Virtual Machines

Tip: Troubleshoot Virtual Machine Performance with Perfinsights

If you’re experiencing problems with a Virtual Machine (either on-premises or in Azure), Microsoft has a tool called Perfinsights that can help pinpoint issues and resolve problems. Microsoft even suggests running this tool prior to contacting support, as it collects the following information from the log files: System event logs Network status for all incoming and outgoing connections Task list for all applications currently running on the system SQL Server database configuration settings and error logs (if the VM is identified as a server that is running SQL Server) Storage reliability counters Important Windows hotfixes Installed filter drivers Firewall Rules   The tool must be run on the Virtual Machine that is exhibiting problems. Download: PerfInsights  Looking for an awes...

Troubleshoot Windows Virtual Machine Performance Problems in Azure with PerfInsights

Microsoft has released a tool to allow for troubleshooting VM problems in Azure. PerfInsights collects various information about the virtual machine, disks/storage pools configuration and performance logs such as: System event logs Network status for all incoming and outgoing connections Task list for all applications currently running on the system SQL Server database configuration settings and error logs (if the VM is identified as a server that is running SQL Server) Storage reliability counters Important Windows hotfixes Installed filter drivers Firewall Rules   Download: PerfInsights  Microsoft recommends running PerfInsights before calling support. Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas...

How to Compact and Shrink the Size of a VHD File

By Garth Jones In a recent blog post, How to Expand a Disk within a VM That Is Using a VHD File, I showed you how to expand a VHDX file in logical disk size. I did this because I had a problem with the auto-growth of my SQL Server logs. Now that this problem is fixed, I want to return the VHDX file back to its normal logical size of 128GB, and make the VHDX file as small as possible. This blog post will show you how to perform these tasks. I can hear some of you saying, “Why? You are using a dynamically expanding VHDX file, so why bother compacting and shrinking the file?” As a refresher, remember that a dynamically expanding VHDX file will start at a few MBs and grow as files are added to the virtual hard drive. If you delete a file within the virtual hard drive, the space is freed up onl...

AVMA License Keys for Windows Server 2016

By Garth Jones What are Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) license keys? AVMA license keys are used to license virtual machines (VMs) hosted on Windows Server 2016 or 2012 R2. For more details about AVMA license keys see this article. By using the AVMA feature, you can reduce your VM licensing costs as your VMs will be covered within the existing host servers’ licensing. See the licensing data sheet for more details. The table above shows that you get unlimited VMs with Windows Server Datacenter Edition and two VMs for Standard Edition. In either case the AVMA license keys are what you should use to activate the VMs on the server. What are the AVMA license keys that you should use? In Joseph’s blog post, Fun with AVMA, he lists the Windows 2012 R2 AVMA license keys, but what are t...

How to Expand a Disk within a VM That Is Using a VHD File

By Garth Jones Oh no! This screenshot is telling me that there is a BIG problem. My VM only has 9.06 MB of space free!! Yikes!!! How did I let this happen? I need to fix this fast! In this blog post I will show you how to expand a VHD to give it more space. By the way, the whole process to expand the disk and VHD doesn’t take very long to complete. To fix this problem, first begin by shutting down the VM. Next, in Hyper-V Manager, highlight your VM and then right-click on it in order to bring up the menu options. Select Settings… In the Settings window, select the VHD that needs to be expanded (in my case it is the second VHD) and then click on the Edit button. Click Next. Select Expand and then click Next. Change the size to increase the space and then click Next. In my case, I will incre...

Hyper-V Server Slow? Check Broadcom NIC KB

By Garth Jones The first day after upgrading from Hyper-V 2012 Server to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard with the Hyper-V role installed, I was in the office early, like any good administrator, making sure that there weren’t any issues. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to look at my emails, a colleague told me that the server was slow. Specifically, file transfers were very slow. What happened? When the request to upgrade the server originally crossed my desk, I wanted to upgrade Hyper-V 2012 Server to Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard, but my research told me that you couldn’t do that. I had to change my plan to format the hard drives and install Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard. The update was also complicated by the fact that the Hyper-V host server had a pass-through disk for one of t...

More RAM Space Needed for VMs with Windows Server 2012 R2

By Garth Jones Recently, I built a number of Virtual Machines (VMs) and every time I created a new VM, I attached Windows Server 2012 R2 x64 with Update ISO. After the update was attached, I booted the VM and then always got the following error message: Error 0xc0000017: There isn’t enough memory available to create a ramdisk device. The first time I read this screen, I shook my head and said, “Impossible! The VM has 512 MB of RAM.” It’s always worked before, so I even restarted the VM to confirm that it had 512 MB of RAM. However, after a bit of investigation, it turns out that the latest version of the ISO requires more RAM. Fortunately, there is a simple fix! In the Startup RAM field, change 512 MB to 1024 MB.   I wish there was an update to Windows Server 2012 R2 in order to set the de...

Hotfix Required to Create Windows Server 2016-based Guest VMs in VMM

There’s been some discussion in the community already about what type and how much support Windows Server 2016-based VMs will have. Microsoft has now provided a hotfix that will allow the creation of Windows Server 2016-based guest virtual machines (VM) in VMM. The Hotfix can be obtained from here: Hotfix 1 for Update Rollup 11 of System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Devs, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in San Francisco in 2017!

New Feature for Hyper-V

By Garth Jones This blog post has been a long time coming. It started with an open letter to Ben Armstrong. Ben’s one of the Lead Program Managers on the Microsoft Hyper-V Team. I asked Ben to consider adding a feature that would allow for Virtual Machines (VMs) to be started in a pre-defined order with delays between each VM. I would love to see this in Hyper-V! I can hear what you’re thinking, “This is a great idea, but doesn’t it already exist in Hyper-V?” No, not what I’m looking for. You might ask, “What about the delayed start option?” Yes, that kind of works, but there are several major drawbacks with the delayed start option. Mainly having to: · Set this option manually for EACH VM (see Row #1 in my example below). · Track what you have set for each VM. · Manually create a delay be...

Why Are My Virtual Machines Slow?

By Garth Jones The other day, I was working on my test SQL 2016 server and everything was “slow.” Since this was a virtual machine (VM), and we all know that disk I/O (input/output) is the number one killer of VM performance, I quickly looked at Resource Monitor. I saw that the host’s Disk Queue Length was over 50! Normally, it should be a max of 5 (red arrow) when I have all of my test labs up and running at the same time. Having a disk queue length of 50 told me right away that one or more of my VMs was writing a lot of data to the disk! Unfortunately, I’ve seen this problem before, so it didn’t take me that long to track down which VM was the culprit. All of my VMs are set to use Dynamic Memory. This means that they rarely have a multiple of 512 MB of memory assigned to them. I opened H...

How to Shut down VMs and Restart a Hyper-V Server When You Can’t Logon

By Joseph Yedid In yesterday’s post, Please Wait for the Local Session Manager, you may recall that Garth Jones and I had an issue with not being able to logon to one of our Hyper-V servers. For some reason the Local Session Manager was timing out during logon attempts. Boy was that frustrating. Before we attempted to do anything to the server itself, I had to shut down all the VMs that were running. Figuring out how to go about it without being able to logon was the tricky part. Luckily, we had two options. Although we couldn’t logon to the server, everything else seemed to be working. Hyper-V Manager connections from our workstations seemed to be working and a Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) server was up and running off site. Being a more robust tool, we used VMM to shut down the VMs. Per...

Deploying Additional Software

By Joseph Yedid I needed to add some additional software (Psexec, BGInfo, and cmtrace) to all of my VMs. However, adding this software manually to each new VM would be a tedious task, so instead of doing it manually I decided to automate the process! As a bonus every new VM that gets created from this point on will automatically get this additional software via a package advertised through Configuration Manager. To begin with, I needed to create a collection of only VMs to which I will deploy the package to. I created a query based device collection targeting only VMs. 1. In the new device collection Wizard, give the collection name. Limit the collection to All Desktop and Server Clients. Click Next. 2. Click Add Rule and select Query Rule. 3. Give the query a name and then click Edit Quer...

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