Enable the Intel 82579V NIC in Windows Server 2012

After installing Windows Server 2012 on my homebrew server, the onboard Intel 82579V Gigabit NIC on the Asus P9X79 motherboard was not working. On the Asus site I found Windows 8 Intel drivers for the motherboard. After installing the drivers the NIC was still not working. To get the  Intel 82579V NIC working in Windows Server 2012, I used the this forum thread as reference for this blog post.

Here are the steps:

  • To be able to modify the drivers you need to run the the following commands:
bcdedit -set loadoptions DISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS 
bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON 

  • Reboot
  • Download the Intel drivers. In my case I used the Intel drivers Asus has available for the Asus P9X79 motherboard
  • Save them to a map and extract them if needed
  • Open the folder PRO1000
  • Open the folder Winx64
  • Open the folder NDIS63
  • Open the e1c63x64.inf file, I used Notepad++  to edit the file
  • In the [ControlFlags] section delete the 3 lines (1)
  • Select and copy the five %E1503 lines (2)
  • Paste the 5 lines in the [Intel.NTamd64.6.2] section below the %1502NC lines

image

  • After the modifications the e1c63x64.inf file must look like this:

image

  • Save the file
  • Install the Intel drivers

image

  • After the installation the Intel 82579V Gigabit NIC is recognized and enabled

image

  • Enable the driver integrity checks and disable test signing again by using the following commands:

 

bcdedit -set loadoptions ENABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING OFF
  • Reboot

 

Now you can use the Intel 82579V Gigabit NIC  in Windows Server 2012.

Tested: Altaro Hyper-V Backup

In my LAB environment I tested Altaro Hyper-V Backup version 3. Altaro Hyper-V Backup is software that makes it possible to backup and restore Windows 2008 (R2) Hyper-V VMs.

Editions

There are three editions available: The free edition, the standard edition and the unlimited edition. For this test I used the unlimited edition because it supports “Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs)”.  More info can be found here.

image

Installation

Altaro Hyper-V Backup needs to be installed on the Hyper-V host. In a Hyper-V Cluster environment, the cluster node were Altaro Hyper-V Backup is installed,  is called the Master Controller. On all the other nodes agents are installed. The Master Controller node configures and controls all the Altaro Background Agents on the cluster.

image

On the node you  that will become the Master Controller launch the downloaded 14 MB installation file. Within a minute the installation is competed.

Configuration

The configuration is a couple of steps:

1. Select the Master Controller Node and install the “background backup agents” to the other cluster node(s).

image

2. Select the Hyper-V VMs to backup

image

3. Select a Backup Drive. The following backup drives are supported:

USB External Drives
eSata External Drives
USB Flash Drives
Fileserver Network Shares using UNC Paths
NAS devices (Network Attached Storage) using UNC Paths
PC Internal Hard Drives (recommended only for evaluation purposes)
RDX Cartridges

It supports multiple backup drive swapping and  It is possible to mirror the backup data to another location by creating a mirror schedule..

image

4. Setup the notifications.

Notifications can be set by Event Log and/or Email. 

image

5. Create a backup schedule and place the VMs in the schedule group.

image

After these 5 steps the backup schedule is ready.

Backup

Altaro used the ReverseDelta technology. ReverseDelta only save the changes between each version of a changed file, rather than backing up the whole file every time it changes. The latest version of a file is always made available in its entirety and not as a delta file.  More information about the ReverseDelta can be found here.

image

When Altaro initiates a backup from the Hyper-V Host it invokes a VSS on the Hyper-V server (software VSS) and then it invokes a VSS within the Virtual Machines – this last step is done automatically by the MS Hyper-V VSS Writer. This means that as long as the VSS within the VM succeeds then any VSS applications (for example Microsoft SQL or Exchange) within the VM will commit their data to disk resulting in a proper application-consistent backup. When Altaro makes a backup from a VM on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) the the volume is in redirected mode during the whole backup! This is common CSV behavior when using software VSS.

image

To shorten the time the volume is in redirected mode it is possible to use a hardware VSS provider (SAN must support a hardware VSS provider). To enable hardware VSS you must contact Altaro support. There is no option in the GUI interface available to enable hardware VSS.

When the backup is finished and Email notification is enable, you get an backup report in your inbox. The report is very limited.

image

 

Restore

In Altaro you can choose the following restore options:

  • Restore a VM to its original location. This will overwrite the current guest VM
  • Restore a VM as clone to a different location. The VM will restored given a new name and to a new location

image

  • Individual File level restore. Restores individual files from a VHD or AVHD file
  • Fire Drill. The Fire Drill feature allows you to plan and execute test restores at a scheduled time.  That way you can easily verify that your VMs are being backed up correctly
  • Boot from Backup Drive. Run a guest VM directly from the backup location without having to do a full restore

I tested the Restore a VM as clone without any problems.

Dashboard

The dashboard gives an overview on the following items:

  • Backup Drive Status as pie chart on free space and backup space
  • Graph statistics  display with drop down list for Total Backup Size /day, backup duration / day, total data transferred / day and total number of backups / day 
  • Cluster status, Latest Backups, Mirror Backup Drive History, Restore History and Errors Since Last Backup

image

 

Conclusion

Altaro Hyper-V Backup is an easy backup application with the following pros and cons:

Pros

  • Easy to install, configure and use
  • Fast
  • Inexpensive (see pricing)
  • Reverse Delta technology
  • Mirror Backup Drive

Cons

  • Altaro needs be installed on the Hyper-V host. The Management Console cannot be installed on another server
  • Backups all the VHDs, no exclusions possible
  • Reporting very basic
  • No tape handling
  • No Hardware VSS support in the GUI
  • Only backup to drives, no cloud support
  • Support only the MS Hyper-V hypervisor

Further versions will address some of the cons. For more information click on the Altaro banner on the right side of the blog.

Update 07 august 2012:

Today Altaro released the beta of Hyper-V Backup version 3.5. Version 3.5 has new features and fixes.

New features:

  • Windows Server 2012 Support, including support for VHDX files.
  • Windows 2012: support for backup and restore of VMs located on network paths.
  • Windows 2012: support for Volume Shadow Copies of SMB3.0 network paths.
  • Windows 2012: support for CSV3.0 and scale-out CSV file shares.
  • New and improved Metro-Style User Interface.

Fixes:

  • Link to error reporter from Management Console.
  • Extra verification checks in Reverse Delta algorithm.
  • Improved free-space calculation (Backup no longer checks for full size of VM in free space).
  • Many more improvements and bug fixes under the hood.

To try the beta go to here.

Shadow a VMware View desktop session

In VMware View there is no central way shadow a desktop session such as for example in Citrix XenApp. It would be nice if in the future it is possible to shadow a desktop from for example the VMware View Connection server. This is frequently asked question by customers were VMware View is implemented.

Brian Knudtson explain in his blog post  how to access a PCoIP session from the vSphere Console.

The following steps must be taken to shadow a PCoIP session from the vSphere Console by using a GPO:

  • Use VMware vSphere 5 and VMware View 5 or greater (in vSphere 4 there is a registry hack available)
  • For Windows 7 be sure to use Hardware Version 8. For Windows XP or Vista you can use any hardware version 
  • Create a new Group Policy Object (GPO)
  • Add the “pcoip.adm” file to the Computer Configuration. The  ADM file can be found on the VMware View Connection server in the “C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\extras\GroupPolicyFiles” folder
  • Enable the “Enable access to PCoIP session from a vSphere console” in the Computer Configuration settings.

image

  • Link the GPO to the OU were the VMware View Windows 7 desktop resides
  • Sync Domain Controllers
  • Restart the VMware View desktop

After configuring this, it is possible to shadow a PCoIP session from the vSphere Console. T The user doesn’t need to approve the shadow session so this could be security and privacy issue.  Here’s are screenshot, The left side is the VMware View desktop and the right side is the vSphere client console:

image

The keyboard and mouse movements are displayed on the two screens synchronously. I don’t know if it has any performance impact.