Thursday, December 25, 2014

Hyper-V Disaster Recovery in Microsoft Azure

The Microsoft Azure public cloud is yet increasing in functionality as time passes. While there are numerous options in terms of features you can configure to begin an organization, extend it or even scale it to meet demand. Disaster Recovery is well covered. From options to back up Windows Servers, System Center, and newly added Windows Client Operating Systems beginning with Windows 7. Hyper-V is not far behind.

As a matter of fact it was there from the initial release and it has been enhanced upon. System Center Virtual Machine Manager was a necessary piece in order to protect your virtual machines within the Azure Platform. Newly added Microsoft is now supporting the protection of Virtual Machines with Hyper-V as a standalone.

Let's get started!

From the Azure platform click on the new button, data services, recovery services, site recovery vault and then quick create. Name your vault and select the region in which you would like for it to reside. When completed click the create vault button as shown below to create your Hyper-V DR Vault.

Next select your newly created vault. From the setup recovery menu select Between an on-premises Hyper-V site and Azure as shown below.

Next, we will complete the follow steps to configure the vault to enable protection of our Hyper-V virtual machines shown below.

Next we will select the first step which will create our Hyper-V site. Name your site and select the check button.

Download the registration key and save it to a location local to your machine.

 Download the Provider for the vault and when ready begin the installation.

Once the software is installed the key downloaded earlier will need to be added to register the Hyper-V Server with the vault.

A storage account will need to be made. Select the new button from the portal, data services, storage and then quick create. Name your storage account preferably something aligned with the deployment and easy for you to remember. Select the region where you would like to have the storage account reside. In my demo I selected locally redundant. In production it is best practice to select a Geo-redundant deployment which allows your protected virtual machines replicate to two data centers instead of one. Note: The configuration of a Azure Virtual Network is needed if the intent is to have a hybrid connection between your on-premises network and Azure. For the lab demo shown here a virtual network was not created. This will not hinder the process of replicating your virtual machines to Azure for protection.

Now that the storage account has been configured we are ready to specify a protection group and its settings. Here you can configure the replication time, frequency in how much each protected virtual machine should replicate, its recovery points as well as the snapshot option. Here you can design a plan that works best for your infrastructure and/or company policy.

 Next we will add the virtual machines we would like protected in Azure.

Select the virtual machines, the operating system whether it is Windows or Linux and select the check button.

 Protection is enabled and the process will begin replicating your virtual machine from on premise to the Azure Site Recovery Vault.

Once completed via the Azure portal you will have an update for the health status.

From the on-premise Hyper-V Server you can select the virtual machine protected, the replication tab at the bottom to gain a summary of the replication and its status from within the Hyper-V Manager console. 

Success! You have configured Hyper-V Disaster Recovery in Microsoft Azure.

By: Adnan Cartwright

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Migrating FSMO's Using PowerShell

PowerShell continues to make Administrative tasks easier the more it is utilized. Migrating FSMO's is also part of those task. So you have to move the Active Directory Database to another server in your environment. Let's get this task underway. In our lab environment we have two servers. One is a Server 2008 R2 server and the other a Server 2012 R2 server.

The 2012 R2 Server is joined to the domain but is not a DC. Let's run the PowerShell cmdlet Install-WindowsFeature AD-Domain-Services -IncludeManagementTools to get the role going as seen below.


Next we will run the cmdlet as shown below
Install-ADDSDomainController -CreateDnsDelegation:$false -DatabasePath 'C:\Windows\NTDS' -DomainName 'FISG.LOCAL' -InstallDns:$true -LogPath 'C:\Windows\NTDS' -NoGlobalCatalog:$false -SiteName 'Default-First-Site-Name' -SysvolPath 'C:\Windows\SYSVOL' -NoRebootOnCompletion:$true -Force:$true

Enter the Safe Mode Password to continue the install


Next restart the server to complete the install.

Next we will verify that AD replicated to our new Server by checking the Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC).

Next we will move or FSMO's to our new Server. In PowerShell on our new server we will run the netdom query fsmo command as seen below.

Next we will run the cmdlet
Move-ADDirectoryServerOperationMasterRole -identity "FISG-DC1" -OperationMasterRole 0,1,2,3,4 as seen below to transfer the roles.

Next we will run the netdom query fsmo cmdlet again to verify that all fsmo's were transferred to FISG-DC1 as seen below.


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By: Adnan Cartwright

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Deploying Remote Desktop Services In Windows Azure

Windows Azure has indeed made deployments much easier and less costly in some cases. One of those cases being a remote office that needs their clients to connect to a server for remote app works. Applications such as Microsoft Office, Quickbooks and others can now be deployed and accessed with the great of ease using Windows Server 2012 R2 in Windows Azure.

For a quick deployment and single server setup connect to a Windows Azure account. Don't have one. no worries. Obtain one for free at

Once your account is active the next step is to configure a storage account. To create a storage account click New, Data Services, Storage and then Quick Create. Enter the name of the storage account one you can remember and is not use. I selected Locally Redundant for Replication as this is a lab. You can choose to have it Geo-Redundant to replicate your storage account based on your needs. As seen below.

Our Next Step is to set up the network in which our RDS Server will be utilizing. Click New, Network Services, Virtual Network then Custom Create as seen below.

On the Virtual Network Details Page enter the Name of your Virtual Network and Select Create a New Affinity Group as seen below. Select the Region and then name the Affinity Group. Click next.

Leave the DNS Servers blank as we will be adding one in later in the lab. As seen below. Click Next.

On the Virtual Network Address Spaces page select your space and add your subnet as seen below. Click OK.

Now that our network is successfully created! We can now create out Virtual Machine in Azure where our RDS Role will be installed.

From the Azure Platform Click New, Compute, Virtual Machine and then From Gallery as seen below.

 In Choose an Image Select Windows Server 2012 R2. Click Next.

Enter the credentials for your virtual machine and the click next.

In the Virtual Machine Configuration Screen. Enter the Virtual Network which we created earlier as well as the storage account. Click Next.

On the End Points page add HTTPS and click OK to finish the Virtual Machine configuration.

Now that our Virtual Machine is up and Running lets get connected to configure Active Directory.

Open Power Shell and enter the command "Install-WindowsFeature AD-Domain-Services -IncludeManagementTools" to lay down the binaries for Active Directory. Next enter the command "Install-ADDSForest -DomainName (your domain name here)" The virtual machine will shutdown and restart once completed. The next step is add the DNS Server to our Azure Virtual Network. From the Virtual Network click configure then add the name of the AD Server we just created as well as the IP Address as seen below. VERY IMPORTANT!!!! (Also enable Remote Management in the local Server. It will need to be enabled for the installation of the Remote Desktop Services role to succeed).

To check the IP Address of the server view the network configuration. You may have to stop and start the virtual machine for the IP configuration for the network to take affect. Once it does you will have the same IP Configuration as we do below.

Once confirmed our next is to do a little DNS Cleanup. This will remove any issues we will have with DNS resolving not only internally but externally as well. Will need to remove all forwarders and have DNS listen only to the IPv4 Address as seen below.

Once you have removed the forwarder and only checked the IPv4 Address to listen on. Please perform and Security Updates from Microsoft and restart the server.

Our next steps are to install the RDS Role. Click Manage from Server Manager then Add Roles. Select your server and then Remote Desktop Services Installation. Click Next.

In the deployment type select Quick Start then click next.

Select Session-based desktop deployment and then click next.

With your server added click next. On the complete install page check the box to Restart the server automatically during the configuration. The server will restart one time and then complete the install.

Once the install is complete you will be given a link to connect to your newly created RDS deployment. As seen below. Once logged in you will see the default applications you can connect to As seen below.

To configure a SSL cert for secure communications create a certificate request for your Trusted Certificate Authority and complete the request once the certificate is received. 

You have successfully completed the deployment of Remote Desktop Services in Windows Azure!!!!

By: Adnan Cartwright

Resource Links:

Windows Azure and Server 2012 R2 Downloads: