Hands on with Hyper-V Clustering Maintenance Mode & Cluster Aware Updating TechNet Screencast

I’ve blogged and given some presentations on Cluster Aware Updating before and I also did a web cast on this subject on Technet. You can find the video of that screencast right here Hands on with Hyper-V Clustering Maintenance Mode & Cluster Aware Updating.


I hope you get something out of it. Once I got my head wrapped around around the XML to make the BIOS, firmware & driver updates from DELL to work as well as the pre configured inbox functionality (DGR & QFE updates) it has proven equally valuable for those kinds of updates.

9 thoughts on “Hands on with Hyper-V Clustering Maintenance Mode & Cluster Aware Updating TechNet Screencast

  1. Great to see that you’re looking at CAU.

    I’ve noticed that if you use the Dell SUU with CAU, there are a number of issues that I found.

    (Forgive me, but I did not watch your entire screencast to see if you covered these).

    It took me the better part of a week to figure all of this out; hopefully this will prevent someone else from experiencing the same pain.

    (1) First, the way CAU works is by walking through every file in the target directory. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it does raise a whole bunch of warnings in which there (understandably) aren’t any update rules to be applied. It would be nice if you could limit CAU to a particular target, rather than using a filesystem scan. Consequently, there are a lot of warnings that show up that suggest that something could be wrong, when in fact, there isn’t.

    (2) If there are no updates to be applied, then the SUU command returns a (system) error level of -1. This is bad, since the suu.cmd batch file (which is the batch file that CAU actually causes) returns a failure, even if there are no updates to be applied. Consequently, if the maximum error node threshold is left to its (low) defaults, machines don’t get SUU run on them. To fix this, I’ve hacked (I’d say ‘patched,’ but that doesn’t seem accurate in this case) suu.cmd batch file to override this behavior and return a ‘0’ (i.e., success) when there are no updates to be applied. If you disassemble the SUU java files, you’ll see that they do indeed set a default return value of ‘failure.’

    (3) If you’re using the 64-bit ISO, you’ll need to increase Java’s heap size. I did this by, again, modifying the suu.cmd.

    (4) Dell appears notoriously bad about making the latest version of SUU easy to find. Don’t bother with the Dell SUU page. Instead, go to a support page for a server, and look in the downloads there. Why they make it so hard to find is beyond me. Maybe they want people to buy the subscriptions in which they mail you the DVDs.

    My modified files are here:

    (The opinions expressed here are my own and not of my employer).

    • CAU has been working very well for us for almost a year now.

      1) That’s how it works and what we do now is just run SUU on reference systems and extract the need DUPs. We also test these before we use them to catch any issues with them, it happens. Nothing wrong with dumping using the SUU as is, but it eats space & causes a lot of logging noise that’s benign but it clogs up any investigation. Basically it’s a scaled down approache of building your own repository for use with SUU, which we prefer for non CAU updates.

      2) mitigated by 1)

      3) also mitigated by 1)

      4) We go straight for the FTP server or indeed like yourself catch it on the support site. I’m afraid that any large company has the same issue. management, organization & discovery of information & content. believe me, no vendor want to be be in the DVD shipping business, not even the paid for one. The economics are just not good. It’s for those that only have that option. Which should be no one I hope by now.

      The good news is DELL has usable DUPs & it works, some other vendors with their weird repackaging, unpacking that needs to be done make it even more cumbersome.

      • I agree that the DUP solution is superior. However, I think that Dell though either fix (or deprecate) the SUU path since it ships (arguably) broken. I usually look to myself to blame when something goes wrong — and I’m surprised they’d not make SUU.cmd idempotent.

        As for the 64-bit, my heap size fix didn’t work as expected, so back to the drawing board (or 32-bit) on that one. It’s CAU that calls cmd.exe that calls a batch file that calls Java. Somewhere along the way a heap is too small and if the 32-bit ISO works I’m going to give up on trying to solve that one for Dell.

        As for (4), its most frustrating that there is a link to what the Dell SUU wiki states is the ‘latest’ when it is, in fact not. A bit nit-picky, I know, but it’s a bit difficult to believe that they can’t keep a link up to date. Then again, I’m glad the Dell hardware is better than their website. 🙂 (Do you have a common place you look on the Dell FTP site?)

        (PS. In a completely unrelated note, have you had problems with SCVMM and KB2840642? Did you uninstall that update for the Compellent SAN?)

        (PPS. I wonder when SC 6.4 will be available. We had to wait a looong time for SC 6.3 to be available as compared to when they announced it).

        (PPPS. Great blog)

        • I like SUU for non CAU work but it suffers from some QA issues every now and then which I tend to report. 32 bit will do the job fine but for some x64 bit apps that are not in there (like Server Manager) and bar that is not a bad work around. I’ll take your feedback to them. For FTP I just e-mail them & ask 🙂

          I think 6.4 is for this year still. 6.3 was indeed a bit of alonger wait but getting sync replication written & doing that right was worth the wait. Pretty happy with ODX/UNMAP. The new disk bay options & large eMLC SSDs look promising. Are you on SC8000 controllers?

          SCVMM … we took W2K12 into production in August/September 2012 so no SCVMM. We do it all via PowerShell 🙂 We’re looking into SCVMM 2012 R2 and we’ll take it form there.

          Thank you for the compliment, I glad you find it useful.

    • (Too many nested replys so I popped it out.)

      Yes, we’re on the SC8000 controllers. I’m a little annoyed because we bought the SAN right before the SC200/SC220s came out. It’s not a big deal since we have a free loop, but it would have been nice. At least we got the 8000s. I’m not sure I would have gone Compellent otherwise.

      The new enclosures sure do look promising. And I agree that 6.3 is worth the wait. I just did a suite of KB updates (there is that technet page that has most of them) before doing some live migrations on my test cluster. On 6.2 we could move about Win8 500 VMs extremely efficicnetly over a 10G live migration.

      I’m putting a budget request for an Infiniband network that I’ll use for live migration and/or redudancy along with the 10GbE. When we went to 10GbE our live migrations sped up by an order of about 10x. Amazing. Astonishing. Made my week.

      Overall, I’m extremely impressed with Compellent. They go above and beyond and are always quick to reply. In my opinion, solid customer support is about 1000 times harder to do then to have a solid technology. I don’t have a lot of experience with other SANs but so far I’m very very happy.

      Great to find someone else with a Compellent SAN. I believe there is another in my organization (government agency); I just have to find them. 🙂

      • Even the older SC40 is rather pontent but the SC8000 outshine it :-). We bought before SC8000 was availabe. It’s a bit of luck with the timing often. With a free loop you’re good to go with the new SSDs & diskbays for any extention plans you might have. I can even use those with the SC40.

        I have experience with other SANs/vendors and the support CoPilot offers is very good indeed. The product itself is great & capable without being complex. It’s not perfect but we keep providing feedback. If you ever get the change to do an DELL Enterprise Forum as a storage customer do so. You can really talk to the developers, engineers & managers. Not to much marketing but an open discussion and feeback.

        We’ve decided to stick to 10Gbps but leverage RDMA, probably bybass 40Gbps & make our move when 100Gbps is readily available. Infiniband often has a big psychological barrier with powers that be. Good to hear you get to walk that route.

        I think you’ll find more and more of them. Lots of interest as far as I can see from my end of the world.

        Good luck.

    • Hello Sir,
      De you have, by any chance, the defaut XML configuration files:
      Many thanks 🙂

  2. Pingback: Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) – Best Posts of the Week around Windows Server, Exchange, SystemCenter and more – #42 - TechCenter - Blog - TechCenter – Dell Community

  3. Pingback: Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) – Best Posts of the Week around Windows Server, Exchange, SystemCenter and more – #42 - Dell TechCenter - TechCenter - Dell Community

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