Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category
This month’s Advisory Board article focused on whether there is still an appropriate use case for continuing to use old, unsupported, software. Naturally the topic of the Windows Server 2003 End of Support date (7/14/2015) approaching was hot on everyone’s mind on whether is still has some use cases. Here is my take.
Know when it is time to let it go — old software, that is. Too often, old versions of OSes or applications are left in service well past their expiration date. Old software is not like a good wine. It does not get better with age. It gets skunky like beer.
The next stinker close to its expiration date is Windows Server 2003. It was a great OS in its day. If you choose to keep it in services, I am not even worried about its long-term security as a server OS inside your network. Where I see its shortcomings is in its lack of performance (predominantly 32-bit only), resource capacity for modern applications, and infrastructure support is dwindling (e.g., hypervisor, SANs, drivers, etc).
Most IT professionals welcome modern software. It’s what we do. I find software vendors to be the major headache in the push forward. Working primarily in the medical industry, I see that less than one year before its send off, major medical vendors are still putting Windows 2003 as their only supported platform. Most of them hide behind the FDA certification, but have failed to resubmit their solutions back to the FDA for approval with modern software updates. I know recertification has costs, but shame on them for waiting so long.
If you have an old piece of software that has been running on Windows 2003, then yes, it could be fine. But, if it is running on physical hardware, then it is only a matter of time before it dies. These IT anchors will also drag down your virtual environment upgrades. New versions of both Hyper-V and VMware due in 2015 are bound to drop support for the ageing server OS. Again, you could probably get it to work, but for how long?
Check out the other Advisory Board responses from Brian Kirsch, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Dave Sobel, Level Platforms Inc. HERE
You should create a snapshot, or checkpoint (as they are called in System Center Virtual Machine Manager), right before you make any known change to your VM that would require some sort of system or application restore if the configuration, patch or application upgrade went wrong.
Snapshots are a recovery point that saves the state, data and hardware configuration of a VM. Now, With Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012, the creation and deletion of a snapshot happens without VM downtime. The process can be scripted, but it is most commonly done manually, either by an application owner or by a virtualization system administrator, before any changes are made to the VM. These types of snapshots are different from conventional host-level backups of VMs, but use the same underlying VSS Hyper-V Writer, which is installed when you enable the Hyper-V role, to prepare (quiesce) the memory and I/O state of the VM, in order to precisely capture its state at that moment. However, the outcome of these two processes differs.
When you create a snapshot… Read the rest of the article HERE
Also see.. AVHD – WT…”A”?
This is part two of my take on what is still missing from the next version of Hyper-V. To read part one, go HERE. The storage architecture of Windows Server 2012 has come a long way to benefit Hyper-V 3.0, but there are still some seemingly basic features that have been left out. Part two focuses on these storage shortcomings and how I think they could be addressed by utilizing similar technologies now found within the product.
Microsoft revamped the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V storage architecture, but there is still some room for improvement.
Storage has always been a weakness for Hyper-V. The process of shrinking, expanding, migrating and backing up virtual machines (VMs) creates a lot of difficulties in Hyper-V environments. But the new live migration and storage migration enhancements in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, including the seamless movement of VMs and virtual hard disks between physical storage volumes without downtime, could solve many of the lingering issues.
The methods proposed below would greatly reduce downtime and simplify Hyper-V management by eliminating several manual and tedious tasks.
Read the rest of the article HERE.
**TAKE THE POLL: At the end of each article, there is a poll on which absent feature you think is most glaring. Here are the current stats. Vote and give your feedback.
Don’t get me wrong, Hyper-V within Windows Server 2012 includes some excellent additions. But, with every release, there are bound to be a few features that miss the cut. My recent article looks at a few of these features that I wish would have made it in.
“For all the new features and enhancements to Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, the virtualization platform still has its shortcomings.
Having worked with Hyper-V since the early betas, I appreciate the speed at which Microsoft adds new features. With each Hyper-V release, however, I still see a few areas of improvement that could add key functionality and ease administration. Below, I look at three of these shortcomings in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and offer some practical fixes.
Part one of this two part series looks at the following shortcomings that I still believe exist.
1. Poor Quick Migration between hosts with different processor architectures
2. Inadequate Live/Quick Migration of VMs between different Hyper-V version
3. Imperfect hot-add memory allocation with a running VM
Read details of the article HERE
**TAKE THE POLL: At the end of each article, there is a poll. Are These Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Shortcomings a Deal Breaker? Here are the current stats. Vote and give your feedback.
These days, many IT professionals are asked to do more with less money, and increasing the efficiency of your virtual host resources may be the only answer in lean budgetary times. Luckily, there are numerous ways to squeeze more VMs into an existing infrastructure.
With that, here are 10 ways extend and expand virtual host resources on the cheap.
To see all the detail and my take in the article HERE.
1. Get lean
2. Shut down VMs
3. Forego hardware replacement
4. Extend support contracts and recycle hardware
5. Enforce usage policies
6. Adopt a new hypervisor vendor
7. Add memory
8. Use existing features
9. Switch Virtual Hard Disk type
10. Upgrade to the latest hypervisor version
Microsoft is adding some glamorous Hyper-V 3.0 features to the mix, including Hyper-V Replica, virtual Fibre Channel adapters and NUMA spanning. While these capabilities will allow for a more detailed configuration, how many administrators will view these options as a critical part of their Hyper-V infrastructure?
The top priority of many virtualization administrators involves reducing the number of scheduled virtual machine (VM) service disruptions and late-night hours on the job. The shiny, new capabilities are welcome, but some of the greatest Hyper-V 3.0 features were already present in previous versions and have just now matured.
For IT pros looking to make their lives a little easier, the following five new-and -improved Hyper-V 3.0 features should really excite them.
To see my Top 5 features for everyday virtualization administrators, click HERE.
This months SearchServerVirtualization.com Advisory Board question of the month looks at “How Virtualization Pros Can Land Their Next IT Job” Here’s my take:
Targeted skills, relevant experience and a focused cover letter will land you an interview. But personality and attitude will most often get you a spot on the team. This is not only relevant for those hiring but also for those looking for an IT job. If the fit just isn’t there, then both parties should move on.
For managers, these factors are critical, because a bad hire can lead to having to handle more personnel issues, which takes time away from the department initiatives.
In IT departments, the “team fit” is especially important, because you often spend a lot of time with the group during late hours or weekends, when problems often arise. Having someone on the other end of the phone or in the office with a similar mindset, and who genuinely cares about helping out, makes a huge difference when stress is high.
So work on your skills and let your personality prevail over your nerves. Joining an IT department is really like becoming part of a family. Making the right choice will help you avoid sitting next to that creepy aunt or uncle for years to come.
Read the responses from the other advisory board member HERE.