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Apr
14

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: A Small Chunk of Bandwidth for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 Pro/Enterprise with Update 1

Okay, so here we go updating our ISO library:

image

image

And:

image

image

And finally:

image

image

Note that all Windows 8.1/Server 2012 R2 operating systems in the field _must_ be updated to Update 1 or they will not receive any further starting with Patch Tuesday this coming May!

That does not give us a lot of time to test the patch setup. But test we must! :(

By the way, is there any need to download the 32-bit version of a desktop OS anymore? We’ve not had to use one in ages!

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Apr
11
Cluster-Aware Update Runs: How Long?
Posted by Philip Elder on 11 April 2014 10:08 AM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Cluster-Aware Update Runs: How Long?

When one needs to provision a new Windows Server 2012 RTM/R2 cluster one of the time factors to keep in mind is the Cluster-Aware Update runs that will happen once the cluster has been brought up.

image

The above is a new Windows Server 2012 R2 four node cluster that we finished configuring last night.

The first CAU run started around 2300Hrs. As can be seen each node took about an hour to run through the process.

Even though we are not too far into the product release cycle for R2 one needs to keep in mind the update maintenance process if one is not using an up-to-date image for deployment. This would be especially true if deploying 2012 RTM or 2008 R2 clusters.

Cluster node configuration:

  • Intel Server System SR1695GPRX2AC with RMM
    • Intel Xeon Processor X3470, 32GB ECC, 120GB Intel SSD RAID 1, Dual Intel SAS HBAs

Some important Cluster update tracking links:

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Apr
7
Allowing Expired or Forced Password Changes on RDWeb
Posted by Philip Elder on 07 April 2014 04:29 PM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Allowing Expired or Forced Password Changes on RDWeb

When we deploy a greenfield Windows Server 2012 setup or migrate to one we always make the following small change to the RDWeb configuration:

image

  • IIS –> Sites –> Default Web Site –> RDWeb –> Pages –> Application Settings

This allows the user to change their password if it has expired which would otherwise be a helpdesk call.

image

When the user goes to log on to RDWeb they will see the following:

image

  • Your password is expired. Click here to change it.

Once they click the link:

image

The page will indicate the change was successful:

image

Click OK and the user will be directed back to the logon page.

When we access a user’s profile for whatever reason we trigger a password change on the DC and they know to hit RDWeb to log on the first time if they are remote.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Mar
31
Scale-Out File Server Cluster: Where Is the Witness Disk?
Posted by Philip Elder on 31 March 2014 11:04 AM

Original posted here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Scale-Out File Server Cluster: Where Is the Witness Disk?

We were in a bit of a quandary as far as the how/what/where for a Witness Disk (quorum disk) for Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) cluster.

Our setup:

  • (2) Intel Server Systems R2208GZ4GC
    • Dual SAS HBAs, Dual Intel X540T2 10GbE
    • Scale-Out File Server Nodes
  • (2) Intel Storage Systems JBOD2224S2DP JBOD
    • Mix of 10K SAS, 15K SAS, and SSD SAS drives mirrored in each JBOD
  • (2) Intel Server Systems R2208GZ4GC
    • Dual Intel X540T2 10GbE
    • Hyper-V Nodes

In the case where we had a Hyper-V Failover Cluster using Direct Attached Storage via Promise VTrak E610sD dual SAS, Dell MD3220 dual SAS, or HP P2000 dual SAS we would set up a 1.5GB shared LUN for the quorum disk.

Well, in this case we don’t have the logic in the storage to do that.

So, where do we put our Witness Disk for a SOFS based Storage Spaces cluster?

The only real clue we had was in Jose Barreto’s blog post:

Specifically this line in the Storage Spaces setup:

New-VirtualDisk -FriendlyName Space1 -StoragePoolFriendlyName Pool1 -ResiliencySettingName Mirror –Size 1GB

An e-mail to Jose asking about that command, and also an e-mail to my fellow Cluster MVPs, came back with Jose confirming that the 1GB Virtual Disk (Storage Space) would be used for the Witness Disk.

We have two options when it comes to configuring the disk. Either we set it up as per Jose’s blog post and verify in Failover Cluster Management (FCM) that the Witness Disk is the allocated 1GB or we stand up the cluster, configure the 1GB Storage Space, and then designate the Witness Disk in FCM.

Further reading:

Thanks to Jose Barreto and my fellow Cluster MVPs that answered the N00b questions! :)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Mar
27
A Hyper-V Hardware and Software Configuration Guide
Posted by Philip Elder on 27 March 2014 10:16 AM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: A Hyper-V Hardware and Software Configuration Guide

We install iDRAC Enterprise, iLO Advanced, or Intel RMM in the server for out-of-band KVM over IP management. Of course one needs to set a static IP address to that unit in order to gain access when DHCP goes offline. :)

The host should have a static IP address. We add the host to DNS so we can resolve the name while the guest DC is online.

We do _not_ join the guest’s domain. We use John Howard’s HVRemote to configure the host and a desktop OS based machine on the domain that has RSAT installed to manage that host. The Windows desktop OS machine or VM will also have a static IP address.

We plug a bootable USB flash drive with the host OS installer files, drivers, and management utilities into the host and _leave it there_ for the host’s entire life. With the KVM over IP we are able to re-install the host OS and reconfigure it in short order if there is a need.

  • System Configuration
    • BIOS: Disable C3/C6 States
    • Fastest GHz on CPU over number of Cores
    • Correct memory speed for that CPU
    • 1 memory stick per channel (16GB sticks are not that expensive anymore)
    • Populate slot 0 on _all_ memory channels with same stick size for best performance
    • Hardware RAID on Chip with 1GB of Non-Volatile or flash backed cache
    • RAID 6 across (8) 10K SAS (blog post on why we only use SAS) spindles minimum
    • Two Logical Drives set up on RAID Controller
      • 90GB for host OS
      • Balance to VHDX files
    • A minimum of two (2) Intel Gigabit Server NICs
      • Port 0 on both teamed for management
      • Port 1+ on both teamed for exclusive vSwitch usage

We set a static page file of 4,192MB on the system partition as one of our first steps. A Hyper-V Role only server should never need the swap file. That would just kill the system.

We do not use Broadcom NICs. They get disabled in the BIOS.

We always have a standalone DC in a cluster setting. Some will forgo such a step but that DC can be critical to keeping time on the domain for guest OS DCs and especially high load SQL, Exchange, and other data driven Line-of-Business applications. It can also be critical to bringing a cluster back online of something goes awry.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Jan
9
Some Hyper-V PowerShell Commands for You
Posted by Philip Elder on 09 January 2014 01:59 PM

Original Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Some Hyper-V PowerShell Commands for You

Here is the command set to create a vSwitch that does _not_ share the connection with the host OS:

image

  • New-VMSwitch -Name vSwitch -NetAdapterName vSwitch -AllowManagementOS 0

Note the zero to indicate no sharing with the host OS.

The -NetAdapterName value is the name of the team we created for the VMs.

Installing features and forcing the local source files is an important thing to do otherwise one may wait a long time while the node or nodes, or a standalone host, try and pull from Microsoft’s download servers only to fail much later in the game.

In this case we are installing the RSAT-Clustering feature (in our snip the -IncludeAllSubFeature is missing as we later discovered).

image

  • Install-WindowsFeature RSAT-Clustering -Source wim:d:\sources\install.wim:2 -IncludeAllSubFeature -Restart

Even with the installer pulling the needed files from the locally attached storage (flash drive) this one takes a while. We know we are successful when the node reboots.

Note that we are indicating INDEX 2 for the installer to pull from. That index is for the GUI version of the the OS. If we try and pull the source files from CORE INDEX 1 we will eventually end up with a failed result. And, given how long this process takes it is rather painful to discover just what the installer was looking for in the first place. :(

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »




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