Saturday, April 24, 2010

Windows 2008 R2 NLB using virtual machines in HyperV not working

During last week I had to configure a Windows NLB for two Exchange 2010 with Client Access Role. The machines were installed as virtual machines in Windows 2008 R2 HyperV architecture. Both virtual machines were configured with two network cards, one of them dedicated for NLB. We configured the NLB using Unicast. You can find an excellent article about configuring CAS NLB http://www.msexchange.org/articles_tutorials/exchange-server-2007/high-availability-recovery/load-balancing-exchange-2007-client-access-servers-windows-network-technology-part1.html
After configuring the NLB, I found out that the IP address of the NLB was not accessible from nowhere else then the nodes of the NLB cluster.
This actually occured because as part of the cluster setup process (when using Unicast) the MAC address of the interface used in the NLB on each of the servers that becomes part of the cluster is changed to a common and different MAC address to anything currently on the servers. This occurs on the server, and the hypervisor knows nothing about it. This way the MAC address set up within Hyper-V on the interfaces used by NLB bears no relation to the MAC address that the cluster thinks it’s using on the guest machines themselves and no traffic is routed to that interface.
To solve the problem I had to modify MAC address settings for each NLB network card configured in virtual machines.
The Hyper-V Synthetic Network Adapter does not allow you to dynamically modify the MAC address. A legacy network adapter does, but a Hyper-V Legacy Network Adapter does but does not support x64. To change MAC address for virtual machines you have shut down the virtual machines and go into the properties of the Hyper-V Synthetic Network Adapter used for NLB. I modified two settings:
- I changed the Ethernet (MAC) address setting the MAC address to Static, using Generate button.
- I selected the Enable spoofing of MAC address. This allows the guest operating system of a Hyper-V virtual machine to provide an alternate MAC address to the one that the virtual machine provides. This option is new option in VMM 2008 R2. If you use Windows Server 2008, this capability is automatic in Hyper-V, in Windows Server 2008 R2, the feature is turned off by default.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Exchange 2010 SP1 will be available in the near future

On April 7th, 2010, Microsoft Exchange Team has made an announcement regarding future Service Pack 1 for Exchange 2010.
For me Exchange 2010 was a major step from Exchange 2007 but it seems there is always room for more nice features. This service pack will also include all the roll-ups to the date and fixes for known issues.
The major enhancements of this service pack are:
Archiving and Discovery Enhancements
• The possibility to store Personal Archive in a different mailbox database;
• Support in Outlook 2007 for Personal Archive;
• Delegate user access for Personal Archive;
• New tools to create Retention Policy Tags;
• Direct import of data from PSTs to Exchange server;
• Multi-Mailbox Search enhancements.
Outlook Web App Enhancements
• Enhancements in the UI (increased speed for current time consuming tasks);
• UI visual improvements;
• Web-Ready Document Viewing of IRM-protected documents;
• Calendar Sharing to anonymous viewers via the web.
Mobility Enhancements
• support for send-as;
• notifying the user if their device has been placed on block or quarantine;
• full implementation of conversation view;
• Calendar Sharing to anonymous viewers via the web.
New Management UI
• Create/configure Retention Tags + Retention Policies in EMC;
• Configure Transport Rules in ECP;
• Configure Journal Rules in ECP;
• Configure MailTips in ECP;
• Provision and configure the Personal Archive in ECP;
• Configure Litigation Hold in ECP & EMC;
• Configure Allow/Block/Quarantine mobile device policies in ECP;
• RBAC role management in ECP;
• Configure Database Availability Group (DAG) IP Addresses and Alternate Witness Server in EMC;
• Recursive public folder settings management (including permissions) in EMC.

The Beta of this service pack will be released in June this year. You can read more details here:
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2010/04/07/454533.aspx

Friday, April 2, 2010

I am MVP for Exchange

It has been more than an month since I wrote here. I intend to come back with interesting technical articles but until then I am honored to say that I am the new proud Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Exchange in Romania.
Microsoft MVPs are exceptional technical community leaders from around the world who have been awarded for voluntarily providing technical expertise towards technical communities supporting Microsoft products or technologies.
I don't know if I fit exactly the above definition, but I hope there is something true here :-). In the near future I intend to increase the time and the quality of the support that I provide to the MS Exchange community in Romania to be sure that I deserve this award.
You can access my MVP profile here https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile/Paul.Roman.