Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Windows Azure SDK 2.0 for .NET update

A suite of improvements to Windows Azure are available after Microsoft released the v2.0 update of the Windows Azure SDK for .NET.

In the blog Scott Guthrie talks about what's been put into the 2.0 SDK update.
  “This morning we released the v2.0 update of the Windows Azure SDK for .NET. This is a major refresh of the Windows Azure SDK with some really great new features and enhancements.

     These new capabilities include:
  • Web Sites: Visual Studio Tooling updates for Publishing, Management, and for Diagnostics
  • Cloud Services: Support for new high memory VM sizes, Faster Cloud Service publishing & Visual Studio Tooling for configuring and viewing diagnostics data
  • Storage: Storage Client 2.0 is now included in new projects & Visual Studio Server Explorer now supports working with Storage Tables
  • Service Bus: Updated client library with message pump programming model support, support for browsing messages, and auto-deleting idle messaging entities
  • PowerShell Automation: Updated support for PowerShell 3.0, and lots of new PowerShell commands for automating Web Sites, Cloud Services, VMs and more"

  • Scott Guthrie's blog post: http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2013/04/30/announcing-the-release-of-windows-azure-sdk-2-0-for-net.aspx

    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    Hyper-V Management and Diagnostic from a Single Environment


    vtUtilities (http://vtutilities.com) provide a local GUI to manage Hyper-V. Hyper-V is supported on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, as well as on Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012, which are Microsoft standalone free hypervisor products. vtUtilities deliver functionality level similar to Microsoft Hyper-V Manager, while it can run on environments where Hyper-V Manager is not supported such as core installations of Windows Server and standalone free Hyper-V Server. vtUtilities can be also used for remote management of different versions of Hyper-V (i.e. Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012) from a single application. In this scenario functionality and GUI will be adjusted to reflect the features supported by managed Hyper-V version. That being said, vtUtilities provide GUI for all new features introduced in Hyper-V 3 such as replication, guest migration, VHDX, virtual Fibre Channel adapters for managing Hyper-V on Windows 8. In addition to the Hyper-V management functionality, vtUtilities also implement GUI allowing connecting to the virtual machine console. This is an important factor when managing or troubleshooting virtualization environments on GUI-less hosts when local management utilizing command line interface (PowerShell) or remote management is difficult or even not feasible. vtUtilities do not extend a potential attack surface on managed Hyper-V hosts and do not install or require any additional components.

    Virtual Network Management

    vtUtilities implement comprehensive virtual network management GUI including the management of virtual connections and bindings. vtUtilities can be used to troubleshoot and fix network connections and related problems that cannot be resolved via remote management. vtUtilities Virtual Network Manager also allows management of virtual network ports used by the virtual network interfaces and virtual machines. Support of WiFi and new virtual switch management functionality, including configuration of switch extensions, SR-IOV as well as GUI for network resource pool management is available for Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012. User interface to manage advanced Hyper-V Virtual Switch feature is available for hosts running Hyper-V 3.0.

    Support for Multiple Parent Virtual NICs

       Virtual Network Manager GUI supports multiple virtual switch ports bound to the management operating system virtual NICs. This functionality is available only for hosts running Hyper-V 3.0 and can be accessed via the Virtual Network Manager 'Ports' button on each Virtual Network Properties view.
  • Parent Virtual NICs can be created for any virtual network (switch) using the 'Add' button on its Port dialog box. This operation can effectively change the type of the virtual network, i.e. parent Virtual NIC added to the Private network will change it to Internal etc.
  • Virtual switch ports, corresponding to parent Virtual NICs ports, can be deleted using the Port's dialog box 'Delete' button. This operation can also change the type of the underlying virtual network, i.e. Internal virtual network can become Private, or External virtual network can stop sharing its physical adapter with the management operating system.
  • When 'Access host through VLAN' is checked in Virtual Network Properties all parent Virtual NIC ports will use the same VLAN ID defined in the Virtual Network Properties view.

  • Support for Hyper-V Virtual Switch New Security Features

      Port Access Control Lists (ACLs) can be defined for Virtual Switch ports bound to virtual machines and the management operating system virtual NICs. This functionality is available only for hosts running Hyper-V 3.0 and can be accessed via the Virtual Network Manager 'Ports' dialog for each Virtual Network Properties view (use ACL button to edit port's Access Control List).        
  • ACL entries specifying which packets are allowed or denied on the way into or out of the VM or the management operating system can be added, edited or deleted for each applicable port. Multiple ACL rules can be configured per virtual switch port. IPv4, IPv6 addresses or ranges as well as MAC addresses can be used to designate endpoint addresses on local or remote interfaces along with actions 'Allow', 'Deny' or 'Meter'. Meter action can be used only with IP addresses.

  • File System View

    vtUtilities further simplify the administration tasks on Windows Server core installations and free Hyper-V Server by providing a Graphical User Interface for file system views and operations.

    Real Time Monitoring of Hyper-V Host and Guests

      vtUtilities provide an intuitive and simple to use monitoring functionality that is helpful for determining whether all parts of the virtualization infrastructure are running properly. Even so, vtUtilities have a small memory footprint and do not consume any resources on managed Hyper-V servers when they are not running.

    Diagnostic and Troubleshooting

     vtUtilities enable easy access to Hyper-V event logs and virtual machine jobs history. Clicking on 'Hyper-V Events' button next to host drop-down box or using 'Tools|Hyper-V Event Log' menu will open a dialogue that allows further filtering and ordering of Hyper-V events as shown on screen below. This functionality is available for local and remote Hyper-V hosts and is especially convenient for diagnostic on Core installation of Windows Server or standalone Hyper-V Server.

    vtUtilities even further simplify diagnostic of Hyper-V environment by providing access to the virtual machine job execution history with a possibility to cancel asynchronous jobs on Hyper-V Server 2012 hosts as shown below:

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2013 Now Available

    MDOP helps manage and deploy Windows features like BitLocker and Group Policy, and saves time by helping to make desktop repair planning proactive instead of reactive.

    The biggest update in MDOP 2013 is the official release of MBAM 2.0.
    With MBAM 2.0, organizations will have improved compliance and security mechanisms, along with streamlined integration across management solutions, resulting in long-term cost savings.

    MDOP 2013 updates include:
  • MBAM 2.0 (beta)
  • AGMP 4.0 SP1(beta)
  • DaRT 8.0 SP1 (includes a new Defender engine)
  • App-V 5.0 SP1(helps use virtually any application anywhere by adding support for Office 2010)
  • UE-V 1.0 SP1 (now supports 24 languages)

  • Additional Information: http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/business/archive/2013/04/10/making-windows-8-even-more-manageable-with-mdop-2013.aspx


    Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring Deployment Guide:

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    Getting Started Guide for Virtualization on a Budget Using Free Hyper-V Server 2012 / 2012 R2

    The tutorial is for Hyper-V Server 2012, but can easily be adjusted for Hyper-V Server 2012 R2


    This guide provides step-by-step instructions for installation and initial configuration of the Microsoft free bare-metal hypervisor a.k.a. Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012. It also shows how a new virtual machine can be created, managed and controlled from a local console session using VT Technology Management Utilities (vtUtilities). That being said, this guide should not be used as a performance tuning or Hyper-V ‘best practice’ document. We will simply show how Hyper-V Server 2012 can be installed, configured and used to create and run virtualized workload from the scratch in 15-20 minutes. We will use the following hardware and software:
    • Computer with:
      • 64-bit Intel or AMD CPU supporting hardware-assisted virtualization.
      • Directly attached storage (2 physical drives). This configuration is not optimal or recommended for most production workloads, so we will use it only for the illustrational purposes.
      • 2 network adapters.
      Similar hardware can be purchased on eBay for merely $200 or even cheaper.
    • Hyper-V Server 2012 installation media. Installation image can be downloaded from: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/hyper-v-server/default.aspx.
    • vtUtilities
    • ISO image(s) for guest operating systems.
    Download Hyper-V Server 2012, vtUtilities and guest OS ISO images. Prepare installation media for Hyper-V Server 2012 and follow step below to install, configure and manage Hyper-V Server 2012.

    Hyper-V Server 2012 Installation

    1. Insert Hyper-V Server 2012 installation media and boot host computer.

    2. Confirm your language preferences.

    3. Click 'Install Now'

     4. Accept license terms

    5. Select 'Custom' installation.                                

     6. Create new partition on each drive.We will use a first drive's partition to install Hyper-V Server and second drive to store guest images.
    Format second drive partition where guests will be stored first and select another drive partition to install Hyper-V Server.

    7. Complete Hyper-V Server installation.


    8. Provide Administrator password and logon.

    Minimal Configuration of Hyper-V Server

    9. You will be presented with server configuration menu after logon. Select '1' to join workgroup or domain. We selected to join TestWorkgroup for demo purposes.

    10. Rename computer by selecting configuration menu '2'. We named our host Win2012HyperV for this demo. You will need to reboot Hyper-V host after renaming it.

    11. (Optionally) enable Remote Desktop by selecting menu '7'.

    Installation of vtUtilities

    12. Copy vtUtilities.exe to Hyper-V host local disk and run it from a command line. Select default settings and finalize installation.

    13. vtUtilities GUI will start upon installation completion.

    Hyper-V Host Configuration with vtUtilities

    14. Use vtUtilities Virtual Network Manager to configure virtual network and optionally adjust protocol settings and bindings. Our demo host has 2 NIC adapters and we create 'External' virtual switch bound to one of these adapters without a possibility to interact with the management OS (we reserve second adapter for host management). These adapters can be connected to different networks each with its own routing and firewall rules.

    15. vtUtilities File System View GUI can be used to create folder on reserved disk volume that we provisioned during setup to store Virtual Machine images and configurations. You can use vtUtilities Tools|Options and Actions|Hyper-V Settings menu to change other host options, including Live Migration and Replica settings.

    Virtual Machine Provisioning and Management

    16. Press {F7} in vtUtilities GUI to start New Virtual Machine Wizard. Select location that we created for guests configuration and images to store a new virtual machine.

    17. Configure virtual machine memory as appropriate for its OS and application services that it will run.

    18. Select virtual network connection that we have configured.

    19. Choose 'Create a new virtual disk option'.

    20. Select location for ISO image or guest OS installation media

    21. Review new virtual machine configuration and click 'Finish' to create a new virtual machine.

    22. A new virtual machine will be shown in vtUtilities Guest List View.

    23. Select 'Open Guest Console' or double click on virtual machine in Guest List View to open Guest Console application and click 'Start' button.

    24. You will be able to use vtUtilities Guest Console application to install and/or configure guest OS.

    25. Alternatively you can use 'Connect to Virtual Machine' or double click to guest thumbnail image to open Guest Connection View embedded into vtUtilities GUI.

    26. You can use vtUtilities GUI to modify virtual machine settings, create snapshots, configure, start and monitor replication.

    How to install, configure and manage free Hyper-V Server 2012 using VT Technology Management Utilities