Nested virtualization in Azure

Fist of all*, I’d like to announce that e-book “Introduction to Windows Server 2016 (Russian Edition)” with my technical review and translation had been published and became available for download.

It was originally written for technical preview but this new edition has plenty fixes and additional notes with full adaptation to the current version of Windows Server. I believe we did the great work in a short time. If you find some typo or mistake, feel free to contact me. *I’m sorry..we’re way off topic..let’s back to Azure

Another important news that I’ve missed – Azure is going to support nested virtualization.  However, only new Ev3 and Dv3 VM series, which are going out in December of 2017, will support it.

These VMs come with enabled nested virtualization and completely ready for guest VMs or Hyper-V containers. There are many scenarios where it’d be helpful. For instance, you can create smaller number of large VMs using Ev3 or Dv3 VMs with a full control of resource allocation for any guest VMs. I tested nested VMs in WS2016 and now I’m looking forward to test them in Azure as well.

Azure Nested Virtualization| New VM Sizes Ev3 and Dv3

P.S. hot news – Azure team has increased maximum disk size to 4096 Gb for both Premium and Standard disks. Hallelujah 🙂

FAQ: Windows Server 2016 and Hyper-V Integration Services

I’m frequently receiving questions about what’s wrong with Windows Server 2016 and how to manage Hyper-V IS. I’d like to discuss it in a FAQ manner. If your question is not answered, just feel free to leave a comment

Where is the integration services setup disk (VmGuest.iso)?

All of us remember times when we had to insert ISO which was available on Hyper-V host , run it on each VMs and check it’s version from time to time for keeping them up-to-date (yes, vmguest.iso was updated via Windows Update).

The process of Hyper-V IS upgrading has been changed since Windows Server 2016. Now VMs get IS updates directly from Windows Update (WU). ISO is not included and it’s not needed anymore.

It’s completely true if you have new OS inside VMs (Windows 2012 R2/Windows 8.1 and later). Hyper-V IS automatically get updates from WU in these OSes. No actions required.

We have another picture for older OSes (Windows Server 2012/Windows 8 and older). For such OSes, you need to verify that Data Exchange Service (DES) is turned on and running.

DES provides shared registry values (HostSystemOSMajor and HostSystemOSMinor under the hive HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Virtual Machine\Guest\Parameters) between host and VMs for determining IS applicability. These values should be existed in VM in order to get IS updates from WU. If DES has never been enabled on VMs – IS won’t be provided.

hypervregs

Hack: you can edit/add these parameters and set values manually (of course, it’s unsupported)

Example of outdated IS in VM with WS2012R2 on WS2016 host (DES provided values from VM, compared them with host’s and they are not the same):

image

Linux Guests? Built-In or  Linux Integration Services are required

Unsupported Windows Server 2003? Integration services setup disk is required. Can be copied from WS2012R2 (download link is below). Better option: plan migration to newer OS

How to install IS manually?

Use this KB if DES can’t be enabled or WU is unavailable:

Hyper-V integration components update for Windows virtual machines that are running on a Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016-based host (IS  ver. 6.3.9600.17903) + IS update for Windows Server Guest OSes (IS ver. 6.3.9600.18080).

Note: To install this update, you must have April 2014, update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 (2919355) installed in Windows 8.1. Or, install Service Pack 1 for Windows 7.

To install IS (CAB-file) use PowerShell:

Add-WindowsPackage -PackagePath pathtocab -Online

If you want to do offline VM servicing : read guide from Sarah Cooley

TIP: IS with later version is available from uploaded VMGuest.iso below (use it to simplify overall process)

Where can I find ISO if I haven’t got Windows Server 2012 R2 installed?

I’ve uploaded Hyper-V Integrations Services ISO for you. It was taken from Windows Server 2012 R2 (up-to-date, 02/20/17 . IS version: 6.3.9600.18398). You can use this ISO to install Integration Services in “prehistoric” guest OSes (but again..migration to newer OS is better option for such VMs) on Windows Server 2016 or with hosts running on Windows 2012 R2/Windows 8.0/8.1 Download link for VMGuest.ISO

I’m querying Integration Services version from PowerShell but it shows me 0 for all VMs. What’s wrong?

I’ve provided example of outdated IS in a VM SQL01 above. Cluster validation report generates a warning. PowerShell shows 0 in IntegrationServicesVersion

By default, PowerShell loads Hyper-V module with version 2. I tried to remove that module, import one with 1.1 version and query again IS versions. In that case, I received actual IS versions and  “Update required”  in IntegrationServicesState. It seems like something wrong with Hyper-V 2.0 module. Waiting for official fixes or confirmations.

hyperv

Update: this behavior is normal. VM support is based on the having critical updates and reporting IS version is no longer needed.