Tag: Windows Server 2012R2

Step-by-Step: Setup and Configure Azure Site Recovery (ASR) for On-Premises Hyper-V Host with Azure Resource Manager (ARM)

This post is a series of blog posts for Azure Site Recovery (ASR).

Here is a step by step walk-through on how to go about setting up and configuring ASR (Azure Site Recovery) and backing up your On-Premises Virtual Machines (VMs) with Azure Resource Manager (ARM).

First things, first, Azure’s Recovery Service Vault is a unified vault/resource that allows you to manage your backup and data disaster recovery needs within Azure. For example, if you are hosting your VMs on-premises you can create a link between your on-prem site and Azure to allow your VMs to be backed-up into Azure. This is regardless of your hypervisor, it can be either ESX or Hyper-V, either will work. However for the interest of this blog post, I will be setting up ASR for a Hyper-V 2012R2 host.



Configuring Azure

Step 1: Create a Recovery Services Vault

Within Azure Resource Manager (ARM), if we select New, within the Marketplace, select Monitoring + management, then select Backup and Site Recovery (OMS) within the featured apps. Of course if this is no longer present, just search for it within the marketplace.

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Next we will now need to create our vault.

Give it a meaningful name, and you can either create a new Resource Group, or use an existing. I opted with existing, as I will (another post) next setup a Site-to-Site ASR.

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Give this a few seconds, maybe minutes to do its thing…

Great, now our Vault is up and ready to go!

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Step 2: Choose your Protection Goal(s)

Click Settings > Site Recovery (Under Getting Stated) > Step 1: Prepare Infrastructure > Protection Goal > And specify the following > Click OK:

  • Replicating to: Azure
  • Machines Virtualized: Yes, with Hyper-V
  • Using SCVMM (Virtual Machine Manager): No

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Step 3: Setup the Source Environment

Next, we will now need to Prepare our source give our Hyper-V site a name, “Ravi-OnPrem” makes sense here, but give it something meaningful.

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Now we need to download the ASR Provider Installer, along with the Vault Registration Key.

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Step 4:  Install and Configure the ASR Provider on Hyper-V Host

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This Hyper-V host is not behind any Proxy…

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If we go back to Azure, we can now see our Hyper-V host populated.

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Step 5: Create a Replication Policy

Within our Vault properties > Settings > Manage: Site Recovery Infrastructure > For Hyper-V Sites: Replication Policies > +Replication Policies

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Step 6: Associate Hyper-V Site(s)

Next we will need to Associate our Hyper-V site:

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Great! Now we can continue on with Step 3 (Target Environment) of Step 1 (Preparing Infrastructure).

Step 7: Create a Storage Account + Virtual Network

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Within the Replication, we have a few options here. I left mine as default (GRS) Geo-Redundant.

Next, we need to create a Target Virtual Network:

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Now we can go ahead and setup the replication settings:

Step 8: Setup Replication Settings

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Since we create the Replication Policy beforehand, this auto-filled. Next we need to do some Capacity Planning. Since this is simply a walk-through example, I elected to skip this, but for a real-production environment, I would highly recommend doing this.

Here is a link to Microsoft’s Capacity Planner for Hyper-V Replica.

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Hit OK, and now we are ready to to move on to Step 2 (Replication Application)

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This all should have populated since we created our Storage account and Virtual Network just earlier… If not, add them.

Now Azure should have connected with our Hyper-V host, we can now see our VMs within our Hyper-V host. Here we now need to select which machines we will want to include within ASR. For simplicity and variety, I am going to select a domain controller and a Linux machine.

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Now we need to configure the VMs properties:

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Once we are good, we can go ahead and apply the Replication Policy to our VMs.

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Once satisfied, go ahead and hit “Enable Replication“.

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Lastly, Step 3, we now need to complete creating our Recovery Plan:

Step 9: Create Recovery Plan

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Great! All done? Before we say all done, let’s go back to our Hyper-V host, and configure the Network/Throttling bandwidth.

Step 10: Network/Throttle Bandwidth

My Hyper-V host is not equipped with a GUI as I am using Windows 2012R2 Minimal Server, so navigate here to launch the Microsoft Azure Backup Agent, “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent\bin\“. Launch, “wabadmin“.

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In the Actions pane, select “Change Properties” >> Select the Throttling tab.

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Change these settings as to your needs. I wanted to increase my non-work hours to 4MB, but looks like 1MB is the max.

Great! Since we already hit, enable replication, this process should have already started… Let’s go back to Azure:

If we take a look at the Vault > Settings > Protected Items > Replicated Items 

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Once these VMs are 100% Synchronized, the next steps will be to simulate a fail over, both Test and Planned.

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Deploying OMS Agent for On-Premise Server(s)

This post is intended for monitoring Windows based servers with OMS. For starters I am going to assume the following prerequisites have been met (see below). In addition I am going to assume you are not using SCOM 2012R2 (UR6 or better) at the moment. Okay, so let’s begin!

  1. Azure Environment Setup — Check
  2. Azure Operational Insights Created — Check (see post here)
  3. OMS Workspace Created — Check (see post here)
  4. Monitor On-Premise Servers — See below

 

For my demo, I am using a Windows 2012R2 server, so I will be making use of the x64 agent. Download the agent on your machine, and begin the installer. Take note (copy the Workspace ID and Key(s)) as you will need them later.

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  • Start/Launch the agent installer

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  • We will be connecting to Azure (not SCOM)

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  • The Workspace ID and Workspace Key can be retrieved from your OMS settings page.

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Once the agent install is complete, we can view the OMS/Azure configuration properties within the agent configuration, as seen below:

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  • If we go back to our OMS portal, we can now see we have another server we are now monitoring in OMS 🙂

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  • At this point we are not really capturing much data, so let’s configure some log data capturing. For now, I just setup Windows event logs, looking for Event IDs 6006 and 6008.

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  • About 3 hours later (for me at least) I started to see data being collected. As we bring more agents into OMS and/or couple our on-prem SCOM environment, we will start to see a wealth of data. (Remember 500Mb of data is free, anything more you will need to upgrade your Azure subscription)

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Cheers!

 

Installing System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) 2016 Step by Step (Technical Preview 5)

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR INSTALLING SCOM 2016 [RTM] ON WINDOWS SERVER 2016 WITH SQL SERVER 2016, GO HERE.


This post I will be installing System Center Operations Manager 2016 (SCOM) –  Technical Preview 5 (TP5). Technical Preview for both System Center 2016 and Windows Server 2016 was recently released, April 27th.

Here is some of the background information. As this post will concentrate on the installation of SCOM 2016 TP5, I am going to omit the setup and configuration of the Domain Controller, Windows Server 2012R2 for both SCOM Management Server and SQL Server (Please note, I am using SQL Server 2014 SP1, both servers on Windows 2012R2).

Environment:  Virtual; ESX 5.5 Hypervisor

SCOM Management Server:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 — SCOM2016TP5
  • 4 vCPU (2.00GHz)
  • 12 GB memory
  • 100GB Diskspace
  • 1GB vNIC

SQL Server:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 — SCOMSQLTP5
  • SQL Server 2014 SP1
  • 4 vCPU (2.00GHz)
  • 12 GB memory
  • 200GB Diskspace
  • 1GB vNIC

Service Accounts:

Domain\Account Description
RAVILOCAL\scom_aa SCOM Action Account
RAVILOCAL\scom_da SCOM Data Access/SDK Account
RAVILOCAL\scom_sql_read SCOM SQL Reader
RAVILOCAL\scom_sql_write SCOM SQL Writer
RAVILOCAL\scom_admin SCOM Administrators Group
RAVILOCAL\sql_sa SQL Service Account
RAVILOCAL\sql_ssrs SQL Service Reporting Services Account

 

Let’s begin:

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I will not be installing Reporting on this server, as I will install this on the SQL Server (I will create a post for this later…)

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Well, looks like I will need to install the Report Viewer Controls and need to install some IIS components for the Web Console.

  • For the Reports Viewer Controls prerequisites, you can visit the following post for the instructions, HERE.
  • For the Web Console/IIS components prerequisites,  you can visit the following post for the instructions, HERE.

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Looks like I still need to meet a few more prerequisites…

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You will need to apply the following commands (unfortunately I could not execute in PowerShell, so you will need to use Command Prompt (as Administrator)).

  1. cd %WINDIR%\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\
  2. aspnet_regiis.exe -r
  3. IISRESET
  4. Reboot your server…

Back to to installation…..

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Since this is a lab, I installed the databases on the same SQL instance. Best practice, use dedicated instances or better yet, dedicated servers…

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Whoops, I forgot to add the SCOM service accounts as local administrators on the SCOM Management Server….

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Okay, back to the installation…

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I recommend always keeping this off, and manually updating your SCOM infrastructure.

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Let this run, go for a break, coffee, smoke, whatever….

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Yay! All good!

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Right off the bat, looks like there are a new features, like, “Tune Management Packs” I will get into this in another post…

 

ThoughtsAs you may have noticed, the install is almost identical to the 2012R2 and it appears not much has changed in terms of the install.

 

(more…)

Another Win for Windows 2012R2 Minimal UI

As mentioned before, Windows 2012R2 allows System Administrators to run their OS in a stripped down Core mode with no UI what so ever and only access to PowerShell and Command Prompt, or with the full UI, which includes File Explorer, System Task Bar, Internet Explorer and so on. There is a middle ground between the two, that is Minimal UI. I won’t get into the specifics in this post, but this essentially allows SysAdmins to have UI access to applications such as Event Viewer, Hyper-V, Failover Manager, Window Services, Administrative Tools etc., but at the same time running their OS in a much more refined, less resource intensive environment, thus a smaller footprint.

Windows 2012R2 UI Options:

  1. GUI (traditional experience)
  2. Core (stripped down, no Server Manager, only PowerShell and Command Prompt)
  3. Minimal UI (Server Graphical Shell removed)

What’s my point? Well, as Microsoft releases patches every month, this typically applies to machines with security vulnerabilities, and that starts usually with applications and their UI’s, ie. Internet Explorer. Since the Windows 2012R2 Minimal UI is not running your typical applications such as IE (Internet Explorer) and a System Task bar there are far less patches to be applied to the OS with Minimal UI, and especially Core.

Today, I was patching some servers, and getting them up to date for February, and the results speaks for themselves. Not only is the server with Minimal UI faster and more snappy but take a look at the number of patches needed this month for the server with the full UI versus the server with the Minimal UI.

Windows 2012R2 with full UI

withUI

Windows 2012R2 with Minimal UI

withoutUI

I hope this is enough incentive for you to consider using Minimal UI or even Core if you are that comfortable with PowerShell and Command Prompt.

Also, as you can see in the Minimal UI screenshot above, SysAdmins still have access to tools like Hyper-V manager, etc.

 

Cheers!