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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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 – and a fixed fee per item. 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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In-place OS upgrade of Azure Virtual Machines

In-place OS upgrade of Azure Virtual Machines is not supported, but still possible.

In-place upgrade of Windows 2016 Azure VMs to Windows 2019 is not officially supported but still something we occasionally need to do. While I’d recommend you spin up a new 2019 VM and migrate your workload if at all possible, it’s a bit long winded but you can do an in-place upgrade.

If you’re lucky it’s as simple as copying the files off the ISO and running through the upgrade wizard, however if it brings up any prompts or messages you need to connect to the console to view you’d not get very far with a service like Azure where you cannot view the console, and this is one of the reasons why it is unsupported directly on Azure.

I’ve done two upgrades so far, one the following way and one just running the ISO. Both methods have worked out fine for me.

First of all you will need access to Azure with permission to manage the Virtual Machine in question, access to a storage account (or permission to create one), a local system running Hyper-V (this can just be a powerful PC running Windows 10), the Server 2019 ISO (or other installation source) and, if you don’t want a very long wait, a decent Internet connection.

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