XenDesktop: Migrating dedicated catalog to another datastore

If you are looking to move your virtual machines to another datastore chances are you have already come across this Citrix article: How to Migrate Dedicated Catalog to Another Datastore.

Last week I have unsuccessfully attempted to follow it and thought I would clarify a couple of ambiguous points in the guide and it’s indented application.

First of all I need to point out that if you intend to move your base image file this guide isn’t going to do it for you. While you are asked to copy the base image to the new datastore it doesn’t tell you to delete it from the old location. This is because all the delta disks you move will still be referencing the original base image file location. So if you are hoping to decommission  some old storage and need everything to move, Citrix recommend you convert the linked clones to full clones – you can achieve this by a simple storage migration in vSphere. You can then remove them from the catalog and add again as existing. There is an inevitable increased storage requirement which is what you were probably trying to avoid in the first place but it is the safest and most reliable way of doing this.

You could also look at editing the vmdk configuration files of your moved VMs and setting parentFileNameHint to the new file path – I will delve deeper into this in a future post.

If the Citrix guide still fits the bill for you here are the parts that I found slightly unclear. Some of them may seem obvious but as I things weren’t working out for me I was questioning every step.

Step 5:

Copy vmdk to new storage.

VMware PowerCli command:

Copy-DatastoreItem 'vmstore:\vc-servername\source_datastore\ contosow7-baseDisk-datastore-11\*' 'vmstore:\vc-servername\dest_datastore\ contosow7-baseDisk-datastore-11\' -Force

After copy has been completed, base disk will be converted to thick format; diff disk will remain thin-provisioned.

What Citrix want you to do here is to copy all your machine’s deltas and the base image file over to the new datastore. The command above assumes they are all within the same folder (contosow7-baseDisk-datastore-11) but depending on how you have the files organised you might need to copy the base image file separately. You will also likely have your vmx and other configuration files in the same location and these will be copied over at the same time. These won’t be used for anything as when you recreate the machines a new folder will be create for each one. In effect there will a be some doubling up but nothing to worry about as the storage use will be negligible. You can also manually copy the files using the vSphere client and the effect will be the same.

Step 6:

Back up the base and diff disk folder defined in the filename column of the contoso_disk.csv file. Delete the machines to be migrated through the desktop studio console and choose the options to “Remove the accounts from the Catalog but do not remove them from Active Directory”.

You should already have  a copy of all this on your new datastore but you might want to backup within the same datastore to reduce the restore time if required. When you delete the machines from the catalog the diff disks will be deleted but the base image will remain intact anyway.

Step 7:

Create new machines with existing disks. (Import.csv) file is used with the columns shown in the following table.

VMName LastConnectionUser OldDiskPath NewDiskPath
contosow7AAA contoso\user1 [source_datastore] contosow7-baseDisk-datastore-11/contosow7-baseDisk-datastore-217-000005.vmdk [dest_datastore] contosow7-baseDisk-datastore-11/contosow7-baseDisk-datastore-217-000005.vmdk

VMware PowerCli command:
Import-Csv importcsv.csv -UseCulture | %{
$vm = New-VM -Name $_.VMName -VMHost 20.10.102.12 -MemoryMB 2048 -NumCpu 2 -GuestId “windows7_64Guest” -NetworkName “VLAN 123”  -Datastore “Dest_Datastore” -DiskPath $_.NewDiskPath
}

The OldDiskPath isn’t used during the machine creation at all so you don’t need to worry about it too much. The NewDiskPath is the path for the machine’s delta – not the base image file.

Hope this helps to avoid at least some of the confusion.

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Did you know?

Well I didn’t. More specifically I didn’t know that Server 2008 behaves quite differently to 2003 when it comes to choosing a source IP address on a server with multiple IP addresses on the same interface.

Previously on Server 2003 the source address would be the primary address on the interface in question. This address would also register in DNS. Server 2008 and higher uses the address which has the most bits in common with the default gateway. This is worked out in binary and I won’t bore you with the details. To make this a little bit easier on us Microsoft have released a hotfix which introduces the SkipAsSource flag. To use it you have to remove the IP addresses and re-add them using the netsh command.

For example:

netsh Int IPv4 Add Address <Interface Name> <IP Address> SkipAsSource=True

To check that the command worked as expected run:

Netsh int ipv4 show ipaddresses level=verbose

You should see something like this:

skipassource

In case you can’t see the Skip as Source setting you still need the install the hotfix above.

You would hope that you’re done at this stage but there are some issues with this hotfix and you will need to install two more:

 

KB2554859: The “skipassource” flag of IP addresses is cleared after you use the GUI to change IP settings of a network adapter in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2

KB2551090: IIS Manager does not display IP addresses that are assigned to the network adapter together with the skipassource flag

This does the trick and gives you control over which addresses are registered in DNS and used as source.

References:

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/networking/2009/04/24/source-ip-address-selection-on-a-multi-homed-windows-computer/

http://blogs.technet.com/b/rmilne/archive/2012/02/08/fine-grained-control-when-registering-multiple-ips.aspx#pi63079=2

 

 

 

Installing drivers on ESXi 5.5 using esxcli

Today’s post is nothing revolutionary I’m afraid and is more for my own reference than anything else. I couldn’t recommend this VMware article more: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&externalId=2137854 . It comes with a video too.

I had to update the network adapter and the raid controller drivers

Before you start:

  1. Check / Enable SSH using vSphere client:
    • Select the host, click the Configuration tab, and click Security Profile in the Software panel.
    • In the Services section, click Properties.
    • Select ESXi Shell and click Options
    • Change the ESXi Shell options (Start/Start and stop with host).
    • OK.
  1. Check full datastore path:
    • Log in as root to the ESXi console through SSH.
    • Run esxcli storage filesystem list
    • Identify the datastore you are going to use for your drivers and record the mount point path ( I am using the ISO datastore so /vmfs/volumes/4e024984-a6c3ca91-a8bf-b499baa912d9 is what I need):

putty1

Install:

  1. Download drivers from VMware.
  2. Extract the contents of the async driver zip file.
  3. Identify the offline-bundle.zip file(s).
  4. Extract the contents of the offline-bundle.zip file(s).
  5. Identify the async-driver.vib file(s).
  6. Log in to the ESXi host using the vSphere Client with administrator privileges, such as root.
  7. Using Datastore Browser, upload the async-driver.vib file(s) to an ESXi host’s datastore.
  8. Enter the host into maintenance mode. (This means either shutting down or migrating all VMs on that host.)
  9. Log in as root to the ESXi console through SSH.
  10. Run this command to install drivers from the VIB file:
    esxcli software vib install –v /path/async-driver.vib
    For example:  esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/55a47a7f-11c62c90-711e-d8b190a2deb2/LSI_bootbank_scsi-megaraid-sas_6.606.06.00-
  11. Restart the ESXi host.
  12. To confirm if the VIB is installed successfully, run this command to check the version:
    esxcli software vib list | grep -i vib_name
    For example: vib list | grep -i scsi-megaraid-sas
    putty2
  13. Exit maintenance mode.

Windows 8.1 hangs after changing expired password at logon

Update: This is now fixed in the following updates:


 

I have spent the last few weeks looking at an issue where after a user gets prompted to change their expired password at logon Windows just hangs at either Welcome or Changing your password.

I have googled every possible permutation of the search terms to no avail. Through a lot of testing I have found that disabling the group policy that sets the  default associations configuration file seems to help  but couldn’t for the life of me understand why. So decided to throw in the towel and log a case with Microsoft support and then as it often happens this blog post crops up: http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2016/01/11/does-your-win-8-1-2012-r2-win10-logon-hang-after-a-password-change.aspx .

It really nicely explains what is going and how to get around it. It also turns out it’s not just limited to changing expired passwords either.

In my case I had the Set a default associations configuration file group policy applied (Computer configuration\administrative templates Windows Components\File Explorer\ “Set a default associations configuration file”) with the file sitting in the sysvol share so the best workaround was to move the file to a non DFS share on a different server and updating the group policy.

Another viable option could be disabling the credential manager and clearing cached credentials.

Definitely have a ready through the article as you might be experiencing the same problem if you map your drives to DFS shares.

Here is what happens during the logon process (taken from the above article):

1. When the user logs on, the profile service tries to map network home folder to \\contoso.com\…

2. To do this, we need to have a call created in RDR, and this requires a SMB session setup to dcname.contoso.com

3. The SMB session setup requires a security blob created to authenticate with the target server, which is the DC.

4. To create the security blob, Kerberos will check saved credentials by calling DPAPI.

5. DPAPI cannot decode the saved credential because the master key is not available because the user’s password is reset on DC, so it will need to query the DC for a master key. This requires a named pipe call to \\dcname.contoso.com\IPC$\protected_storage

6. To connect to this named pipe, RDR found it is the same as previous call in#2 (same fqdn DC name \\dcname.contoso.com) so now session setup is queued…

7. The Kerberos thread will hang forever, and the profile service will hang forever until a reboot.

8. After reboot, the user still cannot logon with the same symptom. (note: a different user CAN log on).

Really pleased I can finally tick this one off my list after scratching my head for such a long time. I will be looking out for updates and hopefully a full fix from Microsoft soon.

 

SEP clients offline after migrating to a new server

Just a quick post today. We have migrated our Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager to a new server last week. For the most part the Disaster recovery best practices support article is very useful. However what it doesn’t mention is that unless your new server has the same name your clients will still be trying to connect to the old one. I suppose that’s why it is a DR procedure rather than a migration.

What you need to do is update the clients connection settings. There are a few ways in which you can achieve this again pretty well detailed here and for SEP 12.1 RU2 or newer here.

NPS Migration Steps

I have been involved in a small migration project over the last couple of months and will be sharing my notes. In all fairness most of this comes from Microsoft guides which are pretty good and comprehensive. What I’ll be sharing is a rather condensed version so you might want to read through the original articles before undertaking your own migrations.

First up is the network policy server migration which is very straight forward.

NPS Migration Steps

Preparation

NPS01

Preparing the source server:

  • Gather information for the table above.

Preparing the destination server:

  • Configure new server OU and group membership identical to the source.
  • Install NPS role service.

Exporting settings from the source server (Windows Server 2008)

  • On the source server open elevated command prompt and run:
    netsh nps export filename=”\\share\IT\NPS\file.xml” exportPSK=YES

Importing settings to the destination server:

  • On the destination server open elevated command prompt and run:
    netsh nps import filename=”\\share\IT\NPS \file.xml”

Verifying the NPS migration

Source: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn530780.aspx

  1. Check that NSP is running on the destination server:
    • In elevated command prompt run: sc query ias
    • In the command output, verify that RUNNING is displayed next to STATE.
  2. Verify NPS config has been migrated:
    • netsh nps show config
    • Verify that the destination server is not using default NPS settings. For example, default settings display a single policy under Connection request policy configuration with the name Use Windows authentication for all users.
  3. Verify that NPS console is displaying correct settings
    • Using the NPS console navigate to Policies, RADIUS clients and servers…etc to make sure settings are displayed as expected.
  4. Verify Authentication methods:
    In this case NSP02 uses certificate based EAP methods, the destination server might already be provisioned with a suitable certificate through autoenrollment. You might also be required to manually enroll the destination server with a computer certificate.

    • To view the certificates associated with EAP methods on CAE-WT-DC02, open the NPS console.
    • Open Policies → Network Policies → Wireless Users Services/Wireless Users General.
    • Check the Constraints tab.
    • Click Authentication Methods, and then under EAP Types click Microsoft: Protected EAP (PEAP).
    • Click Edit, verify that the correct certificate is chosen next to Certificate issued or Certificate issued to, and then click OK.
  5. Verify client connections:
    • On the destination servers In the event viewer console tree, open Custom Views\Server Roles\Network Policy and Access Services.
    • In the details pane, verify under Event ID that event number 6272 is displayed.
    • Events 6273 or 6274 indicate that client authentication attempts are unsuccessful.
    • If no events are displayed, client connection requests are unable to reach the destination server, or the server is not logging authentication attempts.

Notes:

Migration file store –  you can of course export the file locally on the source server and then manually copy over.

DNS and IP addresses – Depending on how your radius clients connect to the NPS server for authentication you might want to assing the same IP addresses to the new servers, update your DNS records accordingly or update each radius client separately.

Checking out the Windows 10 Tech Preview

After not a lot of action on the IT front (mainly due to being on maternity leave for the last two months) I’ve signed up for the Microsoft insider program to check out for myself what the hype is all about.

Microsoft don’t recommend installing the technical preview on your primary computer as it is still very much a work in progress and potentially unreliable. There were a couple of reasons why I decided to go against the advice – firstly my laptop wasn’t running that well and I would have ended up rebuilding it pretty soon anyway but more importantly if I was to do the sensible thing and install Windows 10 on a virtual machine I would never get the motivation to actually use it.

In all honesty it doesn’t feel that different compared to Windows 8. There is a start menu which I quite like and you can customize the live tiles pretty well too. I haven’t quite got to grips with the task view yet but it might be useful for some users. My favourite feature so far is being able to use keyboard short-cuts like Ctrl+V and Ctrl+F inside command prompt. Oh and I nearly forgot to mention it is now possible to turn off/restart the pc from the start menu. On a more serious note it looks like Microsoft are really interested in getting some feedback – what they will do with the information is yet to be seen but ever the optimist I have already submitted a few suggestions via the Windows Feedback app.

Windows 10 will definitely please people that were after a more Windows 7 feel but it is not as ground breaking as Microsoft would want everyone to believe unless I am missing something and that’s what the comments are for.

To sign up for the tech preview go to: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/preview.