Tag Archive for Hyper-V Server

MCTS: 70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 Exam Review

Well I am very pleased to say that I came back home today certified as an MCSE: Private Cloud… yay!

First off, I would say this is one of the trickiest MS exams I have taken. This is not because the subject is particularly difficult, but purely for the volume and depth of information you need to cover, as you are in effect being tested on your knowledge of no less than 7 enterprise applications as well as their interoperation!

I will admit that due to time constraints I wasn’t able to study all elements of SC2012 in the depth I would have liked (I have barely scratched the surface with App Controller and Config Manager), but I was fortunate not to have been hammered too badly because of this.

I have already listed my study materials in my previous post MCTS: 70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 Exam Prep and Study Guide, but once again I believe it is really getting as much hands on experience as you can, which makes all the difference.

I created a simple lab environment running the entire thing under VMware Workstation 8 on my desktop machine. The spec of the machine is:

  • Intel Quad Core i7 920 processor
  • 24GB RAM
  • Multiple SSDs (the test lab runs across 2 of them totalling around 150GB of space in use).
  • I also used a FreeNAS 0.7 appliance running on another vSphere box to provide some shared iSCSI storage for my Hyper-V clusters (doesnt need to be fast as only for a couple of test VMs and cluster quorum).

The only time I suffered any real performance issues with this setup were when installing windows updates. This wasn’t an issue for me as I kicked them off overnight, but if you were being a bit more proactive, you could build one VM first, update to all the latest patches, install Sliverlight, .NET3.5 / .NET4  (required by lots of SC products), then sysprep and clone the VMs instead.

As I was being a little lazy, I didn’t do much with nesting VMs this time, so immediately under WS8 I installed 9 VMs. You could of course nest most or all of these roles under your Hyper-V hosts, barring the DC which is required to auth the startup of your VM hosts, an issue which is now fixed in Windows Server 2012 (in theory). The performance reduction is minimal, it’s just a bit of a pain if you want to shut down your machine in a hurry…

HostnameRolesvCPUsvRAMvDisks
(Thin)
SV2008R2-MGTAD, DNS, SQL Server 2008 R2 SP124GB40GB
100GB
SCOMOperations Manager 2012, SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Reporting Services22GB40GB
SCCMConfiguration Manager 201212GB40GB
SCVMMVirtual Machine Manager 201212GB40GB
SCSMService Manager 201212GB40GB
SCACApplication Controller 201212GB40GB
SCORCHOrchestrator 201212GB40GB
HV1-FULLHyper-V under a full 2008 R2 OS installation24GB40GB
60GB
HV2-HVSHyper-V Server 2008 R224GB40GB
60GB

Hyper-V Server and 2008 R2 are not supported in a cluster configuration, but it will work (with a couple of red lines on your cluster validation report). As long as you implement the following steps, you can then nest 64 bit VMs inside your Hyper-V servers. See Velimir Kojic’s blog post for more info on this, but the headline points are:

  1. Enable virtualisation of VT-x/EPT. This is the same as you would do for virtualising ESX/ESXi under Workstation 8, allowing nested 64-bit VMs.
  2. Add the following line to your VMX files:
    hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = “FALSE”

I did initially try the unified installer but it proved to be a total pain, especially as some of the components were not recognised or were missing / different from the download links, and the installer itself refuses to install or even recognise a package if the install does not have the correct name (e.g. you have to download 2 editions of reportviewer, 2008 and 2010. You need to put them in separate directories with their original file names, and not just rename them to reportviewer2008.exe and reportviewer2010.exe – very annoying!). The same goes for the service packs, SQL installers etc. In the end I gave up with it and installed all the components manually, which I think probably teaches you more about the install process anyway.

Once I had my lab up and running I simply followed through all of the MS training on the Microsoft Virtual Academy. I genuinely cannot recommend these highly enough, and it really is very good of MS to provide them free of charge. When running through the videos, I tried to emulate every demo on screen, using my lab, then followed through reading as many articles as possible from the other links I included in my prep article.

Good luck to anyone attempting this exam in the future, next on my agenda was going to be the upgrade to Windows Server 2012, but I have decided to (at long last) slot in some time to aim for a CCNA first!

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MCTS: 70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 Exam Prep and Study Guide

MCTS: 70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 Exam Prep and Study Guide

Exam 70-246

After a rather busy summer, I figured it was about time I got round to finishing up my MCSE:Private Cloud, by completing the final exam in the track with the 70-246 exam. Unfortunately due to a very busy week since I came back from holiday, I haven’t given myself much time to study for the exam!

At the time of writing there are still no online MOC (Microsoft Official Curriculum) courses on 70-246 (such as the courses you can use with your TechNet subscription), so if you have a manager with a great training budget you can always attend the 10750A: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 (5 Days) training course. I have other courses I want my dev budget spent on, so I have chosen to use online resources to study for it instead.

As always, I have summarised my prep materials / study guide below for anyone interested:

  • Official Microsoft 70-246 Exam Page
    Links to all official source material, exam reqs, etc. Make sure you know and understand all of the skills measured.
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy CoursesFree!
    For a free resource these courses are superb! I used these previously for my 70-659 exam prep, and have done so again this time. If you haven’t done 70-659 and are approaching 70-246 without any Hyper-V knowledge but perhaps some VMware knowledge, then I highly recommend you consider the “Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals – The Platform” and “Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals – Management” courses first. They are based on 2008 R2 but it will cover off the mapping of terminology etc.
    Note: there is quite a bit of repetition in the courses, so I will try to highlight as I go, which are the best use of your time (unless of course you’re a rank whore, in which case do them all!). The courses I completed are as follows:

    1. Configuring and deploying Microsoft’s Private Cloud
      A good intro to Hyper-V 2012 covering a broad base – expect so spend a good 16 hours watching the 8 videos (allowing for pauses for breaks and note-making). As usual, the inimitable Symon Perriman leads the course, assisted by a selection of other MS technical marketeers.
      Be warned, the content in this is very useful, but this was one of the driest MSA courses I have watched to date. At points I did struggle to keep my attention levels up. Try to watch them say one video a night, then spend some time playing with your lab on whichever component you were watching. Trying to watch these in one go will zap your brain!
      Note: For some reason this skips the intro video for the jump start course which can be found here, and I recommend you watch first for a general overview:
      Private Cloud Jump Start (01): Introduction to the Microsoft Private Cloud with System Center 2012
    2. What’s New in System Center 2012
      This follows the same slide deck as the intro to private cloud course I mentioned above, but with a different presenter.
    3. System Center 2012: Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)
      Still a lot of high level technical marketing, but there are some quite useful demos.
    4. System Center 2012 Operations Manager
      Very well presented and goes into a decent amount of detail with plenty of demos.
    5. System Center 2012: Orchestrator & Service Manager
      Another well presented and more in-depth course.
    6. System Center 2012: Configuration Manager
      Review TBC – I did not actually get through this in time before my exam, but plan to revisit it later anyway.
    7. System Center Advisor
      Review TBC – I did not actually get through this in time before my exam, but plan to revisit it later anyway.
    8. Introduction to Private, Hybrid and Public Cloud
      Do this if you are totally new to cloud concepts, otherwise save your time and look elsewhere.
  • System Center 2012 Self-Study Guide by Scott RachuiRecommended!
    Quite simply the most in depth, detailed set of study guides I have ever come across! Scott has put in a huge amount of effort to gather all of these resources in one place. Go through as many as you can, but to be honest, you probably wont have time to get through them all!!!
  • Study Guide by Keith Mayer
    Great resource from MS blogger Keith Mayer. To download his guide, you need to use the “Pay with a Tweet” link to get a copy of his free PDF. Totally worth the price! 🙂
  • Official MS Virtualisation Blog
    If you’re a VMware person, hold onto your hat for some serious politicking, but there is some interesting content if you have time for a browse.
  • Hyper-V White Papers by Aidan Finn
    This site is run by MS MVP Aidan Finn, who has co-authored a load of books on MS products.
  • Build a Home Lab
    I cannot recommend this enough. The best way to learn Hyper-V is to play with it, that way you have seen the ins and outs.
    My home lab runs under VMware Workstation 8 on Windows 7 64-bit, with an Intel Core i7 920 and 24GB of RAM.
    To get Hyper-V 2008 R2 to run like this you need to do a couple of fixes to your hypervisor VMs when you create them. See Velimir Kojic’s blog postfor more info on this, but the headline points are:

    1. Enable virtualisation of VT-x/EPT. This is the same as you would do for virtualising ESX/ESXi under Workstation 8, allowing nested 64-bit VMs.
    2. Add the following line to your VMX files:
      hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = “FALSE”
  • More to links and updates to follow over the next week…

Please feel free to submit any worthwhile links to study materials and I will include them above.

Related Posts:
MCTS: 70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 Exam Review

MCTS: 70-659 Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam Review

So I just got back from sitting my 70-659 Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization exam this morning and I thought I would jot down a few thoughts from the exam (NDA permitting!).

First, I would say it’s actually one of the easier MS exams I’ve actually sat (and I’ve been doing them for about 7 years now). I don’t know if this is because I have a virtualisation background or whether the exam itself would be easy for newer members of the IT community, but either way it could have been a lot worse!

I would say the exam content sticks fairly well to the exam “skills measured” table on the 70-659 page. The problem with this page is it’s very general, and doesn’t give you any specific details on source materials etc, like you normally get on for example a VMware Exam Blueprint. I would suggest that you look at the topics covered but always remember to research into the “corners” so to speak, i.e. look into the fringe areas which you may not use every day, such as P2V, SAN migration, Authorization Manager, etc. Also make sure you understand the use cases for each type of technology, e.g. PRO, CSVs, the Self Service Portal, etc, and finally make sure you know all your numbers e.g. ports and maximums. MS is always keen to check you know these values, even though they change frequently between OS versions (and even service packs)!

Most importantly, I go back to my final recommendation from my MCTS: 70-659 Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam Prep and Study Guide, which is to build your own home lab, using at least full fat Server 2008 R2, plus a Hyper-V 2008 R2 server, and just test, test, test. Play with it and break it as much as possible, and look into every menu option as specific options in specific menus is always another MS favourite for testing. If you build and configure every item from the skills measured list, you should have a good chance when you come to the exam.

Finally, for all existing VMware-trained professionals, I definitely recommend the Microsoft Virtual Academy courses mentioned in my previous blog post, specifically the following courses, which do a good job of translating your existing VMware knowledge into “Hyper-V speak”:

Next on my agenda was originally to go onto do the MCTS desktop virtualisation and the MCITP exams, but as MS have completely overhauled their certs again I will be holding off until June now, when I should be able to take the 70-246 exam and jump straight to MCSE: Private Cloud certification. At least my wife and kids will get to spend a bit more time with me until then! 🙂

Related Posts:
MCTS: 70-659 Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam Prep and Study Guide

MCTS: 70-659 Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization Exam Prep and Study Guide

So having passed my VCAP exam last week, I barely have time to catch my breath before getting fired into the 70-659 Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization exam, which I am taking with my free 70-659 exam voucher! As usual I have summarised my prep materials / study guide below for anyone interested.

As with many MS exams, the first thing that happens when you look for some study materials for an exam is that you have to trawl through all the search results peppered with spammy brain dumps etc, to find any nuggets of actual material useful to those of us who actually want to learn the subject, very annoying! To be honest there isn’t a huge amount of information out there, but the best of what I found / used has been is condensed below:

  • Official Microsoft Exam Page
    Links to all official source material, exam reqs, etc
  • Official MS E-Learning Collection 10215
    I find the MS official training a little dry (some might say tedious!), but it does cover all the basics and the lab simulations are useful, if a tad flakey… 15-20 hours training for £120 is cheap compared to classroom learning, but does depend on you being a little more disciplined, and buying the books would work out cheaper if you are on a tight budget.
    UPDATE: If you are an MS partner then use the following link and code to get the 70-659 and 70-669 training for FREE for 2 months (subscription ends July 31st)!
    Collection 10215: Implementing and Managing Microsoft Server Virtualization [Code: 8062-COL10215-1445] http://bit.ly/HbDVTf
    Collection 10324: Implementing and Managing Microsoft® Desktop Virtualization [Code: 8430-COL10324-8932] http://bit.ly/H6pUrd
  • Mastering Microsoft Virtualization by Tim Cerling & Jeffrey Buller
    Not actually read this yet but it comes recommend by many other people. I always recommend if you are going to buy these books, buy them on Kindle. Why kill a few trees for a book you will only read once or twice, and have it clog up your book shelves for years to come. Also it’s cheaper on Kindle!
  • Mastering Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 by Michael Michael & Hector Linares
    I haven’t read this as yet, mainly due to time restrictions, but plan to do so for the 70-693 MCITP Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator exam. If you do have time it is recommended reading. VMM 2012 is now out as RTM, though I assume the exam is still based on 2008. No sign of any 2012 books as yet, but I’m sure they’ll be coming soon.
  • Mastering Hyper-V Deployment by Aidan Finn
    Again I haven’t actually read this one yet so can’t review at this time, but I plan to for the 70-693.
  • Virtual Training Boot camp for Exam 70-659 TS: Windows Server 2008 R2 VirtualizationFree!
    A welcome offer from MS to get partners interested in Hyper-V by offering what is in effect a full 70-659 course, crammed into 2 days of LVCs (Live Virtual Classes) using Microsoft Office Live Meeting. Mine was run by a QA trainer called Paul Gregory, who was very friendly and competent. If you do a Google search for the exact title above, you may even find the slide decks from this course… 😉
    It was a great offer, so I also recommend you keep an eye on the MS Events website for future similar offers. I believe they have some Windows 8 Tech days coming up shortly…
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy CoursesFree!
    For a free resource these courses are superb! There are many hours of training available, and MS encourage you to watch more (via a bit of obvious geek-tosterone based competition / ranking) you are awarded points for each course you complete, which can then be tracked and compared to other people in your own country and across the world. Be prepared to wade through the marketing BS (particularly for the overview-type presentations), but a very good resource either way.
    Note: there is quite a bit of repetition in the courses, so I will try to highlight as I go, which are the best use of your time (unless of course you’re a rank whore, in which case do them all!). The courses I completed are as follows:

    1. Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals – The Platform
      A good intro to Hyper-V where all of the features are translated for VMware-trained folk such as myself, presented in a fairly informal manner.If you don’t watch any of the other videos, watch this one! 11 videos @ 20-30 mins each.
    2. Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals – Management
      A continuation of the previous course. There’s a lot of marketing material in this related to systems which may or may not come up in the exam, though depending on your experience with the MS System Center range of products, this may be of use to you. Personally I’m used to products like BMC Patrol, Tivoli Netcool/OMNIbus, HP Openview, Altiris DS/NS etc, so this was quite interesting for me.
    3. Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals – VDI
      I would say this would be more useful for the next exam in the MCITP track (70-669 TS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization), but is included in this list for reference. I will probably take this later when I have some time.
  • Microsoft Server Virtualization Training by TrainSignal
    I haven’t actually used this one but a few people recommended it to me, and the TrainSignal courses are usually of a pretty high standard. The only drawback is that it’s nearly $300, but that’s still way cheaper than a live course.
  • Blog Post Series by Joseph Yedid
    This series covers a number of different subjects based on the exam outline / “skills measured“, which are very much like VMware exam blueprints, minus the links! These posts are also mirrored by Ruth Morton’s Technet blog.
  • Technet Blog Series by Chris Avis
    Another great series of posts going into the detail for everything you need to know. The above link goes to the most recent post which can then link you to all the others. His first post also has a load of other study resources linked off it which you should check out!
  • Official MS Virtualisation Blog
    If you’re a VMware person, hold onto your hat for some serious politicking, but there is some interesting content if you have time for a browse.
  • Exam review by Matt McSpirit
    A few useful tips here on the exam itself, and what to study.
  • Hyper-V White Papers by Aidan Finn
    This site is run by MS MVP Aidan Finn, who has co-authored a load of books on MS products.
  • Build a Home Lab
    I cannot recommend this enough. The best way to learn Hyper-V is to play with it, that way you have seen the ins and outs, the great bits (like Dynamic Memory), and the downright ugly ones (like simply setting up SCOM to then get PRO working – use SQL Server 2008, not R2, as R2 doesn’t work properly without a load of fiddling)!
    My home lab runs under VMware Workstation 8 on Windows 7 64-bit, with an Intel Core i7 920 and 24GB of RAM. I run 2 Hyper-V hosts, one is full fat 2008 R2 Enterprise, and the other is Hyper-V Server. Clustering is not officially supported, but does work, and this way you get to practice both worlds (GUI and CLI).
    To get Hyper-V to run like this you need to do a couple of fixes to your hypervisor VMs when you create them. See Velimir Kojic’s blog postfor more info on this, but the headline points are:

    1. Enable virtualisation of VT-x/EPT. This is the same as you would do for virtualising ESX/ESXi under Workstation 8, allowing nested 64-bit VMs.
    2. Add the following line to your VMX files:
      hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = “FALSE”
  • More to links to follow…

Please feel free to submit any worthwhile links to study materials and I will include them above.

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