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Category Archives: Virtualisation

Windows 8.1 – Surface Pro and WMI GPO filters for Windows 8.1 and other findings

Just put windows 8.1 enterprise on my surface pro, works lovely, boot seems faster and it ‘seems’ to run less hot when doing low-power activities like reading or web browsing. Not noticed any improvement in battery life, but the instant on seems very instant now. Again this is subjective, as it’s a fresh install it’s always going to be a little snappier.

I used the 8.1 iso from technet and installed it with Rufus as per the next article down, i should mention 8.1 seems surface aware in that there was no odd scaling after it was installed, it seemed aware of the hardware and i think i recall that the wireless worked straight off the bat which was not the case with 8.

Also, WMI GPO filters for windows 8 do not work with 8.1, for a wmi to capture both OS’s (8 and 8.1) you’ll need to change your filter to:

SELECT * FROM Win32_OperatingSystem WHERE (Version LIKE “6.2.%” OR Version LIKE “6.3.%”) AND ProductType=”1”

The existing filter did not work as they’ve changed the version numbering with this new  rapid release cadence adopted, similar to apples approach with OSX which will hopefully reduce the amount of updating a year old windows install requires.

Other findings? not much so far aside seeming snappier, more logical start screen arrangement etc, I appreciate having the start button even in it’s hobbled form as it’s so much easier when using over remote desktop no more hovering near the corner pixel…. Though I think classic shell will be going on my non-touch screen machines when they get updated.

One other thing – VMWare Workstation 9 does not install on 8.1, but VMWare 8 does, as does 10. Hopefully this will be addressed.

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Converged Fabric for Hyper-V hosts on Server 2012 – super elegant.

Recently I’ve been working to simplify and consolidate our service provision. The path of least pain has been determined as placing core applications in colocation. While investigating the provision of storage and with memories of building 2008 R2 clusters still clear in my head I have begun trialling Server 2012. Having read a series of articles by Aidan Finn (his excellent blog here) about Virtualisation on server 2012 and I happened across his converged fabrics posts, here.

First some background, in Hyper-v R2 you need upwards of six nic’s to build a VM host cluster, you can get functionality with less but you leave yourself exposed, it would not be N+1. Also bear in mind that teaming for fault tolerance across multiport network cards is  only going to give you a false sense of security on the server side (it is after all only a single card regardless of how many ports it has).

In a nutshell, what I’m excited about is that you can use native teaming (or otherwise) on Server 2012 to bond a series of nics together, then spread your live-migration, storage, guest access and other nic requirements across a series of virtual nic’s connected to the virtual switch bound to this nic team (phew). You then set QOS on the virtual switch for the different virtual adaptors so you can guarantee service for the different aspects of connectivity your Hyper-V cluster will need. Anyway, have a look at the Aidan’s posts on the matter, they make for a great lab.

In my lab I’ve used a pair of 1gbe links and it works great for testing, in production you’d be looking at 2+10gbe links ideally, giving you resilience and most of the bandwidth you’d ever need in the forseeable future, at least for the kind of services/load experienced in most SME’s.

VMWare vCenter Converter “Unable to obtain hardware information for the selected machine.”

When converting a machine from VMWare Workstation to another virtualisation platform you may come up against a “Unable to obtain hardware information for the selected machine.” warning and red cross after selecting the VM you wish to convert.

This is easily resolved, simply right click the VMWare VCenter Converter icon/start menu item and select run as administrator.

Server 2012 on Vmware ESXi – “Your computer ran into a problem and needs to restart”

Trying to migrate a 2012 VM from VMWare Workstation 9 to an ESXi host i found i saw the ‘sad face’, as below.

“Your computer ran into a problem and needs to restart”

A little research led me to this: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/microsite.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=2006859&sliceId=2&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1 but actually patching ESX was not something I’d done for some time, and before i think i used update manager.

A little digging led me here which is much clearer than the vmware instructions for patching. Many thanks Chris! Simply upload the patch to a datastore, enable ssh (or do from console), put server in maintenance mode, run the patch as Chris’ link shows, reboot, and your 2012 and Windows 8 VM’s will now boot just fine.

Cannot install Server 2012 – The file may be corrupt or missing. Error code:0x80070570

For disclosure – No such issues on VMWare Workstation 9 and i got the ISO to eventually install on the old desktop by burning it at 4x…… I could not however get it to install on Workstation 8 without enabling the VT extensions.

_____________________________

While trying to install Server 2012 on both VMWare Workstation 8 and an oldish desktop, I found myself repeatedly running into: “Windows cannot install required files. The file may be corrupt or missing. Make sure all files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code: 0x80070570”.

Image

Various online resources blamed ISO’s, bad memory etc. But seemed odd that i saw the same message on old desktop and VM and listed out what these two machines were missing that the server i had installed it on successfully did have…. Then i realised, VT extensions.

So i went into the VM properties (see picture below), enabled virtualisatin of VT extensions and lo and behold a successful install in VMWare Workstation.

Image

StarWind iSCSI SAN 5.7 with Hyper-V R2 and recovery from both-san-nodes-down situation.

StarWind have implemented a throttled sync option with the recently released 5.7 version of their HA iSCSI SAN software so you can continue to use the storage while a sync is taking place on less than nuclear powered systems, additionally sync speeds have been hugely improved over 5.6 by adding multiple iSCSI sessions on the sync channel, at least I’m noticing a big difference on on the hardware we’re using. The console now has performance monitoring capacity and has had a number of minor interface bugs removed. Overall, it works double-awesome.

By collating some information i got from the StarWind forums and by lab testing I have documented a procedure for our engineers to follow with clusters in order to recover from a both-san-nodes-down situation in the event the UPS capacity is exceeded in a power outage, and additionally to ensure the cluster has the maximum opportunity to gracefully recover from a power cut that does not exceed the capacity of the UPS’s.

The timings i specify below obviously depend on your UPS capacity and other loads. To control the reboot timing and monitoring of  APC UPS’s i’ve used APCUPSD, which is awesome, and free! Get it here: http://www.apcupsd.org/ .

The outline process I’ve used based on our requirements to avoid recreating iSCSI targets in StarWind is this:

  1. Set Hyper-V hosts to respond to UPS’s and migrate servers then power down one side the Hyper-V cluster when the UPS has eaten 20% of the initial battery power
  2. Set second Hyper-V host to power down all VM’s and power off once 40% of battery power is gone.
  3. Configure both hyper-v hosts to power on within 15 minutes of power returning.
  4. Configure the secondary half of the san to shut down when 50% of battery power is gone.
  5. Configure the primary half of the san to shut down when 90% of the power is gone.
  6. Configure both SAN nodes to power on within 10 minutes of power returning.

For us this means recovery will be pretty much automatic unless the power cut lasts more than an hour, as long as one side of the san remains online for the duration the other side will only need to do a fast synch as there will have been no changes to the disk images given the hyper-v cluster has been off since near the start of the outage.

In the event of a total outage causing both sides of the san to go offline, a manual recovery of the StarWind targets is necessary. Given both sides are the same we simply delete the targets, then recreate them with their existing iqn’s, names, settings and existing images and tell the disks not to sync upon creation, then boot the cluster and providing your record keeping is good and process is followed you should be back online in as long as it takes you to click through and create the targets.

VM Cluster using HA Starwind iscsi storage and you don’t have NASA style data centre redundancy? don’t bother yet. Major problems.

I’ll leave this in place, but should mention that the concerns i have below are not valid anymore, in version 5.7. See my follow up post here: StarWind 5.7/5.6 and recovery from both nodes down.

__________________________________

Seems starwind consider HA to be slightly more exclusive than their site and marketing blurb let on.

I understand that true HA means, never, ever off, but even investment banks have occasional power-downs, just to prove they can start systems up again afterwards. Beware though, if you ever (and i mean EVER) want to contemplate turning your clustered storage off for a period of time due to a building power cut/act of god/whatever, for now, pick another solution.

It works great if one node is up full time, which i suppose if you are NASA is possible, but its good practice for all organizations to do an occasional poweroff, and every so often you know, even in London, you have a long power outage, or there is building maintenance.

Essentially, the issue is if you power down both nodes of a storage cluster gracefully after powering down your hyper-v/xen/vmware cluster you will not be able to get them up again without MANUALLY specifying the most recent copy of the data (a major issue if you get this wrong and are running any db app) then sitting through a FULL synchronisation, 200gb took almost 12 hours in my test environment during which the cluster was inaccessible as the storage was not accepting incoming connections. In production this would mean your supposedly HA environment would be offline until the storage had done a pointless full sync between nodes.

I checked out the Starwind forum where they claim this is by design, this is totally ridiculous. There are degrees of HA, and it’s not often a midsize company can afford separate power supply companies at either end of the building, which seems to be where most people lose out, for example, we planned to have redundant hosts, redundant storage units, redundant switches all on redundant UPS’s but we only have one provider supplying electricity, to totally eliminate the viability of this platform by not implementing a last write flag on the storage is insane.

Essentially this means a great product is ruined for a large number of it’s users. A real shame. There is a workaround, outlined in this link, but it’s risky and involves judging yourself which replica is most current, deleting the targets, recreating and then recreating ALL iscsi connections on the cluster? absolutely crazy. In my test environment this took me almost an hour first time round.

Check this out:

http://www.starwindsoftware.com/forums/starwind-f5/full-sync-requirement-both-nodes-are-powered-off-t2132.html

If anyone else has had their implementation hobbled by this oversight I’d love to hear from you. I’d also be keen to hear when this is addressed in a workable way by Starwind as this does not seem to be a feature they shout about in the marketing department.

Step-By-Step p2v with Microsofts SCVMM R2

A step by step guide for p2v’ing servers, specifically HP Proliant DL/ML’s with SCVMMR2, where as mentioned in a previous post there can be issues during conversion. I’m pretty sure it can be applied to any server brand, but it’s mainly HP hardware that I deal with day to day. The document is based on our environment also hence references to ridiculously tiny c: partitions used on initial 2008 installs and conservative vm sizing references.

Introduction

Although not the most ideal long-term solution, p2v’ing a physical server can often be a sensible way to free up hardware, consolidate services and squeeze a little more life out of an aging installation.

Microsoft’s SCVMM R2 offers a robust p2v tool that fits most needs, however, like any p2v tools, used carelessly it can generate useless vm’s, damage other network services and even cause conflicts with its original physical host when that’s reused.

This document is intended to approach the P2V process from two perspectives; both processes are pretty much identical bar the last few steps.

  • P2v a production box in order that it continues to perform its original service with its original identity
  • P2v a production box in order to have a clone of a production machine on which patching, changes, upgrades etc. can be performed without impacting the production environment.

This guide is based on p2v’ing a file server, not an application server, there are additional considerations for these, particularly those that write to databases or provide messaging/real-time services.

(some) Virtualisation best practices:

 

Not all services are suitable for virtualization, but if hosts and services are chosen carefully and maintained thoroughly there is no reason a virtual machine can’t perform as well as its equivalent physical machine.

  • Clustered VM hosts cannot start without a DC – bear this in mind if you are considering virtualizing DC’s.
  • It is not usually a good idea to p2v a DC or a database server without significant planning and testing.
  • Ensure host layouts are planned so that potentially contentious machines are not sharing spindle sets or LUN’s unless they are designed appropriately.
  • Be conservative when initially allocating resources, they can always be added later if performance is inadequate.
  • Always plan for a way back with p2v, don’t reuse the physical box immediately, unplug it for a few business days first and make sure you have backups from before the start of the procedure.

P2v’ing a Production box for continued use:

Firstly check the environment is ready to host the existing production box,  that the host has sufficient processing capacity, memory and access to disk space in light of the other VM’s its hosting.

Secondly ensure that unwanted data is removed and that the box to be converted is healthy and patched. If you are remotely p2v’ing the machine ensure you have ilo access both to the donor physical machine and the VM host and that ILO is tested. MAKE A NOTE OF PHYSICAL MACHINES IP SETTINGS as they will be lost given physical nic will be removed and replaced by a new piece of (virtual) hardware.

 

Once the above is complete:

1.       Load SCVMM R2 and select “convert a physical server”, in the resulting dialogue select the machine you want to convert and enter suitable administrative credentials.

2.       Next, define the name of the converted machine (same as original) and add a description.

3.       Once this is complete, SCVMM will scan the machine to be converted and generate a summary of it’s storage, OS and network adaptors. Click Next.

4.       Now the SCVMM agent is installed It will assess the size of the data on the disks to be converted and give you the option to define the size of the VHD’s to host the data and whether or not they should be dynamically expanding. This is a good time to increase the size of the C: drive if it’s one of the early 2008 servers with a 30gb partition (see screenshot). For development or very low utilisation servers, dynamically expanding VHD’s are a good bet, for production it’s better to assign all space at the start. Just ensure you know the sum of all possible data that could fill a drive. I also prefer to select shut down physical machine when conversion is complete from the conversion options given we have ilo access if ther e is a need to switch it back on again.

5.       Next step is to choose the amount of memory and number of processor cores you are assigning to your virtual machine, again it depends on required performance, but for non-database servers I’d keep things modest – a single processor and 2-4gb RAM.

6.       SCVMM R2 will now attempt to recommend a hyper-v host server for your converted machine and flag any warnings. Choose the most appropriate host and click next.

7.       Now pick the volume on the host where the VM should be placed, if you click browse an unusually helpful dialog box appears outlining free space on each drive, ensure the path driveletter:\VirtualMachines is used for storage and add the path to the default paths for that host if offered.

8.       When p2v’ing it is better to start the machine with the nic’s disconnected from the lan, after conversion the converted machine has the same mac as the existing which can cause ARP conflicts and other problems, there are also a number of steps that need to be completed before the VM starts smoothly and can replace the existing physical machine and then be connected to the LAN.

9.       At this stage it is recommended that when defining actions for the physical host starting and stopping you select automatically start as disabled and that the machine is shut down when the physical host starts.

10.   Last step is that a quick issues check is completed; there should be no issues, if there are resolve them before continuing. Then click next.

11.   A summary page is now presented with the option to review the PowerShell script used to start the job and the option to automatically start the machine after converting, usually this isn’t necessary.

12.   Click “create” to start the task and a summary window is presented as below, you can monitor progress of the process here, particularly important is the completion of the transfer of the actual disk image and the point at which most HP Proliant conversions fail (around 58%).

13.   Once the disk transfer is completed, SCVMM will attempt to make the machine virtualizable and install vm components. If P2v’ing a proliant, I have found this will usually fail and eventually the machine will lock due to HP software conflicts/locks.  Log onto the physical host machine and open the hyper-v manager to check: be sure to switch off existing physical machine before continuing as SCVMM will not power it off independently if the conversion process does not finish – which in this case, it hasn’t.

14.   Once the conversion appears to have failed (it will stick on making OS virtualizable) power the VM off from the hyper-v console on the host and go into settings to change the NIC MAC from static to dynamic or your new vm will have the same mac as the existing (reusable….) physical server, do not connect the nic at this time.

15.   Now boot the converted machine from the hyper-v console on the host and hit f8 to boot it in safe mode.

16.   Once server comes up, log on as local admin (.\administrator) the mouse will not work as the integration services install failed and it’s in safe mode. When it does start it’ll install the vm integration drivers, eventually mouse will start working and the box will want to restart, do not restart now,  go into service manager and disable ALL HP services and restart the machine.

17.   Once complete the services viewer should display all HP services as disabled.

18.   Restart the server, log on as .\administrator, it should come up fine. Once logged in go to programs and features and carefully remove all HP software from top to bottom.

19.   Following this you should have a nice short list of installed apps.

20.   Now go to the NIC IP settings, they’ll be reset to dynamic as hardware is different. Set them back to appropriate static settings for server in question.

21.   Given an existing physical nic had the same settings you’ll be asked to confirm you want this to happen, obviously answer yes then shut the machine down.

22.   Go into the settings for the VM you’ve converted and change the nic settings from disconnected to appropriate LAN connection. Then start the machine.

23.   Now test everything works as expected, check event logs, backups, printing, access replication, whatever’s appropriate.

P2v’ing a Production box for use as a clone:

Firstly check the environment is ready to host the clone, that the host has sufficient processing capacity, memory and access to disk space in light of the other VM’s its hosting.

Secondly ensure that unwanted data is removed and that the box to be converted is healthy. MAKE A NOTE OF PHYSICAL MACHINES IP SETTINGS as they will be lost given physical nic will be removed and replaced by a new piece of (virtual) hardware.

Once the above is complete follow the instructions for p2v’ing a box for continued use up to the end of step 21 (do not connect box to production network).

1.       At this point it’s important to anonymise the machine and remove it from the network, SO, it’s here that we run sysprep on the machine in question.

2.       Go to Windows\System32\sysprep and run sysprep.exe

3.       You will be presented with a dialogue box, select oobe and generalize, then shut down

4.       Before booting the machine, connect the nic to the network, then proceed with basic setup, renaming and adding to the domain. By doing this you prevent both Mac conflicts and SID conflicts.


P2V using SCVMM R2 Introduction 

 

Although not the most ideal long-term solution, p2v’ing a physical server can often be a sensible way to free up hardware, consolidate services and squeeze a little more life out of an aging installation.

Microsoft’s SCVMM R2 offers a robust p2v tool that fits most needs, however, like any p2v tools, used carelessly it can generate useless vm’s, damage other network services and even cause conflicts with its original physical host when that’s reused.

This document is intended to approach the P2V process from two perspectives; both processes are pretty much identical bar the last few steps.

·P2v a production box in order that it continues to perform its original service with its original identity

·P2v a production box in order to have a clone of a production machine on which patching, changes, upgrades etc. can be performed without impacting the production environment.

This guide is based on p2v’ing a file server, not an application server, there are additional considerations for these, particularly those that write to databases or provide messaging/real-time services.

(some) Virtualisation best practices:

 

Not all services are suitable for virtualization, but if hosts and services are chosen carefully and maintained thoroughly there is no reason a virtual machine can’t perform as well as its equivalent physical machine.

·Clustered VM hosts cannot start without a DC – bear this in mind if you are considering virtualizing DC’s.

·It is not usually a good idea to p2v a DC or a database server without significant planning and testing.

·Ensure host layouts are planned so that potentially contentious machines are not sharing spindle sets or LUN’s unless they are designed appropriately.

·Be conservative when initially allocating resources, they can always be added later if performance is inadequate.

·Always plan for a way back with p2v, don’t reuse the physical box immediately, unplug it for a few business days first and make sure you have backups from before the start of the procedure.

P2v’ing a Production box for continued use: 

 

Firstly check the environment is ready to host the existing production box, that the host has sufficient processing capacity, memory and access to disk space in light of the other VM’s its hosting.

Secondly ensure that unwanted data is removed and that the box to be converted is healthy and patched. If you are remotely p2v’ing the machine ensure you have ilo access both to the donor physical machine and the VM host and that ILO is tested. MAKE A NOTE OF PHYSICAL MACHINES IP SETTINGS as they will be lost given physical nic will be removed and replaced by a new piece of (virtual) hardware.

Once the above is complete:

1.Load SCVMM R2 and select “convert a physical server”, in the resulting dialogue select the machine you want to convert and enter suitable administrative credentials.

2.Next, define the name of the converted machine (same as original) and add a description.

3.Once this is complete, SCVMM will scan the machine to be converted and generate a summary of it’s storage, OS and network adaptors. Click Next.

4.Now the SCVMM agent is installed It will assess the size of the data on the disks to be converted and give you the option to define the size of the VHD’s to host the data and whether or not they should be dynamically expanding. This is a good time to increase the size of the C: drive if it’s one of the early 2008 servers with a 30gb partition (see screenshot). For development or very low utilisation servers, dynamically expanding VHD’s are a good bet, for production it’s better to assign all space at the start. Just ensure you know the sum of all possible data that could fill a drive. I also prefer to select shut down physical machine when conversion is complete from the conversion options given we have ilo access if ther e is a need to switch it back on again.

5.Next step is to choose the amount of memory and number of processor cores you are assigning to your virtual machine, again it depends on required performance, but for non-database servers I’d keep things modest – a single processor and 2-4gb RAM.

6.SCVMM R2 will now attempt to recommend a hyper-v host server for your converted machine and flag any warnings. Choose the most appropriate host and click next.

7.Now pick the volume on the host where the VM should be placed, if you click browse an unusually helpful dialog box appears outlining free space on each drive, ensure the path driveletter:\VirtualMachines is used for storage and add the path to the default paths for that host if offered.

8.When p2v’ing it is better to start the machine with the nic’s disconnected from the lan, after conversion the converted machine has the same mac as the existing which can cause ARP conflicts and other problems, there are also a number of steps that need to be completed before the VM starts smoothly and can replace the existing physical machine and then be connected to the LAN.

9.At this stage it is recommended that when defining actions for the physical host starting and stopping you select automatically start as disabled and that the machine is shut down when the physical host starts.

10.Last step is that a quick issues check is completed; there should be no issues, if there are resolve them before continuing. Then click next.

11.A summary page is now presented with the option to review the PowerShell script used to start the job and the option to automatically start the machine after converting, usually this isn’t necessary.

12.Click “create” to start the task and a summary window is presented as below, you can monitor progress of the process here, particularly important is the completion of the transfer of the actual disk image and the point at which most HP Proliant conversions fail (around 58%).

13.Once the disk transfer is completed, SCVMM will attempt to make the machine virtualizable and install vm components. If P2v’ing a proliant, I have found this will usually fail and eventually the machine will lock due to HP software conflicts/locks. Log onto the physical host machine and open the hyper-v manager to check: be sure to switch off existing physical machine before continuing as SCVMM will not power it off independently if the conversion process does not finish – which in this case, it hasn’t.

14.Once the conversion appears to have failed (it will stick on making OS virtualizable) power the VM off from the hyper-v console on the host and go into settings to change the NIC MAC from static to dynamic or your new vm will have the same mac as the existing (reusable….) physical server, do not connect the nic at this time.

15.Now boot the converted machine from the hyper-v console on the host and hit f8 to boot it in safe mode.

16.Once server comes up, log on as local admin (.\administrator) the mouse will not work as the integration services install failed and it’s in safe mode (probably due to existing ILO or other HP drivers/software). When it does start it’ll install vm components, eventually mouse will start working and want to restart, DO NOT RESTART now go into service manager and disable ALL HP services and restart the machine.

17.Once complete the services viewer should display all HP services as disabled.

18.Restart the server, log on as .\administrator, it should come up fine. Once logged in go to programs and features and carefully remove all HP software from top to bottom.

19.Following this you should have a nice short list of installed apps.

20.Now go to the NIC settings, they’ll be reset to dynamic as hardware is different. Set them back to appropriate static settings for server in question.

21.Given an existing physical nic had the same settings you’ll be asked to confirm you want this to happen, obviously answer yes then shut the machine down.

22.Go into the settings for the VM you’ve converted and change the nic settings from disconnected to appropriate LAN connection. Then start the machine.

23.Now test everything works as expected, check event logs, backups, printing, access replication, whatever’s appropriate.

P2v’ing a Production box for use as a clone:

Firstly check the environment is ready to host the clone, that the host has sufficient processing capacity, memory and access to disk space in light of the other VM’s its hosting.

Secondly ensure that unwanted data is removed and that the box to be converted is healthy. MAKE A NOTE OF PHYSICAL MACHINES IP SETTINGS as they will be lost given physical nic will be removed and replaced by a new piece of (virtual) hardware.

Once the above is complete follow the instructions for p2v’ing a box for continued use up to the end of step 21 (do not connect box to production network).

1.At this point it’s important to anonymise the machine and remove it from the network, SO, it’s here that we run sysprep on the machine in question.

2.Go to Windows\System32\sysprep and run sysprep.exe

3.You will be presented with a dialogue box, select oobe and generalize, then shut down

4.Before booting the machine, connect the nic to the network, then proceed with basic setup, renaming and adding to the domain. By doing this you prevent both Mac conflicts and SID conflicts.

(semi) portable, externally accessible clustered Hyper-V lab

I’ve been using a portable lab for writing documentation and migration testing thats been working really well, the requirements were as follows:

  • Entire lab should weigh less than 12 kg
  • Storage solution be fast enough to be usable under load and support persistent reservation for CSV’s
  • Should be able to test pretty much any sensible scenario on two laptops.
  • Have storage of sufficient speed and quality that lab could be used for migrations or clones of production machines or for transferring machines between sites.

For the virtualisation platform the lab uses a pair of HP Elitebooks, one 2540p and an 8530w (until i can swap for something smaller), the 2540 is an i7 and the 8530 a Core2duo at 2.4 ghz, both have 8gb RAM and run Server 2008 R2 Datacenter.

For storage i purchased a Synology ds409 slim NAS that weighs about 700g and takes up to four 2.5″ hdd’s. I upgraded the firmware to the latest beta version of DSM which seems to support persistent reservations. I configured it with 3x500gb 7200rpm drives in RAID5 as a block target with a fourth disk for file storage, iso’s, sysprepped images etc. Very very pleased with this particular piece of kit. Not the cheapest but works fabulously for the size.

For connecting the lab together i found an 8 port SMC gigabit switch for around 300hkd.

Internet access is through a d-link DIR412 portable 3g/ethernet router, plugged into the above directly and to the internet with an unlocked Huawei hsdpa dongle. When traveling i purchase a pay as you go 3g sim for the lab that i also use with a flashed Orange San Francisco running as a pocket wifi hotspot for mobile data for laptop and blackberry instead of paying roaming fees.

Additionally i make use of two levelone usb ethernet adaptors when needed, the windows 7 drivers work fine on 2008 R2.

So far it’s been used to stage Exchange 2007 > 2010 migration, OCS 2007 R2 to Lync migration, TMG/UAG testing with Checkpoint R71, full DR lab for directory and exchange, an Orion/SCOM comparison, an SCCM image deployment lab, and a host of install documentation.

P2v of hp g6 proliant servers with SCVMM R2 failing on installing integration tools

Recently i’ve tried to p2v several servers for sandboxes and found all failed at around 70% when converting with SCVMM R2, specifically when installing the integration tools. All of these physical servers were based on G6 HP Proliant Servers, DL380’s and 360’s.

Each time the machines drives converted ok, but after a long time-out on the integration tools at 70% they’d fail. The VM would boot afterwards but with processor stuck at 12% when viewed through the management console and 30 second waits for responses to keypresses, additionally there was no mouse support, even on 2008 R2 server conversions with their native hyper-v tools. It’s related to the current Proliant support pack and the lack of HP hardware after the boot of the VM, but I specifically suspect the HP ILO support (with extra mouse/keyboard drivers) may be part of the cause but have yet to investigate properly.

In the meantime, best I’ve found to resolve this is to:

  • boot the newly created VM in safe mode using f8 when it’s switched on
  • Disable ALL HP services
  • Restart the server (you should now have mouse/keyboard access)
  • Uninstall all HP software
  • Install integration services.

Your converted VM should boot and perform fine now.

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