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Thursday
Apr032014

Windows Azure Pack–Setting up the VM Cloud Service

Once the basic WAP installation is completed, the various services need to be configured. In the post I will look at the VM Cloud Service configuration.

The VM Cloud Service requires some additional installations and configurations. The following three steps are required.

  1. Service Provider Foundation Installation and Configuration (SPF)
  2. System Center Virtual Machine Manager Installation and Configuration
  3. WAP VM Cloud Service Configuration

Service Provider Foundation Installation and Configuration

The Service Provider Foundation requires a SQL Server. So make sure you have one available where you can put the SPF database. Before you install SPF you need to enable some Windows features and you need to install two prerequisites. To enable the windows features use the following power shell command:

Install-WindowsFeature Web-Server, Web-WebServer, Web-Common-Http, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Static-Content, Web-Health, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Performance, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Security, Web-Filtering, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-App-Dev, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Scripting-Tools, NET-Framework-45-ASPNET, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, ManagementOdata, WAS, WAS-Process-Model, WAS-Config-APIs

Then install the following software.

Additionally two users are required for the SPF installation:

  • srv_spf_app (domain user account used for the SPF application pool)
  • srv_spf (local user on SPF server used for the WAP connection)

Once this is all set up start with the SPF installation. SPF can be installed from the System Center 2012 R2 Orchestrator setup program. Select Service Provider Foundation under Service Management and follow the wizard. Use the srv_spf_app user account for all application pools. Apart from this, use the default values.

After the installation is completed, add the local srv_spf user account to the following local groups:

  • spf_Admin
  • spf_Provider
  • spf_Usage
  • spf_VMM

System Center Virtual Machine Manager Installation and Configuration

Now to the Virtual Machine Manager configuration. If you have not installed Virtual Machine Manager yet check out the Microsoft installation guild for that. For the configuration of VMM do the following:

  1. Add the domain srv_spf_app user account to the VMM administrator role using the VMM console.
  2. Create or have a VMM Cloud and do not select any of the Capability profile. Assign a logical network to the cloud. Assign a VMM Library to the cloud.

    image
  3. Create or have a VM template. The OS image of the template must have the remote desktop connection enabled. The VM template must have a selected Guest OS Profile and no Capability profiles are selected.

WAP VM Cloud Service Configuration

The last thing to do is to configure the VM Cloud service in the Windows Azure Pack. Let’s start with the following:

  1. Log in to the WAP Admin portal
  2. In the VM Clouds Window select Register System Center Service Provider Foundation. Enter the URL of the SPF server, the local user account (srv_spf account on the SPF server) and it’s password. 

    image
  3. Once the SPF connection is successfully established, add the VMM server to the VM Cloud. In the Clouds tab click USE AN EXISTING VIRTUAL MACHINE CLOUD PROVIDER TO PROVISION VIRTUAL MACHINES and enter the name of the VMM server. After the connection is completed, you will see the VMM server and it’s clouds in the VM Cloud.

    image

So far, we have configured the Windows Azure Pack to connect to the System Center Virtual Machine Manager. In the next post we will look at the creation of a Windows Azure Pack plan for VM Clouds. The plan will define what resources we what to provider to our WAP customers.

Conclusion

The Service Provider Foundation is a service that sits between the Windows Azure Pack and the System Center Virtual Machine Manager that allows the Windows Azure Pack to talk to Virtual Machine Manager. To make this happen we need a Service Provider Foundation service account that has administrator rights in Virtual Machine Manager and the Windows Azure Pack requires a local account on the SPF server to have access to the SPF service.

Monday
Mar172014

Windows Azure Pack – Installing the WAP Basis

As we have see over the last posts on Windows Azure Pack, the whole Windows Azure Pack system consists of multiple components. There are the components that face our consumer or customers. There are the high privileged components and there are the Provider components and supporting components like the database and the federation service. In the post I want to look at installing the initial set of components that make up the basis for the WAP system.

The WAP system is installed by using the Web Platform Installer. The Web Platform Installer is a tool where you can select which components you want install and the tools is automatically downloading all the required software and is also installing and configuring the required settings. There are only little configuration settings that you need to specify for your environment. You can download the Web Platform Installer here:

Download: http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx

Now, when you install the WAP system, you have basically two option. You can either install all initial components on a single server, or you can install each components on separate servers. The single server option is only for testing or proof of concept installations.

Before you start the Web Platform install, make sure that you have a Windows Server 2012 R2 server where you can install the WAP components and that you have a SQL 2012 database server that WAP will use.

To install all components on a single server, select Windows Azure Pack: Portal and API Express from the Products selection.

image

The Web Platform installer will also download and install all the prerequisites for the WAP system. Once started it shows the progress of the download and the installation.

image     image

Once the wizard is completed, you will be redirected to a configuration page. There you need to specify the parameters for the SQL server. You can use SQL authentication or Windows authentication for this step. However, other providers will only use SQL authentication. So make sure that SQL authentication is also enabled on the SQL server.

The passphrase is used to securely store the WAP data in the database. Make sure that you note down the passphrase. You need the passphrase on each server where you install one of the WAP components. Note, if you loose the passphrase, there is no easy way to recover the data in the database, and probably no hard way either.

image

After the wizard is completed, you must sign out and sign in again so that your user can be configured correctly with WAP.

Then, open internet explorer and use the admin port 30091 for your local server, e.g.: https://wap01.demo.lab:30091

After a few introduction dialogs you will land on the main administration portal page. It should look like this:

image

On the left hand side of the page you see the menu for the services and settings. The ALL ITEMS sections shows you all the services that are created, which is empty because we have not configured any service yet. Below that you see the providers that are already installed out of the box. There are the Web Sites service, the VM cloud service, the Service Bus service, SQL server service and the MySQL server service. It’s a bit strange that Microsoft is implementing MySQL Servers as a provider out of the box with WAP.

AUTOMATION, PLANS, USER ACCOUNTS and USER COSTS are internal WAP services that help to run and configure the WAP system.

When you look at the providers that are installed, you see that there is still some configuration work to be done before they can be used. Here’s the example of the VM cloud service:

image

Now, check the database server where you installed the WAP databases. There you will find a couple of WAP databases:

       image

Also start the IIS manager console on the server where you installed the WAP system. There you can see the web sites for the components we discussed:

      image

In the next post I will look at configuring the VM clouds service.

Conclusion

Thanks to the Web Platform Installer method, it’s really easy to install the WAP system. There are two methods, the single server installation and the distributed installation. The single server installation however is only for lab environments. After the initial installation there are a couple of service providers out of the box implemented. However, these providers still need to be configured first.

Tuesday
Mar042014

Windows Azure Pack–The Components

In the previous posts about the Windows Azure Pack, we looked at what the Windows Azure Pack is and how it compares to Windows Azure.

Now, I am going to look at the components that make up the Windows Azure Pack. The components are the pieces of the Windows Azure Pack software that you need to install. As we previously saw, there are internet facing services that the WAP offers. Because of this, Microsoft designed the WAP in a way that allows to separate it’s services into components that can be place in different parts of you network. This is done mainly for security reasons. If you don’t offer the WAP service directly to the internet, you could also put all the components into your intranet. But still for scalability reasons, you would place the components onto multiple server. Here’s a diagram of the components:

 

image

Let’s briefly look at each of these  components:

SQL Server: Of course you will need a database server that holds all the management information and configuration of you WAP environment. There will be multiple databases that the WAP setup will create for you.

WAP Admin Site and WAP Admin API

The WAP Admin Site and WAP Admin API allows the WAP administrator to administer and to maintain der WAP infrastructure. There the Admin would add the VM clouds, the web site clouds, the mySQL or SQL server services and would manage them via Site and the APIs. The admins create bundles of these services and put them into plans, which they can offer to consumers as subscriptions. The plans contain the services with their restrictions and quotas.

The WAP admin Site is the WAP Admin portal talks directly to the WAP Admin API and exposes this management functionality.

Tenant API

The Tenant API provides the functionality that the Tenant Site needs to execute the required management tasks. It’s also used to create the subscriptions for the tenants, where the they define what services they want to subscribe to. Therefore, it’s placed into the high privileged service area.

Tenant Site

The Tenant Site basically is the portal for the end user that allows the end user to subscribe to your plans and to create and manages their  resources. This Tenant Site portal talks directly to the Tenant API in order to do this.

Tenant Public API

The Tenant Public API allows API access to create and maintain resources in the realm of a particular subscription. So you can use these APIs to create applications that manages your resources directly from the application without the need to use the Tenant site.

Tenant Authentication Site

The Tenant authentication Site is a build-in mechanism to allows ASP membership users to authenticate against this site. You can simple create users based on email addresses for the authentication into the WAP.

Providers

So far, we have looked at the internal components of the WAP system. These components build the framework for the workloads or services you want to offer using the WAP. In the previous posts we have looked at the different services that you can offer with WAP which are called Providers in WAP terms. In the diagram above, I listed Web Sites, Service Bus and VMs. Some of these Providers are installed out-of-the-box when you install the WAP system, other must be installed manually.

Identity Federation

Identity Federation is the key components to make the WAP enterprise ready. With ADFS you can plug in different identity providers that can be used for the WAP system. In an enterprise, you would use Active Directory so that your customers can use their Active Directory credentials to log in to the tenant site and the administrators to log in to the admin site.

Scale-out and High Availability

Now that we have very briefly looked at all the components that make up the WAP system, there is still the question about scale-out and high availability. Generally, you should scale-out the components that gets the most traffic. These are normally the tenant components. Additionally for high availability, all tiers of the WAP system should be made highly available if the services are critical to your business.

Conclusion

There are many components to the WAP system. Theoretically you can install all of them on the same server. However, scalability reasons, you should distribute them onto multiple systems. Additionally, if you want to provide WAP services to the internet, you would separate the tenant components from the admin components. If you want to provide WAP services only to your internal enterprise customers, you want to set up ADFS and connect your Active Directory to the authentication site.

In the next post I will look at the installation of the WAP system.

Friday
Jan312014

Windows Azure Pack–Architecture Comparison to Windows Azure

In the article I will look at the high level architecture of the Windows Azure Pack compared to Windows Azure. This will help to understand how Microsoft was able to provide their vision of 1 consistent Cloud OS platform. So here’s a nice picture that explains this:

image

On the left hand side you see the Widows Azure stack and on the right hand side the Windows Azure Pack stack. Let’s look at Windows Azure first.

Windows Azure

At the bottom of the Windows Azure stack is the Windows Azure fabric, the hardware, OS, and services that Windows Azure runs on. Microsoft does not provide too much information how this look like. However, Microsoft started discussing their cloud server hardware designs: http://www.globalfoundationservices.com/posts/2014/january/27/microsoft-contributes-cloud-server-specification-to-open-compute-project.aspx

We can assume, that Microsoft is using some form of Windows Server with Hyper-V to power the Azure cloud. Microsoft does say that the Hyper-V version that is in Windows Server 2012 R2 is the same version that is used in Windows Azure. This does not really surprise since most of the new features in Hyper-V seems to be created for Windows Azure on purpose. Windows Azure also uses the same format VHD disk format then Hyper-V which allows you to copy VHDs that you created on-premises to Windows Azure and use them there (VHDX is not jet supported).

On top of the fabric sit the service and workloads that Windows Azure offers: Web Sites, VM IaaS, SQL, Service Bus and many more. We don’t know how these are implemented and if these run on standard or customized Microsoft products. However, it does not really matter. What we do know is, that Microsoft is updating their services and workload quick frequently so.

The next layer is the important one: The Service Management API layer. This is a REST API that allows you to get programmatic access to the services below. On top of that sits the Windows Azure Self-service portal. This is the portal that you see when you subscribe to Windows Azure and where you can consume the different Azure services. The portal allows you to configure and manage the available services.

Windows Azure Pack

On the Window Azure side, the foundation for the Windows Azure Pack is of course Windows Server with Hyper-V and System Center. That’s why Windows Server is also called the Cloud OS. Many of the new features in Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 are specially target to support cloud functionality. The System Center tools provide the fabric management and monitoring that is required for the services above that layer.

The service and workload layer reveals the familiarity of the Windows Azure Pack to Windows Azure. The Windows Azure Pack offers a subset of the services and workloads that Windows Azure offers. So far there are Web Sites, VMs, SQL and Service Bus. But that’s not it, there is room for more. The WAP is build in a way that allow you to plug more and more services into the Windows Azure Pack.

Now, the Service Management API is where it get’s interesting. The Service Management API is an implementation of the Windows Azure Service Management API that provides a consistent consumer API that talks to the WAP fabric underneath. Event if the services running in the WAP are not implemented identically as in Windows Azure, the access through the Service Management API is consistent. The Service Management API abstracts the service running underneath. Having this Windows Azure consistent API allowed the reuse of the Windows Azure portal in the Window Azure Pack. It’s almost the same portal as used in Windows Azure. Without this consistent API I would not have been possible to move the Azure portal over to the WAP.

The portal in the WAP looks and feels very identical as the portal in Windows Azure. However, as a service provider you are still able to adjust the portal the way you want it. Or if you don’t like the portal at all, you can use or build your own portal and use the required Management Service APIs.

Additionally to the end user portal view, there is a provider portal view. The provider portal allows the WAP administrator to configure the WAP infrastructure and to define offers (or in WAP terms: plans) that is assigned to an end user.

Conclusion

Looking at the high level architecture of Windows Azure and Windows Azure Pack, you can see that the foundation of the two is different, however the closer you go to the end user experience the close the two become. Most importantly, it’s not just about the user interface, but also about the management APIs that will allow the transition of the offered service and workload between the two. I would expect, that Microsoft is building more and more service and workloads into WAP and that the consistency between the two is getting closer and closer, even in the fabric level. I would not be surprised if the WAP will sometime be a role in Windows Server.

Monday
Jan272014

Windows Azure Pack? Another Self-Service Portal for the Private Cloud from Microsoft?

imageOver the past years Microsoft has provided a couple of self-service console or portals for their Private Cloud solution on Windows Server Hyper-V. These self-service console provided some means to request, create, start and stop virtual machines in your on-premises private cloud to different degrees. You might remember some of the following solutions:

  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self Service Portal 1.0
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self Service Portal 2.0
  • Cloud Service Process Pack on top of System Center Service Manager
  • System Center App Controller

Now there is this new toy called WAP or Windows Azure Pack that supposed to offer a kind of similar functionality at first glance. So what is this WAP exactly and will it be just another piece of software that will be replaced by another tool soon? Why is there the term Azure in the name? Does this run on Windows Azure in the Microsoft cloud?

Apparently, when you look how many Microsoft MVPs twitter and blog about WAP, this Windows Azure Pack seams to be the next big thing when it comes to private cloud services, management and self-service.

Let’s look what Microsoft Technet has to say about Windows Azure Pack (WAP):

Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server is a collection of Windows Azure technologies, available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost for installation into your data center. It runs on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and, through the use of the Windows Azure technologies, enables you to offer a rich, self-service, multi-tenant cloud, consistent with the public Windows Azure experience.

Note: Microsoft names it Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server. However, most times it’s simply called Windows Azure Pack or WAP. So, it looks like the WAP is noting that run in the Azure Cloud, but gives you some technologies that is used in Windows Azure and allows you to use them in you own enterprise. And, it sits on top of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2. Apparently it’s developed within the Windows Azure and the System Center product group.

To stop the speculations, this post gives an introduction on WAP based on sessions from TechEd 2013 and Technet articles.

It’s all about 1 Consistent Platform

imageYou might have seen the following picture in one or the other Microsoft presentation recently. It shows Microsoft’s vision of one consistent cloud platform regardless if you run your Microsoft cloud services and applications in the Windows Azure cloud, at a service provider or on-premises in your own data center. So it’s not about the Windows Azure cloud only, it’s a multi cloud strategy, where the customer can decide where the cloud services are running. Microsoft vision is that you can move your services and applications between these three parties. You might want to do this depending on cost, legal requirements, scalability and other reasons. You might also run some application in the Windows Azure cloud, some application or workload at a service provider and some on-premises. However, one thing that seams to be import to Microsoft is that you should never be looked into the one or the other, as long as you stay in the realms of the Microsoft’s cloud solutions, of course.

Until now, the user experience, the management experience and the management API for your cloud services are different. Depending on where you cloud services run, you have to use different management tools and your service consumers (the end user) has also a different user experience. Windows Azure is managed differently from your private cloud solution that might be using System Center as the management tools. You service provider might offer you another set of custom maid tools to manage your services in his cloud. This is where the Windows Azure Pack comes in.

What Cloud Services?

imageWhat are these cloud services that Microsoft is talking about and which are available in Windows Azure and which in Windows Azure Pack. When you look at the cloud services that Microsoft is offering in the public Windows Azure cloud you will see that there are many services like: Web Sites, Virtual Machines, Mobile Services, Cloud Services, SQL Databases, Storage, Media Services, Service Bus just to name a few. And then, of course, your own applications that are written for the Windows Azure cloud.

 

 

 

Now, the Windows Azure Pack does not one-to-one match all the services that Windows Azure provides. At Teched 2013 Microsoft presented these cloud services out of the box with the Windows Azure pack:

image

Lets look at these services one-by-one.

Web Sites

The Web Sites services is a Platform as a Service service that is available in Windows Azure and has been made available in the Windows Azure Pack. Now, Web Sites is not just a single IIS server where you can place your web site on. This is a PaaS offering and therefore you do not need to manage the server itself. You publish you web site and that’s it. But most importantly, it give you high availability, load balancing, scalability on to multiple servers, elasticity, build-in source control and self-service capabilities to manage all of these. With the Windows Azure Pack you, as a service provider, can provide the same functionality to your external or internal customers.

Service Bus

Service Bus allows developers of modern cloud applications to reliable connect the multiple tiers of their application as well as to consume services from offered by third party vendors. The Service Bus in the Windows Azure Pack provides the same self-service tenant experience that is consistent with the one currently existing in Windows Azure. A major benefit of having the same service bus in Windows Azure and in the Windows Azure Pack is the ability to build an application once and then deploy and operate it in any Microsoft Cloud either private, hosted or public.

Virtual Machines

Most of us know that Windows Azure also provides VMs in the Microsoft public cloud as a Infrastructure as a Service service. So far, Microsoft offered virtual machine self-service capabilities in the System Center Virtual Machine Manager console, the VMM Web Console (which is not part of the latest VMM version anymore) and the System Center App Controller product. With Windows Azure Pack Microsoft brings the end user user experience of the Windows Azure public cloud to the private cloud. Honestly, I kind of liked the user interface of App Controller, which is a portal for VMs in your private cloud and the Windows Azure cloud. The WAP user interface is something that some of us need to get used to. On the other hand, making the user interface consistent between private and public cloud makes a lot of sense and eases the transition between the two. If you know how to use the Windows Azure UI, you also know how to use the Windows Azure Pack UI. 

Additionally to the end user UI experience, the Windows Azure Pack also provides an cloud administrator UI experience that allows cloud administrators to configure the components (compute, storage, network) for your private clouds.

More importantly, the Windows Azure Pack introduces a new capability that was not available in that form from Microsoft for the private cloud yet: The Gallery. This allows the packaging of applications into a gallery that a user can deploy and scale on demand. For that, the concept of Virtual Machine Role was introduced, which can be used to increase and decrease capacity of that application by scaling the servers. Also, there is a consistent virtualization API between Windows Azure and the Windows Azure Pack which allows a consistent management of virtual machine between the both.

Service Management Portal and API

The first three topics where actual workload in the Windows Azure Pack. The Service Management Portal and the API is the part that allows the overall management of the portal that holds all these workloads. As I mentioned before, Windows Azure Pack does not allow provide an end user portal, but also a management portal for the service provider, whether on-premises or hosted. The Rest APIs give you a consistent way to provision and to manage the resources in the Windows Azure pack in the same way you would manage resources on Windows Azure.

Conclusion

As you can see from this short introduction, the Windows Azure Pack is not just a new portal for virtual machine management. It’s much more than this. It’s a portal for cloud services that is extensible for other work loads (or in correct term: resource providers) which provides an consistent administrative and an end user part. It also provides API that allows you to manage you cloud resources programmatically. Therefore, I assume that the Windows Azure pack will be there for a long time. It is finally a cloud solution that brings Microsoft private clouds and the Microsoft public cloud very close together.

More information about WAP can be found here:

Tuesday
Jan212014

Network Recommendations for a Hyper-V Cluster in Windows Server 2012

Microsoft recently provided a new guidance on how to configure networking for Hyper-V Cluster running Windows Server 2012. I would assume this also applies to Windows Server 2012 R2. However, there is a new teaming mode in R2, which is not considered in this article.

So there the link to the Technet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/library/dn550728.aspx

The Technet article describes:

  • Traffic type
  • Traffic isolation
  • NIC Teaming LBFO
  • Quality of Service settings
  • Converged Networking
  • PowerShell command to configure the converged network

The following diagram shows the converged networking diagram, where all traffic is logically separated. Notice that there are now 4 SMB adapters for SMB storage connection.

Diagram of Hyper-V cluster networks

 

The article is a very good source on networking recommendations and configurations tips. Very worth to check out.

Monday
Dec022013

Installing SCOM Agent (Microsoft Monitoring Agent) from System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) using Run Script Command or Generic Command Execution (GCE)

imageI am using SCVMM to manage my Hyper-V servers and VMs. I am also using SCOM and I wanted to install the SCOM 2012 R2 agent (also called Microsoft Monitoring Agent now) using SCVMM.

On the Hyper-V host I can use the Run Script Command function to install the SCOM agent on the host (of course I can also use SCOM to push the agent, but that’s not what I wanted). From the use I can use the following:

image

The executable program is:

%WinDir%\System32\msiexec.exe

The parameters are:

/i MOMAgent.msi  /qn USE_SETTINGS_FROM_AD=0 MANAGEMENT_GROUP=Demo MANAGEMENT_SERVER_DNS=VMserver05.demo.lab ACTIONS_USE_COMPUTER_ACCOUNT=1 USE_MANUALLY_SPECIFIED_SETTINGS=1 SET_ACTIONS_ACCOUNT=1 AcceptEndUserLicenseAgreement=1

With the parameter I specify the management group and the management server name. You could also use AD assigned management servers and other parameters.

The Script Resource Package is the folder where I copied the agent installation source in the VMM library. I also specified an installer account with the permissions to install software on the host.

After the job completed I get following entry in the VMM job log.

image

 

On the virtual machines, I can use GCEs to install the SCOM agent. This looks very similar to the Run Script Command.

image

In the Pre-install 2 step I configure the agent installation the same way as in the Run Script Command dialog box. This time however, the script gets executed in the VM. This can only be done in a Service Template, not in a VM Template. Therefore, you should always consider creating a Service Template, when designing a VM installation.

Configure the following as Executable program: cmd.exe

And as Parameters use: /q /c %WinDir%\System32\msiexec.exe /i MOMAgent.msi /l*v c:\log\scomagent.txt /qn USE_SETTINGS_FROM_AD=0 MANAGEMENT_GROUP=Demo MANAGEMENT_SERVER_DNS=vmserver05.demo.lab ACTIONS_USE_COMPUTER_ACCOUNT=1 USE_MANUALLY_SPECIFIED_SETTINGS=1 SET_ACTIONS_ACCOUNT=1 AcceptEndUserLicenseAgreement=1

Here I can reuse the same Script resource package that was used in the Run Script Command and I am using the same run as account.

For more tips on VMM service deployment see: http://blogs.technet.com/b/scvmm/archive/2011/05/17/scvmm-vmm-2012-service-deployment-troubleshooting-tips.aspx

Monday
Nov182013

Windows Version Upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2

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Here’s a quick overview which Windows Versions can be upgraded to Windows Server 2012 R2:

If you are running:

You can upgrade to these editions:

Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter with SP1

Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter

Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with SP1

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter

Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard with SP1

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter

Windows Web Server 2008 R2 with SP1

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard

Windows Server 2012 Datacenter

Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter

Windows Server 2012 Standard

Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter

Hyper-V Server 2012

Hyper-V Server 2012 R2

Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Standard

Windows Storage Server 2012 Workgroup

Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Workgroup

 

For detailed information see: Upgrade Options for Windows Server 2012 R2

Monday
Oct282013

New-RDSessionCollection Error: Unable to configure the RD Session Host Server – Invalid operations

I used Power Shell to configure the Remote Desktop Session deployment and the session collection. When running the New-RDSessionCollection cmdlet on a Windows Server 2012 R2, I got the following Power Shell error:

Unable to configure the RD Session Host Server servername. Invalid Operation.

image

When I had a lock at the applied GPO settings on the machine, I saw the following RDS GPO settings. After disabling the settings my RDS server and enforcing the GPO again, the cmdlet New-RDSessionCollection worked without any error.

image

This GPO was configured from a Windows Server 2012 OS. After updating the GPO with the latest templates, the GPO could be applied correctly to the new R2 server.

Monday
Oct212013

Automatic Virtual Machine Activation in Windows Server 2012 R2

With automatic virtual machine activation, virtual machines that are running Windows Server 2012 R2 will automatically activate itself, when the Hyper-V host is running an activated Datacenter edition. There are special activation keys that you need to use for that (AVMK).

Windows Server 2012 R2 Edition AVMA Keys
Datacenter
Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW

Standard
DBGBW-NPF86-BJVTX-K3WKJ-MTB6V

Essentials
2XGM-NMBT3-2R6Q8-WF2FK-P36R2

You can either:

- Manually update the keys on a WS2012 R2 server

- Use the key during manual installation

- Use the key in an unattended file

- Use the key in a VMM virtual machine template

More information on automatic virtual machine activation can be found here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn303421.aspx