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Windows Hosting - :: Save Your Important Data Using Windows Server Backup

clock October 10, 2016 21:11 by author Dan

Windows Server Backup is a unique feature that enables regular backups and recovery solutions for computers running Windows Server 2008. The new backup and recovery technology was introduced to replace the previous NTBackup feature that was in earlier Windows versions. This program automatically performs back up operations for critical data and can also be used to restore the data for supported applications. In fact, the backup feature can be used for backing up a full Server or selected volumes according to user's needs.

With this server backup, it is easy to manage disasters when they occur. This is possible through recovery options for backed up volumes, folders, files, applications or even system state. A system recovery using Server Backup program can restore a complete server to a new hard drive in case of disk volume failures. This can be done using the full Windows recovery environment. Besides local computers, this new Backup also supports creation and management of backups for remote computers.

The server backup solution is an appropriate feature not only for system administrators but for anyone who needs backup solutions. It is suitable for small businesses as well as large companies. In fact, you do not need to be an IT professional to use new this new backup program. It is actually suited for individuals with basic computer skills especially in data recovery and backup. Technically, Windows Server Backup also provides APIs for cloud integration.

To run this program, you have to be in the group of administrators or Backup operators as a special consideration. Using the MMC (Microsoft Management Console) snap-in, you can actually manage the backups of another computer with Windows Server Backup. However, since the firewall is enabled by default in Windows 2008, you might encounter several security issues in the process. Luckily, these issues can be resolved by making relevant changes in the firewall. With these exciting new features included in this feature Backup program, it becomes much easier to perform and manage data recovery operations in a convenient manner; its few drawbacks outlined below notwithstanding.

One drawback with Windows 2008 is that current users of previous versions of Windows Server cannot upgrade old settings to the new Windows Server Backup feature. These settings have to be reconfigured after running an upgrade. A separate and dedicated disk is also required for running scheduled backups. Moreover, backing up data on tape is no longer supported in Server program and only locally attached disks can be backed up. To recover data from backups created with previous Server versions, you have to install NTBackup for Windows Server 2008.

With its faster backup technology, the backup software is a convenient and versatile backup tool in Windows server 2008. Restoration of items is much simpler as you can selectively choose what to restore. Backups can also be scheduled to run automatically without any user input. One-time backups can be performed to complement the automatic backups. With cloud integration, cloud backups can be synchronized with local backups through the MMC snap-in in Server Backup solution.

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Windows Server 2012 Hosting:: Installing Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012

clock May 7, 2014 09:29 by author Ben

When installing Windows Server 2012, it matters if you have the retail version of Windows Server 2012 setup media or the volume license version. The retail version of Windows Server 2012 requires a product key to proceed. The volume license edition does not require a product key at installation time.

There are a few new features available in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, the most interesting are:

  • Hyper-V Virtual Machine (VM) Replication, a new disaster recover (DR) mechanism for VMs.
  • Virtual SAN Manager and the ability to deploy virtual fiber channel adapters to VMs.
  • New virtual hard drive (VHD) format ".vhdx" offers superior performance, capacity, and reliability over Hyper-V VHDs in Windows Server 2008.
  • Ability to Live Migrate VMs between hosts that are not in a cluster and have no shared storage.

Once you have verified and you are sure that the target computer system has all the prerequisites in place, and it meets the minimum hardware requirements, here is how you can install the Hyper-V role on the Windows Server 2012 standalone computer or Active Directory domain controller:

  1. Log on to the computer with the Administrator account (in case of standalone server) or Enterprise Admin or Domain Admin account (in case of Active Directory domain controller).
  2. If not already started, initialize the Server Manager window by clicking its icon from the bottom left corner of the screen.
  3. On the opened Server Manager window, from the top right corner, go to the Manage menu from the menu bar.
  4. From the displayed list, click the Add Roles and Features option.
  5. On the opened Add Roles and Features Wizard box, on the Before you begin window, click Next to proceed to the next step.
  6. On the Select installation type window, make sure that the Role-based or feature-based installation radio button is selected.
  7. Click Next to proceed to the next step.
  8. On the Select destination server window, make sure that the Select a server from the server pool radio button is selected.
  9. Also make sure that the target server (this server) is selected in the Server Pool list.
  10. Click Next to continue.
  11. On the Select server roles window, check the Hyper-V checkbox, and on the displayed box, click the Add Features button to add the additional features that are essential for the Hyper-V role.
  12. Back on the Select server roles window, click Next to proceed.
  13. On the Select features window, leave the default settings intact and click Next.
  14. On the Hyper-V window, read the information carefully and click Next.
  15. On the Create Virtual Switches window, check the checkbox representing the active Ethernet card in the Network adapters list.
  16. Click Next to continue to the next step.
  17. On the Virtual Machine Migration window, leave everything default for now and click Next.
  18. On the Default Stores window, click the Browse button to change the default virtual hard disk and Hyper-V configuration files’ locations. (You can leave the default settings intact for the testing purposes, like it is in this demonstration.)
  19. On the Confirm installation selections window, check the Restart the destination server automatically if required checkbox.
  20. Finally click Install to begin the Hyper-V role installation process on the Windows Server 2012 server.
  21. Once the installation process completes, and the system restarts, you can start creating the Hyper-V virtual machines on the server.

Note: It is important to store the virtual hard disk files to any location other than C:\ in order to prevent the system drive from getting overpopulated and over consumed, which may further result in decreased Windows Server 2012 performance.

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While Windows Server 2012 general availability starts September 4th, new and existing clients can now take advantage of the powerful capabilities of Microsoft’s latest edition. In keeping with’s commitment to offer the most advanced tools and resources as they become available, support for Windows Server 2012 hosting falls right in line by providing a full suite of added features and benefits.

Windows 2012 Hosting :: Hyper-v 3.0 Network Virtualization on Windows 2012

clock August 28, 2013 10:21 by author Mike

Windows Server introduces a slew of new technologies. These technologies enable Windows Server systems and virtual environments to meet all manner of new requirements and scenarios, including private and public cloud implementations. Often, this type of scenario involves a single infrastructure that's shared by different business units or even different organizations. 

In this article, I want to describe Network virtualization. Other great capabilities include a new site-to-site VPN solution; huge enhancements to the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, enabling VMs to run from a Server 8 file share; native NIC teaming; and consistent device naming. But I want to focus on the major network technologies that most affect virtualization.

Virtualization has always striven to abstract one resource layer from another, giving improved functionality and portability. But networking hasn't embraced this goal, and VMs are tied to the networking configuration on the host that runs them. Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012 tries to link VMs to physical networks through its logical networks feature, which lets you create logical networks such as Development, Production, and Backup. You can then create IP subnets and virtual LANs (VLANs) for each physical location that has a connection to a logical network. This capability lets you create VMs that automatically connect to the Production network, for example; VMM works out the actual Hyper-V switch that should be used and the IP scheme and VLAN tag, based on the actual location to which the VM is deployed.

This feature is great. But it still doesn't help in scenarios in which I might be hosting multiple tenants that require their own IP schemes, or even one tenant that requires VMs to move between different locations or between private and public clouds, without changing IP addresses or policies that relate to the network. Typically, public cloud providers require clients to use the hosted IP scheme, which is an issue for flexible migration between on-premises and off-premises hosting.

Both these scenarios require the network to be virtualized, and the virtual network must believe that it wholly owns the network fabric, in the same way that a VM believes it owns the hardware on which it runs. VMs don't see other VMs, and virtual networks shouldn't see or care about other virtual networks on the same physical fabric, even when they have overlapping IP schemes. Network isolation is a crucial part of network virtualization, especially when you consider hosted scenarios. If I'm hosting Pepsi and Coca-Cola on the same physical infrastructure, I need to be very sure that they can't see each other's virtual networks. They need complete network isolation.

This virtual network capability is enabled through the use of two IP addresses for each VM and a virtual subnet identifier that indicates the virtual network to which a particular VM belongs. The first IP address is the standard address that's configured within the VM and is referred to as the customer address (using IEEE terms). The second IP address is the address that the VM communicates over the physical network and is known as the provider address.

In the example that Figure 1 shows, we have one physical fabric. Running on that fabric are two separate organizations: red and blue. Each organization has its own IP scheme, which can overlap, and the virtual networks can span multiple physical locations. Each VM that is part of the virtual red or blue network has its own customer address. A separate provider address is used to send the actual IP traffic over the physical fabric.

Figure 1: Virtual networking example

Figure 1: Virtual networking example 

You can see that the physical fabric has the network and compute resources and that multiple VMs run across the hosts and sites. The color of the VM coordinates with its virtual network (red or blue). Even though the VMs are distributed across hosts and locations, the hosts in the virtual networks are completely isolated from the other virtual networks with their own IP schemes.

Two solutions-IP rewrite and Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE)-enable network virtualization in Server 8. Both solutions allow completely separate virtual networks with their own IP schemes (which can overlap) to run over one shared fabric.

IP rewrite. The first option is IP rewrite, which does exactly what the name suggests. Each VM has two IP addresses: a customer address, which is configured within the VM, and a provider address, which is used for the actual packet transmission over the network. The Hyper-V switch looks at the traffic that the VM is sending out, looks at the virtual subnet ID to identify the correct virtual network, and rewrites the IP address source and target from the customer addresses to the corresponding provider addresses. This approach requires many IP addresses from the provider address pool because every VM needs its own provider address. The good news is that because the IP packet isn't being modified (apart from the address), hardware offloads such as virtual machine queue (VMQ), checksum, and receive-side scaling (RSS) continue to function. IP rewrite adds very little overhead to the network process and gives very high performance.

Figure 2 shows the IP rewrite process, along with the mapping table that the Hyper-V host maintains. The Hyper-V host maintains the mapping of customer-to-provider addresses, each of which is unique for each VM. The source and destination IP addresses of the original packet are changed as the packet is sent via the Hyper-V switch. The arrows in the figure show the flow of IP traffic.

Figure 2: IP rewrite process

Figure 2: IP rewrite process 

GRE. The second option is GRE, an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard. GRE wraps the originating packet, which uses the customer addresses, inside a packet that can be routed on the physical network by using the provider address and that includes the actual virtual subnet ID. Because the virtual subnet ID is included in the wrapper packet, VMs don't require their own provider addresses. The receiving host can identify the targeted VM based on the target customer address within the original packet and the virtual subnet ID in the wrapper packet. All the Hyper-V host on the originating VM needs to know is which Hyper-V host is running the target VM and can send the packet over the network.

The use of a shared provider address means that far fewer IP addresses from the provider IP pools are needed. This is good news for IP management and the network infrastructure. However, there is a downside, at least as of this writing. Because the original packet is wrapped inside the GRE packet, any kind of NIC offloading will break. The offloads won't understand the new packet format. The good news is that many major hardware manufacturers are in the process of adding support for GRE to all their network equipment, enabling offloading even when GRE is used.

Figure 3 shows the GRE process. The Hyper-V host still maintains the mapping of customer-to-provider address, but this time the provider address is per Hyper-V host virtual switch. The original packet is unchanged. Rather, the packet is wrapped in the GRE packet as it passes through the Hyper-V switch, which includes the correct source and destination provider addresses in addition to the virtual subnet ID.

Figure 3: GRE 

In both technologies, virtualization policies are used between all the Hyper-V hosts that participate in a specific virtual network. These policies enable the routing of the customer address across the physical fabric and track the customer-to-provider address mapping. The virtualization policies can also define the virtual networks that are allowed to communicate with other virtual networks. The virtualization policies can be configured by using Windows PowerShell, which is a common direction for Server 8. This makes sense: When you consider massive scale and automation, the current GUI really isn't sufficient. The challenge when using native PowerShell commands is the synchronous orchestration of the virtual-network configuration across all participating Hyper-V hosts.

Both options sound great, but which one should you use? GRE should be the network virtualization technology of choice because it's faster than IP rewrite. The network hardware supports GRE, which is important because otherwise GRE would break offloading, and software would need to perform offloading, which would be very slow. Also, because of the reduced provider address requirements, GRE places fewer burdens on the network infrastructure. However, until the networking equipment supports GRE, you should use IP rewrite, which requires no changes on the network infrastructure equipment.



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