Building virtual Windows Deployment Services images

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!

Hyper-V graphics performance and SharePoint 2010 development

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’ve built a Windows Server 2008 R2 (with Hyper-V) laptop for SharePoint development but I haven’t mentioned one of the only major gripes that I’ve not been able to solve – namely that graphics-intensive operations bring the system to a halt. This is particularly noticeable when audio is playing and you launch a new program while Hyper-V is exporting (as if you have a sonic performance metric), or (to use the Microsoft example) when pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL.

Until the other day I had always chalked this up to something about this driver (an NVIDIA GeForce 8400 M GS on a Dell XPS M1330) and the Hyper-V role or Server 2008 R2 itself (since we didn’t have this problem with the same driver on Windows 7). However, one of our technical architects got a bit more annoyed by this than me and identified that it’s a known issue for almost every graphics driver on 64-bit-capable laptops. Continue reading “Hyper-V graphics performance and SharePoint 2010 development”

Windows Deployment Services trumps Internet Connection Sharing

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”

Routine loss of connectivity on a Hyper-V host’s external connection

We’ve recently been piloting a laptop developer build on Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (Build 7100) with the Hyper-V role. One of the first receipients of this build complained of connectivity problems in Office Communicator once every minute or two. For as-yet undiagnosed reasons we have lengthy sign-in times for Communicator, so this loss of connectivity rendered it completely unusable. This same problem was visible in Outlook, although less disruptive since we use Cached Exchange Mode. Both Exchange and the OCS server are hosted but we also noticed the problem with interrupted file transfers so it clearly wasn’t just an internet connectivity issue. It looked like something to do with the NIC, the cable or a network device.

The network trouble was accompanied by a series of System log event errors from MVSMP:

Port ‘SWITCHPORT-SM-F277C685-E5F8-490D-8CD1-913B854FABD2-0-1′ was prevented from using MAC address ’00-15-C5-7E-EB-39’ because it is pinned to port ‘SWITCHPORT-SM-F277C6’. Continue reading “Routine loss of connectivity on a Hyper-V host’s external connection”