[adinserter block=”2″]Installing updates will already
increase the revision number.[adinserter block=”3″]Only with a different build number will Windows stop containers from starting. Deviating revision numbers are not supported by Microsoft in a production environment. However, that only applies to pure container environments. Different rules apply to a Hyper-V container, which slides the Windows virtualization layer itself between containers and the host system. In addition, if in doubt, the execution layer should be at least as modern as Windows Server 2016.
The revisions of a patched server and the containers downloaded from a docker hub did not match. Microsoft will not support productive use in a non-isolated environment. It is no longer possible to use the Powershell interface offered for containers as an alternative way of controlling.
According to Microsoft, container support is ready, but due to the long preview phase, many things are only now getting started. Image from Docker’s blog (blog.docker.com) is Image2Docker. This is a Powershell script that analyzes existing Windows images (WIM, VHD (X)) and tries to make them into a Docker file that can serve as a build instruction for a container image.
If you’ve previously used the replication features of Hyper-V virtual machines in older Server versions, you can indulge in the Storage Replica features. That feature is only in the Datacenter version. He can mirror the data of a volume blockwise over a network to another volume on a different server. Unlike the older Server way, that also works for open files and even works synchronously. If the network connection has at least sufficient capacity and can therefore achieve at least Gigabit speeds.
At Storage Replica there is a clear direction in which the data goes: from the source to the target. Between the servers, ICMP, SMB (port 445 and port 5445 for SMB Direct) and WS_MAN (5985) must be allowed. In addition to sufficient space on the source and destination servers, Storage Replica requires a separate log volume of at least 9 GB on both sides. Storage Replica does not work with system disks.
Microsoft makes the storage management present in Windows Server in the Datacenter edition with Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) suitable for a network. The feature can merge storage media that is spread across multiple servers in a network into a single volume. And making that available as a shared disk to multiple computers. The failure of a separate disk or server does not pose any danger to the data there.
When using Storages Spaces Direct you will encounter some old acquaintances. Actually, it is a Windows cluster that only offers storage space.
As an Administrator, you must first install the cluster nodes and the Failover Clustering Service role and test the infrastructure. A production environment requires powerful systems with multiple redundant networks with a speed of 10 Gbit or more. A network and two disks (not system disks) per node are enough to try the function.
Cluster with Powershell
Test the network with Test Cluster in the Powershell. In an HTML report you can see where there are problems. If there are no serious warnings, you create a cluster of the nodes with New-Cluster . The -NoStorage option then ensures that the configuration does not interfere with the storage services. With
EnableClusterStorageSpacesDirect -CimSession <ClusterName>
create a storage pool of the disks of the nodes. They should not contain any filesystems or partitions.
You can create a volume from the Storage Space Direct with the graphical Failover Cluster Manager. Microsoft recommends the new ReFS as a file system. In combination with Hyper-V, this should ensure a significantly better performance with VHDX files. The volume corresponds to the Clustered Shared Volume (CSV) of earlier Windows clusters. For example, if you release that in the Failover Cluster Manager, it pops up as Volume1 on the nodes in c: ClusterStorage. If you create the virtual machines in that Manager, you can easily move them there from node to node.
The Server Message Block Protocol (SMB3) is the foundation for Storage Replica and Storage Spaces Direct. Our test network did not use all the possibilities, but ran on a single server with a dozen virtual machines with their own Active Directory. That was partly nested and thus Hyper-V in a Hyper-V virtual machine – one of the novelties of Server 2016. It all worked reliably.
But of course there are also negatives to discover. For example, a Core server has an inconvenient telemetry setting after installing. It is set to Enhanced with the value 2. A GUI installation starts at a lower level by default. We cannot say much about Nano in that regard.
A Windows server is not recommended for people with a cloud phobia. Windows 10, by the way, neither. Not to mention the ability to manage your server with the Server Management Tools through the web interface of a cloud service in Azure.
More opportunities for the cloud
We have not yet covered other improvements in Windows Server 2016 in this article. The extended boundaries for virtual machines, better virtual machine snapshots, direct hardware access from virtual machines to PCIe devices. But also encrypted virtual machines, QoS capabilities for Storage, an always active Defender and sparing use of Administrator rights.
However, all new features are mainly focused on cloud usage. For smaller and medium-sized companies that have been using a Windows server for years, there has actually been little news for years. Sometimes features even disappear without an alternative. There is therefore no reason for them