Category Archives: Automation

Power on HP ProLiant servers with iLO, SSH & Plink

This posting is ~5 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

Some weeks ago, Frank Denneman wrote a short blog post about accessing his Supermicro IPMI with SSH. He used this access to power on his lab servers.I don’t use Supermicro boards in my lab, but I have four HP ProLiants with iLO and iLO has a also a SSH interface. This way to power on my servers seemed very practical, especially because the iLO web interface isn’t the fastest. But I wanted it a bit more automated, so I decided to use Plink to send commands via SSH.

Create a new user account

I created a new user account in the iLO user database. This user has only the rights to change the power state of the server. Login into the iLO web interface. Click on “Administration”, then “User Administration” and “New”.

ilo_create_sshlogin_1

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Fill in the required fields. You have to enter a password, even if you later login with SSH public key authorization. Only allow “Virtual Power and Reset”. All other rights should be disallowed. Click “Save User Information”.

ilo_create_sshlogin_2

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Create SSH key pair

I used the PuTTY Key Generator to create the necessary SSH key pair. Click “Generate” and move the mouse in the blank field.

ilo_create_sshlogin_3

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Enter the username of the new created user in the “Key comment” field. Copy the public key into a textfile. You need this file for the key import into iLO. Then save the public and private key.

ilo_create_sshlogin_4

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Key import

To import the key, login into the iLO web interface again. Click “Administration”, then “Security” in the “Settings” area on the left. Click “Browse…” and select the text file with the SSH public key. The key that is shown in the “Key” area of the PuTTY Key Generator differs from the saved public key. Both are public keys, but they have a different format. You have to import the key, that is shown in the “Key” area.

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If you have imported the right key, the key is automatically assigned to the new user.

ilo_create_sshlogin_6

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The test

Open a CMD and change to the directory with the Plink executable and the SSH private key. The following command turns the server on.

To turn off, simply use this command:

A warm reset can be requested by using this command:

A cold reset can be requested by using this command:

You can put these commands into a batchfile to power on/ off a couple of servers with a single click.

Load VMware PowerCLI snap-in automatically in PowerShell ISE

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

The PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) is a very handy application when dealing with the PowerShell. And because of this, the ISE is also a very handy application when dealing with VMware PowerCLI. When I write a script or a one-liner, one of the first things I do is to load the necessary snap-ins. And because I’m lazy, I’m trying to automate everything, what I have to do more than once. So how can I load the necessary snap-ins automatically when starting PowerShell ISE? The Windows PowerShell profile will help you. This is a simple text file, or to be more precise, a PowerShell script. Because of this, you can write everything (cmdlets, scripts, functions etc.) in this script file, and it will be executed when you start the PowerShell or the PowerShell ISE. Please note, that there are two profile files: One for the PowerShell and one for the PowerShell ISE. But where can you find the Windows PowerShell profile files? The path to the PowerShell profile is returned by the built-in variable $profile.

Open a PowerShell windows:

When you try the same in the ISE, you will get this output:

You see the difference? Depending on your PowerShell environment, the PowerShell reads a different profile file on startup. Usually the files doesn’t exist, except you created them. Check if the files exist. If not, this command will create an empty profile file. Depending on if the command is executed in a PowerShell windows or in the PowerShell ISE, a profile file for PowerShell or PowerShell ISE is created.

Close the PowerShell ISE. Now you can open the file with your favorite editor and add the command Add-PsSnapin.

Save the file and open the PowerShell ISE. A Get-PSSnapin should return, that the VMware.VimAutomation.Core module was loaded. You should also notice that you can now use PowerCLI cmdlets. Everytime you open the PowerShell ISE, the VMware.VimAutomation.Core snap-in is automatically loaded.

Change network adapter type with PowerCLI

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

Today I found this neat PowerCLI One-liner in my Twitter timeline:

A nice side effect of this one-liner is, that the mac-address doesn’t change, as you can see in the screenshots.

change_adapter_type_vmxnet3

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change_adapter_type_e1000

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If you have ever changed the adapter type of a vNIC you will know, that this leads to a changed mac-address and a new adapter in the OS. Windows will show a “Local Area Connection 2”, Linux will show a eth1 instead of eth0. So you need to lend a hand. If you use Linux and you’ve changed the adapter type using this one-liner, everythings fine. eth0 will stay eth0, but the kernel loads another driver. No need to modify or delete the 70-persistent-net.rule file under /etc/udev/rules.d. But how does Windows handle it? Unfortunately Windows doesn’t handle it. Windows detects a new device, because the hardware ID changed.

change_adapter_type_e1000_hw_id

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change_adapter_type_vmxnet3_hw_id

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The only way to fix this, is to delete the old, non-present adapter. In order to do that, open a CMD and enter the following command:

Then open the Device Manager, choose “View” and click “Show hidden devices”. Then delete all non-present network adapters and the newly detected VMXNET3 adapter.

change_adapter_type_remove_e1000_devmgmt

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After that, right click the computer icon (in my case LABLAB-V4143BPG) and select “Scan for hardware changes”. Windows will detect a new VMXNET3 adapter, which you can finally configure with the hopefully documented IP settings.

Deploying Windows Server VMs with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 – Part III

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

In part I and part II of this series I showed how to install the WDS role, MDT 2013 and ADK for Windows 8.1. I showed the process to import the OS images and the necessary drivers for our deployment. Now it’s time to bring MDT to life. Let’s start with part III of this series.

User for deployment share access

During the deployment process Windows PE needs access to the deployment share. For this, we need to create a user account that has the priviledges to access the deployment share. You can simply create a local user on your MDT server.

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VMware Tools package

Before we can install the VMware Tools during the deployment, we have to build a package. Building a package is nothing more than adding the source files to the deployment share and providing a command line for the unattended installation. Right click the menu item “Application” and choose “New Application” from the context menu.

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In the “New Application Wizard” select the first menu item “Application with source files”.

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After clicking “Next” we need to provde a publisher (optional) and a name for the application. Because we need the 64-bit version, we add this to the application name.

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Now we need access to the VMware Tools sources. This can be the extracted or mounted VMware Tools ISO. In my case I pointed to the mounted ISO.

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The name is automatically generated from the publisher and application name.

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Now we have to provide the command line for the installation. The necessary command line can be found in KB1018377.

The switch “REBOOT=R” suppress the reboot. The reboot is triggered by MDT. We will enable this in the properties of the application.

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Go through the summary and click “Next”.

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At the end just click “Finish”.

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Enter the properties of the application and take a look at application GUID. You can use the GUID and add it to the CustomerSettings.ini. Then the application will installed during every deployment, regardless of the OS. We will use another way: We use the task sequence to install the application.

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On the “Details” tab enable the reboot after the installation of the application.

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Congratulations. You’ve just created your first application package with MDT. :)

General settings

Open the Deployment Workbench and right click the deployment share. Select “Properties”. On the “General” tab enable multicast for this deployment share.

mdt2013_general_enable_multicast_1

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Switch to the “Rules” tab.Yo will see the content of the CustomSettings.ini, which can be found in the Control directory on the deployment share, e.g. D:\DeploymentShare\Control. The CustomSettings.ini is used to control the deployment. It controls which settings used by the deployment wizard. This is the content of my CustomerSettings.ini.

The settings will skip all wizards, set the time zone, language settings etc.

There’s another button: “Edit Bootstrap.ini”. The bootstrap.ini contains the information how to access the deployment share, e.g. user credentials or IP settings. We need to add the credentials of our newly created user to the bootstrap.ini. Because it’s a local user, the domain is set to the computername of the MDT server.

Creating a Task Sequence

A task sequence provides the mechanism for performing multiple steps or tasks on a computer without requiring user intervention. Right click “Task Sequence” in the Deployment Workbench and select “New Task Sequence” from the context menu.

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Enter a sequence ID, a descriptive name and, if you like, a comment.

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We have to use the “Standard Server Task Sequence” template.

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Now we need to select an OS image. Because we want to deploy a Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, we select the appropriate image.

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We don’t want to specify a product key now. Just hit “Next”.

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Enter full name, organization etc.

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Enter your incredible secret password.

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That’s it. Check the summary and click “Next”.

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Finish the dialog and go to the task sequence properties. Select the “Task Sequence” tab and choose “Install Applications”. Browse the applications and select the VMware tools application that we created earlier.

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Click “OK”.

Update the deployment share

Before we can deploy our first server, we have to update the deployment share. During this process, the boot images are build and the applications are created on the deployment share. Right click the deployment share in the Deployment Workbench and select “Update Deployment Share”.

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Simply follow the wizard.

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Click “Next” and finish the dialog.

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Adding boot images to Windows Deployment Service (WDS)

Now we can add the Windows PE images to the WDS. Start the server manager or start the MMC. Right click “Boot Images” and then “Add Boot Image…”.

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Choose the image you want to import. There are two images: A 64-bit and a 32-bit image.

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Simply accept the default name.

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Go through the summary and click “Next”.

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Finish the dialog and repeat it, if necessary, for the 32-bit image.

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The deployment

Create a new VM. I used a standard W2K8 R2 VM with 1 vCPU, 4 GB RAM, VMXNET3 NIC and VMware paravirtual SCSI controller for my tests.. Start the VM. Usually the boot process goes directly into the PXE boot screen, because no OS is installed. Wait for the DHCP response and press F12 if offered. Choose the x64 Windows PE enviroment. Now the boot images is transferred from the WDS server.

deploy_step_1

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Because we skipped most of the wizards during the deployment wizard, we only need to chosse a task sequence. Select the W2K8 R2 Standard sequence and start the deployment.

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In the WDS MMC you can watch the transmission process of the image.

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After several reboots you should see a shiny new W2K8 R2 standard VM with VMware Tools. The whole deployment from the  start of the VM until the VM is ready to use took on my HP Micro Server round about 15 minutes.

deploy_step_4

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If you have any further questions, just leave a comment.

Deploying Windows Server VMs with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 – Part II

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

After installing the required software, we need to configure MDT 2013. You need:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 ISO
  • VMware Tools for Windows ISO or a Server with VMware Tools installed

The deployment share

First of all we have to create a deployment share. This file share is used to access the software, drivers etc. during the deployment phase. Just start the Deployment Workbench, that can be found in the start menu. Right click the menu item “Deployment Shares” and click “New Deployment Share”.

mdt2013_config_step_1

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The “New Deployment Share Wizard” will assist you. Just follow the wizard… Because I have a dedicated volume for the deployment stuff, I set the path to drive D:\.

mdt2013_config_step_2

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The share ends with a $-sign. This is the default setting and it will make the share a hidden share. If you don’t want to use a hidden share, delete the $-sign at the end of the share name.

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Enter an appropriate description. I simply accepted the default setting.

mdt2013_config_step_4

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You can choose the behaviour of the deployment wizard by enabling or disabling the checkboxes. I disabled all checkboxes except the image capturing.

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The next screen will show you the summary of the settings. Clicking on “Next” will start the creation of the share.

mdt2013_config_step_6

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You can view the PowerShell script by clicking on the “View Script” button. This will open a notepad with the PowerShell command line. You can use this script to create the share on another server. Just run the script. Very handy.

mdt2013_config_step_7

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Import the OS images

After finishing this step, the deployment share is available. Now we have to import the OS images. You have to extract the Windows 2008 R2 ISO. After that, right click the menu item “Operating Systems” and choose “Import Operating System”.

mdt2013_config_step_9

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The “Import Operating System Wizard” will appear.

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Select the first item from the list and point to the directory with the extracted Windows 2008 R2 ISO.

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Specify an appropriate name for the directory entry.

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Clicking on “Next” will lead you to the summary screen. Again clicking on “Next” starts the import.

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mdt2013_config_step_14

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As you can see, the import added all versions of Windows 2008 R2 that are available on the DVD: Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, each as Full and Core. You can remove versions you don’t need.

Import driver

Now we have to import the drivers. For this step you need a VM with installed VMware Tools or a VMware Tools DVD. VMware KB1011710 and KB2032184 describe the procedure to extract the drivers. Because my MDT server is a VM, I can simply import the drivers. This drivers will be used for the Windows PE enviroment and for the OS deployment. This doesn’t install the VMware Tools, only the drivers will be injected.

Right click “Out-of-the-Box Drivers” and choose the item “Import Drivers”.

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Point to the directory with the drivers and click “Next”.

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Go ahead in the summary screen by click on “Next”.

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You can ignore the warnings. Some 32-bit drivers are included. The 32-bit driver PVSCSI can be found on the “pvscsi-Windows2008.flp”. You can download the via WinSCP from a ESXi host. The 32-bit driver for VMXNET3 and SVGA is included and will be used for the Windows PE x86 image.

mdt2013_config_step_18

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In the next article I will show how a task sequence and a VMware Tools package is created. Then we will be ready to deploy our Windows 2008 R2 VM via MDT 2013.

Deploying Windows Server VMs with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 – Part I

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

What are the requirements of MDT 2013?

The requirements are manageable. To recreate my small lab environment, you need two VMs or physical servers and a evaluation copy of Windows 2008 R2. MDT 2013 and ADK for Windows 8.1 can be downloaded for free on microsoft.com. I used two Windows 2008 R2 VMs for my setup. One VM as a Domain Controller with DHCP and the second VM for MDT 2013 and WDS.

These are the basic requirements to do LTI deployments. As you can see, the “footprint” of is really small. If you want to use WDS (yes, you want…) you need additional components:

  • Windows Active Directory
  • Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
  • DHCP

WDS is used to deploy the custom Windows PE images over PXE. Otherwise you have to boot the PE images via USB or CD/ DVD. But there is a disadvantage of this solution: You need an Active Directory. This is required by WDS. This blows our “footprint” a little. If you want a standalone server for MDT 2013, you can exchange WDS with another PXE solution. WDS is only used to boot Windows PE over network.

The lab setup

In the screenshot below you see my lab setup. Insanely complex, right? The first VM is my Domain Controller, which delivers AD, DNS and DHCP. On the second VM, aptly referred to as MDT, I installed WDS, MDT and ADK. All the VMs run on my HP ProLiant MicroServer (N36L, 16 GB RAM, Smart Array P212 with 4x WD Green 1 TB drives) with ESXi 5.5.

mdt2013_lab_setup

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The installation of Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

First of all we will install the WDS on the server that we want to use or MDT 2013. This is an easy job. The WDS is a role that can be installed using the Server Manager. The installation of the role is pretty straightforward.

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Select the WDS role and proceed.

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You need both components, the deployment and transport server. So be sure that both components are selected. Proceed with the setup.

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After finishing this wizard the WDS role is installed, but not configured. To configure the WDS role, you have to select the server in the left pane, right-click the server and select “Configure Server”.

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I changed the location of the remote installation folder to D:\.

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If you are a security nerd, you can select “Respond only to known client computers”. If you select this option, you have to pre-stage client computers (read the WDS documentation to learn how). For my setup I chose option 3.

mdt2013_wds_role_install_step_11

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Leave this checkbox unchecked. We will add the images later.

Because I have DHCP installed on the my DC, I have to manually configure the DHCP options 066 and 067. This step is only necessary if DHCP and WDS are running on different servers! DHCP Option 066 contains the IP address of the WDS server. Option 067 contains the path to a boot file, which is located in the remote installation folder of the WDS.

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If the DHCP is running on the same server as the WDS, you can simply use the DHCP setup options in the WDS server properties. In our case, both options may not be activated.

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If you try to start a new VM via PXE, you will get this:

mdt2013_wds_role_install_step_14

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WDS is now functional and we can start to install MDT 2013 and ADK for Windows 8.1.

Installation of MDT 2013

You need .NET 3.5 for MDT 2013. So you should take care that you installed it before you install MDT 2013. Just install the feature .NET 3.5.1 using the Server Manager (for Windows 2008 R2). After running the MicrosoftDeploymentToolkit2013_x64.msi you will get this screen:

mdt2013_install_step_1

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mdt2013_install_step_2

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Just accept he default selection and proceed with the setup.

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You can choose if you want to join the CEIP or not. I don’t want to join the program.

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Just hit “Install”.

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Finished! This was a difficult task. ;)

Installation of Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1

The ADK for Windows 8.1 is required by MDT 2013. The download of the ADK is quite small, round about 2 MB. But during the setup, 3 GB will be downloaded. You should ensure therefore that you have a fast and reliable internet connection. After running the adksetup.exe you will get this screen:

adk_install_step_1

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No, I don’t want to join the CEIP.

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adk_install_step_3

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All we need are the deployment tools and the Windows PE.

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After a few minutes you will come to this screen.

adk_install_step_5

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The basic installation of MDT 2013 is now complete. The configuration of MDT 2013 will be discussed in part II.

Deploying Windows Server VMs with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 – Intro

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

Usually you can install virtual servers on four different ways:

  • Installation from scratch
  • image-based installations (e.g. Clonezilla)
  • VMware templates and template customization specifications
  • automated deployment

Except VMware templates you can use every technique to deploy physical and virtual servers. I would like to show you how you can install windows-based VMs with Microsofts Deployment Toolkit 2013 (MDT 2013). There are three articles in this series. The first article describes what you need for MDT 2013 and how you install WDS. The second article will show you how to configure MDT 2013, import the necessary drivers and OS images. The third article describes how to deploy a Windows 2008 R2 server with VMware Tools.

Articles

Deploying Windows Server VMs with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 – Part I
Deploying Windows Server VMs with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 – Part II
Deploying Windows Server VMs with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 – Part III

What is Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013?

MDT 2013 allows you to automate the deployment of Windows OS and applications to clients and servers. MDT 2013 supports deployment of Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. MDT 2013 uses image files that contains everything you need to install a Windows OS on a target computer, e.g. unattended setup files and drivers. MDT creates custom Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) images that are used to install the image onto the target computer. The Windows PE image can be booted using USB, CD/ DVD or Windows Deployment Services (WDS). You can run MDT 2013 standalone or with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). If using MDT 2013 as a standalone product, you can only do Lite Touch Installations (LTI). For Zero Touch Installations (ZTI) or User-Driven Installations (UDI) you need Microsoft System Center 2012 R2. Due this fact I will focus on LTI in this series.

mdt2013_LTI_ZTI_UDI_deployment_process

Microsoft/ www.microsoft.com

This figure was taken from the MDT 2013 documentation, which is available on microsoft.com. It shows the deployment process. I strongly recommend to read the documentation! You will quickly achieve results with MDT 2013, but it’s a very powerful solution. You will notice a steep learning curve. And if this curve isn’t steep enough, you can try SCCM. ;)

We will start with the basic installation. I will not show the installation of Active Directory or DHCP. We will beginn straigt with the installation of WDS, MDT 2013, and ADK for Windows 8.1.

Deploying Windows Server VMs with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 – Part I

Backup DataCore SANsymphony-V config using PowerShell

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

In November 2013 I published a PowerShell script on blazilla.de that creates a backup of your SANsymphony-V config by using the DataCore SANsymphony-V PowerShell cmdlets. I would like to thank Marcel, Michael and Frank for their feedback and comments to improve the script. The password is stored in the securestring.txt that needs to be stored in the same directory as the script. Kudos to Marcel, who has the part of the script contributed, that stores the password in an encrypted file.

Currently there is no way to schedule a configuration backup using the DataCore GUI. A valid backup of the configuration can be a lifesaver, especially in the case, that you storage server crashed and it has to be re-installed. So it’s a good idea to regularly backup the configuration to the local disk and copy this backup to another location. One way to create a backup, is an Outlook task and the DataCore GUI. Belive me, that will not work… At this point my script comes into play. The script uses Microsoft PowerShell, DataCore SANsymphony-V PowerShell cmdlets and the Windows Task Scheduler to automate the backup of SANsymphony-V configuration.

There are a couple of variables used in the script. Two of them are used to change the number of stored backups and the directory in which the backups will be saved. The script saves the last three versions of the configuration backups, but you can change this with the $Keep variable. The directory, in which the backup will be saved, is influenced by the $BackupFolder variable.

You can call the script using the Taskplanner with the following command:

You can select a different directory than C:\Scripts. The “Out-Null” behind the pipe symbol suppresses the output of the script.

My most frequently used PowerCLI One-liner

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

Over the last months I wrote different PowerCLI One-liners who I want to share. Nothing fancy and one or two are ugly. But they worked for me. :)

Changing the multipathing policy for all hosts and datastores in a cluster

Get a list of all VMs in a cluster and the datastore in which the VMs resides

Get a list of all VMs, their mac-address and the connected port groups

vMotion of a VM between hosts without a shared storage (not really a One-liner…)

Enable SSH on all hosts

Check on which hosts SSH is enabled

Get a list of hosts and the numer of VM that are running on these hosts

If you’re searching for more advanced PowerCLI stuff visit the blogs of Alan Renouf and Luc Dekens.