Cross-Version Live Migration

… finally an easy way to migrate Virtual Machines accross different versions of Windows Server Hyper-V.

The first step towards this was done by Microsoft when giving us the possibility to do a Shared-Nothing Live Migration.

Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2, this feature can be used in order to migrate Virtual Machines from a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Host to a Host running Windows Server 2012 R2.

Of course this is not only possible for single Hosts, but also for migrations between Clusters.

Now you don’t have to worry about a maintenance window for migrating your Virtual Machines to a new system, you can do a Cross-Version Live Migration 🙂

Note: It’s not supported to perform a migration from 2012 R2 to 2012.

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Posted in Server, Virtualization, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

Enhanced VM Interaction in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V

Think about the installation of a Virtual Machine in one of your Windows Server 2008 R2 / 2012 Hosts. The mouse is not being captured, you could only copy and paste text from the Host to the Virtual machine (via the drop down of the vmconnect window, not directly).

To come around things like that, one option was to use a Remote Desktop Connection. But this only works after finishing the initial installation of the VM and not with all Client Operating Systems.

In Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 Hyper-V, Microsoft implemented something new:

Enhanced VM Interaction

Enhanced VM Interaction is based on the Remote Desktop Protocol and allows you to use a lot of features, even if the Client Operating System is not yet installed or if the Virtual Machine has no network connectivity:

  • Smart Card, Folder, Disk and USB redirection
  • Audio redirection
  • Copy and Paste of files and folders (in both directions [VM<=>Host])

Note that the redirection is session based. Therefore it can’t be used for licensing dongles, etc..

Enhanced VM Interaction can be enabled for each Hyper-V Host in the Hyper-V Manager. By default it is disabled in Windows Server 2012 R2 and enabled in Windows 8.1.

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Posted in Server, Virtualization, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows 8 Client Hyper-V – VMs Off-Critical

I am running several virtual machines on my laptop using Client Hyper-V. I don’t use them so much, but a few weeks ago I had to recognize that after starting my computer they are always shown as “off-critical”.

My search in the web only gave me results regarding Virtual Machines located on USB-Storage, which was actually leading me to the solution of my problem:

If VMs are located on a USB-Drive which is not connected during computer start-up, they will be shown in Hyper-V Manager as “off-critical”, because the VM Config files cannot be loaded.
This can be resolved by simply connecting the USB and restarting the Virtual Machine Management Service.

My VMs are located on a local partition. Now you would maybe ask why I think that this is the same problem, I will tell you:

The partition with the Virtual Machines is BitLocker protected.

So if I start my computer, the C Drive is being unlocked after typing my PIN and the TPM verification. The D Drive instead, will only be unlocked after the system start-up.
Somewhere in between this, the Virtual Machine Management Service is starting and looking for the XML files. As the partition is still encrypted, it cannot access the VM Config Files.

How to resolve?

I changed the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management Service Start-Up Type to Automatic (Delayed Start).
With this setting my Virtual Machines are off (like supposed to), but not off-critical after I start my Laptop 🙂

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Posted in Client, Storage, Virtualization, Windows 8

Virtual Machine Generations in Windows Server 2012 R2

It’s been a while since my last blog post, sorry for that. Finally I am back 🙂

During the last weeks I read and learned a lot about Windows Server 2012 R2. One thing which was mentioned quite often was Generation 2 Virtual Machines. In this post I will shortly explain the differences in Virtual Machine Generations.

Generation 1: This type of Virtual Machine provides the same hardware and features as  in older versions of Hyper-V.

Generation 2: This type of Virtual Machine is being introduced with Windows Server 2012 R2. The hardware functionalities have slightly changed:

  • Secure Boot (is enabled by default)
  • UEFI Support
  • Boot from SCSI Virtual Hard Drive or DVD Drive
  • PXE boot from a standard network adapter
  • Support for Legacy Network Adapters and IDE Drives has been removed

Operating Systems (Host+Guest):

Generation 1:

  • Host OS: Windows Server 2008 (R2)* and Windows Server 2012 (R2)
  • Guest OS (Windows)¹: Server 2012, Server 2008 (R2)*, Server 2003 (R2)*, Small Business/MultiPoint/Home Server 2011, Windows 7*/8
  • Guest OS (other): CentOS (5.5/6), Red Hat Enterprise Linux (5.5/5.9), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (10/11)

Generation 2:

  • Host OS: Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Guest OS: Windows Server 2012 (R2), Windows 8 (.1)

¹ I did not mention Windows XP, Vista and Server 2000 here as either support is ending soon or nobody is using it.
* including the various Service Packs

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Posted in Server, Virtualization, Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows 2012 – Missing MPIO Device Support

During the last weeks I installed four HP Blades with Windows Server 2012 for use in a Hyper-V Cluster.
The disks subsystem being used is a HP EVA.

After installing MPIO, I presented LUNs to the Blades.
Unfortunately, on three of the Servers, each disk was shown for times. Looked like MPIO was not working.

mpio fail

Checking the MPIO GUI, it showed only HSV200 as supported device. No other Enterprise Storage was registered.

After some time of research, I found the command for registering other devices:
mpclaim.exe -r -i -a “”

This adds support for all devices that are enterprise storage devices.

After running this, I restarted my servers and each disk was only shown once and also the MPIO GUI looked a little different:

mpio ok

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Posted in MPIO, Server, Storage

Windows 8 and the APP Language

Recently I installed a Laptop with Windows 8 Enterprise.
The installation Media itself is English, but as usual I configured it with German language settings.

Later I gave it to the user, showed him how to use apps, etc. and had to recognize that all of them are in German language. As the user is not speaking German… this could be a little problematic.

You can imagine that the cause of the problem are the language settings.

So here is how to solve it:
Open Control Panel => Clock, Language and Region
Click on Add a language
Select the language of your choice and move it up in the list

Note: In order to see the change, you’ll need to reopen the app.

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Posted in Client, Windows 8

Hyper-V Cluster Migration 2008 R2 to 2012

As Windows Server 2008 R2 was released, I migrated our Virtual Machines from an old Windows Server 2008 SP2 Cluster to the new one. That days, I copied each VM using System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

Now, I want to migrate the 2008 R2 Cluster to Windows Server 2012 (which is not yet supported by VMM).

Fortunately there’s the new Cluster Migration Wizard, which allows a migration of several VMs with a few steps*:

Prestaging

  • On one nodes of the new cluster, open the Failover Cluster Manager. Right click on the cluster name => More Actions => Migrate Roles
  • Select the source cluster and the Virtual Machines you want to migrate.
    Note: The VMs are grouped by the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) they reside on… later on you will see why 😉
  • In the next step, select the Virtual Network Switch to be used by the VMs.
  • Now confirm and start the prestaging process.

After finishing the process, the new Cluster will show the Virtual Machine Configuration of the selected VMs as well as the Cluster Shared Volume.

Storage Migration

  • The first step is to take all VMs you are going to migrate offline on the source cluster.
  • After that, take offline the CSV and delete it from the cluster.
  • Open your storage management tool (in my case HP Command View EVA).
  • Unpresent the disk from the source cluster and present it to the destination cluster.
  • Now, go to the destination cluster and take the disk online. As well, add it as CSV to the Cluster.

Voila, that’s it!
You can now start the virtual machines on the new cluster and delete the VM Configurations on the old cluster.

Remark: In case you get an error message as you’re trying to start one of the VMs, check if the Virtual Machine Configuration is online.

* In this guide I am assuming the following prerequisites:
Source Cluster: Windows Server 2008 R2
Destination Cluster: Windows Server 2012
Storage: The same storage system used by both clusters.
IP-Address Range: The same for virtual machines on both clusters.

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Posted in Server, Storage, Virtualization, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012