Category : Hyper-v

Can’t Install AV on a Hyper-V Host or it Breaks Networking… Wow

Problem: Antivirus and Hyper-V (Why can’t I start my virtual machine?)
A little while ago our support team ran into some problems starting virtual machines after they install antivirus software in the management operating system.  The root cause of the problem is that a number of these programs monitor file access in a way that interferes with Hyper-V’s attempts to open virtual machine files.  If you see this problem – you have two options:

  1. Don’t install antivirus.  If you are running a server core configuration, or a full server configuration, and you have nothing running in the management operating system other than Hyper-V, and you do not have people logging in and browsing the web in the management partition, etc… Then you do not really need to have antivirus software installed as there is limited risk of a virus.
  2. Install antivirus and set up the following exclusions (most antivirus programs allow you to exclude specific directories, files and processes from scanning to help deal with issues such as these):
  •         Default virtual machine configuration directory (Normally this is C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsHyper-V)
  •         Custom virtual machine configuration directories
  •         Default virtual hard disk directory (Normally this is C:UsersPublicDocumentsHyper-VVirtual Hard Disks)
  •         Custom virtual hard disk directories
  •         Snapshot directories
  •         Vmms.exe
  •         Vmwp.exe

 

Hyper-V: Shrinking a VHD

If you are using Hyper-V virtual machine, with thin provisioned (or dynamic) virtual disks, you may find yourself needing to compact those virtual disk files (.VHD) to reclaim free space.

Typically you would compact a virtual hard disk in situations such as the following:

  • After you install the guest operating system (which uses many temporary files)
  • After you delete large amounts of data
  • When you are preparing the virtual hard disk for archiving, for deployment to another computer or CD-ROM, or for distribution

To ensure that you get the smallest possible file size when you compact the virtual hard disk, you need to do some file system maintenance before you compact the disk. In the guest operating system of the virtual machine that is using the disk you want to compact, do the following:

  • Remove any temporary folders or unwanted folders or files.
  • Empty the Recycle Bin.
  • Defragment the disk.

Note that when running a defrag, you will actually grow the .VHD file prior to compacting, so make sure the host server has enough free space to accommodate it.

Shut down the VM, then go to the settings and go to the disk settings and click edit. This will bring up the disk edit wizard and the keep the first selected option, Compact.

Depending on the size of the .VHD file, and the available “white space” within the file, compacting may take a significant amount of time. So be sure to plan your downtime accordingly.

You may receive the error message “The system failed to compact disk.vhd. Error Code: The requested operation could not be completed due to a file system limitation” when attempting to compact the .VHD file.
First, check to see that there are no VSS backups on the VHD by running a “vssadmin list shadows” command in an elevated command prompt.

Second, delete any VSS backups that are present by running “vssadmin delete shadows /all“. If this fails to delete the VSS backups, you may need to resort to the “DiskShadow” utility in WS2K8 and WS2K8R2. (There’s some more information on DiskShadow here (free registration required) and also here.)

Beefy Thin Client-HP Compaq 8200

bva is doing more and more VDI installations within the small to medium size businesses.  The request for having sessions that have many screens is one of the main requests that we get with is always an interesting request.  Some of the common requests that bva gets in the experience are as followed:

  • speed
  • stability
  • remote capabilities outside of the network/LAN
  • multiple monitors (2, 3, and 4 monitors)
  • having minimal latency issues
  • having no data on

There are many great thin clients out there that can handle two monitors without issue but when you go to more that 2 monitors the cheaper units create an issue. The graphics card in the cheaper units (base model) cannot handle the multiple monitors over 2 screens.  bva likes Wyse terminals and all the HP terminals.  For environments where you need a little more power and need up to 4 monitors, bva would recommend the HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-slim PC.  Its about $500 which is a little more expensive then the base models ($178) but the experience is well work the investment.

SolarWinds Virtual Manager 4.0

Are you thinking of running your VMware virtual infrastructure on Amazon’s EC2 public cloud service? You might want to look at SolarWinds’ Virtualization Manager 4.0. An integrated virtualization manager, it tracks compute, network, and storage resources used to let you predict capacity limits and help you with your planning. It can even estimate what it will cost you to run in EC2, Amazon’s Pay-As-You-Go cloud capacity.

Virtualization Manager is a low-cost, easy-to-use comprehensive package that boasts Capacity Management, VM Sprawl Control, Performance Monitoring, Configuration Management, and Chargeback Automation in its listing of features.

Note that this product only works for the VMware environment — Hyper –V (Microsoft) or open-source hypervisor platforms are not supported.

Solar Winds VM began shipping in early June. It is available as a virtual appliance. Cost is $2,995 for fifty powered-on VMs under management. Downloadable as a free trial from http://www.solarwinds.com/products/virtualization-manager/.

bva’s Recommended SAN for Virtualization

BVA has been performing many virtual implementations in recent months and over the course of 10 years we have been involved with many different types of SANs on the market.  Shared storage for the small to medium size businesses are starting to become a norm and with lower cost points for virtual server software it more advantageous for companies to go with that architecture. Our most common project these days are moving 6 to 15 production servers into a three-cluster virtual node architecture with shared storage leveraging VMware or HyperV.  After testing and playing with a few different SAN’s, bva favorite is the The NetApp FAS 2040.  It has up to 136 disks (136 TB) storage capacity, FC-SAN, IP-SAN (iSCSI), and NAS (CIFS/NFS) protocol support.

Full SAS capable which is more than capable to handle the typical i/o for small businesses today.  Full Fiber Channel capable, full SATA or FC/SAS/SATA disk mix.   Single and dual active-active controller models are capable for an aggressive price point. The SAN also has (2) two 4Gb FC ports as well as (4) four GbE ports and 1 SAS port per controller which is very versatile.  (4) Four GB cache per controller which is the standard configuration when we are doing our typical installation.

The NetApp 2040

The FAS 2040 systems offers unified file and block storage. That means one solution for CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, and FC SAN storage protocols. The units Data ONTAP operating system provides storage efficiency through higher utilization of capacity via thin provisioning and SnapshotTM technology.  The unit is also very scalable by way of having the option to add more drives to an existing original enclosure. It means being able to combine existing and expanded data-management resources in the fastest, most elegant solution.

Upgrading The Intergration Services with SP1

With the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and the addition of Dynamic Memory, I’ve received a few requests for the link to the latest version of the Integration Services. If you’ve upgraded to R2 Service Pack 1, you have the latest Integration Services. There are a few scenarios to consider.

Guest OS is Linux. If the guest OS is Linux and you’re running the latest Linux Integration Services 2.1, you don’t need to do anything. You have the latest. For more info, see attached.

Guest OS is Windows Server 2008 R2. If the guest OS was Windows Server 2008 R2 and you upgraded the guest to Service Pack 1, then the Integration Services were upgraded as well. (How cool is that?)

Other Supported Windows Guests: If you’re running any other supported Windows OS, then you’ll need to upgrade the Integration Services. The Integration Services ISO is included with Hyper-V. When you upgrade to SP1, the Integration Services are automatically updated as well. To upgrade the Integration Services, you need to:
1.      Start the VM

2.      Connect to the VM

3.      Go to the Action Menu and Select the bottom menu item, Insert Integration Services Setup Disk.

4.      Run the Integration Services installer and restart the VM. Done.

FAQ
Q:           Do the Linux Integration Services enable mouse support?
A:
Mouse support is not included in the Linux integration services.  However, see the read me for information on where to obtain the InputVSC driver that provides mouse support when used over a RDP connection.

Q:           Is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 supported?
A:
At this time Red Hat 6.0 (currently) in beta is not supported. Our goal is to work with Red Hat to back port the Hyper-V Linux integration services from kernel.org tree. However, this will only happen once our drivers are out of the staging area in the kernel. We don’t have a timeline for this yet, but will share more information on this as we continue to work with the Linux community.

Q:           Did Citrix develop these drivers?
A:
No.  The Linux IC’s were developed by a team in the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center.
Many thanks to Hank Janssen and his team, including Haiyang Zhang and Hashir Abdi.

Q:           Do I need to run the Xen kernel with the hypercall shim?
A:
No, the Xen kernel is no longer used.

Q:           How does this relate to the announcement of Microsoft contributing the Linux IC code under GPLv2 to the Linux kernel?
A:
This package provides integration components for the distributions that we support (SLES and Red Hat). Once the IC’s that have been merged into the kernel are available in distributions, we will gradually phase out the separate IC package.

Q:           Is SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1 supported?
A:
No, not yet. Now that we have RTM’d version 2.1, Novell will back port these into an update for SLES 11 SP1 which will be released by Novell in the next few months. Thereafter, customers will get the Hyper-V Linux IS’s as a part of the SLES 11 SP1 distribution. No separate download or installation will be required.

Q:           Will these capabilities be contributed into the mainline Linux kernel?
A:
Yes, we will submit patches with these capabilities to the Linux mainline kernel as well.

We are really excited to announce the availability of the Hyper-V Linux Integration Services for Linux Version 2.1. This release marks yet another milestone in providing a comprehensive virtualization platform to our customers. Customers who have a heterogeneous operating system environment desire their virtualization platform to provide support for all operating systems that they have in their datacenters. Microsoft have supported Linux as a guest operating system on our virtualization platform from the days of Virtual Server and continue to enhance our support in that regard.

The following features are included in the 2.1 release:
Driver support for synthetic devices: Linux Integration Services supports the synthetic network controller and the synthetic storage controller that were developed specifically for Hyper-V.
Fastpath Boot Support for Hyper-V: Boot devices take advantage of the block Virtualization Service Client (VSC) to provide enhanced performance.
Timesync: The clock inside the virtual machine will remain synchronized with the clock on the host.
Integrated Shutdown: Virtual machines running Linux can be gracefully shut down from either Hyper-V Manager or System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) Support: Supported Linux distributions can use up to 4 virtual processors (VP) per virtual machine.
Heartbeat: Allows the host to detect whether the guest is running and responsive.
Pluggable Time Source: A pluggable clock source module is included to provide a more accurate time source to the guest.

This version of the integration services for Hyper-V supports Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 / 5.3 / 5.4 / 5.5.

Virtual Enhancements- Microsoft Hyper v

There are some new enhancements with Hyper v you should be aware of.  Dynamic Memory- A new feature of Hyper-V™ introduced in SP1 for Windows Server® 2008 R2  that enables Hyper-V hosts to dynamically adjust the amount of memory available to virtual machines in response to changing workloads. The benefits of Dynamic Memory include higher virtual machine consolidation ratios and increased flexibility for managing virtualized workloads.

Microsoft RemoteFX– Introduces a new set of remote user-experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual and session-based desktops. RemoteFX can be deployed to a range of thick and thin client devices, enabling cost-effective, local-like access to graphics-intensive applications. RemoteFX also supports a broad array of USB peripherals to improve the productivity of users of virtual desktops. Microsoft RemoteFX leverages the power of virtualized graphics resources and advanced codecs to recreate the fidelity of hardware-assisted graphics acceleration, including support for 3D content and Windows Aero®.  Multi-Site Disaster Recovery Automation for Hyper-V – not so new, but still important.  For automated failover and recovery of Hyper-V workloads, organizations can combine StorageLink Site Recovery technology with Microsoft failover clustering to create a geographically dispersed (or multi-site) cluster. Together, StorageLink Site Recovery and Windows Server® 2008 provide a disaster recovery solution that automatically detects local application or hardware failures and responds with the appropriate failover measures.

Microsoft iSCSI Software Target available – Free Download

There is finally some productive news coming out of the Microsoft camp via making storage a little easier for virtualization with Hyper v.  Microsoft has made this software publicly available to all users of Windows Server 2008 R2.  The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target has been available for production use as part of Windows Storage Server since early 2007. It has also been available for development and test use by MSDN and TechNet subscribers starting in May 2009. However, until now, there was no way to use the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target in production on a regular server running Windows Server 2008 R2. This new download offers exactly that.

Now available as a public download, the software is essentially the same software that ships with Windows Storage Server 2008 R2. Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 and the public download package will be refreshed (kept in sync) with any software fixes and updates. Those updates are described at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg232597.aspx.

This release was preceded by intense testing by the Microsoft iSCSI Target team, especially in scenarios where the iSCSI Target is used with Hyper-V and with Windows Server Failover Clusters. We do imagine these to be amongst the most commons deployment scenarios.  Testing included running the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target in a two-node Failover Cluster and configuring 92 individual Hyper-V VMs, each running a data intensive application and storing data on a single node of that iSCSI Target cluster. The exciting part of the test was to force an unplanned failure of the iSCSI Target node being used by all the VMs and verify that we had a successful failover to the other node with all 92 VMs continuing to run the application without any interruption.

How to download and install

To download the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 for Windows Server 2008 R2, go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=45105d7f-8c6c-4666-a305-c8189062a0d0 and download a single file called “iSCSITargetDLC.EXE”. (Note: This was just released at 10AM PST on 04/04/2011, so the download might still be replicating to your closest download server. If the link does not work, try again later). This is a self-extracting archive that will show this screen when run:

Shared Storage

To use both LM and HA, these require shared storage. This shared storage can be in the forms of SAS, iSCSI or Fiber Channel SAN. For many environments this isn’t an issue, but there are some specific scenarios where customers need LM and HA and the cost of a dedicated SAN is a blocker. For example,

  • A branch office environment. It’s one thing to setup a dedicated SAN in a datacenter, but what happens when you have 100/500/5000 branch offices? That’s a huge multiplier to provide SANs in every one of those branch offices.
  • A small business. Small businesses are especially cost conscious and still want to deploy Hyper-V clustered for the benefits of LM and HA.
  • A test/dev staging environment. Perhaps you want to test your application with LM & HA, but don’t have the budget to pay for a SAN.

Wouldn’t it be great to have another option? bva think so too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
==============================================
Q: The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target is now free. Is it supported in a production environment?

A: Yes. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target is supported in a production environment. The Hyper-V team regularly tests with the MS iSCSI Software Target and it works great with Hyper-V.

Q: What operating systems is the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target supported?

A: The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target is supported for Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter Editions.
===========================================================================
Q: Can the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 use the free Microsoft iSCSI Software Target?

A: Yes and No. Yes, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 can act as a client to access virtual machines via iSCSI. The way to do that is to type iscsicpl.exe at the command prompt to bring up the Microsoft iSCSI Initiator (client) and configure it to access an iSCSI Target (server). However, you can’t install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target on a Microsoft Hyper-V Server. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target requires Windows Server 2008 R2.

Q: Can I install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003?
A: No. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 can only be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2.

Q: Can I install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)?
A: Yes. In fact, that’s what is recommended.

Q: Can I install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target on a Core install of Windows Server 2008 R2?
A: No. The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 is only supported in a Full install.

Q: I don’t have a copy of Windows Server 2008 R2. Where can I get an evaluation copy?
A: You download an evaluation version of Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dd459137.aspx

Q: Where is the x86 (32-bit) version of the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3?
A: The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3, is provided in only in an x64 (64-bit) version, as is Windows Server 2008 R2,

Q: What are these “iSCSITargetClient” MSI files included in the download?
A: Those are the optional VSS and VDS providers for the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3. You should install them in the same computer that runs the iSCSI Initiator if you intend to use VSS or VDS. For details on VSS, see http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2007/10/10/the-basics-of-the-volume-shadow-copy-service-vss.aspx. For details on VDS, see http://blogs.technet.com/b/josebda/archive/2007/10/25/the-basics-of-the-virtual-disk-services-vds.aspx.

Q: Where is the Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 documentation?
A: There is some documentation inside the package. Additional documentation is available on the web at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg232606.aspx

Q: Can I use the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 as shared storage for a Windows Server Failover Cluster?
A: Yes. That is one of its most common uses.

Q: Can I install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 in a Hyper-V virtual machine?
A: Yes. We do it all the time.

Q: Can I use the downloaded Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 in my production environment?
A: Yes. Make sure to perform the proper evaluation and testing before deploying any software in a production environment. But you knew that already…

Q: What are the support policies for the Microsoft iSCSI Software Target 3.3 on Windows Server 2008 R2?
A: The support policies are listed at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg983493.aspx

 

The Microsoft iSCSI Software Target Download:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=45105d7f-8c6c-4666-a305-c8189062a0d0