Episode 11 of the Hyper-V Amigo Showcast

Hello there! Carsten Rachfahl and I have a new Hyper-V Amigo showcast out. In this Hyper-V Amigo Showcast Episode 11 we talk about Hyper-converged Storage Spaces Direct in Windows Server 2016 installed.


Carsten has a nice demo system to play with and we have some fun playing with it. We’ll see the outstanding performance S2D can deliver and how resilient is. On top of this we also talk about Distributed Storage QoS, Node Isolation and Node Fairness.

The show some crazy performance numbers and even turn 2 of the 4 nodes off. While playing with the Cluster we see also some new Features like Distributed Storage QoS, Cluster and VM Isolation and Node Fairness.


Activating Windows Server 2016

Activating Windows Server 2016

So it’s time to make sure we start thinking about activating Windows Server 2016 in our environments.

If you manage on premises environments with one or more AD domains or even forests you might be in a situation where Active Directory Based Activation (ADBA) is the easiest solution. If you set this up you’ll enjoy automatic activation of the OS after joining domain configured with ADBA.  This is what I use for the Office and Windows editions that support it. It’s fast and easy to set up.


Now when you’re hosting IAAS services this might not be your best approach as that means it will need to be set up in the AD of your tenants. Something your most often don’t manage or control if an AD is even present. You also need the right versions of both AD and client software and operating systems to use this. That can also be an issue on premises. But don’t worry. Both Key Management Service (KMS) and Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) will work for IAAS and for on premises in these situations.

I actually support 2 on premises environments where ADBA is being used for the recent OS  and Office versions while KMS is still around for the older OS versions. That way as the old OS versions are phased out the KMS infrastructure can be retired as well.

KMS Server  activation

You can use a Windows Server 2012 R2 or 2016  server as a KMS server. I just made sure my KMS server was fully patched before I attempted to install and activate the Windows Server 2016KMS key. That means that on Windows Server 2012 R2 you want KB3172614 installed as this enable support for Windows Server 2012 R2 as a KMS server host to activate Windows Server 2016. See https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/24717/windows-8-1-windows-server-2012-r2-update-history. For Windows Server 2016 this means don’t do anything unless you have all the zero day patches installed.

First we take a look at the current situation by running slmgr.vbs /dlv

Uninstall the current KMS key using slmgr.vbs /upk, please use an elevated command prompt Winking smile


Now you can install the new Windows 2016 KMS key on your KMS server. If you run in to any issues here, restarting the KMS Service can help ((“net stop sppsvc” and “net start sppsvc“) . Try that first.



The key listed here is for all you wannabe pirates out there, sorry, this is the navy. If you’re, looking for illegal keys, cracks, keygens, activators or dodgy KMS virtual machine for Windows activations and such this is not the place Winking smile.

If you now run slmgr.vbs /dlv you’ll see that the license status is “notification” as the server hasn’t been activated yet.


You now need to activate your server with the KMS key first by running slmgr.vbs /ato


We can now look at what’s installed now by running slmgr.vbs /dlv again. As you can see we’re in business to activate all our Windows Server 2016 and any OS version below that if t supports KMS activation.


Now in Windows 2012 R2 and later we also have the Volume Activation Tools feature you can install and use to do this, just like you use this for the ADBA setup.



Activate guest VMs on Hyper-V hosts

Configure Guest VMs activation with AVMA

If you’d like to leverage AVMA, which is especially handy as a IAAS hoster, you’ll need to use Windows Server 2016 or 2012 R2 Datacenter on your Hyper-V hosts and activate them by your chosen method (MAK, KMS, ADBA). You also need to use Windows Server 2016 or 2012 R2 Standard/Datacenter in the guest VMs. As long as your Hyper-V hosts is activated, every new guest deployed on them will be activated automatically. That’s it. There’s no need for a KMS or ADBA configuration for the guest (tenant VMs) or even an internet connection. The later is great for more secured environments. Easy peasy.

The only thing you need to do is use the AVMA client key in the slmgr /ipk. These are public ones actually just like the KMS clients keys.


There are two things to note: The first,a s you can read in the link to the AVMA documenation above:

“AVMA requires a Microsoft Virtualization Server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter or Windows Server 2016 Datacenter. A Windows Server 2016 AVMA host can activate guests that run the Datacenter, Standard or Essentials editions of Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2012 R2. A Windows Server 2012 R2 AVMA host can activate guests that run the Datacenter, Standard or Essentials editions of Windows Server 2012 R2.”

This means a Windows Server 2012 R2 Host cannot activate Windows server 2016 VMs. You can upgrade “cheaply” that way, let’s put it like that.

Secondly make sure the VM has Data Exchange turned ON in Integration Services. That’s the mechanism leveraged to make AVMA work. You should have that on anyway, really, I mean it 🙂

Configure Guest VMs activation with KMS

The public client KMS keys for VLK media can be found here: Appendix A: KMS Client Setup Keys I’ve only included a screnshot of the Windows Server KMS client keys here. More info is in the TechNet page.


To make sure a Windows Server 2016 Datacenter VM can activate via a KMS serer install use the below commands to replace a MAK key for example:

slmgr.vbs /ipk CB7KF-BWN84-R7R2Y-793K2-8XDDG
slmgr.vbs /ato

NOTE: all these keys can be used within a template or via unattented installation config files.

Conferences, Presenting & Learning Q4 2016

After MS ignite 2016 we’re prepping our Windows 2016 rollout that will start the day we have the Volume license bits. All this in combination with a continued public cloud development and deployment. We’ve seen success with native born in the loud apps and are now working on moving some existing workloads over there. The reason for the latter is that some of the IAAS private hosters at our disposal are unable to deliver the quality and level of services required to server the needs of some real time services. Not to mention that some of them make public cloud look cheap on top of the fact that ordering a VM takes weeks and the solutions can barely be called “cloud”. Well you can, but that doesn’t make it so. Basically is only fit for workloads you don’t really care about but for those they are way too expensive. So it’s Public Cloud for the win here.

But between these efforts I’ll be learning and sharing experiences with my pears until it’s time to take a few weeks of at the end of the year.

On October the 26th I’ll be attending and presenting at the Windows Server 2016 Launch Event In Ireland #WSL16 which is being organized by MicroWarehouse IT distributor.


Aidan Finn works there with great drive and success as their technical evangelist. He’s tapped in to his network of global experts to line up some great and diverse content on both Windows Server 2016 and Azure for cloud deployments.

Soon after that I’ll be flying over the big pond (go west young man, go west!) to attend the Microsoft MVP Global Summit 2016 and engage in some serious feedback, planning with Or Microsoft PMs and discuss the roadmaps and vision for the next year.

On November the 22nd I’ll be attending Experts Live in the Netherlands where I’ll also be presenting. The title of my session is Get your work/life balance in check with Hyper-V 24/7/365 High Availability. And the aim is to show you how clustering and Hyper-V have evolved to deliver better high availability, higher resiliency to failure, operational optimizations and better trouble shooting capabilities. Experts live is really one of the best and larger community events in Western Europe, and I always look forward to attending.


That will conclude my conference and presenting schedule for the year.  Well unless another opportunity to attend and share knowledge appears that’s to good to be turned down. The remainder of the year will be spent on moving to Windows 2016 and diving deeper into Azure ARM & automation.

Four MVPs have a chat after MS Ignite 2016

On Friday September the 30th 2016, in the afternoon, after Microsoft Ignite had come to an end Carsten Rachfahl assembled some of us, all MVPs attending Ignite for chat. Click on the picture below or here to follow the link.


Left to right you see Philip Elder aka @MPECSInc, Didier Van Hoye aka @WorkingHardInIT,  Carsten Rachfahl aka @hypervserver and Charbel Nemnom aka  @CHARBELNEMNOM

We discussed some of the features we like and look forward to in Windows Server 2016.

After this video, the post Ignite interactions with peers were not done yet. That night, over dinner, we spent many hours talking shop. Some of the dinner companions were quite the industry heavy weights in storage, virtualization networking and cloud. Too much of this was NDA to talk about here but it helped tremendously to put some things into perspective.