WAC: Hyperconverged Hyper-V Cluster with S2D

Creating a new cluster made easy (ish) with Windows Admin Centre

Last year I replaced a 3 node VMWare+SAN cluster with a 2 node hyperconverged Hyper-V cluster. I’ve been quite impressed with it so far so thought I’d write how I did it – especially considering I did the bulk of the work through Windows Admin Centre.

Before you decide to sit down and do this, be warned it’s not a quick process. If you’re in any doubt you should probably consult a vendor who has the Microsoft certified hardware and expertise available before putting this into production – if you’re fine with setting up complicated things yourself, or it’s for testing, then you’re welcome to come along for the ride. You’ll no doubt waste countless hours trying to get Windows to play with the disk adapters and get the disks into the right mode for S2D, especially if you’re using older hardware, so I’d set aside at least a full day or two.

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WAC: Azure Backup

If you’ve connected Windows Admin Centre to Azure you’ll find a section called Azure Backup. This will allow you to back up your on-site workloads to Azure using the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services agent. It’s ideal for backing up physical servers or individual virtual machines, however if you’re after backing up all the guests on your Hyper-V host you’re better off looking into Azure Backup Server, which runs on the host rather than the guest.

In this post I’m going to look at configuring and backing up a server through Windows Admin Centre, and then at how to recover the data – both for a partial failure (such as some files being deleted but the server still boots) and a total failure.

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Windows Admin Centre

Stop using Server Manager and get WAC!

Windows Admin Centre is a web based server (and desktop) administration package which, eventually, should replace the majority of the work currently done through MMC consoles and snap-ins. If you’ve ever opened Server Manager on a Windows 2019 machine you’ll have seen the popup telling you to “Go get Windows Admin Centre!”. Whilst it’s not there yet, it is constantly being updated and improved and I find it really useful.

It’s a lot more than just managing a couple of systems – when I set up our hyperconverged Hyper-V cluster I primarily did this from within WAC (post to follow on this if I get chance to write it up) – and it integrates nicely with a lot of Azure services (including any Azure VMs you might have)

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Azure Backup Server – protecting our Hyper-V workload

The Azure Backup Server console showing jobs in progress

We recently migrated our VMWare 3-node plus SAN cluster to a 2-node hyperconverged Hyper-V setup, and after reviewing a few options for backing the thing up I decided on Azure Backup Server.

Our previous setup involved Veeam doing the local backups, then Cloudberry transferring all this into an Azure storage account periodically. I like this setup but want to simplify it (and save money). Best thing here is Azure Backup Server is essentially free – you’re just paying for the data transfer and storage costs in Azure – which I am already paying for anyway. It will do local backups, i.e. Disk-to-disk, but also allow you to back up to Azure (hence the name), i.e. Disk-to-disk-to-cloud. Perfect.

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Active Directory CA certificates for HPE iLO

I’ve recently replaced my servers with some nice HPE ProLiants with iLO 4 Advanced. One of the first steps I wanted to get sorted was replacing the self-signed SSL certificates so I don’t have to sit through the warning messages every time I open the web interface. I’ve already got an Active Directory Certification Authority set up so thought I’d use that, given that the root CA certificate is already installed and trusted on all devices.

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Active Directory: Recovering Deleted Items

A while ago we accidentally deleted a leaving staff member’s account instead of disabling it – and pure bad luck means this particular member of staff came back a week later to cover a staff illness. Not wanting to have to re-create the account I discovered that the Active Directory Recycle Bin had not been enabled in the forest – oh no! Luckily we can still get the account back. Objects deleted in AD are tombstoned for 180 days (by default). Continue reading “Active Directory: Recovering Deleted Items”

Hybrid Azure AD Domain Join Without an SCP

The standard method to configure hybrid domain join is to open up Azure AD Connector and follow the wizard. However this isn’t suitable for every environment – for a start it needs to write forest-level configuration data, create a Service Connection Point (SCP), and if you want to link multiple tenancies to a single AD forest you’re in for a hard time.

Luckily we can hybrid join with some registry settings on the client devices, and don’t need to set up an SCP. Here’s how I’ve managed it on my network.

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