Archives For Windows Servers

2014 has been a busy year for me for many reasons but I thought I would briefly summerise some of the highlights for me over the year as well as some musings with regard to the future of the industry.


I have been lucky enough to attend a number of events this year, including BriForum, vForum and IPExpo in London, vForum in Manchester,  the Dell Enterprise Forum in Frankfurt, VMworld in Barcelona as well as a number of VMware User Group events. These events for me offer a great opportunity to meet individuals from the communities and the technical deep-dive sessions at these events really offer a valuable opportunity to get a better understanding on particular subjects from industry experts. I am looking forward to many events in the coming year including hopefully BriForum and VMworld again, I would also like to get a better understanding of Microsoft, Amazon and Google direction in the industry.

End User Computing

This year has been a year of improvement and maturity for end user computing, we have seen VMware acquire AirWatch for $1.54 billion, the aqcuistion of cloud volumes as well as the release of Horizon 6. The subject of end user computing is becoming ever more defined and mature, we should no longer be awaiting the year of VDI and the focus should be firmley around the user. There is no single right answer to end user computing, we should be concentrating on the users, their use cases and needs, what can we do to make our users more productive? This will be a hybrid mix of many technologies from desktop PC’s to VDI, Mobiles and tablets and more. From a user perspective we need to ensure they can easily access their applications and data on whatever platform and wherever they are. From an administrator perspective we need to ensure this can be done in a secure way that will meet the user’s needs, it needs to easy to manage, monitor and upgrade. For me I like to practice what I preach and my business processes and personal life is spread between a mix of devices and operating systems, I use a Mac Book Pro as my main business device but also use an iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and a Windows 8.1 VDI desktop. For me the device should no longer matter and it doesn’t, but it is imperative that the applications and data are where I need them when I need them.


We are starting to see the ever growing importance of applications within the IT infrastructure, whilst they have always been important the focus of IT Administrators and consultants maybe hasn’t always been focused purely on the applications but the infrastructure used to run the applications. During 2014 it has become increasingly obvious that this is where the future of the IT industry lies, focusing on not keeping the cogs turning but ensuring our applications are meeting our business needs. Integration and automation not necessarily between infrastructure components but applications will be key in the software defined world, how are you going to get SaaS application A talking to SaaS application B? With the focus on the applications we are seeing growth in the areas that focus on the applications like Docker and Openstack, DevOps is key.

Hybrid Cloud

2014 for me was the year of the hybrid cloud, we saw VMware launch their first and second UK datacenter as well as a number of datacenters across the globe. From a customer perspective vCloud Air offers an easy way to understand how cloud will work within their business, with data residency guarantees that will suit their business needs, the ability to use the same tools they use to manage their existing private cloud as well as the ability to move workloads between private and public clouds when ever required. We have seen customers trial and start to move production workloads to the cloud using vCloud Air.
For me the future of the hybrid cloud is more than simply your private and public infrastructures, SaaS will make a big part of your infrastructure and moving forward will be ever increasing.  We are seeing Office 365 becoming the norm for many Exchange upgrades and new software installations will focus on SaaS first. Until we are able to replace all of our applications with SaaS alternatives, infrastructure is still going to be a key requirement and this is where vCloud Air offers the flexibility that businesses need.

I think it is going to be interesting to see what the next Server OS from Microsoft is going to bring, you would assume that cloud integration will be baked in as standard,  when deploying new roles you will get the choice to decide whether you want to deploy on premise or in Azure.  We will have to wait and see. I think they is particularly going to be a lot of power in a Dropbox alternative baked directly into to the Widows OS, imagine the simplicity of being able to access all your business shares that are on you Windows files servers from any device, anywhere without a VPN or similar technology but the power will have to be in data security.

Shared Storage Choice

As ever a focus this year has been on shared storage, no matter which way the industry is going there is always going to be a growing demand for storage, whilst at present that is largely on premise in the future we are going to see cloud storage options be ever increasing and important to our businesses.

We have seen the growth of many next generation storage vendors such as Nimble and Pure Storage, we have see the hyper-converged market become ever matured with Nutantix and Simplivity alongside the launch of VMware Evo:Rail and the announcement of Evo:Rack.

For me Nimble Storage has been really standout and we have seen some great reactions from customers when deployed in their infrastructures, it brings together simplicity and high performance with large capacity at a suitable price. Next year I am going to be interested to see how the adoption of Hyper-converged infrastructures grows, particularly with Nutantix and Evo:Rail / VSAN solutions within my customers.

Data Protection

As ever we have seen Veeam build upon their fantastic backup and recovery product with the release of V8, this see’s improved methods of recovery and replication amongst other new features. Next year I would love to see them be able to offer a product that allows you to back up your VMs no matter if they are on premise or in the cloud with vCloud Air, Azure or Amazon EC2. But for me the biggest challenge moving into a SaaS world is data protection. Many people seem to forget about data protection when moving their applications and data to the cloud, but is this correct? Should we be trusting these important assets with one provider, who ever they maybe, or is having 3 copies of your data ever more important? I think the challenge of data protection in the cloud era is having a platform that will allow you to backup, protect and recover your data from a variety or resources to a different set of resources. Let’s say you are storing important business information with SaaS provider A, what happens if they go bust or have a massive data breach or business continuity issue? Maybe you are taking a regular dump of data to a CSV file or similar, but what use is this to your business unless you can convert and recover your data to SaaS provider B? Without global standards between similar providers this is where protecting SaaS applications will become difficult and in my opinion a big challenge for our industry. Maybe until this is solved outside of the main players like Microsoft and Google etc companies will choose to turn to IaaS solutions and protect their data in a more traditional way or will they just take the risk and trust the providers?

Personal Achievements

I have really enjoyed taking part in a number of industry interview opportunities this year, I love sharing a my thoughts and visions for the industry as well as getting to discuss these subjects with others. I have presented at a number of events including the UKVMUG and my companies own events with a record number attending our most recent VMware event that is growing year on year. The biggest challenge for me this year has been working on a second book, this time with co-author Peter von Oven, we are nearing the end now and are hoping that our book Mastering Horizon 6 will be published prior to April by Packt publishing. my biggest achievement was to be made a director of the company I work for, I will be concentrating on pre-sales and operations for my business and this gives me a great opportunity to continue learning and evangalising about technology as well as getting involved with the internal processes and procedures within the business and understanding how modern applications will help our business. I am looking forward to helping the business grow and be better known within the technology industry as well as working on some exciting projects.

That’s all for now, there are so many more areas I could talk about, 2015 is going to be an exciting year for many reasons. I hope to be able to catchup with many of you in the new year.

Happy new year.


The much anticipated release of Veeam Backup and Replication V6 was released yesterday bringing a wealth of new features and many improvements for existing users.


Some of the biggest new features and improvements are as follows

  • New distributed architecture
  • Hyper-V Support
  • One Click File Restore
  • Massive Replication Enhancements

To get the full low down on what is new in V6 check of this PDF >> Click Here

Distributed Architecture

With the new distributed architecture their are new roles that can be split away from the backup server to help you distribute the various tasks of the backup, they then use intelligent load balancing to help ensure you get the most out of your available resource.

The roles are as follows

Proxy Servers – The proxy server acts as a data mover unlike the full backup server they don’t require a dedicated SQL database and only a few light wait components need to be installed

Backup Repositories – The backup repositories decouple the backup target information from the backup jobs

Windows Smart Target – A windows target agent can be installed to Windows based target to provide the most efficient backup across networks with added traffic compression and updating of synthetic backups locally on the backup target

All the relevant components can be installed remotely from the Veeam server and also all future updates can be managed and installed from the Veeam server.

Hyper-V Support

With the new Hyper-V support Veeam is now able to offer multi hypervisor support from a single management console


Replication Enhancements

One of the most popular features of Veeam Backup and Replication has been the replication feature but if you were replicating over a high speed link some found the performance wasn’t as good as they were expecting. With the new V6 release Veeam are now seeing up to a 10x performance increase. Not only this but there are also numerous new features such as seeding from a backup job and the ability to Re-IP a VM when you failover functionality that we have only ever seen in products such as VMware SRM previously.


This latest version of Veeam Backup and Replication not only see’s the usual new features but a complete design change in the way we can use Veeam in larger organisation while still being able to work in the traditional non distributed manner for smaller customer. With the new features available Veeam has further secured it’s place as the must have backup solution for your virtualised environment. Unfortunately we will need to continue to use other legacy products for our physical servers but maybe that is the reason on it own we need to be pushing towards 100% virtualisation. I will be digging deeper into the product over the coming weeks and hope to do some more in-depth blog posts soon. V6 is already running in my home lab at the moment and I have been really impressed by what I have seen so far.


Installing in my home lab


Highlighted is the new bottleneck detection within the job information screen, as you can see in my home lab the bottleneck is my target storage (Maybe thats an excuse for an upgrade!)

Add Server

The new add server screen for the virtualisation hosts and the smart targets


The updated backup and replication console




It’s been a long time since I have needed to install network teaming on a DL380, just as a reminder you will need to download the ProLiant Networking Package from here, you will need to isntall the utility relative to the NICS in your server. Once this is done the utillity can be found in Control Panel and not in the Start menu as I was expecting.

Jeff Woolsey Principal Group Program Manager for Windows Server Hyper-V this morning blogged about Microsoft Hyper V R2’s ability to offer HA and Live Migration for Free! Whilst many have known this is on the way, it does raise many questions on how this is going to reflect with VMWare, are they going to be forced to go down the same route or as said by VMware, is this just a sign of weakness by the competition?

To get HA and Live migration with Hyper V R2 you can use either the free Failover Cluster Manager/Hyper-V Manager, or purchase System Centre Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, this will also unlock other features such as templates, clones and powershell support!?.

So even though two of the headline features that have been dangled by VMware for some time, are free from Microsoft, you will still need to pay for the System Center Virtual Machine Manager to get a experience anywhere near that of VMWare the equivelent VMware system dipicated by Microsoft.

I personally haven’t used Hyper V R2 yet and being a VMware fan will always be synical to Microsoft’s attempts at virtualisation, but this is an interesting move from Microsoft and could defiantly effect VMWare’s SMB share even with the announcement of the essentials pack announced with vSphere, it will be interesting to see how and if VMware responds.

Link to Microsoft Blog >>

After completing a P2V you sometimes need to view the ghosted hardware in device manager, this maybe to try and rectify and issue or just to have a clean up of old physical hardware. To do this you will need to follow the Microsoft KB article 241257.

To work around this behavior and display phantom devices when you use the Show hidden devices command:

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
  2. At the command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after each line
    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
    start devmgmt.msc

    where %SystemRoot% is the folder in which Windows 2000 is installed.

  3. Troubleshoot the devices and drivers in Device Manager, as required.

    NOTE: You must first select show hidden devices on the Device Manager View menu before you can see devices that are no longer present in the system.

  4. When you are done troubleshooting, quit Device Manager, and then close the Command Prompt window. Closing the window clears the variable you set in step 2 and prevents ghosted devices from being displayed when you use the Show hidden devices command.

NOTE: When you quit Device Manager and close the Command Prompt window, the set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 variable is turned off so you cannot see the phantom devices.