Configuring remote administration for Microsoft Hyper-V

In this chapter excerpt from "MCTS: Windows Server Virtualization Configuration Study Guide: (Exam 70-652)," you'll learn how to configure Hyper-V for remote access.

When you are working on a network, it may not always be possible to go directly to the Hyper-V server to make changes. You may have to connect to the server remotely instead.

About the book:
This chapter excerpt on configuring Hyper-V (download PDF) is taken from the book MCTS: Windows Server Virtualization Configuration Study Guide: (Exam 70-652). The book covers topics that solutions providers are expected to know, including optimizing Hyper-V and deploying, managing and monitoring virtual machines.

In today's world, home is just an extension of work. In many organizations, working from home or being available on a 24-hour basis is a requirement. The last thing you want to do is drive all the way to the office because a service or server is not working properly. It is much easier to configure remote access.

You can configure the Hyper-V server in several ways. First, you can use another server to connect to the Hyper-V host server (see Figure 3.14). To do this, you just install the Hyper-V role to the server and then connect to the other server through the Hyper-V MMC snap-in.


Figure 3.14 Connecting to a Hyper-V server

You can also install the Hyper-V Manager on the Windows Vista operating system as long as it has Service Pack 1 or higher installed. Once you install the Hyper-V management tool, it looks and feels just like the server's version of the Hyper-V Manager. To manage Hyper-V from Vista, you must download the Hyper-V management tools from the Microsoft website:

x86 Vista Update Go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=bf909242-2125-4d06-a968-c8a3d75ff2aa&DisplayLang=en.

x64 Vista Update Go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=88208468-0ad6-47de-8580-085cba42c0c2&DisplayLang=en.

Another way you can administer a Hyper-V server remotely is through the use of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). RDP allows you to connect directly to the Hyper-V server and have an RDP session with the server. When using RDP, it looks as if you are sitting in front of the server console. Microsoft also offers a utility called the Virtual Machine Connection (vmconnect.exe) that uses the RDP protocol to establish a connection.

To use RDP, you may have to configure your router to allow port 3389. Port 3389 is the standard default RDP port. To connect to the server by using RDP, you need to use a RDP client. RDP is included with Windows Server, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

An organization may also use the Virtualization Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) tool to manage, create, and configure virtual machines. Virtualization WMI allows an administrator to:

  • Manage server settings
  • Control the status of virtual machines
  • Create and configure virtual machines
  • Create and configure virtual networking

To use the Virtualization WMI tool, you must use a scripting utility to configure and create WMIs. To write the WMI scripts, you can use C/C++, the Microsoft Visual Basic application, or a scripting language, including Windows PowerShell. If you are new to scripting or need additional scripting hints, go to Microsoft's website and visit the Script Center (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/default.mspx).

Another utility that allows you to use scripts to configure Hyper-V is the Windows Remote Management (WinRM) utility. To configure Hyper-V, you can use the WinRM scripting objects, the WinRM command-line utility, or the Windows Remote Shell (WinRS) command-line utility.

No matter which way you decide to gain access remotely, one thing that you must configure is the Windows Firewall (see Figure 3.15). A firewall is a hardware or software device that helps stop unwanted intruders from accessing you network and doing any damage. The Windows Firewall application can stop you from connecting remotely if not configured properly. The Microsoft Firewall is included with the Windows Server 2008 operating system.

In Exercise 3.8 we will check the Windows Firewall and make sure that the Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) are both configured so that we can remotely connect to the Hyper-V server.


Figure 3.15 The Windows Firewall

EXERCISE 3.8 
Configuring the Windows firewall

1. Open the Windows Firewall by clicking Start > Control Panel > Windows Firewall.
2. When the Windows Firewall opens, click the Change Settings link.
3. Make sure the Block All Incoming Connections check box is deselected. Click the Exceptions tab.
4. Select the Hyper-V and Remote Desktop check boxes.

5. Click the Add Port button. In the Name field, type rdp port. In the Port Number field, type 3389. Select the TCP radio button and click OK.

6. Click OK and close the Windows Firewall.

REAL WORLD SCENARIO
Configuring the Windows firewall 

Microsoft has included the Windows Firewall application on their operating systems for years now. I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of using the Windows Firewall on client machines. Many organizations will have their clients use the Microsoft Firewall throughout the company. I have had many issues with this in a real-world environment.

For example, I set up a printer a few years ago for a client, and once I installed the printer, it would not print. I worked on it for about an hour and no matter which drivers I installed and no matter what I did, I could not get the printer to print. While I was pulling my hair out for a simple printer issue, I decided to turn off the Windows Firewall on the client machine. As soon as I turned it off, the printer started to print. The printer needed to be bi-directional with the client machine and the Windows Firewall was stopping it from working properly. You can configure the firewall to allow this to work, but it's just an example of what can happen.

Firewalls are a must item in your organization (especially between your network and the Internet), but using the Windows Firewall on the client machines may cause issues when working with certain devices.

I want to make sure I stress that you need to have firewalls in your organization, but remember, you get what you pay for. Windows Firewall is free with the operating system. Invest in a good network firewall to protect your organization.

About the author:
William Panek is the founder of Stellacon Corp. and a previous instructor for The Training Associates. He has taught at education institutions, including Boston University, Clark University and New Horizons. He is also the author of MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration Study Guide and MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration Study Guide.

To configure Hyper-V properly, it is important to understand virtual hard disks (VHDs) and the various configuration options. There are three VHD types: fixed size, dynamic, and differencing. Fixed-size VHDs have a set amount of hard disk space, and that amount does not change. Dynamic VHDs only use the amount of space that is currently being used for the VHD. Differencing disks are configured in a parent-child relationship with another disk that stays intact.

Shadow copies are included with Hyper-V virtual machines, and they are called virtual machine snapshots. Virtual machine snapshots will take a copy of your virtual machine and place that copy in a specified location.

Pass-through disk access allows Hyper-V to work without VHDs. Virtual machines can access a file system directly through the use of this feature.

Authorization Manager allows administrators to integrate role-based access control to applications. The System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) is an easy-to-use and cost-effective application for administrators who are responsible for managing virtual networks. SCVMM 2008 is a single application that allows you to configure and manage your entire virtual environment.

Virtual networking is the way you configure your virtual environment to work on the physical components to allow other machines to access your virtual resources through the physical network. In this chapter you learned about different virtual network concepts, such as VLANs, virtual switches, VLAN tagging, and the communication settings. One of the advantages that an administrator has is the ability to configure Hyper-V remotely.

In the next chapter we will discuss how to create and manage virtual machines.

Exam Essentials

Understand virtual hard disks (VHDs). A VHD is a virtual hard drive that you install the guest operating system onto. During the installation of the guest operating system, you determine the size and location of the virtual hard disk that the virtual machine will use.

Be able to list the three VHD types. There are three VHD types. Fixed-size VHDs have a set amount of hard disk space, and that amount does not change. Dynamic VHDs only use the amount of space that is currently being used for the VHD. The fixed-size VHD option offers better performance than the dynamic VHDs by eliminating the fragmentation associated with a growing file. Differencing disks are configured in a parent-child relationship with another disk that stays intact. This allows you to change the operating system or data without affecting the parent disk.

Be familiar with virtual machine snapshots. Understand that Microsoft Hyper-V has also included the shadow copies advantages to your virtual machines and they are called Virtual Machine Snapshots. Understand that these virtual machine snapshots will take a copy of your virtual machine and place that copy in a specified location. Understand the recovery and rollback advantages of using virtual machine snapshots.

Understand pass-through disk access. Pass-through disk access allows Hyper-V to work without the use of virtual hard disks (VHD). Virtual machines can access a file system directly, thus eliminating the need for VHDs. Be sure to know that VHDs are inaccessible to nonvirtualized systems due to the VHD formatting. Pass-through disk access helps solve this problem by allowing the virtual machine to directly access the writable file system. Using pass-through disk access allows you to surpass the 2040GB limitation of VHDs.

Know how to use Authorization Manager. Authorization Manager allows you to integrate role-based access control to applications. This gives you the flexibility to assign application access to users based on their job functions.

Understand System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Understand that System Center Virtual Machine Manager is an easy and cost-effective application for administrators that are responsible for managing virtual networks. Since SCVMM works with the Windows Server 2008 technology, understand that SCVMM allows you to configure and manipulate the physical and virtual machines, consolidate underutilized physical machines, and implement new virtual machines.

Know how to implement virtual networking. Be familiar with VLANs, virtual switches, VLAN tagging, and the three communication settings that you can configure. Be able to set up a network adapter in the Virtual Network Manager tool.

Understand how to configure Hyper-V remotely. Know how to remotely configure and maintain Hyper-V remotely. Understand how to configure the Windows Firewall and RDP settings to allow for the remote administration.


Managing and optimizing the Microsoft Hyper-V server
   Configuring virtual networking for Microsoft Hyper-V
   Configuring remote administration for Microsoft Hyper-V
   Download the rest of this chapter excerpt

Printed with permission from Wiley Publishing Inc. Copyright 2009. MCTS: Windows Server Virtualization Configuration Study Guide: (Exam 70-652) by William Panek. For more information about this title and other similar books, please visit http://www.wiley.com.

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