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Notes from IT Camp, Leeds 28th Feb


Simon and I did our first IT camp in Leeds on Tuesday, and I would like to say thank you to those that cam along as you were the beta testers for this new kind of event.  As you can see we had a much more informal setup of groups of 8 or 9 around tables with a lot more collaboration and interaction around an agenda set by the audience.  

While most of the day went well we hit a problem with our iscsi target gizmo, which didn’t seem to want to talk to more than 3 machines, so we couldn’t hook up those brave enough to donate their laptops to our mashup cluster.  Other than that we were able to get through what we were asked to talk about within the broad topic of server virtualisation with Hyper-V, plus some stuff you didn’t know you needed to hear about like setting up proper time synchronisation.

We mentioned quite a few useful utilities and guidance that are essential to a good Hyper-V experience such as  :

I used the built in command line utility DISM (Disk Image Service Management) to add features to the hyper-v server installation

Control panel utilities can be got at from the command line e.g. iscsicpl will bring up the dialog for setting up the iscsi initiator.

Simon called out the Virtual Machine Servicing Tool (VMST) that allows you to patch offline virtual machine (details here). Note that this won’t work with Virtual Machine Manager 2012 just yet.

I showed you the Core Configurator which can be used to perform basic task on a server core installation of Windows Server or Hyper-V Server

Simon explained how to manage time synchronisation issues with virtualisation and the definitive TechNet post on this is here

Rik Hepworth from Black Marble called out John Howard’s HVRemote to enable remote management of Hyper-V server, however I was able to set this up just using the sconfig utility included in Hyper-V Server

We mentioned that if you didn’t have dedicated iscsi hardware, there is a free Microsoft iscsi target that presents virtual hard disks as iscsi drives.  You might want to watch my friend Adam Carter set this up if you haven’t used it before.

The SQL server Customer Advisory Team (SQLCAT) has a load of white papers on running SQL Server on Hyper; essentially don’t over commit CPU resources and use either pass through or fixed size disks.

The Enterprise Server Group has done some performance testing of Hyper-V running various Microsoft workloads, like Exchange Sharepoint and SQL Server, and their finding are here

My rough guide to setting up Hyper-V server and working with iscsi is in this deck..

Most of the current round of IT camps are now full so I have a huge favour to ask; if you can’t make it please let us know, not so much for our benefit but so those on waiting lists can attend. If you can’t get on to a camp just now please be patient, we are adding more dates and of course more content like how hyper-V looks in Windows Server 8, which we weren’t able to cover on Tuesday.

Finally camps currently come in four flavours and for some odd reason we don’t seem to be getting take up on camp three, Simon’s favourite topic, Consumerisation.  I find this odd as we are always being asked how to get non Microsoft smart phones and slates to be good  citizens on your business infrastructure and that’s exactly what he’ll be showing you.  Not only that he’s also planning to show VDI (Virtual desktop Infrastructure), which if you believe some people is something we don’t do properly. So if you have an open mind and and want a more open policy to allowing users to bring their own devices to work come along and find out more.