Why to Use VMM on Top of vCenter at all and How to Make It Work

I have recently published two articles about managing ESX host with System Center Virtual Machine Manager. The first explained how to integrate vCenter with VMM and the second described the pains of working with VMM on top of vCenter. Now, I will focus on when using VMM and vCenter makes sense and present a few rule how to handle daily tasks.

Taking a Closer Look at WIMBoot in Windows 8.1 Update

When the Windows installer copies files it places two copies on the disk – the regular file is used for normal operations and the copy is compress for recovery and such. Now that Windows is also present on tablets, it consumes an aweful amount of space. As a consequence, devices require larger flash memory making them more expensive. With the release of KB2919355 – a.k.a. THE update – for Windows 8.1, it supports botting directly from the WIM file which was previously used as the installation source exclusively. Although Microsoft has published some documentation in TechNet, I found the commands to deploy WIMBoot to be scattered across several documents. Therefore, I will give you some background information and useful pointers how to deploy WIMBoot.

Deploying Windows Azure Pack with the PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (Example Variable.xml)

The PowerShell Deployment Toolkit (PDT) is an amazing tool to deploy components from the System Center suite. Unfortunately, manipulating the configuration to reflect your environment and requirements involves quite an amount of work. Therefore, I will share my configuration to make your life easier! But mind, I will not provide an introduction how PDT works.

Pains When Using VMM on Top of vCenter

After I had set up VMM with a vCenter server and ESX hosts, I started creating VMs, hardware profiles, templates and noticed several glitches that proove that Microsoft apparently supports a bare minimum with regard to vCenter. I have collected the pains I hve gone through to let you suffer with me ;-)

How to Manage ESX Hosts with VMM 2012 R2

Although Microsoft offers a step-by-step guide for setting up System Center Virtual Machine Manager with VMware vCenter, I found it to be missing details. Therefore, I have created an illustrated guide for integrating vCenter and ESX hosts into VMM.

Installing VMM 2012 R2 with an Empty Remote Database

Vendors have only recently realized that database administrators only relunctantly grant permissions in addition to a mere database ownership. In a previous post I ranted about the installer for Citrix EdgeSight. This time I will be more peaceful when telling about the pecularities of the installer for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager. There is a blog post by Microsoft about using an empty remote database for VMM 2012 but some things have changed in R2.

Second Edition of our Book about Hyper-V and System Center

When the first edition of our German book was published, it was solely focussed on Windows Server 2012 but at the same time Windows Server 2012 R2 was getting close to its RTM date. Therefore we decided to update the book with new content. In the second edition, we added over 100 pages of in-depth information about Windows Server 2012 R2.

Again I have worked with Nils Kaczenski, Marc Grote and Jan Kappen. And again I had an awesome time coordinating with those three IT pros.

Using Shadowing to Make Demos during Presentations more Comfortable

I love giving demos during my presentation. But I also love presenter view in PowerPoint because I can stay in touch with my audience as well as my presentation. Apart from that, what’s on my desktop is only my business ;-) As soon as I switch to my demo, I am in a difficult situation. When my demo is visible for the audience, I need to turn around to be able to see it. Altough I do not like duplicating my primary display for the reasons mentioned above. But now, let me show you how to use the shadowing feature in Remote Desktop Services. After shadowing had disappeared in Windows Server 2012, it is now back Windows Server 2012 R2.

Useful Features in Remote Desktop Services for Cloud-Based Labs

I have recently blogged about the cloud-based lab which I have been using for more than a year now. It is a single, dedicated server running all my virtual machines. With the update to Windows Server 2012 R2, I decided to utilize more features of Remote Desktop Services. Because my virtual machines are located on virtual networks on the hypervisor, I cannot access them directly from the outside. Therefore, I have always used the server as the first hop before working on the VMs. Although I am using remote management whereever possible, I still need to RDP into VMs regularly. I have now implemented the following features to make my life easier.

Network Teaming Issues with Windows Server 2012 R2 in VMware Workstation

I have been using VMware Workstation for my lab for several years now. Using Client Hyper-V just does not cut it for me because I have been working with different hypervisors lately and need nested virtualization. But I have not been able to get network teaming to work in Windows Server 2012 R2. Now, I have finally traced this to the type of network adapters in VMware Workstation 10.