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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Boot from VHDX


Quite sometimes ago, i have posted an article about Boot from VHD . Recently, I have talk with several people and some still using traditional way to install a second operating system into their machine. Normally they will create another partition and install an OS on top of it. Well, I'm not say it is incorrect but just a bit waste of hard disk space.

We can now eliminate this approach and start to use Virtual Machine to boot up. In this approach, we just create 40GB size of Virtual machine. That’s all you require and come handy especially for engineer who would like to have 2 operating systems:-

1. Windows 7

2. Windows Server 2008 R2 (run Hyper-V)

In this round, we are going to use VHDX ( a new VM file format) which available on Windows 8, which

  • Supports up to 16TB size
  • Supports larger block file size
  • improved performance
  • improved corruption resistance

My laptop has installed with

1. Windows 7

2. Windows Server 2008 R2 (with SP1 and Hyper-V role installed)

3. Windows 8 (Windows Server Developer Preview- with Hyper-V role install)

Next is i would like to test Windows 8 Client with Hyper-V role install. Therefore rather than create a VM using VHD file format, i have decided to try using VHDX.

Here is the process (similar as Boot from VHD):-

1. Create a VM using VHDX file format. Install with Windows 8 Client OS (Windows Developer Preview). The VM just contain operating system and 40GB should be sufficient.

2. Sysprep the Virtual Machine. Refer to below screenshot for the command to sysprep


3. On Windows 8 Server, modify the bcdedit. Enter 4 commands according to screenshot below:-


bcdedit /copy {current} /d “Windows 8 client”
bcdedit /set {new GUID} device vhd=[Drive:] \ path.vhdx
bcdedit /set {new GUID} osdevice vhd=[Drive:] \ path.vhdx
bcdedit /set {new GUID} detecthal on

4. Reboot and select Windows 8 client. Once completed, enable Hyper-V role from the Control Panel. Make sure your machine has

  • Second Level Address Translation (SLAT)
  • 64 bit
  • Hardware assisted Virtualization (Intel-VT or AMD-V)
  • Hardware DEP

This is a new requirement for Windows 8 Client OS  in order to install Hyper-V role.


Now i have 4 test operating system running in my laptop and i only used 160GB of hard disk space.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Disable Services Using Command line


Alright. Just received a request to disable services for security hardening.

Well, 1 VM = 6 services need to disable.

144 VM = 864 services need to disable.

Next question, why don’t i use group policy?. Well, due to unavoidable circumstance i cannot use group policy. Wow 864 times of configuration is a lot of work. The best way, is write a script to disable the services.

1. Check the service name from services.msc


Example of services:-

Microsoft iSCSI Initiator
Network Access Protection
RPC Locator
Smart Card
Smart Card Removal Policy


sc config MSiSCSI start= disabled
sc config napagent start= disabled
sc config RpcLocator start= disabled
sc config SCardSvr start= disabled
sc config SCPolicySvc start= disabled
sc config SNMPTRAP start= disabled

You can configure startup to be “auto” | “disable” | “demand” | “delayed-auto”

Save to batch file and execute to the entire VMs.

Export Event Viewer Log from Server Core


Well, you’ve deployed Hyper-V on Server Core. Sometimes, we would like to export the event log for diagnostic. You can use full installation (GUI) of Windows Server and connect to the server core server for viewing the event log. However you will receive an error message when trying to export out the event log. Therefore you got no choice but go back to Server Core and type few commands.

1. To query for event log available on server Core to C:\eventlog.txt

wevtutil el > “C:\eventlog.txt”

Above command will give you event viewer name that you can export out. Let say we want to export System Log.

2. Export System Log

wevtutil epl System C:\ExportSystemLog.evtx

3. To Clear System Log

wevtutil cl System

Hope these command is useful to you.

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 6.5 Beta


Hot from oven. MAP 6.5 Beta just released. The latest release from the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) team provides organizations with tools to simplify public and private cloud migration planning.

Here is the key features:-

  • Analyze your portfolio of applications for a move to the Windows Azure platform.
  • Accelerate private and public cloud planning with Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track Onboarding.
  • Identify migration opportunities with enhanced heterogeneous server environment inventory.
  • NEW! Assess your usage of Microsoft software with the Software Usage Tracking feature.
  • Discover Oracle instances on Itanium-based servers for migration to SQL Server.

MAP 6.5 beta included with new GUI interface and here is the screenshot:-


It is now easy to use and let check on what’s new for virtualization perspective. Just follow step 1-5. Each step complete will provide a summary result.


New ! Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track. Included with 5 sample of Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track. You can create your own Fast Track resources from “Step 3-Create a Hardware Configuration”



To download:- Click here

Monday, October 24, 2011

Test iSCSI Shared Storage Using Windows Server Developer Preview


Last week Microsoft has released iSCSI Target 3.3 with the latest QFE. If you’re interested to build iSCSI Shared Storage which supported by Microsoft, please feel free to get it from here:-

But today, i’m not going to look into iSCSI Target 3.3. Let have a look on how to build iSCSI Shared Storage using Windows Server Developer Preview. This component is not a separate download but included as part of the roles which available in the operating system.

All you need to do is add roles File Services roles. Then tick iSCSI Target Server on File Services.


Once you have added the roles, you can use Server Manager to create iSCSI Target and iSCSI Virtual Disk. Here is the screenshot:-

1. Create Virtual Disk

2. Assign Virtual Disk with iSCSI Target


3. Connect to target using iSCSI Initiator


Note:- This version (included in Windows Server Developer Preview) is not supported in production as similar as iSCSI Target 3.3. But you can build an iSCSI Shared Storage for your lab environment using this version. So Enjoy !

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Storage Live Migration available in Windows Server Developer Preview

In my last post, I've talked about live migration without cluster storage. Let move on to next testing.

This round on the same option, i can perform storage live migration:whereby i can move the Virtual Machine from one storage location to another storage location without shutdown the VM and 0 downtime.

Let recap on current version of VMM 2008 R2. With current version you can perform quick storage migration which allow you to move VM from one storage to another storage.

Next question is when we mostly use storage migration ?

Most of the time, we move from one smaller LUN to bigger LUN or low capability of LUN (RAID 5) to high capability of LUN (RAID 10). However, you will realise there will be downtime when performing storage migration and downtime occur when the system perform snapshot.

Now with Hyper-V Vnext using Hyper-V Manager console, we can perform Storage Live migration, you  without causing downtime.

Here is the screenshot:-


I've run a continuous ping/ RDP to verify that the connection is still intact. This time round, 1ms appeared consistent on the ping result as the transferring of VHD and configuration did not use any network card.

Without we realise, the VHD has moved to new storage location. Great features!

Live Migration Without Cluster on Windows Server Developer Preview


Let recall on current version of Hyper-V. If you would like to perform live migration (mean:- move a VM from one node to another node without causing any downtime), you’re require to setup Failover Cluster. You will not be able to move the VM from standalone server. To do so, you need to leverage on Export/Import.

We love Export/Import but there is downtime as you need to shutdown the VM and move it across.

How about perform move of Virtual Machine in a standalone Hyper-V Host and without shared storage? The most important is 0 downtime.

To achieve that, i have tested on Windows Server Developer Preview (Windows 8). Let me show you some screenshot during my testing:-

a) Move options


b) While VM is up and running. To prove 0 downtime, i have initiated continuous ping. You will notice an increase time during pinging. (indicate files transfer across)


Here it will take a while depend on how big the VHD of the Virtual machine. I waited patiently while VHD is transfer across. If you go to destination server, you will see the VHD size increase to indicate copying process. Original VHD is still intact on the source computer. Once copying process complete, the original VHD is disappear from the source server and VM is running on destination server.

c) Ping drop 1/2 to indicate arp table change and you have VM migrated to destination server with 0 downtime.


This was awesome feature on the next generation of Hyper-V.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

System Center 2012 Solution to Construct Private Cloud


David Chapple has wrote a nice document which describe about using System Center 2012 solution to construct a Private Cloud. Technologies discuss:-

  • SCVMM 2012
  • SC App Controller 2012
  • SC Service Manager 2012
  • SC Operation Manager 2012
  • SC Orchestrator 2012

You can download the document from here:-


This whitepaper is sponsor by Microsoft.

Get it while it last…

Dynamic Memory Performance Counter


You’ve deployed SP1 on Hyper-V and enable Dynamic Memory. The next question, which performance counter that you should use to monitor the utilization? We often need to check the performance counter and very few people mention on which counter to monitor. Therefore I've decided to compile and put them here.

Other counters (from my previous post):-

Dynamic memory Utilization on Hyper-V Host

Check on “Average Pressure” counter under the “Hyper-V Dynamic Memory Balancer” category.  This gives you a very simple view of the overall memory allocation of your system.


\Hyper-V Dynamic Memory Balancer\Average Pressure

Health:- less than 80%

Warning: 80 –100%

Critical:- more than 100% . Indicated running out of memory on Hyper-V host and virtual machine start to use virtual paging.

Some additional performance counter information which i got it from Greg pos. It may come on handy when you need to understand what each counter do:-

a) Hyper-V Dynamic Memory Balancer- host level memory information


b) Hyper-V Dynamic Memory Balancer VM- VM level memory information


Friday, October 14, 2011

SCVMM 2012 MasterClass at Ingram Micro Training Center,Singapore

Up to 12 student has attended VMM2012 MasterClass @Ingram Micro Training Center, Singapore- as part of Microsoft Singapore TechDay 2011 event. Click on the picture to have a larger view.

Presentation:- Cloud Management With System Center App Controller

At Microsoft Singapore TechDay 2011, i have presented about Cloud Management with System Center App Controller . Over 200+ delegate has attended the session. Here is the slide of the session and recording for your perusal.


[Updated: 27 Oct 2011]

Recording:- Live Presentation (high quality)

Please go to

To download System Center App Controller 2012 Beta- Click here.

Presentation : SCVMM 2012 Building of Private Cloud and Federation to the Public Cloud

At Microsoft Singapore TechDay 2011, i have presented about SCVMM 2012 Building of Private Cloud and Federation to the Public Cloud . Over 200+ delegate has attended the session. Here is the slide of the session and recording for your perusal.

Recording session

SCVMM 2012-Building of Private Cloud and Federation to the Public Cloud from Yoong Seng Lai on Vimeo.

[Updated: 27 Oct 2011]

Recording –Live Presentation (high quality)

Please go to

This recording was recorded by Microsoft Singapore during MS Techday 2011.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Issue Assign 2 Vcpu but shown as 1 Vcpu on Windows Server 2003 Virtual machine.


Weird experience.Probably 1 out of a million. I have done a lot of Windows Server 2003 Virtual Machine deployment but encountered a very weird scenario. Here is the scenario

  • Assign 2 vcpu to a Windows Server 2003 SP2 Guest operating system
  • When view from task manager, it only indicated 1 vcpu.
  • On Device manager, indicated 2 processor and ACPI Multiprocessor PC.
  • Go to command prompt and enter echo %number_of_processors% will give you result 1.
  • Reinstall SP2 but still failed
  • Uninstall Integration Services and Reinstall Integration Services but still failed.
  • Change to 4 vcpu but still shown 1.
  • Change on boot.ini to use 2 processor but still failed.
  • Hypervisor:- Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition with SP1
  • Delete the VM Configuration and recreate but still failed.




1. Reinstall SP2

2. Uninstall IC. Restart the Server

3. Reinstall IC. Restart the Server

4. When view task manager, you will still see 1 processor.

5. Shutdown the Vm

6. Change the virtual cpu to 1.

7. Start the VM and wait the system detect a new hardware and prompt ask to restart.

8. Restart the VM. Once boot up. Shut down the VM

9. Change back to 2vcpu and start the VM

10. Wait for the system detect a new hardware and prompt ask to restart. If you view task manager, it will still indicate 1 processor.

11. Restart the VM

12. Once restart, the VM will have 2 processor when you view from task manager.

Quite weird but i suspect is due to SP2 which i have previously uninstall and reinstall SP2 process. 

Well, at least now it is work on my side for 2 VMs. Another 3 VMs on the same Hyper-V Host did not experience this issue. Weird!…

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Integrate Citrix XenServer 6.0 with VMM 2012



Not long ago, i have posted Citrix Xenserver 5.6 SP2 integration with VMM 2012 Beta  (previous blog). However recently Citrix has released a new version of hypervisor:- Citrix XenServer 6.0.0 to public. Therefore i have added XenServer 6.0.0 into my heterogeneous environment and continue managing Citrix hypervisor using VMM 2012 RC.

You can download the trial version from here. If you have MyCitrix account, you can directly download Citrix XenServer 6.0 and you can find Microsoft System Center Integration Pack (size 11.5MB).


Install the XenServer with Integration Pack.

Once you have complete, proceed to Fabric workspace, click Add resources and select Citrix XenServer Hosts


Fill up Server Settings


Once added, you can view the server properties. Here is the screenshot that i have successful added Citrix XenServer 6.0.0 into VMM 2012


On Citrix XenServer 6.0.0 server, here is the screenshot of the Citrix hypervisor.


So what’re you waiting for? Start download and integrate into VMM 2012.