Nested virtualization why should I care?

November 11, 2015

One thing I get asked a lot, is why I care so much about nested virtualization and the use case of such technology.

To understand nested virtualization we first need to look at traditional server virtualization.

Traditional Virtualization overview

In a traditional virtualization solution, the physical hardware is abstracted and presented to a guest operating system. The Virtual Machines (VM) are guests of the physical server and communicates with the physical hardware via the hypervisor.

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One physical server, hosts isolated Guest VMs

To provide high availability to the virtualizations solution we add clustering, Storage Area Networks (SAN) and duplicate of dependent peripheral configurations like network hardware and its configuration etc. The physical servers and attached configurations becomes a virtual datacenter that hosts the virtual machines. If we transition from one hypervisor vendor to another we need to convert the workload VMs to fit the new hypervisor. The conversion is sometimes a time-consuming and an expensive job that involves a lot of coordination.

This is something that we nowadays are quite familiar with.

Why nested virtualization then?

What if you wanted a copy of that configuration for testing or development purposes? How do you evolve and enhance your implementation? Do you have the possibility to test changes without impact to your production environment?

To install a virtual datacenter involves quite a lot of hardware that can be expensive and hard to move around.

You might need different configurations, developers for instance often have the need for many isolated environments with different settings. Building physical environments for each could be really expensive.

Nested Virtualization overview

In a nested virtualization solution, the physical hardware is abstracted and presented to a guest hypervisor VM as configurations. The guest hypervisor VM is a guest of the physical server.

The Guest VMs within the Guest hypervisor is unaware of the fact that the hypervisor is virtual and acts in the same way as if the hypervisor was installed in physical hardware.

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One physical server, hosts two separate hypervisors with separate isolated Guest VMs

To provide high availability to the virtualizations solution we use the same setup as in a traditional virtualization solution but we are able to emulate quite a lot of the periferal solutions such as SAN, Networks etc

Further possibilities with nested hypervisors

In a cloud solution, if a cloud vendor supports nested virtualization the format of the workload VM becomes irrelevant.

In a DevOps world the need to quickly build entire configurations becomes even more necessary. No more we can’t afford to have an expensive test environment J

What If we could build those configurations in Azure! the possibilities involved becomes mind blowing.

Microsoft Nested Virtualization

Microsoft has released a preview of nested virtualization in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10565

At the moment only Windows 10, Hyper-V is possible to nest but I expect that to change in the near future. Imagine the Host Hypervisor in Image 2 as a Nano Server with Hyper-V. The Guest Workload VMs as Docker/Windows Containers and full OS VMs. The future looks really interesting J

How to get started

How do I start exploring the possibilities with nested virtualization?

First you need the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10565.

Once you have installed it you need to enable Hyper-V, if you are unfamiliar with Client Hyper-V check out this MSDN article Hyper-V on Windows 10

Once you are done check out the article on how to enable Windows Insider Preview: Nested Virtualization

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clip_image004 In my lab I installed a Windows 10 host hypervisor with two Windows 10 Guest Hypervisors. Within each guest hypervisor I installed a Guest VM workload with Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3

I tried to get the nesting to work in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3 as well but I get an error message in the event log and the Hyper V Service wont start. “This device is not working properly because Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device. (Code 31)”

In a PPT from Microsoft https://t.co/ZqCkN16MIr the roadmap for System Center is reviled. The Windows Server 2016 Technical Previews has previously been released at the same time as System Center, so I hope I we will see Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4 in November as well.

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Microsoft Ignite: Content Catalog Deep Dive

February 3, 2015

I have been playing around with the Microsoft Ignite Content Catalog and  must say I like what I see.

There are currently 274 282 371 Ignite Sessions listed in the Catalog and I think there will be more then a thousand sessions when the conference kicks of on Star Wars Day, May the 4:th.

So back to the Content Catalog with that huge amount of sessions there needs to be a great way to sort out the sessions. The session catalog of Microsoft Ignite is the best I have seen so far.

The catalog is dynamic in multiple dimensions and will automatically react to the settings you define. The result is a personalized list of sessions.

The Search Session Catalog function gives you the ability to search the entire catalog for keywords.

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A quick look in the Products list displays 0 Azure Pack sessions but the search returns two hits at the moment. So don’t be alarmed if the topic you are looking for isn’t displayed, do a search for it. 🙂

Dynamic filters

On the left side are the filters sorted into six areas, Audiences, Topics, Formats, Products, Themes and Levels

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Simply click the area/areas of interest and  the list will dynamically change to display the sessions associated with your selection.

Lets say you want to learn the best practices in upgrading SQL Server. You click SQL Server in the Products section, Best Practices in the Formats section and Level 400 in the Levels section. That will direct you to the session “Upgrading and Migrating Microsoft SQL Server”

Each area displays several related categories

The Audiences area displays the sub categories, IT Influencers and Implementers, Enterprise Developers, IT Decision Makers and Architects

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In Topics we find Deployment & Implementation, Usage & Adoption, Development, Security & Access Management, Architecture, Operations & Management, Governance & Compliance, Upgrade & Migration

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Formats lets you choose; Overview, Best Practices, Deep Dive, How to, What’s New, Pre-Day Sessions, Business Value, Strategy, Customer Showcase

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Products, listed at the moment are:
Office 365, Azure, Exchange, SharePoint, Windows, Skype for Business, SQL Server, Visual Studio, Office Client, Yammer, Windows Server, OneDrive, Delve, System Center, Project, Surface, Visual Studio Online, Microsoft Intune, Application Insights, Team Foundation Server, Visio, .NET, ASP.NET, Azure Pack, Dynamics

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Themes lists Productivity and Collaboration, Cloud, Big Data, Mobility, Unified Communications, Security and Compliance, Social and Internet of Things

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All sessions are graded into Levels, 400, 300, 200, 100

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Level 100;
is an introductory and overview session. Assumes little or no expertise with topic and covers topic concepts, functions, features, and benefits.

Level 200;
means intermediate leveled content will be presented. Assumes 100-level knowledge and provides specific details about the topic.

Level 300;
this session contains advanced material. Assumes 200-level knowledge, in-depth understanding of features in a real-world environment, and strong coding skills. Provides a detailed technical overview of a subset of product/technology features, covering architecture, performance, migration, deployment, and development.

Level 400;
this is the expert session often with detailed material. Assumes a deep level of technical knowledge and experience and a detailed, thorough understanding of topic. Provides expert-to-expert interaction and coverage of specialized topics.

This concludes my initial explanation of the Microsoft Ignite Catalog. I will continue this exploration when future functions are reviled. The schedule building process very much involves knowledge of the content catalog.

Have you registered yet? Go to the Microsoft Ignite Registration page and do it today

custblogbling

I hope we meet in Chicago…

Ahh I also found a currently hidden section in the content catalog when I poked around. The hidden section called Roles and I expect it to be reviled soon, perhaps in combination with the schedule builder function of the catalog. The list contains sub categories that will add further filtering options.

  • IT Generalist
  • CIO, CTO, CISO, or Chief or Sr. Architect
  • Cloud Services Architect/Administrator
  • Director of MIS, IS, or IT
  • Technical or Business Consultant
  • Mgr, Cloud Services, Planning, & Support
  • Cloud Services Support
  • Cloud Services/Business Systems Analyst
  • Security/Storage/Web Admins
  • Mgr, App Development & Support
  • Systems/Network/Datacntr Admin
  • Technology Trainer or Teacher
  • Chief or Sr. Architect
  • Mgr, Infrastructure, Networking, or Datacenter
  • CEO or CFO or COO
  • Help Desk/Call Center Support
  • Power Users
  • VP of MIS, IS, or IT
  • Business Analyst
  • Journalists
  • LOB Managers
  • Researchers
  • VP or Executive/Senior Vice President
  • Database, BI & Data Warehouse Admin
  • Owner/Partner
  • President/Chairman
  • Sales
  • Unofficial IT Person (Office Manager, SMB Owner)
  • Chief Officer
  • Social Manager

Windows 10 and new Windows Server and System Center just in time for TechEd Europe

September 30, 2014

Microsoft announced on the Server and Cloud Blog that they will be releasing a Technical Preview of the next version of Windows and System Center on October 1.

Didn’t I say it would be an awesome autumn Ler

I really cant wait for TechEd in Barcelona and learn about the Cloud OS updates, you are registered right?

Register


How to add a product key when you are installing System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager.

September 3, 2014

Once your installation is complete it’s time to make sure you apply your license key. As you know there isn’t any prompt for adding the license key during the installs.

Instead it’s a Post-installation task you must perform.

The process I really simple. We use the PowerShell Set-SCOMLicence cmdlet.

1. Open an elevated PowerShell prompt. (Run as Administrator).

2. Type import-module operationsmanager.

3. Type New-SCOMManagementGroupConnection to connect your management group

4. Run the command Set-SCOMLicense -ProductId “<yourlicensekey>“

5. Check the settings by running the command:

Get-SCOMManagementGroup | ft skuforlicense, version, timeofexpiration –a

You may have to restart the Management server/-s to make sure that these changes are registered correctly.


System Center 2012 R2 – Register SPN fails

September 2, 2014

I received the following error wile pasting the command from my solution document.

C:\Windows\system32>SETSPN.exe -A MSOMSdkSvc/MyServer domain\service_account

Unknown parameter MSOMSdkSvc/MyServer. Please check your usage.

I have encountered this before and thought I would share the knowledge to save you some troubleshooting.

As you know the data access service account runs as a domain user and doesn’t have access to creation of the service principal names in Active Directory. There for you must run the commands with administrative or delegated privileges to user objects.

The syntax for adding SPN are two commands are found at TechNet http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd548282.aspx

SETSPN.exe –A MSOMSdkSvc/<ManagementServerFQDN> <domain>\<SDKServiceAccount>

SETSPN.exe –A MSOMSdkSvc/<ManagementServerNetBIOS> <domain>\<SDKServiceAccount>

It is really tempting to just copy the lines and replace the information between <> with your data. But if you do you should know that there are issues with that. Windows and the command prompt or PowerShell interprets the minus character differently.

To display the differences I have copied and pasted the same line from Notepad, the command prompt and from PowerShell into Notepad++.

Plain

As you can see there are no differences between the lines but if I display the text in Hex you will see where the problem occurs.

HEX

The Hex code for minus sign hyphen is 2d which both PowerShell and command prompt delivers correct (marked in green). But the line pasted from notepad displays something different (marked in red).

That is the reason you will get the error message even if it looks correct.

One way to sort this in your documentation is to use the slash / (hex 2f) which displays the correct character in all three cases instead of the minus sign. Another way is to change the minus sign in the prompt.


On demand training, Windows Azure Pack pt 2

August 15, 2014

Yesterday I posted a short article covering Windows Azure Pack video training resources. Today I will guide you to free hands on resources. 🙂

In case you dont know what Windows Azure Pac is the following text is taken from TechEd North America page on Channel 9

The Azure Pack is a collection of Microsoft Azure technologies available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost. Once installed in your datacenter, the Azure Pack integrates with Microsoft System Center and Windows Server to help provide a self-service portal for managing services such as websites, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus; a portal for administrators to manage resource clouds; scalable web hosting; and more.

Windows Azure Pack: Introducing Windows Azure Pack

Windows Azure Pack: Installation and Configuration

Windows Azure Pack: IaaS Management

Windows Azure Pack: Service Management Automation

Windows Azure Pack: Virtual Machine Roles


On demand training, Windows Azure Pack

August 14, 2014

July 16–17, 2014 Microsoft had a Live training event called Windows Azure Pack: Infrastructure as a Service Jump Start ft a instructor team of Microsoft employees.

During two days you could learn how to use Windows Azure Pack to deliver Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in your datacenter. The content is now available on Microsoft Cannel 9

Have you checked out the Ch9 App for Xbox 360? Pretty nice to be able to watch the content on your home entertainment system 🙂

Full course outline for the two days:

Day One

Day Two

So join the Instructor Team for an exploration of Windows Azure Pack’s (WAP’s) infrastructure services (IaaS)

Windows Azure Pack builds on the power of Microsoft CloudOS brought to your local data center that enables you to deliver an enterprise-class, cost-effective solution for self-service, multitenant cloud infrastructure and application services based on Microsoft Azure, Windows Server and System Center technologies.

· Andrew Zeller | Microsoft Senior Technical Program Manager

· ​Symon Perriman | Microsoft Senior Technical Evangelist
Twitter: @SymonPerriman

· Joe Levy | Microsoft Program Manager
Twitter: @Jodoglevy

· Shriram Natarajan | Microsoft Program Manager
Twitter: @shriramnat

· John Ballard | Microsoft Principal Program Manager

​· ​Vybava Ramadoss | Microsoft ​Program Manager
Twitter: @vybava

· Anshuman Nangia | Microsoft Program Manager