Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Troubleshooting Windows Azure Pack - Re-register a Resource Provider

 As I highlighted in a blog post last week, we have gone under the hood of Windows Azure in order to understand this business critical solution.
This includes:

·         Architecture
·         Dependencies
·         Performance bottlenecks
·         Configuration

As a result of all this investigation, we had to “rebuild” the WAP solution several times.
When I say rebuild, I do not necessarily mean a complete rebuild, installing SPF, VMM and WAP all over again, but remove the connected dependencies and so on.
This has indeed been an interesting and valuable learning.

The situation:

You have a WAP environment that you want to restart, by flushing the configuration in the portal.
For some reason, you have lost the connection to your resource provider, so that the VM Cloud show 0, empty, nada.

You are unable to register the VMM server(s) again, and by looking at the Odata Management logs on the SPF server (where all the magic is really happening), will find out that something is complaining about an item with the same key has already been added. So to summarize, we know it's there, but it is not showing.

Before you proceed – verify the following:

Your VMM service is running, available and actually working. Make sure that VMM is not complaining about anything critical, as this is key for SPF/WAP to work correctly in this context.
Also, you must ensure that no one has touched any of the dedicated user accounts for the setup, as well as DNS is working as expected. We have seen odd behavior in conjunction with a bad DNS server.

Removing the VM Cloud resource provider in WAP with MgmtSvC-cmdlets

The portal will not let you remove the Service Provider Foundation  endpoint – but only update the settings. So, if you are not pointing to another SPF connection string, this one is currently locked at the current resource provider.

We must use powershell on the Admin WAP server to proceed:

$Credential = Get-Credential
$Token = Get-MgmtSvcToken –Type Windows –AuthenticationSite https://yourauthenticationsite:30072 – ClientRealm http://azureservices/AdminSite -User $Credential -DisableCertificateValidation

Get-MgmtSvcResourceProvider -AdminUri "https://localhost:30004" -Token $Token -DisableCertificateValidation -name "systemcenter"
Remove-MgmtSvcResourceProvider -AdminUri "https://localhost:30004" -Token $Token -DisableCertificateValidation -Name "systemcenter" -InstanceId "the instance ID you got from Get-MgmtSvcResourceProvider"

Removing the mapping in SPF

Service Provider Foundation contains the configuration for the VMM cloud towards the WAP environment, and is responsible for exposing this to the service management API.

If we run the following powershell cmdlet on the SPF server, we will see information about the resource provider:


We want to clean this up, so we will run the the following cmdlet in order to remove our resource provider:

Get-SCSPFServer –Name “nameoftheVMMserverFQDN” | Remove-SCSPFServer

Once this is done, we are able to register the resource provider for our VM Cloud in WAP again.

This will require that the Plans created in WAP must undergo a re-sync process before continuing to service the tenants.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Troubleshooting Windows Azure Pack

I have now some really dirty fingers after I've been playing around with Windows Azure Pack for the last weeks.
Together with a fellow MVP, Marc van Eijk, we have done some huge investment in Windows Azure Pack to detect pitfalls and gotchas.

Windows Azure Pack is key when you would like to offer sophisticated services to your tenants, and therefore is very critical in this context. In order to understand how everything is working together, we have been cracking, destroying and fighting with this beast to be better prepared if anything happens in a real world deployment.

The findings so far have been very valuable and we are happy share it with you during some blog posts in the near future.

Note: In the MVP community, we have been discussing several stuff with the product groups around our findings. As a result of this, MS has now published a "Windows Azure Troubleshooting" section at TechNet which can be found here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn554311.aspx

Stay tuned :-)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Presentations from NIC 2014

During this year conference, I had two sessions:

If you want to see and learn the future of service delivery and automation, you should definitively join this session to see how you can leverage new technology like network virtualization with GRE (NVGRE) and self-service deployment of complex workloads with Windows Azure Pack. Automation is key to maximize your investment in Windows Server and System Center, which Windows Azure Pack is all about. This session is tailored at service providers, enterprises and for the general public who wants to learn more about the future of cloud computing

Hybrid Cloud with Network Virtualization in WSSC 2012 R2 (based on the whitepaper) - http://www.slideshare.net/kristiannese/nic-hybrid-cloud-with-nvgre-level-400

Join a true VMM Ninja and learn about network virtualization in a practical way.
This session will walk-through the configuration parts required and also explain what happens, and more important – why and how it happens.
Windows Server and System Center are using Network Virtualization with GRE in order to fulfill the story around the Cloud OS, and must be considered as mandatory to have hybrid cloud solutions, no matter if it’s in the enterprise or as part of a hosting plan with Windows Azure Pack.
VMM is responsible for deploying, maintaining and configure the NVGRE policies across your cloud infrastructure, so everything will be performed from this single console. (Yes, you will learn a lot about networking in VMM in general during this session too).

Use the links to download the pptx’s – and hopefully they will be useful.

Thank you for everyone who joined my sessions during these two days, and I really enjoyed all the discussions afterwards, and especially the possibilities around Service Management API in Windows Azure Pack.

I will (hopefully in the next couple of days) provide you with a detailed blog post about the current environment where I will explain how to setup the remote desktop console feature in Windows Azure Pack.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Windows Azure Pack - Forcing VM Roles to be Highly Available

Windows Azure Pack - Forcing VM Roles to be Highly Available

This is just a short blog post on how to force your VM Roles deployed with Windows Azure Pack, to be highly available.

Perhaps you have received an error while deploying your VM Roles, or just simply discovered that they are not HA and is located directly on one of the hosts local storage.

The solution is simple, but for most people it is a hidden one.

The VM cloud in VMM must have a custom property called CreateHighlyAvailableVmRoles with its value set to true in order for the VM Roles to be configured as highly available.

Since the VM Roles is created outside of VMM, we are not able to tag corresponding Hardware and Guest profiles or the templates itself.

1.       In VMM Console, select VMs and Services
2.       Right Click on the cloud that the Plan in Windows Azure Pack is using and select properties
3.       Select the Custom Properties tab and click Manage Custom Properties
4.       Select Cloud for Object Type, and click Create to create a new property
5.       Name the property CreateHighlyAvailableVmRoles and click OK
6.       Select the new property and click Add
7.       Click OK
8.       Type true for the property value
9.       Click OK

Now, log back to the service management portal and refresh the browser. The next deployment should succeed, and place the VM Roles on shared storage (either SMB3.0 or CSV) and the VMs should be highly available.