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Friday, June 28, 2013

DELL PowerEdge VRTX Launching in Malaysia


DELL PowerEdge VRTX (“Vertex”)– a remote office converged hardware solution. I just came back from attending DELL PowerEdge VRTX launching event. What make me so interesting about this piece of solution is a combination of servers, shared storage, I/O in the forms of PCIe slots and networking into 5U tower chasis.

Maximum configuration that this hardware can support:-

  • up to 4 server nodes (blades)
  • up to 25 X 2.5” hot swap drives
  • up to 3TB of RAM
  • 64 processing cores
  • 48 TB of storage
  • 8 X 1 Gbps Ethernet port pass through module
  • Redundant power supply

I managed to take some picture on this hardware:-



Well, it would be a great hardware solution for Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization deployment. For more information, please visit this link and check out the youtube video:

Remote SQL for DPM 2012 R2 Requirements


Let get our hand dirty by installing DPM 2012 R2 (Preview Edition). Installation on DPM is still remain the same except on this page. We can now make the DPM database high availability by placing it on SQL cluster.


During installation, you can select stand alone or SQL cluster.

Here is some guidelines which I’ve configure on my test lab environment when using remote SQL Server.

On Remote SQL Server

a) Install DPM Remote SQL Prep from the media kit.


b) Using SQL Configuration Manager to configure

SQL Server Agent – Automatic & Running

SQL Browser –Automatic & Running

c) Create DPMDBReaders$<DPM server name> and DPMDBAdministrators$<DPM server name> local groups on the remote SQL Server. Add DPM Administrator account into these group.

d) Configure Windows exception to llow SQLServer.exe to use port 80.

e) SQL Server is install with default collation. On remote SQL server, do remember to install the SQL Reporting.

For more info, please visit

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Live VM Export–Windows Server 2012 R2


Anyone perform VM export on previous version of Hyper-V? Do you like it?

You probably find it irritating especially the VM is up and running. In order to perform export, you need to shut down the VM and this will eventually impact your production environment.

Well, with Windows Server 2012 R2 (tested on Preview Edition), you can now perform export

a) A running VM – without any downtime. (not require to shutdown)

b) A checkpoint of a VM ,while the VM is running – without any downtime

Check out below screenshot which I’ve taken. VM state is running and status is exporting (66%)


With this features, we can eliminate zero downtime to create a clone VM.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Snapshot or Checkpoint in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V?


If you’ve been playing around with Hyper-V hypervisor, you will know about a feature called “Snapshot”. Snapshot allow you capture the state, data, and hardware configuration of a running virtual machine. It allow us to easily revert the virtual machine to a previous state. Most of the time we use snapshot during development or test environment.  I should just remind again as recently few of my customer are having the same issue due to snapshot. Now why snapshot is not recommended in production environment?

The reason are

1. Snapshot will create a temporary file with an extension .avhd. This temporary file will consume storage space and will grow. User will not realize that suddenly all the virtual machine which located in the same volume is in “Paused” state. This because snapshot has occupied the entire storage space.

2. Snapshot will degrade the disk performance of the virtual machine.

3. Snapshot is not supported to use on VM hosting Active Directory Lightweight Directory Service role in Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Domain Services (2000 / 2003).

Let back to our topic. According to my testing on Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview , snapshot name has changed to “Checkpoint”. Finally Hyper-V and VMM has standardize on using the same name: “Checkpoint”. The step is still similar as previous version. On the VM, just right click and select Checkpoint.



Checkpoint still a useful feature even it has it own limitation. My advise is

1. Don’t leave snapshot for quite a long time

2. Do remember to remove the checkpoint.

3. If you’ve using Hyper-V 2008 or 2008 R2, do remember to shutdown the VM in order for merging process to take over. The temporary file (.avhd) is still remain on the volume. Once turn off, please wait till the merging process is complete before turn on the VM.

If you’re using Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2, you can safely delete the checkpoint while the VM is running. It will performing merging at the background.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Generation 2 VM–Windows Server 2012 R2


Good news! The bits for Windows Server 2012 R2 (Preview edition) has released. If you’re interested, please login to Tech Net/ MSDN to download. Let look on Generation 2 VM.

If you go and create a new VM, now you’ve an option to select Generation 1 or Generation 2 VM.


If you look at the diagram above, do take note that you cannot change Generation 1 to Generation 2 or vice versa.

The question is when you should select G1 and G2?  Well, If you plan to create Windows Server 2003 – Windows Server 2008 R2 VM, then you must select Generation 1.

Generation 2 only supported operating system running

  • Windows 8 – 64 bit
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8.1 – 64 bit
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

Once create a VM, open the VM Settings:-

Generation 1 VM

  • Able to see IDE Controller
  • SCSI Controller
  • BIOS boot from CD


Generation 2 VM

  • Now BIOS changed to Firmware.
  • 1st disk is using SCSI Controller
  • Many emulated device has removed. Legacy free


Here is how the boot secure order after install an operating system


  • Boot from synthetic network. You can do OS installation by boot from the network using PXE
  • Boot from virtual SCSI

To add a DVD rom for OS installation, you’re require to add a SCSI Controller


During installation of operating system, let look on creating 1st partition.

Generation 1 (allocated 320MB)


Generation 2 (allocated 300MB, 99MB and 128 MB)


It will enable UEFI secure boot standard

After installation, open device manager and compare Generation 1 and Generation 2

Generation 1

  • Able to see legacy device (IDE, SCSI)


Generation 2

  • SCSI Controller
  • Fewer devices compare to Generation 1


How about performance? Well,

  1. Virtual machine operating system boot time can be up to 20% faster with generation 2 virtual machines.
  2. Installing the guest operating system can be up to 50% faster with generation 2 virtual machines.
  3. No performance difference on the day to day operation

Note:- the screenshot listed above may change when product release on RTM version taken using Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Edition.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cisco Nexus 1000V For Microsoft Hyper-V

Last few days ago, I have attended a public joint webinar between Cisco and Microsoft about Cisco Nexus 1000V. Here is some of information that I think it is useful to share with everyone.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V has a feature called “Hyper-V Extensible Switch” which allow partner to enhance the Virtual Switch by allowing them to plug-in (we called it “extension”). By plug in the extension, the virtual switch will transform into “Hyper-V Extensible Switch”. It has three extension:

  • Forwarding Extension
  • Capture Extension
  • Filtering Extension

Cisco unveiled the Cisco Nexus 1000V and using forwarding extension.


  • Cisco Nexus 1000V VEM is require to install into each Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.
  • VEM is control by Cisco Nexus VSM.
  • One VSM can control multiple Cisco Nexus 1000VEM.
  • Then VSM can integrate with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1
  • For high availablity Cisco Nexus 1000V VSM, it is recommended to deploy two VSM in Active-Standby mode.


Here is a list of features available when deploy Cisco Nexus 1000V


How about pricing? Cisco Nexus 1000V included with two versions

  • Essential - FREE
  • Advanced – $695 per socket


Cisco Nexus 1000V can support both popular hypervisor:- Hyper-V and Vmware. However you cannot use the same Nexus 1000V to manage both ESX and Hyper-V. You should deploy separate Cisco Nexus 1000V for different hypervisor environment.


Cisco Nexus 1000V require Windows Server 2012 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1. Some terminology different between SCVMM and Cisco Nexus 1000V


Now let look into operation model with SCVMM with Cisco Nexus 1000V. Please refer to below diagram and look at the flow 1-5.


Updated[24 June 2013]

To download – Click here

Register Backup Vault to DPM 2012 SP1


In order to test this task, you’re require to submit an application to test Backup Vault. 

I can create a backup vault by using MSDN –Visual Studio Premium. My another account MSDN –Visual Studio Professional was not able to create backup vault.

The purpose of creating a backup vault at Windows Azure is because i would like to perform a store backup data from DPM 2012 SP1 to Windows Azure.

Note:- This articles will replace my previous post which was written using DPM 2012 SP1 Beta.

1. To create backup vault, click on +NEW | Recovery Services | Backup Vault | Quick create | enter your vault detail and click Create Vault


2. Once you have created your 1st Backup Vault, you are require to upload public certificate to the backup vault.

Requirement of the public certificate or self signed:

  • The certificate should be an x.509 v3 certificate. You can create a self-signed certificate, or use any valid SSL certificate issued by a Certification Authority (CA) trusted by Microsoft, whose root certificates are distributed via the Microsoft Root Certificate Program.
  • The key length should be at least 2048 bits
  • The certificate must have a valid ClientAuthentication EKU.
  • The certificate validity should not exceed three years. You must specify an expiry date, otherwise a default setting that is valid for more than three years will be used.
  • The certificate should reside in the Personal certificate store of your Local Computer.
  • The private key should be included during installation of the certificate.
  • To upload to the certificate to the portal, you must export it as a .cer format file that contains the public key.

It’s a bit trick. don’t use IIS to create a self signed certificate. Trust me! It wont’t work. Here is my guide on how to create a public certificate:

a. Install Visual Studio or install Windows SDK to use the makecert tool.

About makecert:- Click here

b.Type the following command:

makecert.exe -r -pe -n CN=CertificateName -ss my -sr localmachine -eku -len 2048 -e 01/01/2016 CertificateName.cer

Note:- change the certificate name with your DPM server name

c. If you will be registering a different server than the one you used to make the certificate, you need to export the .pfx file (that contains the private key), copy it to the other server and import it to that server’s Personal certificate store.

3. Go back to Windows Azure | Select Recovery Services and click Manage certificate


Select the certificate which you have generated by using makecert and upload to Windows Azure


4. Once you’ve successful upload the certificate, double click your vault and download the agent for your DPM server. Select “Download Agent link for Windows Server and System center- Data protection Manager”


5. Install the WABInstaller (17MB) on your DPM Server. During installation, make sure you’ve sufficient Cache Location (min 2,5Gb). This location will be use to keep track of the files that been backup.

6. Here is the step to register backup vault into DPM 2012 SP1

a. Reboot the machine after install the agent

b. Open DPM Administrator Console, click Management, click ONLINE and select Register from the toolbar.


c. Browse for the certificate


DPM will connect to Windows Azure and get your Backup Vault information which you have created in previous step. click Next


d. On proxy configuration page, click Next . Do fill up if your environment is using proxy server.


e. On throttling setting, set the Internet bandwidth based on working hours and days.


f. On Recovery Folder Settings page, specify a temporary location where it use to store a downloaded content when recovery. Make sure you have a sufficient data based on your recovery date size. Click next


g. On Encryption Settings page, click generate passphase. Remember to save it to notepad and keep in safe location. This passphase key is use to encrypt all backup from DPM server.


Note:- All these settings can change by clicking on Configure Settings when you can successful register..


h. Click Register to complete the registration process.


If you return back to Windows Azure portal, you will see that your DPM server has successfully registered.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Capacity Planner for Hyper-V Replica Tool


Last month, Microsoft has released a Capacity Planner for Hyper-V Replica tool which provides the IT administrator to design the server, storage and network infrastructure which is required to successfully deploy Hyper-V Replica. This tool is useful once you have deploy Hyper-V in our environment.

Let look into the pre-requisite:-

1. Hyper-V Roles Installed on primary / replica server

2. Tool need to install on the primary server or one of nodes from the cluster.

3. Both servers has to enable to receive replication traffic

4. It will work either the primary/replica server in workgroup or domain

5. Hyper-V server must be running Windows Server 2012.


1. This tool only use for capacity planning

2. No Replication enable on the VM

3. No interruption to the VM


1. Specify the primary server, replica server, WAN bandwidth and duration for collection metric

a. Specify the primary server name / Hyper-V replica broker (if cluster)

b. Specify replica server name / Hyper-V Replica Broker (if cluster)

c. Estimate WAN bandwidth (in Mbps) between primary and replica server

d. Enter the interval for which the metric need to be collected. (make sure more than 10 min) and advice during production hour. (example 15 min)


2. On Choose VM to replicate page, the tool perform inventory and collect information about VM which replication has not been enabled. In this page, specify a temporary location to hold a temporary VM. This location must located in your primary server/cluster. Then

a. Select a host first (must)

b. Select a VM/VHD that you want to analyze. A copy of this VHD will be copy to a temporary location. Example:- selecting a Ubuntu VM.


3. Once you click Next, the tool will start to capture the metric in the background according to your setting which you have defined in Step 1.(Example: 15 min + few more extra minutes)


4. Lastly after collect various metric, the tool will produces a capacity planning guidance. Here is a sample report on our testing.

Information provided

a. Deployment Detail consist of primary/replica server details


b) Capacity Planning Results in term of VM, Processor, Memory, IOPS, Storage and Network. Example:-

i) Processor- Capture the estimated CPU impact before and after replication on the primary and replica server. Example:- Primary server- increase by 3% and Replica server – increase by 3%


ii.Memory. Example:- Primary server require extra 1.5 GB of memory, Replica server require extra –11.06 GB of memory


iii. Storage. Capture the Disk space require.Example:-

Primary Server after enable replication require at least 2.37MB and 1.38 for total churn replication in 5 min. It is require to keep track the changes to the virtual machine in a log file. The churn will capture the workload/ write to the VM across all the VM on which replication will be enabled.

Meanwhile on the replica server, it will provide the size requirement for initial copy, latest recovery and additional storage per recovery point.


iv. Network/bandwidth based on estimated WAN bandwidth between primary and replica server. It will provide the average network bandwidth based on workload churn observed during the duration of the run and recommend setting that you can configure for maximum active transfer.


Summary of the result:-



It is a very useful tool and will help you in proper sizing your resources before enable Hyper-V Replica in your data center. To download the tool and try in your environment, click here

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Windows Azure New Offers–June 4, 2013


Good news! Yesterday during Microsoft Tech-Ed North America 2013 keynote, Microsoft has make an announcement regarding Windows Azure new offers.

1st News: No Charge for stopped VMs


Horray! It is one of the best news. No charge for stopped VMs. Previously any stopped VM will be charged but now we no longer need to delete those stopped VM during testing period.

2nd News: Bill per minute


Previously we was billed based on per hour basis. If your running VMs has turned “ON” for 20 minutes, you will be billed based on a hour. But with the new billing, you will only be billed per minute.(pro-rate from an hour charges)

3rd News : New discounted hourly rates


Note:- Applicable for MSDN Dev/ Test Rates and if you’ve exceeded the MSDN credit limit.

4th News : No Charge for the testing


There will be no charges when you create a virtual machine and install with either Sharepoint, Visual Studio, SQL Server and Biz Talk Server 2013.

5th News : MSDN Credit


For MSDN subscriber, you will be given an MSDN Credit based on your subscription. I just login to Windows Azure portal and saw my account is ready to switch “MSDN credit” in order to use the new credit. All you need to do is click on the link (according to red arrow) and wait for a week.  After you have take the offer, the 1st month will be given $200 credit and subsequent month will be charges based on your MSDN credit.

Let say you plan not to take the offer, then your account will be automatically converted to use credit starting from 1st August 2013.


For more information:-