Windows Server 2012 R2 Data Deduplication in Action

Must say, I’m most impressed with Windows 2012 R2 data deduplication. I am using it in my home lab and can now have far more VMs on standby ready to go with technology specific labs switched off but consuming very little space. Below are the results that I am getting so this is “real world” with most of the VMs running the same operating system.

 

 

That’s a total of 54 VMs, ISOs and templates taking up only 133GB of space !

To enable this feature, open up Server Manager and navigate to the File and Storage Services node then select the disk on which you want to enable deduplication (dedupe is only supported for flat files and VHDs so don’t try and dedupe the disk with your operating system on).

Right click the disk and select “Configure Data Deduplication”.

 

 

The single pane of settings is then fairly self explanatory.

 

 

As you can see, mine is set to deduplicate VMs so I have excluded n0n-VM files such as anything in the ISOs folder. I can’t say that I have seen performance suffer enabling this but I am just running in a lab and not in production but it seems to me that, with shared storage being so expensive and performance being so critical, it now makes sense to place SSDs in your SAN and put your deduped VMs on those for maximum performance at reduced cost.

Preventing access to specific applications in XenClient 2

XenClient is fabulous. You have a locked down work image and you have an “open” image where you can run whatever you like in it. You can then “share” applications betweioen running VM’s so you can have your “ticker” or “game” or whatever avaialble on your work machine or you can have your work application viewable from your personal machine. But what if you don’t want certain applications to be available ?

This is controlled from an XML file which instructions the agent where to collect icons from (essentially the all users atsrt menu and any logged on users menu) but exclude anything on the blacklist (Outlook Express, anything in c:windows etc) unless its included on the list of whitelisted applications (internet explorer for example). So, very easy to configure IF you know where the configuration file is …. which isn’t at all obvious.

The XML file can be found in the following locations:

Windows 7
C:ProgramDataCitrixXciApplicationsXciDiscoveryConfig.xml

Vista
C:ProgramDataCitrixXciApplicationsXciDiscoveryConfig.xml

XP
C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataCitrixXciApplicationsXciDiscoveryConfig.xml

Installing Windows 8 on XenServer

Having trouble installing the recently released developer preview on XenServer ?

Thomas Koetzing has the fix on his blog

Create a VM with a Windows 7 template and copy the virtual machine UUID from the general tab in XenCenter or use xe vm-list in the CLI. Next you need to run the command xe vm-param-set uuid=<VMUUID> platform:viridian=false

The installation can the proceed as normal.

Build a private cloud

Want to know how to build a private cloud ? Think its difficult ? Maybe you’re a small organisation and think that private cloud is too expensive for you ?

Don’t be fooled – private cloud can be easy and you may even find that you have lots of the pieces in place already. Just follow the Microsoft guidelines here => http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization/en/us/private-cloud-get-started.aspx.

If you want to extend your private cloud solution then they even have a pre-approved list of vendors and what they can do for you to make your solution complete. http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/virtual-machine-manager/vmm-self-service-portal.aspx.