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By Abhay V
Microsoft's next-gen Azure Stack HCI is now generally available
by Abhay Venkatesh
Back during its inspire conference this year, Microsoft announced a preview of the next generation of Azure Stack HCI (hyperconverged infrastructure), a service that lets businesses leverage Azure services with their hybrid infrastructure and on-premise options through Azure Arc. This helps customers view and manage virtual desktops (VDIs) and databases through the Azure portal, run virtualized workloads on-premises, and more.
Today, the company announced that Azure Stack HCI is now generally available, adding that it tweaked the service with feedback from its customers during the preview period. This helped deliver a “full-featured offering” that simplifies management, offers stretch clustering to easily extend clusters to multiple sites and ease disaster recovery, and integrates natively with Azure Arc and other services.
Advantages of Stack HCI include the ability for customers to run the offering on their existing hardware – in addition to the various environments – that are validated by Microsoft, further reducing the costs of deploying the solution and integrating with Azure services. The Redmond firm says that the service is “familiar” for “Hyper-V and server admins” and also integrates with other services from the company such as System Center, Active Directory, and more.
Additionally, the company also touts its partnerships with vendors such as Dell, Lenovo, and DataON that helps provide an “integrated system experience” through systems that are pre-racked and come with software, hardware, and drivers pre-installed. These systems also add a new Azure Stack HCI full-stack updates feature that helps admins easily apply validated full-stack updates to the clusters. Lastly, the firm says that it is also bringing Independent Software Vendor support for Azure Stack HCI with the addition of ISVs such as CommVault, DataDog, Veeam, and Veritas, providing users with more options.
Those interested to try out the service can head here to register for a free 30-day trial. Earlier this year, the company touted the savings advantages of the service’s “flexible per core subscription model “. You can head to the pricing information page here for more details.
By Rich Woods
Windows 10 build 19624 is now available as an ARM64 VHDX
by Rich Woods
Back in February, Microsoft introduced Hyper-V support for ARM64 PCs, something that was one of the key limitations at the time of Windows on ARM's launch. The only problem was that there was no way to actually spin up a Windows 10 virtual machine, because Microsoft doesn't make ARM64 images available.
Now, that's changing, at least for virtual machines. The firm released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 19624 as a VHDX for ARM64 PCs today, as the Windows Insider team teased yesterday. It probably goes without saying, but you cannot use this with x64 hardware.
There are also some prerequisites. Obviously, the use of Hyper-V means that you'll need to be running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. This is worth noting since pretty much every Windows on ARM PC has shipped with Home, other than the old Snapdragon 835 PCs, and the Surface Pro X for Business. That brings us to the next limitation, which is that Snapdragon 835 PCs are not supported. According to the download page, you need a Snapdragon 850, Snapdragon 8cx, or Microsoft SQ1. Presumably, the Snapdragon 8c will be added to this list whenever it comes to market.
Once you've got that done, you can download the VHDX here. If you upgrade your PC from Windows 10 Home to Pro in order to do this, make sure to activate Hyper-V in Settings.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft might release a Windows 10 VHDX for Hyper-V on ARM64 PCs
by Rich Woods
Microsoft has been dealing with some limitations with Windows on ARM since the platform was introduced a few years ago. One of those limitations was the lack of Hyper-V support, something that was recently added in Windows Insider Preview builds, although likely won't ship until about a year from now. There's only one problem though, which is that you actually can't use Hyper-V to create a Windows 10 VM, because there's no ARM64 installation media.
That might be changing though, as was confirmed during the Windows Insider team's webcast today. Microsoft might end up releasing a VHDX that can be used for virtual machines. Of course, the team would only say that it "might" do it, since things that aren't announced rarely get confirmed. But if it happens, it will happen soon.
According to WZor, it's going to be build 19624, which is the Fast ring build from two weeks ago.
If you're looking for a plain-old ISO, that's not as simple of a task as it sounds. Due to the SoC nature of ARM processors, it makes it harder to have built-in drivers in the installation process. If you have something like a Surface Pro X or another ARM64, you'll still need to get installation media from the hardware vendor.
I am new to QNAP devices and not needed to use a NAS device in this manner so this is quite new to me. We recently purchased a TS-883XU-RP to use as our mass storage for our company. The plan is for our Hyper-V server (HP DL385p Gen8) to be the host and connect to the NAS via iSCSI. I have done this and during testing, had no issues at all including being able to copy mass data (~4TB) with no issues at all. However, now it is connected to the live system, I have teamed the NICs and configured the switch for 802.3ad dynamic as per https://kb.netgear.com/000053559/How-do-I-set-up-an-LACP-LAG-between-a-Smart-Managed-Plus-switch-and-a-QNAP-NAS and this seems to work fine.
My issues arise when I try to copy the data from the existing servers to the new VM (although this could be a coincidence). The iSCSI connector drops and cant reconnect due to the Hyper-V host not being able to access servers outside of the vSwitch. Once I regain the connection, I will leave the servers to run with no data transfer to see if the connection drops. To add a little extra info, the other VM's that are held on the Hyper-V server can be connected without issue when I have the problem.
My question is that are there steps that I have missed that can be causing this issue? Is there a best practice that I need to follow and where can i find it?
Edit: Also, the NAS is accessible through the WEB GUI when I have the issue. I am investigating the server to see if htere is a setting I have missed or is incorrect for its NIC teaming/switch config.
By The Dark Knight
New home server build! Low power, whisper quiet and powered on 24/7.
AMD Athlon 200GE based system, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 60GB SSD, 1.65TB HDD storage (1TB + 650GB), Corsair 450W power supply. Onboard LAN plus additional TP-Link NIC, both Realtek chipsets.
Running Windows 10 Pro. Didn't want Linux as a base as I'm just a beginner in Linux. Windows, I know. If anything goes wrong, I can deal with it easily.
Hyper-V configured with 3 VM's as of now - OPNsense for my router, OpenMediaVault for file access and sharing across network and Ubuntu Server. Still figuring out what to run on Ubuntu. Might start with migrating Pi-hole over to this VM from my RPi so that I can use that Pi for something else. Also serving music to my RPi based music player in the living room and any other device via Samba shares. I had initially planned to also host my personal website from home, but after reading about the risks (DDoS especially) I've decided not to and continue paying for professional hosting.
Shout out to @BudMan through whom I got to know about pfSense. Otherwise I would have never known that it was even possible to basically make your own router! I finally went with OPNsense though (fork of pfSense) as I simply love the GUI. Mouth opened and fell to the floor looking at the feature set of these router operating systems! Correctly configured, they can seriously blow the pants off any commercially available home router!
In all my research on the router OS I did see practically everyone recommending Intel network cards as they work very well with FreeBSD (the base OS of pfSense and OPNsense). But so far, I have had zero issues with my Realtek based NIC's. I've yet to stress test the network though, so will then see how these NIC's fare compared to Intel. But currently, only me and my wife are pushing gig on the LAN, other family members usage is very low.