DFS Replication (DFS-R) is a fantastic tool in any sysadmins belt when it comes to creating highly redundant and scalable file shares. And yet anyone who has used it, knows that monitoring it can be difficult at the best of times. Windows Server 2012 introduced several Powershell commands for DFS-R which help discover partnerships and their status, however none of them test replication end-to-end. So here are the goals I get out to achieve with Powershell:
AzureStack is a fantastic appliance, with a massively simplified patch and lifecycle policy thanks to a lot of hard work from Microsoft and the OEMs delivering it. But even with all that, to ensure the best experience when updating AzureStack, you should always apply the available hotfixes in-between updates. At some point, you may find you’ve fallen more than one update behind and need to catch up. Finding all the right hotfixes and updates requires reading each of the release notes for prerequisites.
Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) is an incredibly powerful technology, and makes up a huge part of the new AzureStack HCI Solution, however performing maintenance on it can catch out new players. One of the biggest causes of failures while performing maintenance on S2D hosts and clusters, is that the hosts haven’t been correctly put into maintenance mode, so I set out to simplify the process with 3 new functions. The 3 activities I’ve targeted with these functions are enabling and disabling maintenance mode on a host correctly, and checking the current state of a host or cluster.
After my previous article about the wonders of the new Azure Update Management Extension for SCVMM 2019, some of you might have been thinking that it was all well and good that VMM now automates the installation and configuration of the Azure Monitor Log Analytics Agent (MMA) for you when deploying new VMs, but what about all those existing servers out there? Well unfortunately out of the box, Microsoft doesn’t provide a single installer UI that can target multiple machines, unless you’ve also got SCOM deployed and have configured it’s OMS integration as well.
One of the handy functions built into Powershell, is the ability to preview what would happen if you run a command. This could be as simple as wanting to make sure that your Remove-Item actually deletes the write files, or that Set-ADUser changes the right attribute. Hand in hand with -WhatIf is -Confirm, it will prompt you for high risk actions and confirm if you really want to perform the action, like deleting an AD user account.
I’d like to start with a shout out to Philip Elder, for he came up with the initial idea and script that I’ve used here. One thing that’s not always obvious when dealing with S2D Clusters is how much of your Storage Pool has been provisioned and how much capacity, if any, is left. To help with this, we came up with be script you’ll see at the bottom of this article.
If you’ve ever dealt with a SAN or Storage guy before, you’ll know that they usually have a huge passion for cache stats. This is because the secret sauce of accelerating cheap storage for years has been to stick a small amount of expensive but super fast flash in front of your slower spinning disk, or in recent years, your cheaper low endurance SSDs. Because of this, it was always a good idea to keep an eye on how your cache was going, making sure things like Cache Hit Misses were low, and that your Write Cache wasn’t overallocated.
If you’re running a Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) Cluster, you might have noticed some instability in recent months, specifically when it comes to patching and performing maintenance. Well you’re in luck because 5 days ago, Microsoft released a new KB article that helps explain why you might have seen issues. The scenario targeted by the Microsoft article is S2D Clusters running May (KB4103723) or later patch levels, where you experience Event ID 5120 during patching or maintenance, leading to things like CSV timeouts, VM pauses, or even VM crashes.
If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter or any Tech Blogs and News sites recently, you would have noticed that Microsoft have dropped their first cut of the next Long-Term Service Branch OS, Windows Server 2019, into the Windows Insider ring for people like you and me to start testing. Now most people (like me) don’t have a huge amount of spare hardware sitting round for times like this, especially for testing things like Storage Spaces Direct (S2D).
We’ve all had the case where there was a volume running hot on your cluster and you spend ages wrestling with perf counters to try to find that VM that’s causing your storage to burn. Well let me introduce you to a magical new command in Windows Server 2016 Get-StorageQoSFlow This miracle command can give you insights on all the VHD(x)s running on your cluster, revealing IOPS, Latency and Bandwidth stats for them all without the need for large-scale monitoring solutions.