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Monday, May 30, 2011

Private Cloud Chargeback Solution


Why you want to implement chargeback ? Well, for those who are implementing virtualization, you may realize that creating a Virtual Machine (VM) is easy and sometime it become difficult to calculate as a  cost.

Your management may want to know why suddenly you want to raise a PO to buy additional server with extra resources. Then how can you justify different department or organization is utilizing the new resources.

This is where chargeback system need to be in-place. With chargeback, you have a better understanding of where the server resources are allocated or actual usage.
Here is the infrastructure that you require to setup Private Cloud:-

Laimvug

Private Cloud setup requirement:-
a) Hyper V Host
b) VMM 2008 R2 + SQL Server
c) SSP 2.0. I’m running SSP 2.0 with SP1
d) SCOM integration
e) Active Directory
f) Chargeback system -Product: Vkernel Chargeback
g) Sharepoint

Here is sample report of the chargeback system look like:-

a) Default provide a chargeback on CPU, Memory, Disk and Network.
image

b) Additional chargeback, you can custom your own field. Example: Electricity, Antivirus, Software Patch, Support, etc.
image

c) Resource Consumption graph on CPU, Memory, Storage and Network based on utilization & actual usage.
image
image
image
d) Comparison between 2 point. (Example: Today vs Yesterday, This week vs last week, etc)
image

e) Different customer customization either by department or subsidiary company. Chargeback and graph can allocate to specific customer.
image

Sunday, May 29, 2011

SCOM 2007 R2 CU4 Failed When The System Is Running Windows Server 2008.

 

A couple week ago, i did a POC for a customer on SCOM 2007 R2. The customer is using Windows Server 2008 as the base operating system and i need to install SCOM 2007 R2. Everything when out smooth with Management Pack installed. Problem started when I import Exchange 2010 MP into the the system. One of the requirement is i need to install CU2. But since CU4 has just released, then i just proceed with the patches.

Kevin has a nice post on how to apply the CU4 patches. here is the link that i personally recommended that you read carefully before patch the CU4.

However the patch did not work as expected and i saw the installation has rollback its action. Then SCOM SDK failed to start. Both services: System Center Data Access and Management failed to start.

Lesson learned… I should test the patch on a test machine before patch the system. Therefore i re-setup the environment on Microsoft Hyper V virtualization. Thanks to the snapshot features, i was able to perform my patch testing continuously without reinstall the operating system. Here is my test result which i have spent few hours to identify the main problems: OS, SCOM R2 evaluation, SCOM R2 RTM, CU4 issue.

Operating System

SCOM Eval

SCOM 2007 R2 RTM

Windows Server 2008

Failed

Failed

Windows Server 2008 R2

Passed

Passed

Therefore the conclusion is not SCOM Eval issue but is on the Windows Server 2008 operating issue when apply CU4.

Search around with Google and i manage to found the resolution. Thanks to Steve on his guidelines:- Click here.

Let me post his solution here in case his article is inaccessible.

1. Go to registry

2. Go to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control

3. Create a new

Dword : ServicesPipeTimeout

Decimal : 60000

4. Restart the computer.

5. Reapply CU4 with administrative right on command prompt.

6. Run Server Update.

Follow Kevin guidelines from here and you will successful patch SCOM 2007 R2 with CU4. Now i can follow Kevin foot-step and time for me to go enjoy my mocha @ StarBuck.

mycat

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adding Load Balancer–Citrix Netscaler into SCVMM 2012 Beta


Thanks to Citrix which is generous to offer Load Balancer- Citrix NetScaler VPX running on Hyper V Virtual Machine. If not, probably i need to put the VM into Citrix XenServer. The extracted VM size is 2.5 GB and you need to configure at least 2 vcpu, 2GB of vMemory and synthetic NIC in order to start. During boot up, you can see the Netscaler VPX is running on FreeBSD.
image
Now i have Citrix Netscaler ver 9.3 (latest) running and this will eventually expand the complexity of my lab data center (a.k.a:- Virtual Lai DC).
To refresh your knowledge, SCVMM 2012 will support the following load balancer
  1. F5
  2. Citrix Netscaler
  3. Probably Brocade (during RTM)
Without further delay, let me walk through on how to integrate Citrix Netscaler into SCVMM 2012 Beta.
1. Download and install Citrix Netscaler LB Provider into SCVMM 2012. This allow SCVMM ability to natively manage a Citrix Netscaler appliance.
2. Add Provider into VMM to link up with Citrix Netscaler. If successful, you can see Load Balancer added and listed on VMM console as displayed below.
image
3. Create a VIP Template. Here you need to specify the VIP protocol, persistence, Load Balancing Method and Health Monitor of the Load Balancing configuration. The concept is similar as configure Citrix Netscaler as you will find similar setting when configure VIP Template.
Now you’ve Load Balancer added into VMM 2012.

[Update: 13 July 2011]
Thanks to Brian (MVP VM) for sharing a link. For those who are interest to test Netscaler VPX for free, go to below link

Thursday, May 19, 2011

CentOS Added as Supported Guest Operating System Running on Hyper V

 

CentOS is a new family members on Linux distribution supported by Microsoft. The news is announce @ Microsoft TechEd North America 2011, Atlanta  Previously, Microsoft only support the following guest operating system

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 3 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2, 5.3 , 5.4 and 5.5 (x86 Edition or x64 Edition)

Therefore as usual, i have downloaded CentOS 5.6 from   www.centos.org and deploy on my lab data center. The total size of the iso download is  4.58GB. Quite sometime, i did not perform linux installation. Let quickly review the setup on Hyper V platform.

image

I did a full graphical installation. In term of mouse movement, i can use the mouse to click here and there without Citrix Project Satori installation. Project Satori is the result of a collaboration agreement between XenSource and Microsoft. Meanwhile, Linux Integration 2.1 released by Microsoft do not have mouse support. Therefore to provides enlightened mouse driver, you need to download from www.xen.org/products/satori.html

Then i try shutdown from Hyper V  Console but it did not work since the Integration Component is not install. To download Linux Integration v2.1, go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=eee39325-898b-4522-9b4c-f4b5b9b64551

Make sure entire Software Development package is installed on CentOS before you install the IC.

Here is part of the configuration on the CentOS to get the IC ver2.1 working:-

1. Use Hyper V manager snap in to mount the IC ISO.

2. Type the following command

image

image

3. Type reboot to restart the CentOS

Verification that i performed after IC ver2.1 install:-

a) Synthetic NIC available. Before install IC, i did not have NIC assign to CentOS.

image

b) Initiate Shutdown from Hyper V Manager Console. Now the CentOS was able to shutdown from the snap-in.

image

c) Time synchronization. Change time from parent Hyper V host will reflect to CentOS VM.

image

This is great. Hope you can explore further. Good Luck.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adding Citrix XenServer 5.6 SP2 into SCVMM 2012 Beta

 

image

Yesterday, I’m just completed the installation of XenServer 5.6 Features Pack 1 and plan to add into SCVMM 2012 as part of my lab environment. But when i woke up this morning, then i saw a notification about  Citrix has just released Citrix XenServer 5.6 SP2. What’s the heck? Since it is a new release, then i just upgraded both XenServer to the  latest version. No harm for me to go on new version.

Now why i should look into Citrix XenServer since I'm MVP for Virtual Machine ? The reason are because

a) I’m just got Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA): XenDesktop 5 . (Hooray !) . I took this exam is because of my work related on VDI. However, my VDI deployment is only using Citrix XenDesktop 5 with Hyper V (hypervisor platform) . So no major conflict . Anyway,Citrix and Microsoft is an alliance partner in term of VDI delivery as well.

b) Good to know since SCVMM 2012 has support on additional hypervisor : Citrix XenServer. It will become advantages for me to understand the technologies as well.

c) Pursuing to high level of Citrix certification. One of pre-requisite is i must take the CCA: XenServer.

For the benefit of people who’re interest on Citrix hypervisor, the new version included with

a) Feature Pack 1 +

b) Support for IntelliCache enabling you to use a combination of shared storage and local storage.

c) Local Storage Spans All Physical Volumes.

d) Reset-on-boot VM behaviour.

d) Block SCSI Generic Support added, enabling full compatibility with Emulex and QLogic management functionality.

e) Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.

Now, before integrate XenServer with SCVMM 2012, i need to install additional SCVMM Supplemental Packs.

image

The new version of SCVMM 2012 can manage Citrix XenServer without Citrix XenCenter (citrix hypervisor management software).

Xenserver1:-

image

Xenserver 2:

image

Integrate with SCVMM 2012:-

a) Computer name and Issue to (view certificate) must be same. If different, then you need to key in computer name according to Issue to . Both must match in order to successful adding Citrix Xenserver into SCVMM 2012.

image

After adding Citrix XenServer:-

image

I’ve successful added both Citrix XenServer 5.6 SP2 as part of my lab datacentre family.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Windows Azure Platform

Are you ready to move to the cloud ? Frankly speaking, I’m not ready but going to…

This year @ Malaysia, I have heard about moving the infrastructure to the cloud and most probably it is the trend moving forward. If I’m not mistaken, the heat of moving to the cloud started since Jan 2011 @ Malaysia but I not keen until recently which my work scope has increased to look into cloud solution.

Just to share with anyone that I just completed a comprehensive testing and demo to a customer about performing backup to the cloud with DPM integration. During the demo, I’m quite excited and fun as seeing most of my corporate data is transfer to the cloud as the offsite backup. Definitely with encryption and compression enabled to protect my data.

So what’s next? I’m going to test Project Concero (can mentioned the name as already announced by MSFT during MMS 2011)  which is part of cloud stuff and related to VMM 2012. Too bad, I can’t share more information unless the product is in Beta stage. But definitely I can share about the cool stuff which I need to prepare before looking into Project Concero.

1st , I need an account on Windows Azure. Here is the alternative to get Windows Azure

a) 30 day pass to evaluate Windows Azure and SQL Azure.
Get it from :- http://windowsazurepass.com/ . Just use your msn id to get the promo code.
or
b) MSDN subscriber
Too bad Technet subscriber is not entitle on free Windows Azure. With MSDN subscription, you can request on Windows Azure account for FREE. More info, please refer to
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/ee461076.aspx

For all usage that exceeds the free allocation, customers will be charged at standard rates. To avoid charges you should closely monitor the usage.

Hope to share more information when the time is right.

Cheers,
Virtual Lai

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why You Should Not Running Domain Controller in a Cluster Hyper V Host?

 

I’m not sure about other people deployment but in my country most of the deployment would like to save cost especially hardware. The customer requirement would probably request to consolidate VMM, Domain Controller or DPM running in Virtual Machine rather than Physical server.

Let me take one of the example which I just experience:

“Running domain controller as a Virtual Machine in a cluster Hyper V Host”

Pic1

Why Not?

You will tend to lose connection to Failover Cluster. Cluster fail to start due to cannot locate AD account for Cluster Hyper V Host. Microsoft Failover Cluster is rely on Active Directory and it is a pre-requisite to setup failover cluster.

I have just experience this scenario whereby my active directory is running on a Virtual machine and located inside the CSV. Everything work well until I restart the server. Guess what happen next?

Managed to login to Hyper V Cluster Host but when I open Failover Cluster mmc snap-in, I saw the error message “Cluster name not found” and all the VM in the CSV fail to start.

If I go to CSV Volume located in C: \ClusterStorage , I cannot see the Volume 1 where the rest of my virtual machine and domain controller is resides. Without Active directory, I cannot start the cluster and all the Virtual machine is gone.

I’ve tried to use command mountvol to mount the volume but still fail.

Lesson learned and it is a hard way. So my advise to everyone reading this blog is “Please put domain controller at least 1 into physical server”.

Pic2

If possible, don’t put into CSV. You can configure to run as standalone on any Cluster Hyper V host but Microsoft did not recommend to run standalone VM on a cluster Hyper V host.

Besides, you also put another risk if the DC VM located in one of Hyper V Host crashed, then you face the same scenario as mine.

Pic3

Now let read further on how i fix this problem.

Resolution

I managed to recover and bring the cluster back due to luck. Why I say lucky is because my shared storage is running Windows Storage Server 2008 R2.

Step 1:- Stop all the iSCSI Target services

Step 2:- Use computer management to attach vhd of the LUN.

Step 3:- Copy the domain controller VM to another Hyper V host and recreate the VM configuration file.

Step 4:- Boot up and reconfigure the DC VM Ip address.

Step 5: Start the Cluster name and cluster resources.

Lucky right! Now just wonder if other type of shared storage solve this problem. Probably present the LUN to another storage but so far I have tried to present the LUN to another server but it detected as “Non formatted disk” and asking to format before use this disk.

Next scenario, how about put each DC VM into each cluster Hyper V hosts? This mean 2 domain controller VM and it is located in each Hyper V Cluster.

When server boot up, the DC VM is not boot up and Cluster Hyper V Host will try to contact the domain controller. You will end up as what happen in my above scenario.

Pic4

Therefore, the best options is to separate Domain controller VM from Cluster Hyper V Host or run in physical server. That’s my advise.

Cheers,

Virtual Lai

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sandy Bridge Processor and Hyper V R2

 

Sandy Bridge? What a lovely name for a processor name?

It is a new second generation processor of Intel Core i3/i5/i7 which released by Intel. For cost effective and get the job done in the lab environment, Sandy Bridge may be my best options to extend my own data center (small home lab servers). Thanks to Jeff which bring this topic out. He talk more about it on this link.

Let walkthrough on some of the cool stuff on Sandy Bridge.

1. How to identify Sandy Bridge processor?

These processor model are 4 digits. Example:- i7-2600, i7-2600.

2. What’s the different between Core i3/i5/i7 on Sandy Bridge?

Core i7  came with feature of quad operating core, 8 MB of L3 cache memory, support Intel Hyper threading and Turbo Boost technologies.

Meanwhile, Core i5 has drop support of  Hyper threading, execute 4 thread at a time, include Turbo Boost technologies and 6MB of L3 cache.

Lastly, Core i3 has dual core design but has Intel Hyper-Threading features which OS sees as quad core processor, 3MB of L3 cache and no Turbo Boost technologies.

Based on here, i would prefer to get Core i7.

To know more about Sandy Bridge, please click here.

3. What’s new on Sandy Bridge and what it has to do with Hyper V R2?

Sandy Bridge included a new features called  Advanced Vector Extension (AVX) which suitable for suitable for floating point-intensive calculations in multimedia, scientific and financial applications, AVX instructions provide increased parallelism and throughput in floating point SIMB calculations. To know more, you can refer to here.

Since Sandy Bridge is quite new (release on 2011) and Hyper V 2008 R2 (release on 2009), you will encounter problem such as “Virtual machine could not be initialize/start error message”.

Solution:-

a) Apply Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 to add support for AVX (both parent and within virtual machine) and Sandy Bridge processor.

or

b) Apply hotfix from this KB 2517374 article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2517374 . This hotfix only add support for the AVX instruction on the parent partition but does not present AVX instruction within the virtual machine.

So the best options is Option 1: Apply SP1.

The next question is “Should i get Sandy Bridge Processor as one of my lab servers?”

In dilemma… “Virtual Lai”