Could not get VHD GUID – Live Migration

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We have recently started going through a major project of migrating Hyper-V VM’s in bulk from one cluster to another (same processor family) using “Shared Nothing Live Migration”. The issues we started having when two VM’s share the same .vhdx disk name moving to the same  Hpyer-V host, you would receive similar error to the one below:

Move

There are two ways to resolve this:

  1. Move to a different CSV location.
  2. Move to the same location under a new folder structure.

 

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Error 20400 – VMM 2012 R2

Error (20400)

1 parallel subtasks failed during execution.

 Error (2605)

Unable to connect to the VMM database because of a general database failure.

SQL error code: 547

Recommended Action

Ensure that the SQL Server is running and configured correctly, then try the operation again.

We have received this error while removing a Hyper-v cluster out of VMM 2012 R2. Even trying to reinstall VMM agent fails manually. Trying both Remove-SCVMHost and Remove-SCVMHostCluster with -Force also failed miserably!

I have found a good article that takes you through these steps of removing hosts/cluster from the DB end, just make sure you have a backup before you start.

You can find the article here.

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Azure Point-To-Site VPN – certificates

Vorhängeschloss und Schlüssel 01Let me set the expectation here, I am not going in depth on how to setup an Azure VPN as it has been referenced in many articles which could take you step by step on hot to configure your VPN tunnel to Azure cloud.

My main concern here are methods available in generating those certificates used in establishing that type of VPN. I have used a self signed certificate which works well in most instances but that could always be replaced by a publicly signed certificate to avoid uploading various root trusted certificates to Azure vNet.

The most common way is to use makecert.exe which comes as part of Windows SDK

Open a command prompt:

makecert.exe -sky exchange -r -n “CN=RootCertName” -pe -a sha1 -len 2048 -ss My

makecert.exe -n “CN=ClientCertName” -pe -sky exchange -m 96 -ss my -in “RootCertName” -is my -a sha1

With the introduction of new version of Powershell 4 with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, we can now generate the self-signed certificate using a simple command without installing Windows SDK and makecert.exe

Using Powershell, run the following line:

New-SelfSignedCertificate -CertStoreLocation cert:\LocalMachine\My -DnsName CertName -KeyLength 2048 -KeySpec KeyExchange

You can then export the .cer certificate which you can place in your Trusted Root Certification Authorities and upload to Azure.

Both processes work but you will need one of the OS’s highlighted above in order to use the Powershell command, you can install Windows Management Framework but that command wont be available to you on older versions of Windows.

 

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Azure resource re-allocation and Resource Groups

Azure-logoInfrastcuture in the cloud (IaaS) is such an evolving topic from the architectual point of view. As services do evolve and more functionalities get added in order to enable the end user to untilise these services in best forms, complexities do start to add to it.

IaaS require a lot of initial planning to minimise any downtime required to re-allocate services/servers for production (Prod).

If breaking to Azure services started as a proof of concept (PoC) initially and changed suddenly to being the business critical service that your business can’t function without – without the necessary transitional planning then we are on the same page here.

Microsoft Azure does add a lot of value to the business and continuity of its business operations.

In this article I will go over Azure different resources and the way they could be organised for ease of management and billing. Billing is an important topic if you want to understand how your services are being utilised in the cloud or in order to bill each business unit if your business is using the charge back model.

If you have just started building your infrastructure on Azure, ensure your business units use Azure Resource Groups to group their services/servers and that could save you a lot of time in the long run.

The way to move resources between different resource groups are a complex ‘PowerShell driven process’. First you need to understand the limitiation of resource move:

  1. vNet’s can’t be moved
  2. Re-allocated Azure resources will retain their source region, even if your destination resource group is in a different region.
  3. You can’t move a single VM attached to a cloud service, the cloud service and all VM’s attached to it will have to move together.
  4. From experience, move storage accounts seperately. When I try to move a storage account with the rest of resources I get error (“One resource move request can contain resources of only 1 provider.”) :storage-err
  5. If you would like to migrate the VM to a new vNet then the VM needs to be deleted and reprovisioned on the vNet – the VM will down for that duration.
  6. If you would like to move the VM to a new storage account, then the downtime will be much greater depending how big the VHD files are and the region. I won’t talk much about this process, you will find it detailed here.

Now we will talk about the interesting part, the move and re-allocation process.

  1. Download the latest Azure Powershell module (We will be using the latest Azure Resource Management module) as illustrated here
  2. Login to your subscription using Login-AzureRmAccount
  3. Get the content of your source resource group on Azure: Get-AzureRmResource
  4. Feed the output to Move-AzureRmResource

I have written a short script to demonstrate this process (MS Azure Resource Group Management(MS Azure Resource Group Management), I have added comments necessary to each of the steps in the script so you should be able to customize it to your needs.

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DB fails to activate on another node in an Exchange 2013 DAG

gearIt has been a while since I blogged about Exchange! Last year actually! Time runs by quick ..

Anyways, I wanted to talk about a problem you might face (certainly I have faced recently) in a situation when your DAG members are online but the database fails to activate to a particular node! Back in the days that used to happen if one of your Exchange vital services has stopped, but in this scenario all services were running as normal.

Based on Activation preference on each DB, I wanted to redistribute DB’s between all nodes after a restart. MS has kindly written a beautiful script that could take care of that for you based on a specific DAG. RedistributeActiveDatabases.ps1 which is located under Exchange install directory inside a ‘Script’ folder. This script can take your DAG and assess DB distributions, based on their activation preferences it starts to move the active DB’s to their intended servers.

In my case it failed to move due to some error on the server regarding ‘HighAvailability’ state, Exchange 2013 has introduced a new concept of server component state, which gives a granular control over server components that make up the Exchange server.

Running Get-ServerComponentState -Id ServerName on an Exchange server would show each of the component running and their state, this is very useful in troubleshooting problems with Exchange before even digging deep into configuration.

In order to bring server components online you could run the following PowerShell command:

Set-ServerComponentState -id ServerName -Component ComponentName -State StateName -Requester FunctionName

Note, if components were brought online by multiple requesters then you would need to issue the ‘Active’ command state under both these requesters in order for the component to turn to active.

There is a great article written by the Exchange team which goes in great depth explaining the principle behind it and the advantages gained by the administrator.

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InTune or not to InTune … is it a Question?

I am currently working for a client designing a solution for MDM (Mobile Device Management). Most customers look for an easy to use solution so it could be picked up and managed appropriately by their internal IT staff.

There are many solutions on the market, like AirWatch, Good and InTune plus many more that I didn’t mention, each have their advantages and disadvantages. Anyways, I am not writing a product feature review so I won’t dive into a comparison between the vendors.

For this customer we have settled for InTune due to cost and integration with existing systems like Microsoft SCCM 2012 R2.

InTune does provide good MDM solution in the cloud for those who want to migrate away from their on-premis private cloud or create a hybrid cloud. Either way it’s a good step forward in the cloud which would open up more possibilities inside MS Office 365 hosting.

If you have implemented MS SCCM 2012 R2 on-premis, it is recommended to integrate SCCM to manage your mobile devices with InTune. Combined they could provide a very powerful solution to manage settings on the phone down to the application level.

Microsoft has a very good article on application control using SCCM and InTune http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn771706.aspx

If you have InTune and want to integrate SCCM to your solution then it’s achievable even though you have switched on InTune as your MDM Management Authority. A call to Microsoft support could start the process in that transition, this process is disruptive and it would impact all phones enrolled on InTune during that transition. Having SCCM as MDM Management Authority is one way road, so you won’t be able to flip back to having InTune as your MDM Management Authority.

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Report on Exchange 2010 Server RU level

I found a nice script written to gather your environment Exchange environment RU level.

Get-ExchangeUpdateRollups

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