Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Windows Azure Gallery Items - getting started with Domain Controllers

The feed of Windows Azure Pack Gallery Resources and SCVMM Service Templates which are compatible with the RTM releases is now LIVE at:

This release includes more than 40 deployable templates including:
·         SharePoint 2013
·         SharePoint Foundation 2010
·         Microsoft SQL Server 2013
·         IIS
·         Domain Controller
·         Windows Server 2012 R2 HA Network Gateway
·         Windows Server 2012 R2
·         Windows Server 2012
·         BlogEngine.NET
·         Database Servers
o   MySQL Server (Windows and Linux)
o   Oracle Self Service Kit
·         Linux applications including
o   CentOS6 LAMP
o   Drupla
o   Joomla
o   WordPress CentOS6
·         Samples to enhance authoring
o   Custom Script
o   Custom Script with Environment Variables
o   Linux Generic
o   Service Template Example Kit
·         and more

For information on how to use this feed and import items in the Windows Azure Pack you can use the following resources
·         Downloading and Installing Windows Azure Pack Gallery Resource

Please pay attention to the gallery items that you can use with Windows Azure Pack.
These items, (blogged about them here http://kristiannese.blogspot.no/2013/08/getting-started-with-gallery-items-in.html ) is quite neat to use in a IaaS scenario.

Instead of just offering standard virtual machines (you know, those sysprep’d VMs with nothing but the OS installed) we can climb up a bunch of levels and focus on applications instead.
The hard part is to understand the difference between Service Templates (native in SCVMM) and gallery items (native in Windows Azure Pack).

Service Templates is by design, meant for the enterprise/private cloud where you need to know (at some level) specific things about the infrastructure. At least you must have access to other networks that tenants usually don’t have, and in some cases, some shared storage either presented through iSCSI or virtual FC (yup, shared VHDX may solve some of the issues here).

Gallery items on the other side, is designed and optimized for the Windows Azure Pack, where tenants – as well as internal users may deploy virtual machine roles (virtual machines with additional services or/and applications). We saw the early beginning of this in preview, where we could rapidly deploy Windows Servers enabled with IIS, where some settings were exposed already prior to the setup, for the tenant to configure.

In this blog post, I would like to highlight how the domain controller template through Windows Azure Pack is working.

First, I assume you have downloaded the bits to some place on your SCVMM server, next we will import the items in SCVMM (nope, no GUI for this) through Powershell and add them to Windows Azure Pack.

1)      On SCVMM, open the Powershell module and type the following:

$libraryShare = Get-SCLibraryShare | Where-Object {$_.Name -eq 'MSSCVMMLibrary'}
$resextpkg = $Env:SystemDrive + "\Gallery Resources\DomainController_WS2012_VMRole_Pkg\DomainControllerWindows2012.resextpkg"
Import-CloudResourceExtension –ResourceExtensionPath $resextpkg -SharePath $libsharepath -AllowUnencryptedTransfer

2)      Next, we must associate a VHDX with this cloud resource

$myVHD = Get-SCVirtualHardDisk | where {$_.Name –eq 'gallerydisk.vhdx'}
$WS2012Datacenter = Get-SCOperatingSystem | where { $_.name –eq '64-bit edition of Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter' }
Set-scvirtualharddisk –virtualharddisk $myVHD –OperatingSystem $WS2012Datacenter

3)      The Familyname and Release properties of the virtual hard disk must be set in order for the Windows Azure Pack portal to display the virtual hard disk as an available disk for this Gallery Resource. These values are shown in the portal drop-down list.
Familyname property values should indicate the contents of the virtual hard disk, including the Windows Server release and edition. The Readme file of the Gallery Resource should include appropriate Familyname values.
Release property values must conform to the Windows Azure versioning scheme of n.n.n.n. Examples include and
You can set this property using either the Virtual Machine Manager Administrator console or using Windows PowerShell.

4)      The last step in Powershell, is to perform the last tag

$myVHD = Get-SCVirtualHardDisk | where {$_.Name –eq 'gallerydisk.vhdx'}
$tags = $myVHD.Tag
if ( $tags -cnotcontains "WindowsServer2012R2" ) { $tags += @("WindowsServer2012R2") }
Set-scvirtualharddisk –virtualharddisk $myVHD –Tag $tags

Now, logon to your Windows Azure Pack Service Management portal, and perform the following tasks

1.  Open the Service Admin Portal.
2.  Navigate to the VM Clouds workspace.
3.  Click the Gallery tab.
4.  Click Import.
5.  Select and import the Resource Definition Package file for the gallery item. This will be the file with the extension resdefpkg.
6.  The gallery item should now be listed on the Gallery tab.

Finally, associate the gallery item with one of your ‘plans’ created in Windows Azure Pack.

1.  On the Gallery tab, select the version of the gallery item that you just imported.
2.  Click the arrow next to the gallery item name.
3.  Verify the details of the gallery item.
4.  Navigate back and click Make Public.
5.  Select the Plans workspace in the Service Admin Portal.
6.  Select the plan to which you want to add this gallery item.
7.  Select the Virtual Machine Clouds service.
8.  Scroll to the Gallery section.
9.  Click Add Gallery Items.
10.   Select the gallery items that you imported, and then click Save.
11.   The Virtual Machine Role is now available to the tenant as part of the selected plan.
The tenants can now logon to their tenant side, navigate to VMs, and create new.
They will have the option of using ‘Virtual Machine Roles’, and the DC item will appear with the following configuration options, shown below on the screenshots.
(This will indeed install a virtual machine with the forest/domain you specify)

Now, how cool is that?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

How to deploy Scale-Out File Server Clusters with SCVMM 2012 R2

How to deploy Scale-Out File Server Clusters with SCVMM 2012 R2

This blog post is meant to show you how easy you can deploy scale-units with SCVMM 2012 R2.

Storage is – of course, a critical component in the cloud, no matter if it’s private, public or the service provided cloud.

SCVMM is able to cover the entire aspect of your cloud infrastructure, and storage is one of them.

New in SCVMM 2012 R2 is that we now (finally) have an end-to-end solution for deploying scale-out file server clusters, using this System Center component.

From before, you may be familiar with bare-metal deployment of Hyper-V hosts. This is a good thing where you only need to rack your servers, give them Ethernet and power and SCVMM will pick them up to deploy the operating system and enable the hypervisor, in addition to deploy logical switches if that’s is applicable.

Now, we can use the same framework to provision physical computer nodes in a scale-out file server cluster, or we can fetch our already existing Windows file servers intended for this scenario, cluster them, and use them in our cloud infrastructure.

First, here’s an overview of my environment

Storage 02 – this is my storage appliance, running Windows Server 2012 R2 with JBOD, and I am truly levering the capabilities of Storage Spaces in this scenario.

Scale1 and Scale2 is my physical servers, running Windows Server 2012 R2 and should be nodes in my scale-out file server cluster. These servers are connected to my storage through iSCSI and this is done prior to picking up SCVMM.


1)      Navigate to the Fabric, and from the ribbon menu, click ‘Create’ and ‘File Server Cluster’



2)      Assign a cluster name (scale-out file server cluster name) and a file server name (this would be the name of the file cluster, running the scale-out role). Also, the cluster need one or more IP addresses, so specify them in order to succeed.


3)      In my example, I have already my servers present in the infrastructure. Therefore, I will choose ‘Use existing servers running Windows Server 2012 R2’. The requirements is that they are in the same domain and must use the same Run As Account. Also note that they should not have the Hyper-V role installed. In an ideal world, I would have servers ready to be managed out of band. This is not the case here, and therefore I am not able to demonstrate how to provision bare-metal computers with a new operating system by using a file server profile. I select my Run As Account and also choose to skip the cluster validation, since this is a lab. Please remember to validate everything prior to putting it into production. Click next


4)      On the next page, I click add to add my file servers. I will add both ‘scale1’ and ‘scale2’.


5)      Last but not least, you will get a summary view of your configuration. Make sure everything is correct before clicking finish.

Once you hit finish, the following will happen:

SCVMM will prepare the storage node, install VMM agents on every server, install the failover cluster feature, create the cluster, the scale-out role, publish DNS records and discover storage.

Now, after the job is completed, we can see that we have a new provider in our fabric

In my next blog post, I will show how to configure storage pools from SCVMM and create and assign file shares to my production cluster.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Expert 2 Expert Conference in Rome

First of all, I really hope to see you durng the E2E conference in Rome early in November.
I will be holding the keynote together with Michael.

The keynote (first part) will focus on what’s new in Windows Server 2012 R2, delivered by Michael, where I will eventually will come In to talk about the innovation in the Cloud OS with Hyper-V, System Center and last but not least – the Windows Azure Pack.

This will be a great conference with a lot of the best experts from the industry.

Here are some statistics:

1)      We got 18 countries visiting. Germany, Austria, Swiss, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, Jersey, USA, Denmark, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Malta, Israel
2)      We have 18 Microsoft MVP’s, 15 Citrix CTP’s and 6 vExperts. We cover all of the technologies!
3)      We have 110 people registered so far and from those are (figures are approximate):
a.       28% Dutch
b.      15% German
c.       15% Norwegian
d.      11% UK
e.      10% USA
4)      This is our 20th event and we are 10 years young this year J
5)      For Rome we have 28 sessions, 1 Master Class, 3 days :)
6)      Last time we had MVP Community Lead, this time we will have Citrix CTP community lead Perrine Crampton!

To summarize, this should be a great conference for those of you who are interested in virtualization and cloud computing, with a focus on the primary technology in the market.

I hope to see you all there.