Third party storage replication software and Server 2016 issue’s with S2D

Hi All, recently I encountered some issue’s with third party software to replicate VMs from an old Windows Server 2012 cluster to a brand new Windows Server 2016 S2D Cluster, were it turned out that the third party software was not fully supported on Windows Server 2016 although they claimed to be. I know you could use Share Nothing live Migration but in this case that was not possible so we had to look for third party software.

In this example I encountered two issue’s when using Storage Spaces Direct and the ReFS file system (which is a hard requirment with S2D) together with the replication software.

Issue 1

So my first issue was with the agent that you install on a Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V host to be able to migrate servers from a source VM to a Hyper-V Storage Space Direct cluster as destination. After a push from the console or a manual installation the agent service would not start. After starting it crashes with a .net error. Well that seems pretty simpel and straight forward… do you really need a blog for that. That’s true but the next issue is not directly noticeable. In the end it turned out that the service could not start because it could not work with ReFS.

Issue 2

After starting of the service failed, the vendors tech support provided a work arround, and since there was a deadline pushing we took the work around and left the agent running and migrated the VMs through the work around but that’s not what this blog is about.

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DPM 2016 Modern Backup Storage and Deduplication performance issue

Modern Backup Storage and Deduplication

One of the great features of Hyper-V in combination with a virtual DPM server was the ability to use deduplication. On the Hyper-V host you have a volume which is enabled for dedup where you place your .vhdx files on that serves as backup storage for the virtual DPM server. This way you can safe a lot of disk space.

Since DPM 2016 you can use Modern Backup Storage (MBS). With MBS you can use Storage Spaces to create a volume with shares that you present to DPM. Now I hear you thinking hey, we can enable Dedup on that volume and let DPM backup data to that volume and it get’s deduped so we can use a physical machine to… Unfortunately not, because MBS requires ReFS as file system on the disk, Dedup is ruled out because it is not yet supported and not available on ReFS volumes.

So we still need a physical Hyper-V host with an NTFS volume for the .vhdx files with dedup enabled. In the VM we create the storage space with a virtual disk and a ReFS volume and you are ready to cruise with your DPM server.

The setup

So the situation above also discribes the setup a bit. In short we have a physical host that has storage for the virtual DPM server. In this case it was a disk enclosure attached to the host with several SATA disks that we added to a storage space. On top of the storage space a mirrored volume was created to place the backup .vhdx files on. The host takes care of the deduplication of the backup data inside the .VHDX files. The vm takes care of the Storage Space and DPM.

The physical host has to take care of some dedub jobs like optimizing, garbage collection and scrubbing. These jobs cost a big amount of IO and a large amount of

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VMM 2016 and Network Controller certificate Issue’s

Since near the end of last year I was blessed with some hardware to test al lot of new features and stuff of Windows Server 2016, System Center 2016 and Azure Stack. Last week I experienced an issue with my Network Controller VM’s. In the end it turned out to be more of a VMM issue I think. But I wanted to share this with the world in case somebody else experienced this issue and does google for nothing because there is nothing to find about this issue.

Problem

I did the network controller and SLB Mux setup several weeks ago and all was running fine while all of a sudden I couldn’t change stuff in VMM anymore. Almost every action I did triggered this error:

Error (21426)
Execution of :: on the configuration provider  failed. Detailed exception: Unable to connect to the network service. Check connection string and network connectivity. Execution of Microsoft.SystemCenter.NetworkService::OpenDeviceConnectionEx on the configuration provider 3e2875a7-5831-4fb2-b388-1672e1c20fee failed. Detailed exception: System.Net.Http.HttpRequestException: An error occurred while sending the request. ---> System.Net.WebException: The underlying connection was closed: Could not establish trust relationship for the SSL/TLS secure channel. ---> System.Security.Authentication.AuthenticationException: The remote certificate is invalid according to the validation procedure.
Check the documentation for the configuration provider or contact the publisher support.
Unable to connect to the network service. Check connection string and network connectivity.

Recommended Action
Check the documentation for the configuration provider or contact the publisher support.

Troubleshooting

So I did a bunch of tests and troubleshooting

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Hyper-V Virtual Switch Internal with NAT -Update-

This is a quick blog post to correct a “legacy blog” I made in January this year..

I haven’t been using any VM’s on my Surface for a long time, since then new Windows 10 builds have arrived. As Thomas Maurer discribes here things have changed.

If you were running the commands in my previous blog and have been using it you have come to the conclusion (I hope sooner as me 🙂 ) that the Nat VSwitch is gone and the VM’s depending on it have no network connection.

You can recreate it as internal VSwitch like this:


New-VMSwitch -Name VSwitch-NAT -SwitchType Internal
New-NetIPAddress –IPAddress 10.10.0.1 -PrefixLength -InterfaceAlias "vEthernet (VSwitch-NAT)"
New-NetNat –Name NATnetwork –InternalIPInterfaceAddressPrefix 10.10.0.0/24

But you will run in to an issue with the last command.

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Windows Azure Pack Support

Since the announcements and public previews of Microsoft Azure Stack (MAS), everybody including myself  is talking about and testing with MAS. But the reality is that a lot of companies have invested in Windows Azure Pack and were a little surprised that Microsoft announced before this summer that Windows Azure Pack on Windows Server 2012 R2 is supported until July 2017.

azurepacksupport

Several weeks ago Microsoft made another announcement that they are continue to invest and support in Windows Azure Pack (WAP) next to Azure Stack for 11 years! But to use the extended support you need to bring your Azure Pack environment to Windows Server 2016. MAS release is aimed for the summer of 2017 so very likely there will be a gab between end of support of WAP on Server 2012 R2 and any public available MAS appliances from HP, Dell or Lenovo…

From several customers i received questions about the support statement and what needs to be updated. Turns out it’s not that well documented and known. As you can see in the screenshot above, it states Windows Azure Pack (on Windows Server 2012 R2) and Windows Azure Pack (on Windows Server 2016). But as we all know, Windows Azure Pack is a solution based on lots of components from the Windows and the System Center family.

What to upgrade

As i said before Windows Azure Pack leans on a lot of Windows features like a Active Directory domain, IIS and Hyper-V but also on System Center components like VMM and SPF.

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Go Hyper-converged with S2D

Windows Server 2016 is getting to it’s final RTM state within several months now. After that time we can start using Windows Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) for production environments and start using Hyper-converged stacks.

I’m not going to explain how Storage Spaces Direct works, this is just a blog about the setup. If you want some more info about S2D check out this link for an overview and for te more tech guys or girls look here.

I have spend some lab time setting up en using Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) and use Hyper-converged hosts and started this blog to share some info.

Beware that the info below is Lab stuf. I’ve taken some shortcuts to be able to setup S2D on VM’s with Virtual disks. So do not use this commands for you’re own setup, unless you are also running tests in VMs.

General Info

I have 2 VM’s running on a Windows Server 2016 TP5 physical box. The VM’s are enabled for nested virtualization to make sure a can start VM’s on the VM’s. Both VM’s have 10 disks attached to them. So no shared VHD, just 10 .vhdx files to both VM’s which makes a total of 20 .vhdx files. The VM’s are also running Windows Server 2016 TP5.

Create and attach disks

To create and attach the disks I used some powershell commands. I have 2 “Hosts” HV-01 and HV-02.

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