Hyper-V


How to convert OVA to VHDX for Hyper-V

If you have found yourself in a scenario where you would like to use Hyper-V as a test environment for your virtual machines, but you are using VMware ESXi Server,Citrix XenServer or VirtualBox then this tutorial is for you.

Required software

  • Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 available here.
  • WinRar (or any tool you prefer to extract .tar files)
  • Your OVA export unzipped into a folder.

Preparations

  • Download and install Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0.

An OVA file is simply a tar archive file containing the OVF directory. First you rename the .ova file to a .tar extension. Now you can use WinRAR and extract the .vmdk files within to get the virtual machines disks. VMDK is an open format used by VMware and other vendors.

Convert The Image

Next we will need to convert our VMware Image in order for Hyper-V to run it. This can be done using Powershell:

Copy you .VHDX to the folder containing you Hyper-V virtual machine.  When creating your new virtual machine, you must ensure you select “Generation 1” when choosing the generation of the virtual machine :


Updating Altaro Hyper-V back-up to latest version

I’m running Altaro Hyper-V back-up for some time now. Approx 1 year ago I installed it on my Hyper-V server and it has been running all the time with no problems. It never missed a back-up and so I didn’t saw the need to update to other versions. Most of the time upgrading back-up software can be quite tricky and I didn’t want to reboot my Hyper-V servers. Never the less I thought it was time to upgrade to the latest version. Here are the steps :

001

Click Check for updates,

002

Click Update now

003

And install the downloaded new version,

004

005

006

007

008

After hitting next I was pleased to see that all of my settings were still there and I didn’t had to reboot my server :

009

Here the “evidence” that it didn’t miss one back-up (No I didn’t deleted any errors Glimlach) :

010

I’m very pleased with the performance and stability of the product. So check it out. Click the banner on my blog.


Building a HYPER-V cluster for under $ 2000

Last week I was reading a ebook from my sponsor Altaro and I wanted to share this with my readers. This ebook is all about building a test environment capable of running a Hyper-V cluster.

 

Hyper-V_altaro

The setup has looks quite a bit like my test environment. My Hyper-V cluster is build by 2 HP N40L microservers with each 16 Gb of memory (not the 8 Gb mentioned in the document). Officially it’s not supported but it works great. I also bought the ILO interface cards and therefore didn’t need to the buy the DVD drives.

For storage I’m using a NetApp FAS 2040 and a Qnap NAS. I’m always interested what other people use for their home environment and whitebox. So I thought it would be nice to share this link with you.

http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/building-a-hyper-v-cluster-for-under-2000/

Would like to hear what you guys are running!


Hyper-V : Show the host server in a running VM

Today someone asked me how he could see what was the host Hyper-V server while running a virtual machine.

This is how you can do that :

When Hyper-V Integration Services is installed, the following registry key contains all the information you need :

 

 

You could easily find the server where this VM is running on from this point forward.

 

regedit_in_a_vm

 


How to : Extend diskspace Windows 2008 (R2)

Many times people asked me how to extend a disk or I see them running Gpart or CLI tools while it’s not necessary. For those people I decided to write this blogpost.

Step 1 : Extend your disk in VMware settings

Go to you vCenter server and extend the disk. Simply go to the server you wish to edit, choose edit settings and click on the hard drive you wish to extend. Make sure you select the right drive! Glimlach

vmware_disk_settings

Now just fill in the amount of disk space you want for this drive. In mine example (I took this picture after resizing the disk) it was 30 GB and I added 20 Gb so the total is 50 Gb of storage.

Step 2 : Check your drive and extend it Glimlach

Before I extended the drive it was 30 Gb, check this picture :

c_schijf_ervoor

Now we are going to extend this drive. Go to server manager/storage.

refresh_disks

Click rescan disks, because Windows doesn’t see the extra available space right yet. After the rescan you must see extra unallocated space. Now select the volume (partition) you wish the extend. See below :

extend disk

Just go through these simple steps :

extend001

extend002

 

extend003

 

Et voila, the disk is extended :

extend005


50 Free licenses from Altaro for Hyper-V admins

My sponsor, Altaro, developers of Altaro Hyper-V backup are giving away presents this holiday season! 🙂 Every Hyper-V administrator is entitled for 50 licenses of their desktop backup software, that’s up to $ 2000 worth of software!

big-hyper-v-admin-giveaway

All you need to do is send them a screenshot of Hyper-V that proves that you use Hyper-V and they will send you the licenses which you can use on your own machines or give out to friends, family or colleagues, to use at work or home.

The offer ends Dec 24th of 2012.

To claim your 50 licenses check out http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/50-free-pc-backup-licenses-for-all-hyper-v-admins

To check out their Hyper-V portal check out http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/

For more info about Altaro Hyper-V Backup check out http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v-backup/?LP=Xmas

In addition to this offer I can give away a free license for anyone who leaves a comment on this post.


Review : Veeam Explorer for Exchange

While attending Tech Ed 2012 EMEA I spoke with some people @ the Veeam booth. They showed me a beta version of the Veeam Explorer for Exchange. I was very enthusiastic about it and after a few week of holiday I finally had some time to do a review for myself.

What does Veeam Explorer do?

Veeam Explorer makes it possible to restore single mailbox items from the Exchange database (EDB + logfiles). Everyone knows the tool no system administrator can live with out, Ontrack Powercontrols. I’ve used that tool several times, but there is one major drawback. It’s licensed on a exchange server name. So for consultants and companies with multiple exchange servers it’s not that handy. Although there are more companies and products who work just fine they all cost money.  And Veeam Explorer for Exchange (VEFE for now) will also be available in a free version!

Also very nice, VEFE doesn’t need any agents. Just point to an exchange ese.dll and you mailbox edb file and the logfiles and off you go. You can dropdown your mailbox database and scroll through all the mailboxes and their items. You can even directly open all the items (mails etc)

Installation of Veeam Explorer for Exchange

Installation of VEFE is very easy. Make sure you have Veeam Backup & Replication 6.1 x64 installed!

exchange001exchange002

 

exchange003exchange004

 

exchange005

Screendumps

First point to an Exchange Server installation (ese.dll). This can be an unc path.

exchange006

Then I restored an back-up of my Exchange 2010 Server database

exchange007

Fill in the location of the Exchange database file(s) and the logfiles

exchange008

Wait a couple of seconds

exchange009

And the database is connected

exchange010

Now scroll through the items and these are the options

exchange011

 

Conclusion

Although the product is still in beta, it works very nice. I was surprised about the speed of the program. Other programs like Ontrack Powercontrols also work very nice but their performance is not that great. It takes ages to scroll to several mailboxes to find the message you are looking for. VEFE works very quickly. Ofcourse it depends on the hardware (storage!) but using my whitebox environment and several tens of gigabytes of mailbox data the performance was top of the line!

There is room for improvement also, Smile The VEFE is an standalone program and is not yet integrated in Veeam Backup and Recovery. Although it’s not necessary, it could be nice. Another feature I would like to see in the final version is the possibility to restore items directly in an other mailbox store. Yes, now you can forward the message of export to pst. But a direct restore would be better, the items are untouched then also.

Try it for yourself

Veeam offers the possibility to test the beta product.

Therefore go to the veeam website (www.veeam.com) and register for the beta.

veeam_explorer_beta

Don’t you want to wait to be selected? I have a few invites. Want to receive one? Leave a comment!


Review : Altaro Hyper-V Backup

Some time ago I received a license from my sponsor Altaro to install and review their Hyper-V Backup. I’ve installed their latest version of Hyper-V Back-up (HVB)

I’m running Altaro Hyper-V on my Hyper-V cluster.

After installing HVB I opened the management console (dashboard) which looks like this :

image

I think it’s a very nice and clean console with enough information. One major drawback I ran into is that I can’t scroll through the left pane. I ‘m running a screen resolution of 1276 x 747 (Remote Desktop) and I can’t seem to reach the functions at the bottom. I’m sure this will be updated in their future release.

Configuring Hyper-V Backup

That’s very easy. Choose Select Hyper-V Guest VMs and just select the servers you wish to back-up. Selecting the servers now, doesn’t automatically mean that HVB will back-up them now, Therefor you have to select a Backup drive and Schedule.

image

Select the servers you want to include in your back-up strategy. I noticed they creating and removing virtual servers you see an unknown server. This means that HVB noticed some unused files. Good idea to check this, and clean-up the unneeded files. Smile

Now you can choose the back-up destination :

image

A (very) nice feature is that you can choose for multiple destinations and Backup drive mirroring. This means that your back-up files are on 2 separate locations, in case the primary back-up location fails. Very very nice.

Now we can drag the virtual machines in the pre-configured Backup schedules, or create a custom one:

image

You can use the Backup Schedule Calculator to verify how often your schedule takes place.

You have the following Notification Settings settings (Email also included)

image

Back-up options

What back-up options do we have? Of course, every IT geek want’s to tweak their settings. Smile Well first I want to let you know that using HVB for some months now, I never had the need to change things. Everything was working smoothly and more important…. it kept running smoothly and fast. But yeah, there are options :

image

and

image

and

image

and

image

(use this for non VSS aware VM’s, like linux and stuff)

Advanced Restore Options

Using HVB it’s no problem to test your back-up’s (Fire Drill) or to restore only one file using the File Level Restore option.

image

Updating Hyper-V Backup

Updating the software is very easy. Just click About HVB and press Check for updates.

image

In my case their was a new version available :

image

Just press update now and press a couple of times on next and you’re running their latest version.
Very easy. (A fully automated update would also be nice although Smile)

 

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Very ease and stable to use
  • Fast
  • Cheap
  • Excellent support
  • Nice logging, for example it’s easy to see which files have been changed since last back-up etc
    image

 

Cons:

  • GUI interface could be better
  • Sometimes you need specific options like the possibility the back-up a specific drive instead of all drives
  • no support for encryption

Altaro also have a Free Hyper-V Backup solution. (click for link)