Category Archives: Windows
So this week I’ve been engaged by a client to consolidate their virtual infrastructure on to Hyper-V 2012 R2 from a mix and match of VMware and Hyper-V 2008 R2. The client had an unused Hyper-V 2008 R2 box that they had planned on migrating all of this stuff to and the box was not in production but was domain joined so I figured this was a good opportunity to try a in place upgrade of that server. So how about I jump right in.
Optional Prerequisite: While not necessary, I would recommend only doing this on servers you either have physical access, or have RMM/IP KVM access to. That way you’ll be able to see what’s going on during the reboots.
Step 1) prepare the server for the upgrade. Since this machine was not a domain controller I did not have to do any of the AD prep normally associated with an in place upgrade, so the only preparation step I did was make certain that windows updates were current.
Step 2) Next I installed pfmap173 which you can get here. This is a free Windows application that allows users to mount the contents of ZIP, ISO, Compact ISO, Compact File Set and Private Folder files to the file system as virtual folders. Very useful piece of software.
Step 3) Now that we have the ISO mounted, just run setup.exe and start the install.
Step 4) Selecting whether to get updates or not. It’s going to recommend you get updates during the upgrade process, while I’ve done this with desktop upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 and not had any issues, I really felt that since this was a server and I didn’t want to drive an hour to go physically lay hands on it if something goes wrong, I chose to be as minimalist as possible and selected the option to not install the updates. This was purely intuition on my part, I can’t cite a specific technical reason not to do this so your mileage may vary.
Step 5) Next step you will select what edition you are installing. Obviously this is going to be determined by the license key you have and in this case I’m going to do Standard, but I’ll go over some basic facts about editions.
Data Center can be licensed for 2 sockets and gives you unlimited VOSEs with Automated Virtual Machine Activation. This basically means you can do an unlimited number of VMs on the Data Center host and the AVMA means they don’t need to be activated through KMS or online. BUT, these VOSEs are not transferable to another host, so any cluster replication members must be Data Center as well or at least licensed for the total number of VMs that could be run if one host fails. Example: Host 1 has 2 VMs, Host 2 has 2 VMs and Host 1 and Host 2 are in a cluster, so that means Host 1 must be licensed for 4 VMs and Host 2 must be licensed for 4 VMs because if either host fails the subsequent host will be handling those VMs and must be licensed for them even if it’s just for 1 second.
Core editions are pretty straight forward, it’s basically whatever edition you have but without a GUI. This reduces servicing, management, resource consumption, and attack surface, all useful things in some scenarios. Your license keys can be used on both versions (with GUI and without).
Step 6) Select the upgrade option.
The install process will then examine compatibility, there are any issues you’ll be notified here and it also spits out a report onto the desktop if you wish to cancel the process and go look at it. It will also warn you to go check with your software vendors to make sure software is compatible. I’m guessing you’ve already done this because you’re not incompetent but just in case it gives you the option of stopping now and taking care of that.
Once you hit next, there’s no going back, it’s going to go through the unpacking and installing process and the machine will reboot several times.
If you don’t have direct RMM/IPKVM access to the machine, you’ll lose your RDP session and won’t be able to connect again until the process is totally complete. When you’re all done, you should be greeted by the lovely Server 2012R2 logon.
your friendly neighborhood IT solutions engineer
OSx is a great OS. Amazing performance, great for users that want a very stable platform. However when trying to interact with a corporate environment it becomes very apparent that there are some major gaps in applications for business use vs. those of consumer use.
The more and more I tried to use OSx for everyday use the harder and harder I found it to complete my daily tasks without having to boot up a Virtual Machine to complete Visio Drawings, or Project files. So being the geek I am, I decided to give Windows 8 a try again. This time I decided to give it my full attention… After just a day, I started realizing that Windows 8 is pretty unique. It is a nice feeling while you are in the Consumer “Style” time slices vs. Enterprise “Style” time slices.
Integrations with Dropbox, SkyDrive, DataNow, Office Suite, etc… You name it, things for the Enterprise life just seem to be running WAY better.
Granted if I were a professional photographer or video editor there would be no debate OSx it would be. However when trying to maintain both Personal life and Business Life, hands down it is Windows, and Windows 8 is super-fast, extremely stable, and Manages Memory as good or better then OSx.
Also when it comes to games, nothing really compares to Windows, trying to find games that are OSx native applications it was pretty disappointing.
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Just a heads up, not sure if it this is just isolated to my Lab or if this could be a nice little issue with Hyper-V 2012. Over the weekend I was playing with a few different firewall solutions trying to find a replacement for my limited Sophos UTM firewall (50 IP’s max), So I built a VM which I had to change the Network card to Legacy instead of the Default, after which I started to have nothing but random slowness, Internet would stop working, or be extremely flakey. Last Night I deleted the “Powered OFF” VM and everything started working perfectly again.
Sorry for the short post, on the run and did it from the good old iPhone 🙂
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My first look at Leostream. So far it is a pretty sweet deal, I am going to try and get some more info on the CloudDesktop but from my initial testing, you have a fully persistant Windows 2008 R2 Desktop. You can install applications, but it does come with Chrome! Speed is good, flash playback is slow, and tends to “Freeze” the session (well at least via the browser). Other then that $20/month you supply the rest of the Licensing and you don’t have a bad Cloud based desktop. I am trying to get a demo on the Cloud Management console, it sounds pretty nice, you can manage multiple customers from it. From the Trail Console it shows you can create a “base” image and make that the one you deploy out. That I believe was under the premium account which I believe is $60/month.
The Connection Broker wasn’t as cool as I thought it was going to be. Not to say it isn’t a pretty straight forward Broker Server, but I was hoping it would be able to tie into their CloudDesktop’s and provision that way which it can not :(. Anyways stay tune for more info on this and a lot more on Cloud based strategies.
I am planning on having a call with them this week so if you have any questions you want to ask please comment or email me.
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Windows 8 Install
So far looks pretty standard, however this install seemed to go way faster than the Windows 7 installer
New Windows Loader… A reboot in Parallels takes a whooping 15-25 seconds
Setting up your network
Now for the new Tiles GUI, When you press the start button or press the Windows Key you get your new interface.
Notice Ribbon’s are everywhere now!
Internet Explorer Launched from the Tile Screen… You can still launch IE 10 in “Desktop” Mode
More to come as I have time to play with all the features.
So I wrote a little script to help me out, and after wasting a day searching the web for a nice pre-canned one I decided just to write one myself
This is written to Change the Owner of a folder to the folder name… This is extremely useful when fixing a root level folder permissions issue.
First, Create the base image, and base application installs.
Second, configure the applications, Desktop, Start menu and any other settings you want every new user to get.
Third, Create a new Local Administrator user account. Note that step two HAS to be done with a LOCAL user. Once everything is set the way you want, login with the new user account. Browse to C:Users Rename “Default” to “Default-OLD” or whatever makes sense to you. Then make a copy of the first Administrator’s account folder. Once it has successfully copied Rename it to “Default”.
Fourth, Run Sysprep… Yeah I know it is a pain, but so far this is the only way to really make this work every time. To run sysprep logout of the Second Administrator’s account and back in to the First. Disable the Second Admin account, and Delete the Users Profile. Now browse to c:windowssystem32sysprep Run sysprep leaving all defaults.
Fifth, Run back through the Windows 7 Setup wizard and you are all set, don’t forget to join it to the domain.
Now all you have to do is run the update wizard within XenDesktop 5.
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So I am writing this before I have tested to actually see if it pans out. But from what I can tell Hyper-V maybe the better choice for VDI. The reason I am saying this is the way it handles memory over commitment. The way both XenServer and VMWare handle memory over commitment is they will wait until the Host is running low on Physical Memory then it will start telling the VM’s to hand their memory back, causing lots of thrashing and over loading the Kernel of the Host. Now the way Hyper-V handles this is just a little different. It starts VM’s actually using the minimum set value of RAM vs. XenServer and VMWare where it starts VM’s using the Maximum and then the host slowly reclaims memory. Hyper-V is better for VDI in this way as it starts the VM’s using the minimum allocated RAM it stacks easier and makes less over head on the Kernel for as it doesn’t have to keep requesting Physical Memory back.
So conclusion is for VDI Hyper-V has the potential to be a great foundation however it is still pretty new to the enterprise space as well as XenServer. I hopefully will be able to get some time to actually test this in the next few weeks but definitely wanted to get it out there as food for thought.
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