A while back, I posted an article on building a SharePoint development environment in Hyper-V, which included a part on automating deployment of the host machine. Although we’ve now moved to VMware Workstation, we still use this approach for automating deployment of our standard Windows 7 builds, and this commentary is generally relevant to any Windows Deployment Services (WDS) deployment.
When I learned WDS and the Windows Automated Installation Kit (which were both quite new in Windows Server 2008 R2 at the time), I contented myself with getting ~90% of the way to a fully-automated build, as the additional effort to get from 90 to 100% (mostly re: drivers) wouldn’t have paid enough immediate dividends and we needed to start capitalising on some of the other wins of our new environment. As is often the case, we never got back to that remaining 10%, but it’s become more of an issue in recent months, as we’ve added a few Dell Latitude E6410 and Lenovo W520 laptops – both of which had network drivers that the Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 boot images didn’t recognise. Unfortunately the TechNet guidance on adding drivers to boot images is unclear (to me anyway), so I’m contributing this quick post to attempt to clarify the problem that we had and the simple step-by-step solution.
I’ve previously reported problems with MAC duplication on Hyper-V host external network connections on Windows Server 2008 R2, which I’ve never fully resolved, although we have been successfully working around the issue as detailed in the first link above.
A couple of weeks ago I was working simultaneously on my Windows Server 2008 R2 laptop with Hyper-V (the same laptop build that’s been previously mentioned) and a Windows 7 x64 build that I was using for testing, when I noticed severe but intermittent network problems on both machines. After a fair amount of head scratching, I noticed that the two laptops had duplicated MAC addresses. Blatantly that shouldn’t happen, as the whole point of a MAC address is to provide uniqueness. The most perplexing issue was that the addresses conflicted across two different operating systems. However, it happened. Both wired adapters on the two machines had the MAC address 00-21-9B-DC-8E-0B. I uninstalled the wired adapter on the Windows 7 machine and scanned for new hardware. When the device reinstalled the problem went away. Continue reading “MAC duplication issues with captured VMs and WDS”
In the first three parts of this series I covered the project objectives and the system design, then turned my attention to the Hyper-V host image build. In this section I will look at automating deployment of that host operating system. This is lengthy, but there’s a lot to cover.
Continue reading “Building a SharePoint 2007/2010 development environment — Part IV: Automated deployment”
Having agreed the project objectives and designed the system, I turned my attention to the Hyper-V host image build. This is a high-level build guide with start-up time and baseline memory consumption benchmarks at key milestones. These benchmark figures were taken from the Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate build and are admittedly a bit imprecise. However, they do provide an overall indication of system performance as things were added to and removed from the installation. Although I do not have precise figures on RTM improvements, I spot-checked a few of these benchmarks when I rebuilt the system on RTM. Start-up times improved slightly at each milestone. In fact, the final benchmarks came in at 100MB less idle memory used in the RTM release. Continue reading “Building a SharePoint 2007/2010 development environment — Part III: Host image build and performance benchmarks”
Further to my post from a few months ago on the this topic (dating back to the RC build), I’ve seen this same problem a few more times on the RTM build of Windows Server 2008 R2. My suggested approach still fixes the problem and it doesn’t recur, but I’ve still not been able to pin down a cause and I can find no documentation on host machine MAC assignments anywhere. Continue reading “More on routine loss of external network connectivity on Hyper-V hosts (not guests)”
While I’ve been ripping off Virtual PC Guy I may as well stay at it. He has a great tip in his geeking out with WDS post suggesting that custom installation images can be built up in a virtual machine and captured from virtual rather than capturing the physical build. This allows for ongoing maintenance of the build without worrying about capturing the same image multiple times by taking a snapshot before SysPrep. It’s a great suggestion.
I’d actually geared myself up for this approach with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM, since Windows Deployment Services supports deployment of VHDs now, but I deflated myself a bit when I realised this was only a means of deploying for native boot from VHD rather than deploying a VHD to hardware as though it was a captured WIM. When I figured this out I went back to capturing physical images, and blindly overlooked this option. Nice one!
I imagine the responses to this post’s title will fall in to one of three categories:
- What’s Windows Deployment Services?
- What’s Internet Connection Sharing?
- Why on earth would you use both in one machine?
To answer the last question I need to unveil a bit about the network approach that we’ve adopted for the Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2 laptop build that I mentioned in my last post. Continue reading “Windows Deployment Services trumps Internet Connection Sharing”