Friday, July 12, 2013

MVA: Windows Server 2012 r2 Jump Start - My Notes and Takeaway

Just finished the live broadcast of Windows Server 2012 r2 at the Microsoft Virtual Academy with Rick Claus and Corey Hynes.  This was another excellent presentation from these guys split over two long days.  I tried to type notes as fast as I could but these don't do the presentation justice.  This is an ugly dump of my notes and if I find any inaccuracies I will correct them.  Sadly I missed the section on Storage, I will get caught up on it once the broadcast is published, and I will update these notes.

Server 2012 r2

  • Server 2012 user cals will work on server 2012 r2
  • Can’t in place migrate from 2012 to 2012 r2
  • Can’t in place migrate from 2012 r2 preview to 2012 r2 RTM
  • 2012 r2 Std = 2 free VM’s


  • VHDX = 64TB max size
  • Can live migrate vm’s from 2012 host to 2012 r2 host, but not the reverse
  • VM’s support direct attached nic teaming
  • Gen 2 virtual machine:
    • Hot add cd/dvd-rom drive
    • Boot from UEFI firmware
    • Faster to install and boot because of VM Bus
  • Enhanced session mode:
    • Can copy and paste with RDP between host and guests
  • Can convert VHD to VHDX
  • VHDX can grow and shrink while the vhdx stays online.
  • VM metrics, live graphs of cpu, memory, disk IOPS, of VM’s
  • Live snapshotting of Linux VM’s, can backup live linux VM’s
  • Right click -> Clone a live VM
  • Move the VHD location of a live VM to a different spot with no downtime
  • A VHDX located on shared storage can be mounted to multiple VM’s natively
  • Cluster aware updating, pushes WSUS updates at different times so VM’s don’t get bogged down
  • Replicate VM’s without a domain by using certificate based authentication, Kerberos not required.
  • Automatic VM activation using a generic key, as long as host is activated, the VM’s will be too.


  • Software defined networking, use policies for network configuration instead of hitting hosts and VM’e one at a time.
  • IP payloading with GRE, allows two networks w/ same subnet address to talk to each other, without NATing
  • Use powershell to edit smart switch configurations
    • One tool/command can edit nic ports on server and ports on the switch
  • SMB multichannel, loads can be split to multiple nics on different networks
  • RSS – receive side scaling allows network cpu processing to spread across all cores.
  • Live networking monitoring of vm’s at the host level
  • Ping has been replaced by ps commandlet: Test-NetConnection
    • Alias= tnc
    • Ping port: tnc rdp
    • tnc alone will test internet connection of pc/server


  • Using powershell with OMI and SMI-S standards you can modify third party switches or storage devices.
  • Connect directly to iDRAC from VMM or powershell
  • Check out the Microsoft Script Center for powershell scripts
  • Powershell in a web browser. http://servername.local/pswa
    • Has session saving
  • Use powershell to create tasks/jobs, custom triggers
  • Multiple levels of server desktop environment
    • “Desktop experience” with metro apps
    • Full server with metro gui
    • Server core with management graphic shell
    • Server core
  • Server core can be updated to gui with a simple restart
  • RSAT does not require a domain, can manage workgroup servers
  • Use powershell to pipe role installs to multiple servers
  • Desired state configuration:
    • Powershell commands to tell servers what configurations/roles are needed
    • Use MOF file as template for system settings, roll out to multiple servers at once.
    • Domain not required
  • Windows Server Essentials is a role now, can be installed to any server
    • Comes with the pretty SBS stuff
    • Comes with RWW


  • RDS tools are in server manager and not stand alone administration tools
  • Rdweb as a web portal for RDS
  • Pooled vs Private remote desktops
    • Pooled: uses differencing disk for saved state, can roll back state when you log off
    • Private: individual vm
  • Session shadowing
  • User profile disks: Vhds can store personal data, then roll back a saved state, and the personal data will be saved.  
    • User profile is a mount point to the vhd on a network share.  
    • User profile folder will follow you from vm to vm.
  • Hyper-v settings on master vm get rolled to the pooled vm’s
  • Dynamically add/remove monitors for RDP sessions

In summary server 2012 r2 is ridiculous, I am very impressed.  Going from 2012 to 2012 r2 seems like a bigger upgrade than 2008 r2 to 2012.  MS is focused on making stuff easier, having the technology work for us.  Once the stream and the slides becomes available I will link them here.