Not able to backup Generation 2 VM

I was very disappointed when I tried to backup my Generation 2 VM with the last version of DPM and I saw that DPM is not able to make a backup. Of course the next step was to backup the same machine (bare metal) from Windows backup, because a lot of times you can see more detailed error in this step. In this case it was exactly as I hoped. From the Windows backup I received an explanation of error – there is not a enough free space of volume \\?\Volume{7ab7a499-9013-4f22-90a7-f8fb2f70e349}\.
What is this volume? I checked it from Administrator command prompt and I saw that this is the 300MB boot partition and of course there is not enough space.
To solve the problem we will execute all commands from the elevated command prompt.

The first step you have to take is to find the volume label. To do this, we have to use the command mountvol. You have to look in the results and there you will find a non mapped volume:
        *** NO MOUNT POINTS ***
At this point we have to move the location of shadow copies with this command:
vssadmin add shadowstorage /for=\\?\Volume{7ab7a499-9013-4f22-90a7-f8fb2f70e349}\ /on=c: /maxsize=500MB
This will move the location of shadow copies to drive C:. Of course, you can choice any other drive where you have enough free space. You can test if the location has really changed with vssadmin list shadowstorage.
After this change, the Windows backup was successful, but I still had problems to perform backup with DPM but it is simple to make it work. Just delete the current protection (Stop protection of the member…), remove the data from the storage and recreate the protection. It will work..

My top 10 in new Essentials server

What is new, cool and bad in Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials? I have my personal top 10 opinion. I don’t want to write only good thinks, because the administrator must know also the dark side of a product. Here is my list:

  1. Virtualization rights – Server 2012R2 Essentials license include virtualization rights that are different form normal, standard product. These rights include the virtualization 1 + 1. To be more specific, you don’t need to buy an additional license for the host server (if you want to have GUI), but you have to buy it for any additional VM. This will be useful for providing DR scenario in small companies with Hyper-V replica (for example to do it in our datacenter).
  2. AD Groups – Finally! Microsoft realizes, that user-by-user permissions are not a good approach even in small environments (especially in version 2012, where you were able to translate product to the standard version…). Now we can create groups directly in Dashboard and we can assign permissions to groups and add users to them. It’s fine. Like in the good, old SBS.AD Groups
  3. Essentials role in standard server – Microsoft adds Essentials role to standard products in the way, that if you buy Windows Server 2012R2 Standard or Datacenter edition, you will be able to install the Essentials role. This role will give an opportunity to use Dashboard, Remote Web Workplace and other Essentials functionality. You will be able to use one or more Essentials functionalities, but in some cases, you will be limited with a limit of 100 users (for example in client backups – another good point to limit usage!).Essential role
  4. Client computer backups – Good practice in small companies where you have users, that just use “Save” button and don’t matter where the data is going. This happens in many small companies and no one knows where the data is. In this cases, you have to backup all the environment, including client computers. Very useful functionality.Çlient backup settings
  5. Azure Backup – We talk again about small businesses. In many cases, the server is located under the table, security is something that they don’t think about and their data are exposed to high risk. Azure backup in those cases is a very good functionality to store crucial company data in a secure location. Of course, this is not a replacement for the normal server backup. We still need to backup our server, because Azure backup will not protect you against accidents like hardware failure or similar. In these cases, you will need a local backup to restore the server quickly.
  6. Remote Web Workplace – One of my favorite functionalities in Essentials or old SBS server. I use this functionality a lot, I talk a lot about it, but is still buggy. I mentioned this bug in my blog previously and I reported this bug to Microsoft when SBS 2011 public preview was released. From than the bug is still present, so be careful who will have the Administrator rights in your system. It is not really a good point to preserve private data.
  7. Internal “local” domain – by default is no chance to change FQDN domain from .local to any other domain name. This will be not smart after January 1st, when you will not be able to add local domain to trusted certificates and in many cases this is not a good idea to do it this way. The only way to move away from local domain is installing the Essential role with PowerShell (Break the Essentials wizard and run Start-WssConfigurationService -CompanyName “ContosoTest” -DNSName “” -NetBiosName “ContosoTest” -ComputerName “YourServerName” –NewAdminCredential $cred -Setting All from elevated PowerShell).
  8. Windows Phone and Windows 8 App – Both apps are present from version 2012, but I think, that is a nice approach to have easy access to all data on the server. It is also nice for administrators with quick status report for network. Nice thing.Windows Phone App
  9. Health Monitoring and reports – Another thing, that make SBS and Essentials servers popular and easy to manage. Very nice idea to have all events reported on the same screen. In this version is improved with some knowledge results for every error or warning. It is very useful for administrators. The other good functionality of Health monitoring is that it can send E-Mails with health reports and critical errors. One thing I would correct here is the schedule for generating reports; I would like these reports to be generated weekly, not hourly or daily. If you are administrator for more servers, there are too many mails with current configuration.Healt Management
  10. Launchpad – Nice application for not so expert users. I think that is very good to advice all users in small companies to use it, because it has a lot of good shortcuts. The first one is access to all shared folders on server without mapping them. This will solve administrator problems like “I cannot see Y drive”. The second nice thing is the list of errors and warnings; including disk space and update warnings. And the last, but not least, is the backup functionality. Unfortunately it is not so good, because a non administrator user can backup his machine, but he is unable to restore some files. This could be corrected.

I hope, that this list will give you a good opinion about this server. Honestly is not a bed product and it is very useful and easy to manage. It is dedicated to small companies and it is made with this logic. Consider it, test it and use it. You will be satisfied with it!.

Migrate from SBS 2008 or 2011 (Part 1)

Migrate from Windows Small Business Server 2008 to Standard Edition Products

This guide outlines how to migrate an existing Windows Small Business Server 2008 or 2011 domain to a standard version Windows 2008 domain. Migration of some component settings and data are also covered. This guide tells you how to remove your existing servers from the Windows Server 2008 network as you proceed through the migration. It assumes that you have obtained licensed copies of the following products:
• Windows Server 2008R2 Standard Edition (2 Copies, 3 Copies optional),
• Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Standard Edition,
• Windows Sharepoint Foundation (Optional Download).

The following product may also be a part of the SBS 2008 product, but will not be discussed in this migration document:
• Forefront Security for Exchange 2007 (FSE).

Windows Small Business Server Migration Overview

There are several basic upgrade scenarios for the SBS 2008 customers. Most installations will fall into one of these broad categories:

•  The SBS 2008 installations will be migrated to Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, Exchange Server 2010 Standard and SharePoint Foundation. This scenario is covered in this document.
•  Hybrid migrations. In some cases, it may be preferable to selectively migrate only some components (for example, if an installation chooses to continue using Exchange Server) or to consolidate or distribute roles. This paper will address the main steps of these processes, but will not attempt to cover all the possible variations.
•  Any additional domain controllers and services running on servers, other than the Windows Small Business Servers in the environment, do not need to be migrated. For instance, if DHCP is not running on the SBS server, it does not need to be migrated. If Sharepoint Services is hosted on a non SBS server, it does not need to be migrated.

Backup the Existing Environment

It is strongly recommended that SBS server is completely backed up before beginning the steps in this document. This includes full server backup, as well as System State backup of the SBS Server (in case that data needs to be restored or the migration rolled back).

In addition, configuration and data of component applications should be backed up separately, before beginning the migration. The output of the various backup tools will be used later in the migration.

Obtain Installation Media

It is important not to start the migration until all media are physically on site. The original SBS media cannot be used to install stand-alone versions of the products.
Consider downloading any component Service Packs that are currently installed in the environment, such as:
• Windows Server 2008R2 Service Pack 1 or later,
• Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 or later.

Components Not Upgraded

SBS-specific components cannot be moved or copied to other installations. These components will cease to work and are not supported after SBS is migrated. This list includes:
• Remote Web Workplace (RWW),
• SBS 2008 Administration Console,
• SBS wizards,
• SBS licensing.

Premium Edition Upgrades

SBS 2008 Premium Edition includes a separate copy of Windows Server 2008 Standard (32 and 64 bit) and a copy of Microsoft SQL Server. This server does not need to be upgraded or migrated as a part of this process. No action is needed for the server to continue to work and will be licensed once the SBS domain is migrated. It is highly recommended to back up this server separately, because of other changes in the environment that may affect it.

In some cases the SQL instance from this SKU may have been installed on SBS server. In this case, the databases will need to be backed up and restored to a new server installation.

If you used your Premium Edition server to act as a Hyper-V host machine, you can safely leave this server running without additional changes. There is no need to reinstall the Premium Server.


Migrate from SBS 2008 or 2011 (Part 2) .

Controlling the Hyper-V replica

For many of us will be Hyper-V replica in Windows Server 2012 very useful. The technique permits to small companies or datacenters to have a system online very quickly and with minimum investments. There are a lot of blogs and documents where it is explained how Hyper-V replica works, but at the same time I could not find any document how to implement monitoring.
This is why I wrote the script for sending the mail, if something goes wrong. This script (you can download it for free) sends a mail if there is any replication out of normal state. Of course, you can change the expression at your own choice and use it in your environment.

 Hyper-V Replica (1.09 kb).