Thursday, October 23, 2014

RESOLVED: Missing NETLOGON and SYSVOL shares on Azure domain controller

So I recently built a VM on Azure in Southeast Asia to do some testing for a customer. I had a few issues connecting the server to AD but eventually figured out Windows Firewall and a bad DNS configuration was the culprit. Soon after joining and promoting the box to a DC, I started my Lync Server 2013 installation.

This was when things went sideways...

I noticed the Lync Server tossing errors about AD being "partially" prepared which was odd since I had a well built out environment in North America. I thought it might have something to do with latency between Singapore and North America but soon realized that wasn't the issue. In an attempt to install the local configuration store it wouldn't get past the first page and produced an error saying something about not being able to find the configuration store. However, running a Get-CsManagementConnection did return the SCP for SQL.

I moved on to basic troubleshooting of the DC by running a "dcdiag" which revealed errors about the server being unsuitable and another error relating to a missing NETLOGON share. Ah hah!! I also noticed SYSVOL wasn't there as well. Coupled with those two were countless errors about DFS replication in Event Viewer. So after some digging I found the following worked for me:

Follow the instructions in this KB article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947022

In doing so, the SYSVOL share magically appeared!

Once the share was created I restarted the NETLOGON service only to notice the following in Event Viewer:


I manually created the "scripts" and "policies" folders in File Explorer and restarted the NETLOGON service again.

This worked and my Lync installation continued without issue!

FIXED: Lync Server 2013 pre-requisites fail to install on Windows Server 2012 R2 in Azure

So I've noticed recently that builds of Windows Server 2012 R2 which are pre-patched in Azure IaaS fail on the pre-requisite installation for Lync Server 2013. This also became apparent on a SQL Server 2012 installation as well and they're related to the same issue.

During the feature installation process we attempt to install .NET Framework 3.5 however the error you receive is that the 'source' location wasn't specified or can't find the files.


Warning seen from the wizard when installing the feature:


How to resolve: 

Install the following patch: http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/3005628 

...and retry your feature installation again.

Install Lync Server 2013 pre-reqs:

Install-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS, Web-Server, Web-Static-Content, Web-Default-Doc, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Net-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Log-Libraries, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Filtering, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Dyn-Compression, NET-WCF-HTTP-Activation45, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Mgmt-Tools, Web-Scripting-Tools, Web-Mgmt-Compat, Windows-Identity-Foundation, Desktop-Experience, Telnet-Client, BITS

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Unwinding a cocked-up Azure deployment

First off, for those of you who believe my title is vulgar, read this. For everyone else, read on...

I started deploying Virtual Machines (VMs) to Azure only recently and found myself giddy as a school boy anticipating what I could build, however this quickly descended into a befuddling exercise leaving one heck of a mess in my Azure portal. As with any software offering with many knobs and buttons, and very little in the way of a traditional 'wizard' to walk new admins through the right way forward, you can get yourself in trouble quickly.

Working with customers in this area I've seen many different ways to deploy Cloud Services, VNets, VMs, and Storage Accounts. Because little guidance exists on how these various components impact each other, people generally forge ahead with little planning and eventually make mistakes.

This post will help demystify the core components of Azure IaaS and give you guidance on how to fix a cocked-up deployment. After all, you need to know what you're dealing with before you attempt to fix it. We'll begin by identifying and describing the building blocks of an Azure IaaS deployment:

1. Naming Conventions

This topic seems somewhat self explanatory however it's worth mentioning as it will make dealing in PowerShell easier and easier to adopt your topology by other Azure Admins. Consider using a format such as this:

[object name]-[location]-[data]

For example, if I'm creating a Virtual Network in South Central US with a network starting at 10.2.x.x then I might use:

vnet-southcentralus-10.2

Key Takeaway: Certainly don't take my suggestion as the 'right' way to do this either. I'm still working out and perfecting my own ideas on how descriptive these objects should be. You'll probably start with something similar, change it, then change it many more times before you get it right.

2. Virtual Networks

From my perspective vNETs are one of the most important components to get right so I'll start with them first. Like most people I just wanted to get started building VMs in Azure so I didn't pay much attention to this aspect. I can't say it enough now though; planning your vNET topology is foundational to a successful implementation!

Virtual Networks in Azure define the access boundary and the geographic location of your virtual machines. Start with planning your network address space you'll use in Azure including any segmentation via subnets.

 

Key takeaway: Create your vNETs first, define your address range, then carve out your subnets. Any VM on any subnet in the same vNET will be able to talk (route) without any intervention from you.

If you need VMs in different geographic regions, create those vNETs in those regions first. You can perform vNET to vNET routing through the use of Dynamic Routing Gateways (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/dn690122.aspx).

3. Storage Accounts

Since your VMs will need a place to reside, you should create the location in advance even though it can be created at the time you build your VM. Refer to my first point above around naming conventions for a reason why. You likely want to have control over what these objects are called vs. the Azure service giving a cryptic name like "p12asgd798asfg98weiop" as a storage account. You also get the opportunity to be in control of where that account is created geographically.


Once your Storage Account is created, add a container for your VHD files (i.e. vhds) to hold your VM disks.

Key takeaway: If you're building VMs in East and West US datacenters, create the associated storage accounts in those datacenters as well.

4. Disks

In Azure IaaS Disks are somewhat self explanatory as they are built on the basis of a VHD file and can be attached to a VM during creation time. If you delete a VM and want to recreate it, you'll need to define a disk based on the VM before doing so....more on this later.

5. Cloud Services

This mysterious object has been at the root of many bunged up deployments and remains for many people a source of frustration in terms of understanding its importance and relevance to the overall architecture. The Cloud Service is basically a container for similar VMs which a business would define as a "service". Let's take Lync Server 2013 for example...

In a Lync environment you have Front-End, Back-End (SQL), File shares, Edge servers, Office Web App servers, and Mediation servers. An Azure admin running a Lync pool would conceivably put all these VMs into a single Cloud Service. You might decide to have a Cloud Service for "core" bits such as Active Directory servers, and yet another for client VMs or development boxes. The point is, each Cloud Service should encase all that makes up that defined service. Why? Well you can start and stop a cloud service to bring an environment online/offline depending on need easier than any other method.


Be aware though that you can only perform one VM operation for each Cloud Service such as a start/stop/update. For this reason I've seen some people create a Cloud Service for each VM which can have long term consequences in terms of the number of CS objects and overall management overhead.

6. Virtual Machines

Now we arrive at the last item; the Virtual Machine itself. Up to this point we've defined everything we need to establish the basis for a solid Azure environment in which the VM will reside. If you've planned the environment to your liking, read no further.


The Virtual Machine will consume disk and network (vNET) resources in the geographic region you've created them in. Remember, the vNET in "West US" should have a Storage Account in "West US", making the VM reside in "West US" after all.

Now on to what we came here for....

Now...how to fix your Azure environment

I'll give you an example of what I did to resolve my many issues. Some of which you may want to implement and some you may simply toss away. My problem stemmed from the lack of conceptual understanding of the geographic placement of vNETs and Cloud Services. I wanted some VMs to run in the West coast datacenter and some in the East. My storage accounts were all in the West and some of my networking was East and some was West. A mess really....

To fix it I followed these "simple" steps:
  1. Define my naming convention for networks, VMs, storage accounts, etc.
  2. Build vNET and define address range including all subnets making sure no overlap existed with my existing environment.
  3. Build my storage accounts and set up my "vhds" container.
  4. Create my Cloud Service objects.
  5. Stopped my VMs
  6. Copied the VHD files to the new storage accounts (renaming them along the way). For more information on how to do this check out: http://jasonshave.blogspot.ch/2014/09/how-to-copy-vhd-file-between-storage.html
  7. Delete the existing VMs making sure to KEEP the attached disk objects.
  8. Create new disk objects based on the new home location of my VHD files from step 6 above.
  9. Recreate my deleted VM by choosing the "New VM", "From Gallery", then selecting "My Disks" to locate the objects from step 8 above.
  10. Be sure to deploy the VM into an existing Cloud Service, choose the correct vNET, and Storage Account.
  11. Repeat this for all your VMs!
While this seems like a daunting task, consider this a lesson learned. I know I did!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Here is something strange....HP gets 10-year ban in Canada

HP gets a 10-year ban in Canada for corruption charge and subsequent conviction. Try going to cnn.com and search for the story or anything close to it.

You won't find anything. Hmmmm. Strange?

This isn't an old story. It happens to be written on a Canadian web site last Friday!