Virtual machine load balancing in server 2016 cluster

If you’re virtualization expert (on Microsoft world Smile) you’re well aware above feature is possible when we implement System Center Virtualization Manager (SCVMM) to manage the HYPER-V cluster. Not every customer can afford to have System Center Datacenter SKU purchase right?

Virtual machine load balancing comes in exact time to help you do that without SCVMM. In a nutshell we can monitor the CPU and memory usage on the host an based on the pre-defined rules and allow VMs to move across the HYPER-V nodes in the cluster.

Do we have option to configure this parameter? Why not we can configure the aggressiveness of the this feature by using parameter ‘AutoBalancerLevel’. To control the aggressiveness run the following in PowerShell:

(Get-Cluster).AutoBalancerLevel = <value>

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VM auto balancing can be configured via GUI and PowerShell both.

In the cluster properties right-click on your cluster name and select the “Properties” option
Graphic of selecting property for cluster through Failover Cluster Manager
  1. Select the “Balancer” pane
    Graphic of selecting the balancer option through Failover Cluster Manager

From the PowerShell command point of view,

(Get-Cluster).AutoBalancerMode = <value>

Parameter values are,

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PS: VM autobalancing is enable by default in server 2016. If you use SCVMM 2016 to manage the cluster then this feature will be disabled.

Are you ready for the next big offer from Microsoft?

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Don’t we all love some hush hush news come in advance to our attention? Well Microsoft just did it again Smile If you’re a VMware customer then it’s time for you to pause your renewal and give attention to Microsoft direction and offering. Microsoft is ready to give away big surprise!!!

Ok let me make it short and come to the core story Smile 

If you switch from VMware to Hyper-V from during September 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, you can get free Windows Server Datacenter licenses when buying Windows Server Datacenter + Software Assurance. That ultimately means you only pay for Software Assurance.

All the latest information about this offer and how to calculate the TCO can be found in here. If you’re wondering what kind of enhancement HYPER-V 2016 can provide then you’ll be surprised too. Detail information can be found here.

So for my VMWare customers all I can say is don’t delay this opportunity, contact your Microsoft Account Manager and start engaging on this process.

When it comes to deployment or if you need support from the beginning stage then feel free to get in touch with Infront team

Hybrid data backup solution with Azure Backup Server #MSOMS

When you run your workloads in different locations (on-prem & cloud) it would be tough situation how to manage data backup. Either you’ll end up using multiple backup software or else your backup vendor will assure you can manage both worlds from their tools Smile. Luckily Microsoft step-up with their hybrid data backup solution under the name tag “Azure Backup Server” In their own words “With Azure Backup Server, you can protect application workloads such as Hyper-V VMs, Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint Server, Microsoft Exchange and Windows clients from a single console.”

Today I’ll take you through the journey of Azure Backup Server. Microsoft initially ran project with code name “Venus”. Now this is part of the OMS Suite (Operations Management Suite). For people who out there familiar with System Center Data Protection Manager think this is as DPM minus Tape drive support (and it’s free too Smile).

Most of the time I also really don’t entertain the idea of using Tape drives and I’m glad Microsoft team also carries same opinion as mine Smile. Some of the great features of Azure Backup Server service are,

Feature

Benefit

Automatic storage management

No capital expenditure is needed for on-premises storage devices. Azure Backup automatically allocates and manages backup storage, and it uses a pay-as-you-use consumption model.

Unlimited scaling

Take advantage of high availability guarantees without the overhead of maintenance and monitoring. Azure Backup uses the underlying power and scale of the Azure cloud, with its nonintrusive autoscaling capabilities.

Multiple storage options

Choose your backup storage based on need:

· A locally redundant storage block blob is ideal for price-conscious customers, and it still helps protect data against local hardware failures.

· A geo-replication storage block blob provides three more copies in a paired datacenter. These extra copies help ensure that your backup data is highly available even if an Azure site-level disaster occurs.

Unlimited data transfer

There is no charge for any egress (outbound) data transfer during a restore operation from the Backup vault. Data inbound to Azure is also free. Works with the import service where it is available.

Data encryption

Data encryption allows for secure transmission and storage of customer data in the public cloud. The encryption passphrase is stored at the source, and it is never transmitted or stored in Azure. The encryption key is required to restore any of the data, and only the customer has full access to the data in the service.

Application-consistent backup

Application-consistent backups on Windows help ensure that fixes are not needed at the time of restore, which reduces the recovery time objective. This allows customers to return to a running state more quickly.

Long-term retention

Rather than pay for off-site tape backup solutions, customers can back up to Azure, which provides a compelling tape-like solution at a low cost.

 

Even if you’re running your VM’s in VMware environment till you can leverage this backup solution. I guess high level picture will provide you’ll more sense by now Smile

azure-backup-overview

Of course in this solution we’re leveraging Azure Backup vault to retain the data. With the introduction of “Cool Storage” you can further reduce your storage cost for long term archival storage. (refer to my previous article to get more information about Cool storage”

Sounds cool and you want to get your hands dirty by trying this out? Step by step article will arrive soon. So stay tuned and hungry Smile

Reduce your cloud storage cost with “Azure Cool Blob Storage”

When I have conversation with my customers I recommend them to consider Azure storage as a best option to keep their data backup. So the rule of thumb goes up to 30 days data on-prem and rest are on the cloud (at least from my point of view)

All these times for data storage Microsoft had one storage option. But now they have introduced storage type called “Cool blob Storage” Basically this is a type with lower cost when you agree you’re not accessing the data stored on those storage accounts frequently.Example use cases for cool storage include backups, media content, scientific data, compliance and archival data. In general, any data which lives for a longer period of time and is accessed less than once a month is a perfect candidate for cool storage.

  • Cost effective: You can now store your less frequently accessed data in the Cool access tier at a low storage cost (as low as $0.01 per GB in some regions), and your more frequently accessed data in the Hot access tier at a lower access cost. For more details on regional pricing, see Azure Storage Pricing.
  • Compatibility: We have designed Blob storage accounts to be 100% API compatible with our existing Blob storage offering which allows you to make use of the new storage accounts in existing applications seamlessly.
  • Performance: Data in both access tiers have a similar performance profile in terms of latency and throughput.
  • Availability: The Hot access tier guarantees high availability of 99.9% while the Cool access tier offers a slightly lower availability of 99%. With the RA-GRS redundancy option, we provide a higher read SLA of 99.99% for the Hot access tier and 99.9% for the Cool access tier.
  • Durability: Both access tiers provide the same high durability that you have come to expect from Azure Storage and the same data replication options that you use today.
  • Scalability and Security: Blob storage accounts provide the same scalability and security features as our existing offering.
  • Global reach: Blob storage accounts are available for use starting today in most Azure regions with additional regions coming soon.

So how to create “Cool Storage”? Well not that big deal you have to log into your Azure portal and then go to “New” and select “Data + Storage” option

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Under the storage account “Account kind” select “Blob storage”

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After that you should be able to see the “Cool Storage” option,

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By the time I’m writing this article sever data backup vendors has already started working with Microsoft to intergrade this feature with their backup products. (CommVault, Veritas NetBackup, SoftNAS, CloudBerry…etc) We would see this list growing really fast.

Azure Roadshow 2016–Colombo

Azure Cloud technology is no doubt going to be the next biggest technology roadmap to Microsoft Partners and also to customers. As a Microsoft Gold Partner in Cloud technology we all believe it’s our responsibility to share the updates with peer members and also with our customers.

With that intention we started our first Azure Roadshow align with Global Azure Bootcamp on 2015. This year we took the same step inviting all the local MVP’s to share their experience with Azure technology and how it can help customers.

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System Center Universe 2016 @ APAC

One of the best System Center summit happening around the world. As a Infront employee I’m happy to announce our company did host the event for the third time in APAC region. This time in Malaysia soon after that in Australia. All the well known System Center experts in one room sharing their knowledge. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to be among those experts and carry out two sessions.

Azure becoming key topic for developers and IT Professionals. How we can save time be leveraging templates. This is where we can leverage Azure Resource Manager Templates. Carried out a session to show how ARM really can help for IT Professionals in their journey.

Disaster recovery can be taken to next level by leveraging the Azure cloud. Delviered another session covering how Microsoft extend their love to protect VMWare customers as well Smile In this session we covered about Azure Site Recovery for HYPER-V, VMWare & Physical servers. We also demo what is “Enhanced mode for VMWare” and what that is so cool.

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Linux Integration Services Version 4.1 for Hyper-V

Microsoft-Loves-Linux

Microsoft released the latest Linux Integration Services (LIS) for the guest Linux VM’s running on HYPER-V. With this latest update following improvement has been introduced.

•Expanded Releases: now applicable to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Oracle Linux with Red Hat Compatible Kernel versions 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, and 7.2.
•Hyper-V Sockets.
•Manual Memory Hot Add.
•SCSI WNN.
•lsvmbus.
•Uninstallation scripts.

You can get the latest LIS from here.