Friday 30 September 2016

System Center Service Provider Foundation - About SPF with Prerequisites - Part 1

Hello Everyone,

In this blog post, I will share information about another component of Microsoft Private Cloud known as Service Provider Foundation.

Service Provider Foundation (SPF) is part of Orchestrator setup which install extensible OData web service on the machine which helps in communicating System Center Virtual Machine Manager with Multi-tenant portal of Microsoft known as Windows Azure Pack (WAP - Private Cloud).

This helps in configuring multi-tenant self service portal which is integrated with IAAS capabilities using system centre components. 

Let's start understanding more about SPF with it's prerequisites...


SPF help in providing Infrastructure as a service to the clients using multi-tenant self service portal. If You have any self-service portal for Your customer then You can integrate it with SPF to provide infrastructure resources to the customers. 

This helps as a inter-mediator between self service portal & system center component (SCVMM) to send request to the SCVMM generated from self-service portal by any tenant and give response to the request to the tenant based on requirement.

To understand the complete architecture overview of Service Provider Foundation, Click Here! 

To see what's new in Service Provider Foundation, Click Here!

SPF Prerequisites:

Below are the prerequisites to deploy SPF:

Virtual Machine Requirements:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 OS
  • RAM - Min 4 GB
  • CPU - Min 4
  • Hard Disk - C Drive: 100 GB for OS & SPF installation & D Drive: 200 GB for SPF DB Instance if installing DB Instance on same machine. You can also install SPF Instance on remote machine as well.

Role & Features Requirements:


  • Web Server (IIS):


Other Prerequisites:

Required Domain Accounts:

  • SPF-ADMIN - Used for System Center Administration Web Service
  • SPF-VMM - Used for System Center Virtual Machine Manager Web Service
  • SPF-PROVIDER - Used for System Center Provider Web Service
  • SPF-UWS - Used for System Center Usage Web Service
  • SPF-SVC - SPF Service Account
  • SQL-SVC - SQL DB Service Account

This is all about brief introduction about SPF with it's prerequisites. In next post, I will share complete installation process with screenshot for SPF.

Share Your feedback or any query!!!

Happy Reading!!!

If You like my post then follow my updates:

Join my Facebook group for updates on trending technologies/technical references/issues etc:

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 - Guest Clustering Installation & Configuration using Shared Virtual Hard Disk (.vhds - New Feature) - Part 4

Hello Everyone,

In this post, I will explain about Guest Clustering (Clustering between 2 or more Virtual Machines).

This is used for any web hosting web applications or any files share configurations to provide high availability on application level in case if any VM goes down due to any reason, still application service will be up and running from another Virtual machine.

To see Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 Overview, Click Here!

To see Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 Hyper-V Installation, VM Deployment & What's New in VM Settings, Click Here!

To see Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 Failover Clustering Installation, Configuration & Post Configurations Process, Click Here!

Let's start by understanding concept & use of guest clustering...


What is Guest Clustering?

Guest Clustering means configuring Failover Cluster feature between Virtual Machines. Concept is same as of physical clustering except it uses Virtual Hard Disk instead of physical disk. 

We can use physical disk as well to configure clustering via virtual fibre channel but in that case VMs can not be live migrated from one node to another.
For configuring high availability on application layer like any web site or SQL always-on, we configure clustering on virtualisation level.

Prerequisites for Guest Clustering:

Prerequisites for Guest Clustering is similar to physical server clustering still I will explain the process to follow because concept for creating Guest Clustering on Hyper-V Host with Win Server 2016 is changed as compare to Win 2012 R2 or older version. 

Follow below points to create Guest Clustering on Host with Windows Server 2016:

  • Create 2 Virtual Machines with OS: Win 2012 or Win 2012 R2 or Win 2016 TP5.
  • Configure Network.
  • Turn OFF Firewall
  • Join virtual machines to Domain.
  • Create shared virtual disk (.vhds) - NEW in WIN Server 2016. (1 Disk for Quorum & 1 Disk for CSV)
  • Add both disk to Virtual Machines as Shared Disk - NEW option.
  • Online & Create simple volume for Quorum Disk with DRIVE NAME & LETTER.
  • Online & Create simple volume for other disk WITHOUT Drive Name & Letter.
  • Install Failover Cluster feature on both machines.

VHD SHARE OPTION Changes in WIN Server 2016 TP5 as compared to Win Server 2012 R2:

In 2012 R2:

In 2016:

Create Shared Virtual Hard Disk in Win Server 2016 TP5:

Open Hyper-V, Click on New in Action Pane & then click on Hard Disk:

Click Next:

Select VHD Set (New) & Click Next:

Select Disk Type & Click Next:

Give Name, Path & Click Next:

Define Disk size & Click Next:

Click Finish:

Create another disk using same steps as above  mentioned which will be added to Guest Cluster as CSV Volume. Later I will show online increasing for CSV volume which is new feature of Windows Server 2016.

Add Disk to Virtual Machines:

Add above created shared disk to virtual machines which will be used for Guest Clustering (You can add disk Online - while VMs are running).

Right Click on VM & Click on Settings:

Click on SCSI Controller, Select Shared Drive & then Click ADD:

Click on Browse, Select Disk from folder where You saved the disk & Click Apply, OK:

Repeat same step for all VMs which You will be using for Guest clustering. Same shared disks will be adding to all VMs.

Once done above steps, Connect to VM, Open Disk management:

  • Online, Initialise & Create Simple Volume with Drive Name & Drive Letter for Quorum Disk from any 1 Virtual Machine.
  • Online, Initialise & Create Simple Volume without Drive Name & Drive Letter for other Disks which will used as CSV Volume from any 1 Virtual Machine.

NOTE: When You online disk from 1 Virtual Machine then It will be shown as reserved on other virtual machines with Blue Color on disk:

Failover Cluster feature installation on Virtual Machines:

Once all prerequisites are ready then start the Failover feature installation & configuration in Virtual Machines. 

All steps are same as done on physical server (Shown in previous post. To see previous post, Click Here!)

Once Installation completed then You can see Failover Cluster console on VM as shown below:

Add Disks to Guest Cluster:

Expand Storage, Click on Disk & then Click on Add Disk in Action Pane:

Select Disk and Click OK:

Right click on Disk which You want to add as CSV Volume & Click on Add to Cluster Shared Volume:

Successfully added as CSV:

Configure Cluster Quorum:

Click here to know about Quorum in Windows Cluster!

Right Click on Cluster Name, Click on More Action & then Click on Configure Cluster Quorum Settings:

Click Next:

Select Advance Quorum Configuration to configure Disk Witness Quorum & Click Next:

Click Next:

Select Configure a disk witness option & click Next:

Select only disk which You want to configure for Disk Witness Quorum (Max. 5 GB size is enough) & Click Next:

Click Next:

Click Finish once done:

Disk is changed to "Disk Witness in Quorum" in Cluster Console:

All done now.

Testing expanding Shared Virtual Hard Disk Online (New Feature):

Click on Edit Disk in action pane (VMs are running):

Click Next:

Select the Shared Disk which is added as CSV Volume in Guest Cluster above & Click Next:

Click Next:

Give new size and Click Next:

Click Finish:

Connect to any Clustered VM, Open Disk Management & You can see that additional disk space is added successfully without any down-time:

Once You shrink volume, same will be updated in cluster console as well:

This is all about Guest Clustering & expanding shared VHD without down-time (new feature).

NEXT POSTS will include:

  • Nested Virtualisation

  • Upgrade Server from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 without any down-time (It is totally online and I have evaluated the same in my test lab... Will post soon by this soon)

Share Your feedback or any query!!!

Happy Reading!!!

If You like my post then follow my updates:

Join my Facebook group for updates on trending technologies/technical references/issues etc:

Sunday 25 September 2016

Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 - Failover Clustering Installation, Configuration & Post Configurations Process- Part 3

Hello Everyone,

In this post, I will explain about most useful feature of Windows Server, i.e. Failover Clustering.

I noticed that many IT Professionals wants to learn about clustering concept and process so I will try to explain in details with step by step process.

To see Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 Overview, Click Here!

To see Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 Hyper-V Installation, VM Deployment & What's New in VM Settings, Click Here!

Let's start understanding clustering in details....

What is Failover Clustering?

Failover Clustering is a Windows Server Feature which helps You to enable High Availability for Virtual Machines, Storage & Networks on physical server level which gives You option to live migrate VMs & storage to another nodes if any node goes down. 

By High Availability, I mean to make virtual machines & services up and running even if any of the clustered node goes down.

If any nodes in cluster goes down then Virtual machines will be Live migrated (hardly 1 or 2 RTO can be seen which is considered as Live Migration) to next available node based on priority of resource availability on nodes.

By resources availability means the nodes which have more number of RAM & CPU available to use i.e. free resources available.

This high availability concept makes production environments more reliable & reduce loss of SLAs. 

There are many other benefits like You can live migrate VMs or storage to other nodes based on utilisation of resources, helps in migrating Your Server & Roles from older version to upper version with almost 1 or 2 mins down-time only. 

With 2016, no down-time is required to migrate roles from 2012 R2 to 2016 (I will test the same and share new post on this soon). 

In 2012 R2, Concept for migrating Roles from Win 2012 to 2012 R2 is COPY CLUSTER (Click Here to see the process for migrating roles from Win 2012 to 2012 R2 using Copy Cluster option!). 

In 2016, This concept is changes to migrate roles from Win 2012 R2 to Win 2016. I will show the complete process in coming post...

Prerequisites for Failover Clustering:

There are few things which must be done before configuring cluster:

  • Network configuration must be same on all clustered nodes (Most Important). Click here to learn the concept for network configuration!
  • All nodes must be domain joined.
  • Failover Cluster Feature must be installed on all nodes.
  • Shared Disk must be added on all nodes (5 GB Quorum Disk & Other disks which You need to add in cluster as Clustered Shared Volume to keep VMs files in CSV). This means same disk must be shared with all nodes and should be visible on all nodes.
  • Online, Initialise & Create Simple Volume with drive name & drive letter for Quorum Disk only from any 1 node.
  • Online, Initialise & Create Simple Volume without drive name & drive letter for other disks which You will add in cluster as CSV from any 1 node.
  • Turn OFF the windows firewall.
  • Need additional 1 IP & Define name for Cluster.
  • Disable IPv6 from all network adapters & virtual switches on all nodes.

Other things to be checked:

Failover Clustering Feature - Installation Process:

Open Server Manager, Click on Add Roles & Features:

Click next 4 times and then select Failover Cluster feature:

Click Add Features:

Click Install:

Click Close:

Go to Tools and Click on Failover Cluster Manager:


Similarly, Install Failover Clustering Feature on all nodes which You want to configure.

Failover Clustering Feature - Configuration Process:

Click on Create Cluster (2 options shown where You can click in below screen):

Click Next and Then enter IP address or Server name of all servers which You want to configure as Cluster Nodes:

Click on Yes for validating if all nodes fulfil all prerequisites related to server, network, disk etc (Must validate before proceeding to see report if everything is correct):

Click Next:

For first time validation, You must select to Run all test but make note if You are re-validating any production cluster again then choose Run only test I select option and unchecked disk part because during test, Disks are offline and online and in production Your services will get down which may result in business loss:

Click Next:

Monitor Job and once completed then click on view report to see all reports:

You can click on individual Name to see warning or error message:

Click Finish. Make sure check mark is enabled to create cluster with validated nodes:

Give Cluster Name & IP and Click Next:

Click Next:

Click Finish: Warning is because Cluster Disk is not added which can be added later as well:

Cluster configuration is completed:

Failover Clustering Feature - Post-Configurations:

Add Disk:

Expand Storage, Click on Disk & then Click on Add disk:

Select Disk to be added (Add Quorum Disk & other disks for CSV):

Disk is added as Available Storage in Cluster:

Right Click on Disk & Click on Add to Clustered Shared Volumes:

Disk is added to Clustered Shared Volume:

Now CSV Volume path will be created on all clustered nodes in C:/ Drive as shown below:

Change VM Path in Hyper-V Settings:

Open Hyper-V Console & Click on Hyper-V Settings:

Change the path to CSV Volume, once You change it then for any new VM provisioning, by default it will take same path:

This is all about Failover Clustering Features.

Share Your feedback or any query!!!

Happy Reading!!!

If You like my post then follow my updates:

Join my Facebook group for updates on trending technologies/technical references/issues etc: