for a 2 physical CPU server
Datacenter edition = allows you to run unlimited virtual machines $4,809 for a 2 physical CPU server

Some examples;
1 server: 2 CPU and 4 virtual machines = You could either have 2 standard edition licenses or 1 datacenter edition license
1 server: 6 CPU and 8 virtual machines= You could either have 4 standard edition licensers or 3 datacenter edition licenses.
And in both scenarios you wouldn’t need a license for the VM because the license is for physical hosts!

In Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V 3.0 Windows has the following workloads and the following features.

Host max
Logical processors on hardware 320
Physical memory  4 TB
Virtual processors per host 2,048

Virtual machine max
Virtual processors per virtual machine 64
Memory per virtual machine  1 TB
Active virtual machines per server 1,024

Cluster max
Nodes 32
Virtual machines 4,000

Network
Quality of Service (QoS)
SR-IOV
Network Virtualization (Using GRE or IP rewrite) Link to the IEEE draft =
http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-sridharan-virtualization-nvgre-00
PVLAN support
Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue (D-VMQ) (allows the host’s network adapter to pass DMA packets directly into individual virtual machine memory stacks)
Receive Side Scaling (RSS spreads monitoring interrupts over multiple processors, so a single processor isn’t required to handle all I/O interrupts,)
Receive Segment Coalescing (RSC improves the scalability of the servers by reducing the overhead for processing a large amount of network I/O traffic.)
DHCP Guard (DHCP guard drops server messages from unauthorized virtual machines that are acting as DHCP servers.)
Router Guard (Router guard drops router advertisement and redirection messages from unauthorized virtual machines that are acting as routers.)
Port mirroring (not promiscuous mode, does a forward of all the packet to a VM to another destination)
Virtual Port ACLs
Trunk mode using 802.1q
IPsec Task offload
Integrated Network Adapter Teaming
Hyper-V Extensible Switch
Data Center Bridging (DCB)
Resource metering (Measure usage of CPU, Memory, Network and disk for a virtual machine)
NIC Teaming (Allows for LACP in the native OS, before this needed to be done by a third party product like Broadcom)

Management
PowerShell
SCVMM 2012 SP1 (You can use CTP release for Windows Server 2012 but official support comes with Service Pack 1 which is in Beta now)
Server Manager
Cluster Manager
Hyper-V Manager
Cluster Aware updating
IPAM

Storage
New Virtual Disk format (VHDX supports up to 64 TB Virtual Disks)
Offloaded Data Transfer – ODX (Is a feature of a SAN, allows the file transfer/copying between hosts on the SAN to be done by the SAN instead of the regular network transfer)
Live merging of VHDs and Snapshots
RDMA (IS a direct memory access from the memory of one computer into another without involving either’s OS.
SMB 3.0 (Allows to use regular network fileservers instead of expensive SAN solution)
Native 4 KB sector disks support (But for compability sake it allows for an 512-byte emulation called 512e )
Data De-duplication
Virtual Fibre Channel inside the Virtual Machines
VM boot from SAN
Storage Spaces (Software like RAID solution)
New File system ReFS (Luckily most of the system filters which a written for NTFS will work for ReFS, and it has improvements to resilience, reliability)
Bitlocker on CSV (Allows you to encrypt an CSV volume)
SMI-S (Is a storage standard by the SNIA which allows for management functions via HTTP)
Encrypt VHD files with Bitlocker Network Boot(Gives you an ability to encrypt an VHD file, so if it reboot it will contact a wds server and get the decryption keys and continue to boot)

Migration
Improved Live Migration
Unlimited Simultaneous live migrations
Live Storage Migration
Shared-Nothing Live Migration
Hyper-V Replica
Failover Prioritization

VMware and virtualization:
VMware started its life with VMware workstation which was released in 1999 (Yes its really that old!) And has since then been living on virtualization technology, the first release of vSphere came in 2001. They have also created an VDI product called VMware View, and in 2010 they acquired the open-source groupware solution Zimbra from Yahoo.  So they are expanding their horizon when relating to software products but their primary focus has always been virtualization. Now last week (
VMware released their newest version of vSphere, version 5.1 http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/vsphere/vmware-what-is-new-vsphere51.pdf and VMware has also just recently killed of the vRAM memory tax, in order to compete with Windows.

VMware pricing and editions:

VMware vSphere 5.1 is licensed on a per- physical processor basis

Standard edition = $1144 (Is a bit more stripped version of the hypervisor)
Enterprise edition = $3308 (Is also a bit stripped version of the full version)
Enterprise plus edition = $4024 (Contains all of the features and has the full workload)
NOTE:These prices are fetched from VMware’s site which is usually listed as EURO not US$

Some examples;
1 Server = 1 CPU 4 Virtual Machines (IF you want all the features you need 1 Enterprise plus licenses)
1 Server = 2 CPU 4 Virtual Machines (IF you want all the features you need 2 Enterprise plus licenses)
So in both cases you would need a WS2012 Datacenter License in addition to the Vmware license (IF you wish to use Windows Server 2012 VM’s on that host)

VMware and vSphere 5.1 has the following workloads and the following features.(Enterprice plus edition)

Host max
Logical processors on hardware 256
Physical memory  2TB
Virtual CPU per host 2,048


Virtual machine max

Virtual processors per virtual machine 64
Memory per virtual machine  1 TB
Active virtual machines per server 1,024

Network
Netflow 10 (IPFIX)
Port Mirroring (RSPAN and ERSPAN)
LLDP
QOS (Network I/O)
SRV-IO
VXLAN
PVLAN
DCB (Data Center Bridging) refers to a set of enhancements to Ethernet local area networks for use in data center environments.
Receive Side Scaling (RSS spreads monitoring interrupts over multiple processors, so a single processor isn’t required to handle all I/O interrupts,)
TCP Segment Offload
Distributed Virtual Switch
LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol)

Management
vSphere webclient
Powershell via PowerCLI
vCenter
vCloud
SCVMM (Eventually will come with support, with SP1 you have support for up to vSphere 5.0)

Storage
vMotion enchancements ( similar to shared-nothing live migration)
Boot from Software FCoE
16Gb HBA Support
iSCSI jumbo frames
SSD Monitoring
VMFS-5 enchancements

So there is  a lot happening in both camps nowadays.
For higher workloads Windows seems to be the good option ,and you don’t think that anyone is actually going to max out those numbers? I’ve actually spoken to a service provider in the US which was a bit annoyed with the max VM per cluster since each server can hold 1,024 virtual machines and in a cluster with 32 nodes you can “only” have 4,000 virtual machines.  But another question, how is the performance ? There is no use having a 150HK engine if another car with 110HK can go right past you.
VMware actually has a performance document stating that each VM was performing about 18,9% on VMware 5. (This document is 2008R2 Hyper-v vs. VMware) http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-vs-Hyper-V.pdf
Again this is for the old version, it is going to be interesting too see how the performance is going to impact with WS2012.

Microsoft is working hard these days with SP1 for System Center, since for enterprise deployment you are going to need SCVMM (Since full support for Server 2012 comes with SP1). VMware already has the management solution for its new hypervisor available so Microsoft better hurry up Smile
And Microsoft is also working with Service Provider foundation. For hosters that wish to deliver IaaS this is going to be big news! V1 of this is going to be avaliable with SP1 for System Center, if you don’t want to use this
Citrix has a Control Panel solution which integrates to SCVMM to deliver IaaS, Paas & SaaS called Cloudportal Services Manager (which does not use the Service Provieder Foundation API)
ExtendASP which also is a control panel solution for hosters have full support for Windows Server 2012, so it allows for hosters to easy deploy solutions for their customers.
VMware already has their IaaS solution in place with vCloud director so its going to be interesting to see how they compete in functionality and features.

Links:
(VMware comparison set of Hyper-V VS VMware) http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/getthefacts/vmw-vSphere-5-vs-Hyper-V-3-Beta.pdf
(Microsoft comparison set of Hyper-V VS VMware)http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/A/0/5A0AAE2E-EB20-4E20-829D-131A768717D2/Competitive%20Advantages%20of%20Windows%20Server%202012%20RC%20Hyper-V%20over%20VMware%20vSphere%205%200%20V1%200.pdf
Vmware vSphere 5.1 http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere5/r51/vsphere-51-configuration-maximums.pdf 
What’s new in vSphere 5.1 Networking http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2012/09/whats-new-in-vsphere-5-1-networking.html
What’s new in vsPhere 5.1 Storage http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/Whats-New-VMware-vSphere-51-Storage-Technical-Whitepaper.pdf
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/Whats-New-VMware-vSphere-51-Performance-Technical-Whitepaper.pdf

Adding SCVMM server to Provisioning Server 6.1

If you want to connect to SCVMM with PVS you need to do some changes on the SCVMM server first. Now why would you add a connection to SCVMM from PVS?

Using a Provisioning Services streamed vDisk, the XenDesktop Setup Wizard assists in deploying virtual desktops to a number of cloned virtual machines (VMs) as well as to devices using the Personal vDisk feature.

Use the wizard to:

  • Create virtual machines on an XenDesktop hosted hypervisor, from an existing template:
    • XenServer
    • Hyper-V via SCVMM
    • ESX via V-Center

System Center Virtual Machine Management (SCVMM) servers require that PowerShell 2.0 is installed and configured for the number of connections. The number of required connections for an SCVMM server should be greater than or equal to the number of hosted hypervisors used by the setup wizard for virtual machine cloning. For example: to set connections to 25 from a Powershell prompt, run: winrm set winrm/config/winrs @{MaxShellsPerUser=”25″}winrm set winrm/config/winrs @{MaxConcurrentUsers=”25″}. For Microsoft SCVMM to work with XenDesktop, the user must run the following PowerShell command; set-ExecutionPolicy unrestricted on SCVMM.

You might also need to run the winrm quickconfig on the SCVMM server.

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Right click on Hosts, and select Add host, from the menu choose SCVMM/Hyper-V –>

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Enter the IP Address of the server

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Enter credentials and click verify.

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NOTE: If you get any errors here, doublecheck the winrm config on the scvmm server and check that there aren’t any firewall blocking the connection.

Cortado Corporate Server 6.0

Cortoda is a company, which has focused on BYOD / MDM solutions. They have a Drop box-alike solution which I have blogged about earlier, called Cortado Workplace, an excellent HTML5 based solution.
http://msandbu.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/cortado-workplace/

They also have a product called Corporate Server which includes features like.
* HTML5 website for remote access to files and folders
* Ability for users to print documents directly from the web portal
* The ability to manage iOS and Android devices as a part of the MDM solution.
* You can also edit and open documents directly from the web portal.
* Ability to send files as e-mail directly from the portal
* Administrators can also change settings to the setup directly from a web console.

It has a lot of impressive features, so I’ve given it a test drive.
You can download a Corporate Server trial from Cortado’s website –>
http://www.cortado.com/euen/EN/Products/CortadoCorporateServer/Overview.aspx

NOTE: I don’t have an android or and iOS device (or a blackberry for that matter) so I’ve focused on reviewing the other features.

Requirements for Cortodo server are:
■ Cortado server
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
with 2 GB of free space on hard drive
• Windows service PRINT SPOOLER should not be disabled.
■ Internet Explorer 9 must not be installed. If necessary, please uninstall Internet
Explorer 9 and use Internet Explorer 8 instead.
■ SQL Server
• With the installation of Cortado Corporate Server, a Microsoft SQL Server
2008 R2 Express is installed. If you have it installed already, you need at least
an SQL Server 2008 R2 Express SP1.

NOTE: You need to create an service account for when you install Cortado. This service account, requires local administrator rights on the installing server and a regular access in AD.
NOTE: You also need to allow Domain Users to run as a batch job via Group Policy, since Cortado automatically carries out all actions on behalf of the user.

The installation is pretty straight forward,
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Now you might think why It needs OpenOffice? I believe it uses it to render the documents for online vieweing.
After you installed these you might need to restart a couple of times.

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(First of you get a readiness check if your server doesn’t meet the requirements. )
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Choose demo mode and press next –>

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Choose WITH SQL Database,
(This will install an SQL Express on the local server)

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Now after the components are finished installing (and a couple of restarts) you get to this configuration screen (You can start this by pressing the start button –> Cortado –> Configuration Assistant –>

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On this part you should have your own public certificates for use. But since this is an internal lab I choose self-signed.

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Now for the purpose of the install, I’ve created an service account named Cortado which I’m using for the installation.
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After that you get a summary screen, then press Proceed.
And it will start configuring.

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NOTE: I got an error during the configuration because I didn’t have the virtual computer connected to the internet. and during the configuration Cortado tried to download some HP printer drivers.

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After that is done, remember to check the next steps and click Close.
Now we can enter the management console.

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You can open the management console from the start meny or open a browser and point it to http://localhost:82/fw
(Depending on the SSL configuration you set)

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Here you need to login with the service account you used during the installation.
And the site also check if caps lock is active or not Smile

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This is the Management Console –>

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Now what we are going to do now, is import a user from active directory (named bill) assign him a folder on a share and deploy some printers to him.

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Now that I have imported a user, I can add a network drive to that user. And after that I’d add some printers as well, just the Microsoft XPS, and the NOVA Pdf option as I don’t have any physical printers in my test enviroment Smile
So for the regular user open a browser and open http://localhost/cortadoexplorer

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Now as you can see the folders that I mapped up for the user bill appear,

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I can also drag and drop new files into the website and they will get automatically uploaded.

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And as I mentioned before I can open files directly in the browser, like PDF , DOCX etc.

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And I have the option to print files directly to a printer which I as administrator can control Smile
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Now I like the fact that the management console is purely HTML5 based, which allows me to do changes and such from any device (tablet alike)
I have only explored a little bit of the functions here, I try to write more about this product later.