Tuesday, August 27, 2013

the Infrastructure Ranger "comeback"

I am happy to announce that I will make a comeback as the Infrastructure Ranger at Microsoft here in Norway.
This is the position I had last year.
This time, it will be in a smaller portion so that it will work together with my role as the CTO in Lumagate. No – I am not a Microsoft employee. I am still a Cloud MVP, and I am still employed by Lumagate.

The reason for this blog post is not to brag nor to have a random career monolog, but rather inform those of you who are working with me about the situation.
The role as an infrastructure ranger is to provide proof-of-concepts, workshops, pre-sales activities and be the technical evangelist for the local MS office.
You may have heard about the V-TSP role, a role you can get if you work for a Gold Partner where Microsoft can use the V-TSP in pre-sales activities. This is something similar but at the same time very different.
When I appear as a ranger, I will wear the Microsoft hat. In other words, I will be partner neutral.
I am really looking forward to continue my close work with Microsoft, to tell and deliver on the Cloud OS story.

Now, I have a very clear agenda with this.
In my job (as a CTO and ranger), it’s key to know the customer we are working with to better understand their short – and long-term goals in order to support this with modern technology. There is no secret that I am deeply involved with service providers around the globe. One of the reasons why service providers is so interesting is because IT is their bread and butter. If you want to deploy the latest features and bits, service providers are mostly often the right audience to adopt this fastest.

With Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure (these are some of the bits that composes the Cloud OS), we are starting up some couple of lighthouse projects to increase the standards around.
In the end, it’s basically just a simple question you need to ask yourselves: what can we do better within our datacenter (no matter if it’s private or public) in order to succeed next?

If you want to read an article/interview (in Norwegian) about my thoughts on R2, please see the following link.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Getting started with Gallery Items in Windows Azure Pack (WAP)

I’ve been diving into Windows Azure Pack lately, to explore some of the cloud characteristics this solution will bring to your organization together with System Center 2012 R2 (SCVMM, Orchestrator and SPF).

Recently, Microsoft announced some cool stuff on their codeplex (community) site.
During TechEd, you may have seen the presentation by Eric Winner and Marc Umeno on the subject, and where they talked about gallery items in Windows Azure Pack.

What is gallery items?
Gallery items in Windows Azure Pack is a set of predefined services that you can offer to your tenants.
Interesting is the relation to service templates in VMM with the design, but currently they are very different.
A service template in VMM can be authored with both PowerShell and the console, and is still the most flexible and powerful solution. However, service templates isn’t exposed to the tenant API/portal in Windows Azure Pack.
Hence, we get gallery items.
The story has been clear by now. This R2 release is a result of huge investments in Windows Azure and Microsoft are first building for the cloud (Azure) and then for bits you are able to purchase and run on your own. Gallery items is basically “service templates” that is built to serve a service, like web server, application server and any other server role/application.
If you have little or none experience with Windows Azure, please continue to read where I will try to explain in a bit more detail.

Windows Azure when first released, was all about Platform as a Service. This service model (referring to the definition of cloud computing) is basically based to provide developers with a scalable framework, where they can write their code, upload the code and packages to Azure, where Microsoft’s high-tech datacenters is able to execute the application in an architecture where everything is loosely coupled.
Personally, this is perhaps the most interesting service model as it ‘forces’ you to modernize you applications to fit into this model. If you are looking for a place to run highly scalable internet application, Windows Azure was a very good option back in 2008-2010.
We now got some new services in Windows Azure, and we can leverage the more traditional Infrastructure as a Service – service model. This gives us virtual compute, virtual networks, virtual storage and virtual machines that we can manage as they were running on-premise.
As Infrastructure as a Service was introduced back in 2011, we saw some changes to the Platform as a Service mode, or to be more precisely, we got something called ‘Cloud Services’.
Cloud Services was either a worker role, web role or a virtual machine role.
Together with traditional virtual machines, we now had options when creating applications and services for the public cloud.

Back to Windows Azure Pack.
In Windows Azure Pack, we can create traditional virtual machines (infrastructure as a service) together with virtual networks. All of this are running on Windows Server 2012 R2 (Hyper-V) and System Center 2012 R2 (SCVMM, Orchestrator with SPF).
New in this release, is support for both Service Bus and Virtual Machine Roles. Both of these are related to platform as a service, and we are now focusing on Virtual Machine Roles.
The gallery items are the building blocks for your virtual machine roles.
Let’s explore this and see how we can get things running in our cloud (either private cloud or service provider cloud).
Download gallery items from Codeplex

A few sample gallery items are now available in the Web Platform Installer now:

2) Click the "options" link at the bottom of the WebPI UI.
3) In the custom feed field, enter the following URL: http://www.microsoft.com/web/webpi/partners/servicemodels.xml.
4) Click "Add Field" and dismiss the dialog.
Please note that only the three Windows Server 2012 * resources are related to gallery items. Both Service Template Example Kit and Sharepoint 2013 Service Template are only suited for service templates in SCVMM.

Once downloaded, we can navigate to the folder we placed it into and see the items. Included with every resource, we have a readme file.

Note: there are some important steps missing in the readme file to get this working, so pay attention to the instructions later when importing and customizing the resources in the SCVMM library.

How to import and use Windows Server 2012 R2 Web Server Gallery Resource

In order to publish the gallery resources as a gallery item, you must
Import the resource extension package into System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
Ensure the virtual hard disks in SCVMM are properly prepared and have all the necessary properties set.
Import the resource definition package as a gallery item.
Make the gallery item public.
Add the gallery item to a plan.
1)      Import the recourse extension package into System Center Virtual Machine Manager

Using Powershell, you must import the resource extension package into the virtual machine manager library.
Sample Windows Powershell:
            $libsharepath = <you must set the library sharepath from your environment>
Example: $libsharepath = “\\vmmserver\library\”
            $resextpkg = $Env:SystemDrive + “\GalleryResources\WS2012WebServer-VMRole-Pkg\WS2012WebServer.resextpkg”
Import-CloudResourceExtension –ResourceExtensionPath $resextpkg  –SharePath $libsharepath -AllowUnencryptedTransfer

The import can only be done using Powershell.

To verify the import, run the get-CloudResourceExtension Powershell command and locate the newly imported extension.

2)      Prepare the virtual hard disk
Since you have landed on this blog, I already assume you are familiar with sysprep and how to take action on this, either manually or by using SCVMM.
You must provide a virtual hard disk from which the virtual machine role will be created. If you already have a vhdx file in your library, go ahead and use this.

Note: to actual get this working, you must have two disks in your library. One disk containing the operating system, and one disk for the data partition. You only have to prepare the partition used for the operating system in this guide. The disk for data partition will be explained in a bit.

Since the resource extension will only work with Windows Server 2012 /R2, use one of the following operating system values on your Windows Server 2012/R2 hard disk:

64-bit edition of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
64-bit edition of Windows Server 2012 Standard
64-bit edition of Windows Server 2012 Essentials
Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Preview
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Preview
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Preview
Sample Powershell

$myVHD = <you must set to the virtual hard disk in your environment>
Example: $MyVHD = get-SCVirtualHardDisk –id “your virtual hard disk ID”

$WS2012R2Datacenter = Get-SCOperatingSystem | where { $_.name –eq “Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Preview” }

Set-scvirtualharddisk –virtualharddisk $myVHD –OperatingSystem $WS2012R2Datacenter

The Operating System value can be set using Powershell or the virtual machine manage administrator console.

3)      Familyname and Release

These properties 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. The Familyname and Release properties are shown in the portal drop-down list, so set them to values that will make sense to your user.

Familyname property values should indicate the contents of the virtual hard disk, including the Windows Server release and edition.  For this gallery resource, you should consider the following Familyname values.
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
Windows Server 2012 Standard
Windows Server 2012 Essentials
Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Preview
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Preview
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Preview

Release property values must conform to the Windows Azure versioning scheme of n.n.n.n

Sample Powershell

$myVHD = <you must get the virtual hard disk in your environment>

Set-SCVirtualHardDisk –VirtualHardDisk $myVHD –FamilyName “Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Preview” –Release “”

Familyname and Release values can be set using Powershell or the virtual machine manage administrator console.
Note: repeat these steps on your virtual hard disk for the data partition. The important thing to note here is that you must not define any operating system on this disk, as the portal then will consider it to contain the operating system and hence not list it in the data partition field in the portal.

4)      Tags

The Windows Server 2012 gallery resource depends on a virtual hard disk with the following tags
NOTE: this .NET3.5 tag indicates that you have pre-installed .NET3.5 in your sysprepped VHD.

Sample Powershell

$myVHD = <you must set to the virtual hard disk in your environment>

$tags = $myVHD.Tag

if ( $tags -cnotcontains "WindowsServer2012" ) { $tags += @("WindowsServer2012") }
if ( $tags -cnotcontains ".NET3.5" ) { $tags += @(".NET3.5") }

Set-SCVirtualHardDisk –virtualharddisk $myVHD –Tag $tags

The tag property can only be set using Powershell. 

5)      Windows Azure Pack Service Administrator Portal

Once the resource extension and virtual hard disk are all correctly set in SCVMM, you can import the resource definition package using the Service Administrator Portal in the Windows Azure Pack.
Open the Service Admin Portal.
Navigate to the VM Clouds workspace.
Click the Gallery tab.
Click Import.
Select and import the WebServer(IIS).resdefpkg file in the unzipped location.  The default unzip location is “c:\GalleryResources\WS2012WebServer-VMRole-Pkg\”
Note that the gallery item now is listed on the Gallery tab.
Now that the packages for the Virtual Machine Role have been installed, you can publish the gallery item to make it available to tenants.

To make the Virtual Machine Role available to the tenant, you need to add it to a plan. In this procedure, you publish the Virtual Machine Role that you installed.

On the Gallery tab, select the version of the gallery item that you just imported.
Click the arrow next to the gallery item name.
Explore the details of the gallery item.
Navigate back and click Make Public.
Select the Plans workspace in the Service Admin Portal.
Select the plan to which you want to add this gallery item.
Select the Virtual Machine Clouds service.
Scroll to the Gallery section.
Click Add Gallery Items.
Select the gallery items that you imported, and then click Save.

Brilliant, we are almost done.
The last thing to do, is to create a new tenant, or logon with an already existing tenant to this portal.
The tenant must then subscribe to a plan that is offering these gallery items.

Here’s some screen shots on how to deploy a gallery item into a cloud defined in SCVMM, presented by Windows Azure Pack:

6)      Deploying Virtual Machine Roles in Windows Azure Pack

In the portal, click new à Virtual Machine Role à From Gallery.
This will bring up the available gallery items.

In the ‘Create Virtual Machine Role from ...’ screen, please select the proper item. In my case, I have both a web server and a stand-alone Windows Server 2012 R2 resource. I will select my Web Server and proceed.

Assign the virtual machine role with a name (during this process, Windows Azure Pack will check with SCVMM if the name is available or already taken).
Select the right version and the right hosting plan. If the gallery item is not available in a hosting plan, you are unable to proceed.

The next step will require some input from the tenant.
You can define the following:

Choose the size of the instance. Extra small, small, Medium, Large, Extra large.

Operating system disk
The disk you prepared with powershell should be available here

Data disk
The other disk (containing no operating system, remember?) is listed here

IP Address allocation method
Dynamic or static is the option here

IP Address type
IPv4 or IPv6

Logical Network
The networks you have made available both in the cloud in SCVMM and in the plan is available here. I would strongly suggest you to leverage network virtualization in this case, and provide the tenants to create their own virtual networks prior to this, and deploy the virtual machine role to this network.

New user name
Specify the username

New Password
Assign a password to the user

Confirm your password

Virtual Machine Name Pattern
Default, you will se ‘Computer###’ where the hashes refers to incremental numbers.

Name of the workgroup this virtual machine role should be a part of

Time Zone
Choose the proper time zone for your virtual machine role

Initial Instance Count
How many virtual machines will you deploy at first? This is where you define it

Minimum Instance Count
What’s the minimum instances of the virtual machine role

Maximum Instance Count
Decide how many instances this virtual machine role can scale out to.

Click next to proceed

In this screen, you can assign website name and application pool together with your preferred TCP port.
This is because we are deploying a web server virtual machine role. Once you are done, click finish to start the deployment

Note: if your cloud in SCVMM has any capability profiles associated, the deployment will fail.
You must uncheck any capability profiles since gallery items doesn’t have this property.

In the portal, we can now see that the virtual machine role is being provisioned.

Since I am the SCVMM admin as well, I can check in the Jobs view in the console, that some cool stuff are actually taking place in my environment.

Once the deployment has succeeded, you can manage it further in the tenant portal.
This screen shots illustrates that I am able to scale my instances for this virtual machine role.

Hopefully this was useful to get you started with gallery items in Windows Azure Pack.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Storage Discovery scope is greyed out - VMM 2012 SP1

When you try to add a storage device to VMM 2012/2012 Sp1, you cannot get past the ‘Specify Discovery Scope’ screen.
You will by default have protocol SMI-S CIMXML, but are unable to change this as well as the TCP/IP port, which is currently locked at 5989.
The options to change one of these, are greyed out.

To fix this, please remove the following KB:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome to the "Switch to Hyper-V Conference"

This autumn will be loaded with speaking engagement, and together with Niklas Åkerlund in Sweden, I will have two days early in October where we will talk, demonstrate and show the beautiful journey from VMware to Hyper-V.

The reason why we are arranging such an event should be clear by now.
More and more often, we are meeting customers and partners who are seeking for advice when it comes to internal strategies regarding their datacenters. Cost is (obviously) a major factor in this calculation, but management and tools are very important too.
As you may be aware of, we are all waiting for the R2 release where we are moving towards a consistent platform with our Cloud OS.
As part of that, we will focus on things you might normally miss during a normal “Hyper-V vs. VMware” discussion.
Generally speaking, we are constantly focusing on features, licensing and costs when discussing the comparison of these vendors. However, we are taking this to the next level and will focus on the real ‘battle’, the battle the IT pro's are facing each and every day when working with their management tools.
What are the real capabilities of both vCenter and SCVMM?
Are you planning for a solution that is working today with specific thirds party vendors, or are you brave enough to look at this at a higher level?
We will definitively show you that virtualization is a lot more than just virtualization(!).
Remember that to fulfill your datacenter dream, we must include both storage, network, HA, DR and much much more.

Here’s the agenda, and if you are nearby one of these days, I would be glad to see you.

09.00 – 10.00
–What have happened with virtualization lately, and why we are here— (Level 200)
Let’s forget about features in the hypervisors for a second, and climb out of the box to get a better perspective on things. In this session we will look at the entire datacenter and explore what have happened, and where we are going.
This session will focus at the business level and help you to choose a strategy for your investments..
10.00 – 10.45
– Building your Hyper-V Private Cloud with System Center—(Level 400)
System Center 2012 R2 – Virtual Machine Manager may be the best example to show datacenter abstraction layer in real life. This session will focus on Fabric management in VMM 2012 R2, and show how you can integrate, abstract and manage the datacenter pieces. All within a single console.
Network management, storage management, multi-hypervisor management, automation, anf life-cycle management.
11.00 – 11.40
– Performing the switch from VMware to Hyper-V— (Level 400)
There are several tools available to help you with the conversion from VMware to Hyper-V.
This session will show you how you easily can do this manually, automated and simplified with existing tools.
11.40 – 12.00 Lunsj
12.00 – 12.45
–Lessons learned from early switchers—(Level 300)
Many customers and partners have already made the switch, consulted by Lumagate. In this session, we will share the common pitfalls, best practice and what benefits we are seeing at both a short and long term.
12.45– 14:00
Discussion and Q&A
Make the most of it and ask the experts about anything about cloud computing and virtualization and get assistance and guidance before you continue on your journey.
Kristian Nese
CTO at Lumagate, Microsoft MVP and Infrastructure Ranger at Microsoft Norway.
Kristian Nese is an experienced speaker, author and evangelist in the cloud computing space, and have implemented private clouds and service provider clouds for some of the largest organizations globally. He’s been working with Hyper-V and System Center since the early beta days back in 2007, and this has led to several books on the subject.
Kristian is an experienced speaker, delivering both keynotes and highly technical sessions (level 400) on subjects like Windows Azure, System Center, Windows Server and Hyper-V, and often used by Microsoft nationally and globally, both as a speaker and writer
To stay sharp, he spend a lot of time in the TechNet forums as well, trying to help the community so they can get the most out of the technology, and deliver training world wide.
Kristian is known for his subject matter expertise within cloud and his heavy coffee consumption.
Niklas Åkerlund
Niklas Akerlund is the Product Manager for Private Cloud at Lumagate. Niklas has been working with Microsoft infrastructure solutions since 1998. He has quite some experience in virtualization projects with consolidation planning and migrations from physical to virtual. Niklas have done both project management and technical design in Hyper-V upgrades and new installations. Niklas started working with Hyper-V at a former Employee in the TAP program for Windows Server 2008 and has a big interest in automation and optimization of virtual machines and hosts. He was also responsible for the TAP program engagement for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 at RTS. Niklas has been speaking on Technet Sweden events and continuously as a MCT at a local learning center. He is also an VMware vExpert 2013 as well as VCP 5. Niklas writes blog articles at vniklas.djungeln.se with automation and virtualization as a focus area. You can find him on twitter where his handle is @vNiklas

Monday, August 5, 2013

Please read Brad Anderson's blog!

This is my first blog post after two weeks of vacation. I have never been away from work that long before, and I feel like a rookie J
Therefore, I will start to blog with this short blog post about Microsoft Vice President for Windows Server and System Center, Brad Anderson.

One of the thing that keeps me awake at night is when I think about the big picture.
With the upcoming releases of both Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2, we have a bunch of new features. Many of my friends and colleagues in the industry are very feature oriented. And before I continue, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, this may limit their options when it comes to career opportunities. Some people are very satisfied with the situation of being the hot shot consultant, knowing every how-to of their primary products. And some others are leaning more over to the abstraction of those features, curious to know all the ‘what’ and ‘why’. I like to consider myself as one of those, although I have a deep technology hunger as well. To summarize, a good mix is necessary to keep me smiling and satisfied.

Brad Anderson is one of those individuals that inspires me when it comes to the ‘why’ and ‘what’ things.
Not only is he running the show of both Windows Server and System Center, but he has really deep insight into the industry and is able to explain complex things that everyone could understand.
This is why I would like to give you a heads up on his new blog “In the Cloud”.

Bookmark this blog and keep reading it to get a better understanding of Microsoft’s background of every innovation and features in the System Center and Windows Server space.
Especially, I would like to highlight his last two blog posts about IaaS and Service Providers.

Happy reading!