Windows Azure Pack Update Rollup 5

This morning Microsoft pushed out update KB3023209 out to the Updates channel. This update is meant for systems running Windows Azure Pack in their private cloud.

The full text of the update is as follows:

This update contains functionality fixes. Among them are: 1) Support for SQL Resource Governor in the SQL Server Resource Provider. 2) Admin support for disabling native Virtual Network Extension to allow for 3rd Party Network Providers. 3) Provide detail on VM Memory type, Memory Startup and Maximum values in the Tenant Portal. 4) Fix to the Get-MgmtSvcRelyingPartySettings PowerShell cmdlet. 5) Fix to the issue of failing to establish an RDC (Remote Desktop Connection) to VMs placed behind a NAT. 6) Fix to the “Attached Network” dialog in the Virtual Machines Extension where the network entries in the list were disabled. 7) Support for increasing capacity of SQL hosting server in WAP.

For clouds that also run Windows Azure Pack Web Sites v2, sorry there aren’t any updates on that for this rollup release.

As always when it comes to applying this update – You gotta bring down all of the machines that serve out Windows Azure Pack before installing the update – you don’t want your tenants messing up things while you’re applying updates.

Ubuntu 14.04 Generation 2 VM Template Boot Issue Workaround

Recently Ubuntu 14.04 has native support for booting under a Hyper-V Generation 2 VM. Unfortunately, the VM will not boot if the VHD has been copied over to a new VM. This is a known issue and it has been reported on Ubuntu’s Launchpad bug reporting system by a Project Manager inside Microsoft who is responsible for making Linux run under Hyper-V.

Continue reading “Ubuntu 14.04 Generation 2 VM Template Boot Issue Workaround”

Getting Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Customize Properly With Microsoft’s Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2

As most people do know, it is possible to get Microsoft’s Virtual Machine Manager to deploy and customize a Linux based OS automatically. Officially Microsoft supports Ubuntu 12.04 LTS as a one of Linux distributions they support, however in practice any Debian like distribution can be supported as long as the locations of the network configuration, hostname configuration and SSH Host Keys are in the same locations as Debian and/or Ubuntu place them.

However in the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release, there were some changes that can potentially cause VMM’s guest agent not to customize the virtual machines properly. In order to make VMM’s guest agent to provision correctly there are 2 options:

  • Write your own VMM guest agent
  • Modify a few file paths so Ubuntu 14.04 will look somewhat like Ubuntu 12.04 LTS in terms of network configuration

I choose the latter option. Now I do have a custom VMM Guest Agent written for FreeBSD in Perl, however creating a VMM guest agent for this specific reason isn’t a good utilization of time.

I’ve taken the following actions to make Ubuntu 14.04 to appear like Ubuntu 12.04 by doing the following:

  • Remove the line in the /etc/network/interfaces file where it references to /etc/network/interfaces.d/*.cfg

Surprisingly there’s only one thing you really need to do. There’s more if you decide to be even lazier and download the cloud image provided here, but it’s beyond the scope of this tidbit.

Hyper-V Generation 2 Support for Linux Guests

Recently Microsoft announced Generation 2 Virtual Machines which really is an UEFI guest without the emulated PCI bus. Initially the only supported Operating Systems were:

  • Windows 8 (Integration Services Update Required)
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012 (Integration Services Update Required)
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

Well, now you can add pretty much any Linux distribution to the list right now. Thanks to the hard work being done by the Linux Integration Services team, they’ve got the mainline Linux kernel working right on Hyper-V under a Generation 2 platform. However the only distribution that will install correctly inside a Generation 2 Virtual Machine is OpenSuSE 13.1.

However if you want your Linux distribution to run inside a Generation 2 VM right now, you’ll have to install it manually via debootstrap or something similar. One thing to keep min mind is if your kernel is older than 3.11, you’ll need to either backport specific changes or upgrade to a newer mainline version of the kernel before you can even proceed to install your favorite distribution inside a generation 2 virtual machine.

Integration components wise, most of the modules will load just fine except hyperv_fb, the framebuffer device driver for Hyper-V guests. Unfortunately hyperv_fb is broken under a generation 2 VM hence why you’ll need to have EFI framebuffer support compiled in your kernel or you won’t get any video at all! The same goes for GRUB, it’ll also need efi_uga and efi_gop modules built in your bootx64.efi GRUB image. And oh, did I forget to mention that you’ll also have to disable Secure Boot as Hyper-V doesn’t support any way to loading public certificates into the Secure Boot database?

So if you want to take the plunge on having a Linux Generation 2 VM, be my guest. Start reading those git commit logs and start cherry picking! Remember, your mileage may vary. 😉

A few words about native VHD boot on 4K/512e Hard Drives…

I’ve gone cruising on the Interwebs for “Windows 8 Haters” just for laughs recently and I’ve found this portion of a comment left on some random site’s blog quite amusing:

2) It was so slow it hurt. And i have a quad core i5 @2.6 with 4 gb ram.

Uhm… Okay… I’ll fire off a few questions I’ve got in my back of my mind:

  • Are you using a brand new hard drive with that?
  • Did it also have an AF logo slapped on it?
  • Did you also try to do what the masses would have done, test Windows 8 out on a VHD?

If you answered yes to all of the questions above, then you’d seriously need to re-think what you’re doing. For the average “tech-savvy” user, I’d go easy on them, I mean who would really spend their time reading the TechNet Library for kicks. 😉

Pro tip for “speeding up” Windows 8 – Use the VHDX format to native boot into Windows 8 if you have a 512e disk. Doing so could greatly reduce the negative effects that RMW does on a hard drive. If you don’t know what RMW stands for and what the effects are, just think of it this way: If you have to make the disk read 2 physical sectors to address one NTFS block that spans across the 2 sectors, do you really think that it’s going to take longer to read that one sector? Heck yeah.

On the flip side, users who decide to hold out with Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 are unfortunately out of luck. They can not native boot with a VHDX file at all. But they can boot the VHDX file under Hyper-V that’s for sure 😉