HYPER-V Production checkpoints

I already assume you’re aware and having Hyper-V experience knows the convenience / advantages of being able to take snapshots of VMs state before implementing a potentially disruptive change. But you also know the dangers of snapshotting for workloads such as domain controllers (DCs), Exchange Servers and SQL Servers: If you apply a checkpoint to a VM that’s replicating with others, it’s effectively sent back in time. That can cause AD corruption, password mismatches, missing group memberships and other data loss. But if you’re a developer then snapshot is a blessing for you to re-produce bugs…etc

With Server 10 (aka Server vNext) Microsoft is introducing new types of snapshots, called “Production Checkpoints”

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It uses the Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) from within the VM, because the VM is aware that it happened (it’s more like a backup operation), applying a checkpoint won’t disrupt workloads. Basically machine will boot in normal boot process be restoring the previous snapshot data. Enterprise level applications (SQL, Exchange) will be aware about this restore process. This is an option you can enable and if you still prefer previous snapshot method in your demo environment you can switch back. With production checkpoint enabled Microsoft has taken HYPER-V customers to whole new level.

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You can find entire list of Server vNext improvements in here

HYPER-V VNEXT will support nested virtualization

This might be somewhat old news for some readers but just want to share Microsoft has given indication they will provide nested virtualization capability on next release. This has been highlighted on the Windows Containers: What, Why and How session on Microsoft Build Conference.

This is one of the features most of the HYPER-V fans requesting from Microsoft (Including HYPER-V MVP’s as well). With this feature enabled we can enable HYPER-V role inside the Virtual machines. This would be really cool when we carry out demo labs.

MICROSOFT OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT SUITE

During the Microsoft Ignite event new “Operations Management Suite” which is the new name for Azure Operational Insights announced. What´s new with this cloud based solution other than the name change is the fact that this no longer just contains log analytics and the things we’ve seen before. It is now also now capable to manage your Azure backup jobs, Azure Site Recovery and Automation. When it comes to onboarding, it´s the exact same process as there was to onboard Azure Operational Insights (and System Center Advisor before that) and there are still two ways to connect the servers to the solution.

The first method is to directly attach the server to Operations Management Suite (OMS) using the Microsoft Monitoring Agent and there is also the possibility to connect your SCOM management group to OMS as well.

As mentioned above the new stuff would be you can manage,

Azure backup
Automation
Azure Site Recovery

If you look at the product history you’ll find this would grow to a similar solution like SCOM where you’ll be able to manage on-prem servers as well.

In order to onboard you go to web site Microsoft.com/OMS and register your account. Process is as much easier than configuring SCOM on-prem Winking smile 

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Once onboarded you can go through the wizard and add your Azure subscription and start connecting the components. For the VM’s you can install the agent. One thing I like about OMS is the rich dashboard just like previous version. It’s easier to navigate and get required information.

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Another thing that´s gotten a new name are the Intelligence Packs known from the Azure Operational Insights days. They are now called Solutions instead and besides from the ones that came along from OpInsights.

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Apart from that Microsoft has confirmed this solution has be extend to monitor VM’s hosted AWS, VMWare, OpenStack and also monitoring Linux VMs. This given the clean vision how broader Microsoft is looking and OMS.

Data exchange within Azure VM’s with Veeam FastSCP

Are you a IT Pro or a Developer who work with Azure VM’s frequently? Have you gone through the pain of finding best way to transfer files between Azure VM’s up and down? There are numerous methods you can do this but I found Veeam’s FastSCP (Secure Copy Protocol) is much easier to use. This is still in the Beta stage but I found it’s quote useful. Though I found out sometimes folder refresh is not very efficient but I guess it will be fixed soon. You can grab the beta software for testing from here.

Step 1: Downlaod the software and install and go to FastSCP console
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Step 2: Make sure you already have a Azure VM created prior. Go to Azure portal and copy the Azure cloud service url
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Step 3: Go to Veeam FastSCP console and click “Add Virtual machine” and provide the url you’ve copied along with VM login credentials,

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Step 4: Start playing around Smile You can create folders from FastSCP console to the Azure VM and start uploading and downloading files easily. If there is any bugs you better call Veeam guys Smile

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Bug: When I try to create a colder I found out even though I click the button called “Create Folder” it doesn’t appear in the FastSCP console. Best method is to click that button once and refresh the console and then you’ll find the folder you’ve created.