Windows Server 8 Hands On Labs

WinServer8 install - Copy

(Or this could be called Windows Server 2012 Hands On Labs as well I guess. )

While I was off in Las Vegas for Microsoft Management Summit – I happened to notice that something sneaked on to the Windows Server TechCenter page on TechNet.

Hands On Labs are now LIVE on the site!

Yup – you too can play in a sandbox of a pre-configured Windows Server 2012 environment via an RDP client. I have been using them internally for a while now, but now they are public for you to use!  Oh – and a hint – if you prefer your lab manuals in a hard copy format – you can save a copy of the lab manual for printing.

Here’s the complete list of 12!

  • Active Directory Deployment and Management Enhancements
    In this lab, you will learn how to deploy Active Directory Domain Controllers with Windows Server “8”. You will deploy domain controllers using the new Server Manager, as well as deploying remote domain controllers using Windows PowerShell. You will be able to explore the new Active Directory Management tool and use its PowerShell History Viewer.
  • Configuring a Highly Available iSCSI Target
    In this lab, you will learn how Windows Server “8” can provide storage remotely to any machine. You will build clusters using shared storage and build iSCSI high-availability instances–observing highly available application communication during cluster failover.
  • Configuring Hyper-V over Highly Available SMB Storage
    In this lab, you will learn how to configure a file server cluster to support running Hyper-V virtual machines from SMB file shares. You will create the file share, configure delegation, and then create a new VM on SMB storage.
  • Implementing Storage Pools and Storage Spaces
    In this lab, you will work with the new storage spaces technology in Windows Server “8”. You will first create new storage pools and virtual disks, and then you will work with those virtual disks in both Server Manager and Control Panel.
  • Introduction to Windows PowerShell Fundamentals
    Windows PowerShell is a command-line shell and scripting language that helps you achieve greater control and productivity. Using a new admin-focused scripting language, more than 230 standard command-line tools, and consistent syntax and utilities, Windows PowerShell enables you to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation.
  • What’s New in Windows PowerShell 3.0
    In this lab, you will explore some of the new features and functionality in Windows PowerShell 3.0 to enable you to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation.
  • Managing Branch Offices
    In this lab, you will learn how the branch office scenario has been improved in Windows Server “8” including new branch cache enhancements.
  • Managing Network Infrastructure
    In this lab, you will explore new network management capabilities in Windows Server “8”. You will learn how to implement Network Teaming as well as how to implement DHCP failover. Finally, explore new Windows PowerShell cmdlets for network management.
  • Managing Your Network Infrastructure with IP Address Management
    Network management is core to running a business, yet the tools that IT professionals need can be too costly or not available from Microsoft. With Windows Server “8”, we change that with the introduction of IP Address Management (IPAM).
  • Managing Windows Server “8” with Server Manager and Windows PowerShell 3.0
    In this lab, you will learn how the Server Manager and Windows PowerShell framework in Windows Server “8” delivers an enhanced, multi-server management experience. You will learn to perform tasks such as multi-server management. You will also explore new Windows PowerShell capabilities including new cmdlets and the Windows PowerShell gateway.
  • Online Backup Service
    In this lab, you will use Windows Server Backup to back up your critical data to Windows Azure. This lab will teach you the entire set of workflows around backing up and recovering your data to Windows Azure.
  • Using Dynamic Access Control to Automatically and Centrally Secure Data
    In this lab, you will explore Dynamic Access Control in Windows Server “8”. You will learn how to create Central Access Policies, explore the new Access Denied Remediation features, as well as learn how to use the audit capabilities built into Dynamic Access Control.

MMS 2012–Day 0 montage Las Vegas

Part of my role as a Technology Evangelist has me out at events and connecting with the attendees and interviewing speakers, partners and community members. I’m here at the Microsoft Management Summit 2012 (MMS) in Las Vegas and the Edge team decided we should have some fun with the traditional “montage” of stuff leading up to the kickoff keynote of MMS.

It was a lot of fun shooting and putting this one together. Check out the various SnapShots from day “0” I grabbed with the trusty Nikon.

Looking forward to some interviews today AND most importantly – THE KEYNOTES! Don’t Worry – if you are not here – you can watch them LIVE from wherever you are. The Keynotes are LIVE STREAMED with connection details on how to watch them from here (http://www.mms-2012.com/digitalmms).

HowTo: Bootable USB Stick for OS Install

Some USB sticks.A bootable USB stick – AGAIN?

This has been covered in many places, but I am still surprised that not everyone knows how to do this.

First off: find yourself a large enough and fast enough USB stick to use as your bootable media. I prefer my OCZ Rally 2 myself – 8 GB and FAST.   Remember – you get what you pay for – flash drive speeds vary greatly, choose yours wisely.

  1. Run DISKPART with admin rights
  2. Type in LIST DISK to list off all disks attached to your system. Make note of your disk# representing your USB stick
  3. Type SELECT DISK # where # represents YOUR USB STICK
  4. Type CLEAN to erase everything / every partition on the disk. Remember you validated what disk to clean in step 2, right?
  5. Type CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY to make your new primary partition
  6. Type ACTIVE to mark partition as active
  7. Type FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK  to perform a quick format
  8. Type EXIT to close diskpart – unless you want to make more bootable USB disks

Next up – extract the source files your favorite ISO file to the root of the USB stick. Windows 7, Server 2008 R2, Windows Server “8” or Windows “8” Consumer Preview. You can use whatever tool you prefer – I used to use WINRAR to open and expand them. Now I just mount the ISO in my Windows 8 Consumer preview by right clicking on it and choosing MOUNT. I can then select all files and SEND TO my newly formatted USB stick.

Voila – you now have a bootable USB stick. The only way for fast OS installs in a modern world.

I was going to record a quick screencast and YouTube it up – but then again – why? It’s so simple, this text should do.

** EDIT ** – based on @tommyLee’s suggestion – I’ve created a quick screencast on how do make one yourself.

You can get more elaborate and custom make the OS with injected drivers and all sorts of deployment goodness if you CREATE your own ISO with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. I’ll revisit the USB OS install post in a while when the tool refreshes with the next OS update.

Windows Server “8” demo lab hardware setup

After mulling things around for a while, consulting anyone who had an opinion on the topic and consuming various beverages over time – I finally sat down and planned out my portable demo lab for Windows Server”8” things.  I’ll be using it to create demos to share with the community and showing them off at various public events over time. I had some criteria to adhere to:

  • Has to be portable.
  • Has to have significant muscle to virtualize a large number of hosts.
  • One system has to dual boot to my “corporate image” so I can stay productive (this requires a bitlocker’d drive)
  • support multiple drives for better disk IO for virtualization
  • Large enough screens to work on stage

I’ve mostly settled on these two systems for my base configuration.

  1. Lenovo W520 with 32 GB ram, internal SSD (160GB for OS) and DriveBay extended 2nd SSHD (250 GB for VMs).
  2. Lenovo T410 with 8 GB of ram, internal 500GB HD. Smaller – lighter, but still powerful

MobileDemoLab

I am trying to get the size and weight down – I do have to carry this around with me on flights. My issue is the screen size. I need a large screen in order to have a more comfortable demo experience.

Dell-A-Saurus

(maybe I am just getting old)

That being said – I will probably switch out the T410 for my much loved Dell-A-Saurus a.k.a. Precision mobile workstation M6500. It has 16 GB ram, dual hard drives and a large screen.

Setup for the system? Windows Server “8” obviously. The Hyper-V role installed. I am starting with the GUI to get things configured – then I will be REMOVING in order to walk the walk and talk the talk of best security configurations and headless management capabilities. More on the exact configuration in my next post.

Networking? well – For now, since it’s setup time – I am using a simple consumer grade router to NAT my internet connection and isolate the two systems from the corporate network. Works well if I need to plug into something like a hotel internet / conference internet and share it between the systems.  I’ll be hard coding the IPs and making them self sufficient so that I COULD just have an Ethernet cable between them and still pull off Live Migration demos.

I’ll be documenting and sharing my setup experiences and demos here on the blog. stay tuned for more details and posts on setup configuration and demo scenarios you can build yourself.

Windows Server “8” Hyper-v Component Poster

Come on now – admit it. We all like geeky things on the walls of our cubicles and offices. Well – a cool poster came out for the Windows Server “8” Beta Hyper-V Components and it’s available in High Detail saved as a PDF from the Microsoft Download Servers.

hyper-v-component-ws8

Cool new additions from previous versions include details on new capabilities like:

  • Hyper-V Replica
  • Networking
  • Virtual machine mobility (live migration)
  • Storage
  • Failover clustering
  • Scalability

Fire up them wide format colour printers and make yourself a copy. It is based on Beta, so you might want to keep it small scale until RTM, eh?

If you are looking for previous versions of this poster – you can find them here.

Troubleshooting Windows Server “8” (weekend reading)

imageAs we’re now winding down the week and with 7 days under our belts with the Beta product – I thought I’d quickly share some awesome reading material that can go along with your Beta Evaluation of WS8.

I love troubleshooting things – it’s the challenge of getting things working again after some other “IT Expert” or “curious user” (a.k.a. P.I.T.A user) goes in and messes something up. Well – the technical writers in the product group for WS8 have been busy and have published a great library of resources for troubleshooting.

Understanding and Troubleshooting Windows Server “8” has the following articles published as of March 9th, 2012.

If you’re looking for a single document that kind of covers a LOT of information – Check out the Windows Server “8” Evaluation Guide. It’s another gem in the documentation pool to get you started.

How to shutdown Windows Server “8”

Win-I

Call me crazy.  Sometimes I want to shutdown my servers.

After loading up the Windows Server “8” beta on some of my test systems, I was a little perplexed as to how I should be shutting them down – either logged on locally or remotely.

Humm…. From a command line – I can always run my trusty command:

SHUTDOWN /S /T 3

That gives me a 3 second window before things get shut down. But without my traditional start menu – how should I do it via the GUI?

Windows_Key + i

That seems to be the fastest way to pull up your settings – including the power button for shutting / restarting your server.

You could also do a three-finger-salute with CTRL-ALT-DEL and choosing it from the bottom right corner.

I’ll stick with either my command line (if I am working in one or the awesome new PowerShell) or I’ll use the slightly easier Windows_Key + i

Thought you might like to know.

Windows Server 8–Initial Cool Stuff

Part of my role at MS includes the creation of content for “The Edge Show” currently hosted at http://edge.technet.com.  Well with last week being the beta milestone release for Windows Server “8” (I’ll use this notation and possibly the shortened WS8 going forward) I decided to do the smart thing and have a Special Edition episode with all things Server “8”.

As you can tell from the video – I’m Freakin’ Out with excitement about all the stuff in this release. There are literally hundreds of cool things that are included with this release and I’m going to do my best to cover them over the next while.

Bill Laing wrote up a rather “corporate-y” type blog post that points to a few cool items as well. Check out his post when you have a moment before moving on.

Screw Following your dreams–CHASE THEM!

DSC_0876 (521x640)For those of you who know me – I’m a very passionate person.  Be it technology, skills development, fatherhood, Microsoft, mobile devices – whatever.  I tend to be someone who jumps in with both feet.  Sometimes I do it on instinct. Sometimes I do it with after a long hesitation and with great caution.

Well – I jumped in this time – with both feet.

Let me back up a bit for a little bit of context and history.  It has been a dream of mine to work at Microsoft. I happened to be referred into the position of IT Pro Evangelist by a very good friend of mine (Pierre Roman) who was in the process of applying for the job.  During his interview process he decided the role wasn’t for him but said to the HR rep “I know this guy who would be perfect for this job” – that guy was me.  He gave me a call while I was off on paternity leave with my Twin girls. At first I dismissed it, saying “I’d never be good enough” to work at Microsoft – but he insisted I apply. Nine interviews later, I was offered what would become my dream job – working for Microsoft Canada as an IT Pro Evangelist.

Fast forward 7 1/2 years later.  I have “grown in role” up to a Senior Technical Evangelist working on the same team – working with and engaging the Canadian technology community.  I had developed a knack for understanding how to make a difference in the lives of people by enabling them to use (Microsoft) technology more effectively and further their careers in IT. I loved getting up in the morning every day – never hitting the snooze button – giving it my all.

Then opportunity knocked.

A position opened up on a team in Redmond at Microsoft Headquarters.  It was for one of four Technology Evangelists that have similar responsibilities and functions to what I was currently doing (and some cool new challenges), BUT was on a worldwide stage.  At first I wasn’t really interested, since I have very strong ties to Canada AND it would mean relocating my whole family down to Seattle.  But – after talking it over with my boss (WIFE) on a number of occasions – she said “go for it”. I then talked with my other boss (work) – who was very supportive of the idea.  I’m kind of paraphrasing his comments – but my conversation with him lead me to the title of this post.

If you simply follow your dreams – you will be constantly taking the passive route of going where they meander.  If you really want to realize your dreams – YOU HAVE TO CHASE THEM in order to have a chance of attaining them.

I decided to apply and went after the role whole heartedly.

I write this post sitting here in Seattle, with my family in temporary housing. After a long 4 months during which time we completed the interview process, job offer review , visa application process, relocation planning, selling off of personal property / house / car, actual moving day – we’re ALL onboard in this fantastic new journey.

I am now a Technical Evangelist on the Corp evangelism team here in Redmond at “Corp” (a.k.a. Microsoft Headquarters). I will be focusing my technology expertise back to my roots – CORE INFRASTRUCTURE on the Windows Server platform (current and future versions). When you think about it – “Server” is really the building blocks on which you craft your solution, be it on premise, optimized for private cloud or even public cloud.  Windows Server will be playing a significant role – now and in the future. I’ll be responsible for the technical reviews / advising on content for the major technical conferences Microsoft puts on across the world. I’ll also continue to be engaging the worldwide technical audience and engaging with social media / blogging / podcasting and more. There’s even an element of community building with the internal Microsoft Evangelism efforts with the IT Pro Evangelists around the globe. The role will continue to evolve over time – but once again – I’m Stoked.

On the eve of us departing Canada for the US, I called a friend of mine to talk about the move. He was sad we were heading out, but at the same time he was very excited for me and the family. He said to me “you’re changing your family’s destiny by doing this. That’s exciting – embrace this challenge and relish the moment”.  I hadn’t thought about it in this context before – but it’s true. New job, new house, new schools, new friends, new opportunities – it’s kind of overwhelming at times.

You know what? After starting this journey, I can say that despite my hesitations at first – I can honestly tell you, my Gut is telling me it’s the right thing to do, the right time to do it.

If you have an opportunity and you are on the fence – don’t get paralyzed with how big of a change it would be in your life and your family’s life. Do your level of sanity checks and consult your internal board of directors.

Screw following your dreams, chase them! Once you’re close and you’re ready – Jump In!

signature

Create and Boot from VHD for Windows 7, “Server 8”, Windows Server 2008 R2

Note: I have no idea what the next version of Windows Server will be called – I am just using “Server 8” as a short version of the Developer Preview of Windows Server from the Build conference – downloadable from MSDN

hard diskIt’s simple enough – people have been asking how to do this for a bit without having to use all sorts of extra tools like WAIK, WIM2VHD or even screwing around with BCEDIT.

Why would you WANT to boot from VHD anyways? It’s a file format supported and included as a mountable file instance since Windows 7.  I use it instead of partitioning my drives when I want to screw around with an OS directly on my hardware without having to reformat all the time. Great for evals, lab setups or custom configs of the OS when you want no barrier to performance on the hardware that comes with virtualization.

What is my configuration? I want Win7 as the main OS on my laptop. But I also need to boot it into “Server 8” to play around as well as demo things in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. Result – My C drive is formatted with Win7.  I have carved up my D drive (second physical drive in this laptop) into 2 dynamically expanding VHDs: d:vhdServer8.vhd AND d:vhdW2K8R2sp1.vhd.

How? Simple. After the Windows 7 install, I create the sub directory where I want my VHDs to be created. You will want to make note of the full path including drive letter AND label.  Next I rebooted using my trusty multiboot USB stick and at the first prompt to choose the region – I press SHIFT F10. At the command prompt type in the following:

  • DISKPART
  • LIST VOLUME
    • this displays all the volumes that the OS sees. Remember I asked you to make note of the drive label – booting from USB / DVD will screw with your assigned drive letters and you’ll need the info to ensure you are placing the new VHD in the right spot. In my case it was still D:vhd
  • CREATE VDISK file=d:vhdserver8.vhd type=expandable maximum=100000
    • this creates a dynamically expanding 100gb vhd called server8.vhd.
  • SELECT VDISK file=d:vhdserver8.vhd
  • ATTACH VDISK
    • this now mounts the disk and makes it visible as a drive for the install process.

Use a custom install to be able to select the drive and create a partition in the drive for installation of your new OS of choice.

Proceed as normal and complete the install.

Simple, eh?