Hyper-V, Server 2012 / R2, Server 2016, Virtualization

Enabling SR-IOV on VMs

The single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) interface is an extension to the PCI Express (PCIe) specification. SR-IOV allows a device, such as a network adapter, to separate access to its resources among various PCIe hardware functions. SR-IOV enables network traffic to bypass the software switch layer of the Hyper-V virtualization stack. Because the VF is assigned to a child partition, the network traffic flows directly between the VF and child partition. As a result, the I/O overhead in the software emulation layer is diminished and achieves network performance that is nearly the same performance as in nonvirtualized environments.

Technically, there are two functions implemented by SR-IOV: physical functions (PFs) and virtual functions (VFs). There are a number of PCI devices available in which the PFs have been implemented, but Microsoft Hyper-V provides SR-IOV support only for networking. In other words, Microsoft Hyper-V provides VFs to allow VMs to communicate to the physical network adapters directly. Since the VMs can communicate directly with the physical network adapters, organizations may benefit from increasing I/O throughput, reducing CPU utilization on Hyper-V hosts for processing network traffic, and reducing network latency by enabling direct communication. Before you can use SR-IOV for a Hyper-V VM, you will need to meet the following prerequisites:

  • The SR-IOV functionality is currently only available to Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 guests.
  • Hyper-V must be running on a Windows Server 2012 or later operating system.
  • You must have an SR-IOV-capable physical network adapter that implements the PFs and can understand the VFs’ requests coming from the VMs.
  • You must have an external virtual switch that can understand the SR-IOV traffic.
  • The server’s motherboard chipset must also support SR-IOV.

Enabling SR-IOV is a two-step approach. First, you need to create an external switch and enablecSR_IOV or if there is one already created but SR-IOV not enabled, you will need to delete this as this can only be enabled while you are creating the switch. Once the SR-IOV is enabled on the external virtual switch, you can enable SR-IOV on the VMs by checking the “Enable SR-IOV” checkbox found under the “Hardware Acceleration” under Network Adapter settings on the VM’s properties.

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Server 2012 / R2, Server 2016

Add Servers to Server Manager

As you add remote servers to Server Manager, some of the servers that you add might require different user account credentials to access or manage them. To specify credentials for a managed server that are different from those you use to log on to the computer on which you are running Server Manager, use the Manage As command after you add a server to Server Manager, which is accessible by right-clicking the entry for a managed server in the Servers tile of a role or group home page. Clicking Manage As opens the Windows Security dialog box, in which you can provide a user name that has access rights on the managed server.

Add and manage servers in workgroups;

 Although adding servers that are in workgroups to Server Manager might be successful, after they are added, the Manageability column of the Servers tile—on a role or group page that includes a workgroup server—can display Credentials not valid errors that occur while trying to connect to or collect data from the remote, workgroup server.

These or similar errors can occur in the following conditions.

  • The managed server is in the same workgroup as the computer that is running Server Manager.
  • The managed server is in a different workgroup from the computer that is running Server Manager.
  • One of the computers is in a workgroup, while the other is in a domain.
  • The computer that is running Server Manager is in a workgroup, and remote, managed servers are on a different subnet.
  • Both computers are in domains, but there is no trust relationship between the two domains.
  • Both computers are in domains, but there is only a one-way trust relationship between the two domains.
  • The server you want to manage has been added by using its IP address.

To add remote workgroup servers to Server Manager

  1. On the computer that is running Server Manager, add the workgroup server name to the TrustedHosts list. This is a requirement of NTLM authentication. To add a computer name to an existing list of trusted hosts, add the Concatenate parameter to the command. For example, to add the Server01 computer to an existing list of trusted hosts, use the following command.

    Set-Item wsman:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts ServerName -Concatenate -Force

     

  2. Determine whether the workgroup server that you want to manage is in the same subnet as the computer on which you are running Server Manager.

    If the two computers are in the same subnet, or if the workgroup server’s network profile is set to Private in the Network and Sharing Center, go on to the next step.

    If they are not in the same subnet, or if the workgroup server’s network profile is not set to Private, on the workgroup server, change the inbound Windows Remote Management (HTTP-In) setting in Windows Firewall to explicitly allow connections from remote computers by adding the computer names on the Computers tab of the setting’s Properties dialog box.

  3. To override UAC restrictions on running elevated processes on workgroup computers, create a registry entry called LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy on the workgroup server by running the following cmdlet.

New-ItemProperty -Name LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy -path HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System -propertyType DWord -value 1

Server 2012 / R2, Server 2016

Branch Office Direct Printing

Branch Office Direct Printing can reduce Wide Area Network (WAN) usage by printing directly to a print device instead of a server print queue. This feature can be enabled or disabled on a per printer basis and is transparent to the user.

This feature requires a print server running Windows Server 2012 and clients running Windows 8. It is enabled by an administrator using the Print Management Console or Windows PowerShell on the server.

Branch Office Direct Printing requires the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8

To Configure Branch Office Direct Printing

  1. Open the Print Management Console and expand Print Servers.

  2. Expand the print server where the print queues are installed and then expand Printers.

  3. Right click the printer that you wish to manage and select Enable Branch Office Direct Printing. Multiple printers can be configured at the same time by highlighting each printer prior to this step.

     

Set-Printer -name <String> -ComputerName <String> -RenderingMode BranchOffice

Server 2012 / R2, Server 2016

Deploy Storage Spaces on a Stand-Alone Server

To create a storage space, you must first create one or more storage pools. A storage pool is a collection of physical disks. A storage pool enables storage aggregation, elastic capacity expansion, and delegated administration.

From a storage pool, you can create one or more virtual disks. These virtual disks are also referred to as storage spaces. A storage space appears to the Windows operating system as a regular disk from which you can create formatted volumes. When you create a virtual disk through the File and Storage Services user interface, you can configure the resiliency type (simple, mirror, or parity), the provisioning type (thin or fixed), and the size. Through Windows PowerShell, you can set additional parameters such as the number of columns, the interleave value, and which physical disks in the pool to use.

You cannot use a storage space to host the Windows operating system.

Prerequisites;

Area Requirement
Disk bus types Serial Attached SCSI (SAS)

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA)

Note: You can also use USB drives. However, we do not recommend that you use USB drives in a server environment.

Note: Storage Spaces does not support iSCSI and Fibre Channel controllers.

Disk configuration Physical disks must be at least 4 GB.

Disks must be blank and not formatted. Do not create volumes.

HBA considerations We recommend that you use simple host bus adapters (HBAs) that do not support RAID functionality. If RAID capable, HBAs must be in non-RAID mode with all RAID functionality disabled. Adapters must not abstract the physical disks, cache data, or obscure any attached devices. This includes enclosure services that are provided by attached just-a-bunch-of-disks (JBOD) devices. Storage Spaces is compatible only with HBAs where you can completely disable all RAID functionality.
JBOD enclosures A JBOD enclosure is optional. For full Storage Spaces functionality if you are using a JBOD enclosure, verify with your storage vendor that the JBOD enclosure supports Storage Spaces.

To determine whether the JBOD enclosure supports enclosure and slot identification, run the following Windows PowerShell cmdlet:

Get-PhysicalDisk | ? {$_.BusType –eq “SAS”} | fc

If the EnclosureNumber and SlotNumber fields contain values, this indicates that the enclosure supports these features.

Step 1: Create a storage pool

New-StoragePool –FriendlyName StoragePool1 –StorageSubsystemFriendlyName “Storage Spaces*” –PhysicalDisks (Get-PhysicalDisk PhysicalDisk1, PhysicalDisk2, PhysicalDisk3, PhysicalDisk4)

Step 2: Create a virtual disk

New-VirtualDisk –StoragePoolFriendlyName StoragePool1 –FriendlyName VirtualDisk1 –ResiliencySettingName Mirror –UseMaximumSize

Step 3: Create a volume

Get-VirtualDisk –FriendlyName VirtualDisk1 | Get-Disk | Initialize-Disk –Passthru | New-Partition –AssignDriveLetter –UseMaximumSize | Format-Volume

Server 2016, Hyper-V, Server 2012 / R2

Automatic Virtual Machine Activation

Automatic Virtual Machine Activation was a feature that was added in Windows Server 2012 R2 that enables the activation of your VMs without using a KMS server or MAK key without the requirement of  internet connectivity.  As you create new VMs they activate against the host Hyper-v server. This method of activation only lasts 7 days before the VM renews it’s activation.  Ideal for Datacenter hosts as you can also report on this too.

AVMA requires the Hyper-v host to be running Server 2012 R2 or 2016 Datacenter and it must be activated.   The VMs that run on the host must be at least 2012 R2 or above to activate.  VM’s that can be activated using this method include 2012 R2/2016 Datacenter, Standard and Essentials.

AVMA offers several benefits:

* Activate virtual machines in remote locations
* Activate virtual machines with or without an internet connection
* Track virtual machine usage and licenses from the virtualization server, without requiring any access rights on the virtualized systems

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There is no true “configuration” for the virtual machine. When prompted for a license key, you simply give it the key that matches the operating system of the virtual machine.

Guest Operating System Key
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials K2XGM-NMBT3-2R6Q8-WF2FK-P36R2
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard DBGBW-NPF86-BJVTX-K3WKJ-MTB6V
Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Y4TGP-NPTV9-HTC2H-7MGQ3-DV4TW
Windows Server 2016 Essentials B4YNW-62DX9-W8V6M-82649-MHBKQ
Windows Server 2016 Standard C3RCX-M6NRP-6CXC9-TW2F2-4RHYD
Windows Server 2016 Datacenter TMJ3Y-NTRTM-FJYXT-T22BY-CWG3J

In order for the VM’s to talk to the host for activation, the Data Exchange option needs to be activated on the Integration Services.  To ensure this is enabled click on the Settings of the VM and ensure the option is selected.

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Networking / Infrastructure, Server 2012 / R2, Server 2016, Virtualization

RDMA and SMB Direct

Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) is a technology that allows data to be written directly on tot he memory without involving the processor, cache or operating system. RDMA enables more direct data movement in and out of a server by implementing a transport protocol in the network interface card NIC. The technology supports a feature called zero-copy networking that makes it possible to read data directly from the main memory of one computer and write that data directly to the main memory of another computer.

  • Enabled by default in Windows Server 2016

  • RDMA capable network adapter

  • RDMA and SMB Multichannel must be enabled and running

  • Best used with 10 gigabit plus networks

rdma

SMB Direct is SMB over RDMA.

Network adapters that have RDMA can function at full speed with very low latency, while using very little CPU. For workloads such as Hyper-V or Microsoft SQL Server, this enables a remote file server to resemble local storage. SMB Direct includes:

  • Increased throughput: Leverages the full throughput of high speed networks where the network adapters coordinate the transfer of large amounts of data at line speed.
  • Low latency: Provides extremely fast responses to network requests, and, as a result, makes remote file storage feel as if it is directly attached block storage.
  • Low CPU utilization: Uses fewer CPU cycles when transferring data over the network, which leaves more power available to server applications.

Requires
– Two servers running Windows Server 2012 or later
– One or more network adapters with RDMA capability
– Disabling SMB multichannel and RDMA disables SMB direct

Server 2012 / R2

Windows Server 2012 R2 Editions

Windows Server 2012 R2 editions

Features Foundation Essentials Standard Datacentre
CPU socket limit

1

2

64

64

Memory limit

32GB

64GB

4TB

4TB

Licensing model

Per server

Per server

Per CPU (pair) + CAL

Per CPU (pair) + CAL

User limit

15

25

Unlimited

Unlimited

Access service limits

50 RRAS / 10 IAS

250 RRAS / 50 IAS /
2 IAS Server Groups

Unlimited

Unlimited

Virtualisation

No

Either 1 VM or
1 physical server

2 VMs

Unlimited

Hyper-V

No

No

Yes

Yes

Server Core mode

No

No

Yes

Yes

IIS

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

File Services limits

1 DFS root

1 DFS root

Unlimited

Unlimited