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Using Windows 8 and RSAT to manage Hyper-V and 2012 servers

Using Windows 8 and RSAT to manage Hyper-V and 2012 servers
How to use a Windows 8 PC to connect to and configure your 2012 servers with Hyper-V

A feature of Microsoft Server 2012 is the ability to manage your servers (adding and removing roles, monitoring services and event logs) all from your Windows 8 desktop using the server manager dashboard, also known as RSAT. (Remote Server Administration Tools)

If you are one of the few people who is able to configure and manage a server using only PowerShell commands then this article is not for you. However, if like the rest of us you prefer a good old graphical interface to help you through the configuration process then read on!

Okay, so the scenario is as follows:

You want to install one physical server running Microsoft Hyper-V 2012, which is a stripped back version of Server 2012 used solely to host virtual servers. This is Microsoft's equivalent of VMware's ESXi.

This machine will host two virtual servers, a domain controller and a Terminal services server and you want to be able to manage all three servers from your PC.

Your first issue is this. When you log on to your Hyper-V host server, all you see is a command prompt. Nothing more. So how do you create virtual servers?

Hyper-V core

To create your virtual servers you need to connect the Hyper-V Management console to your host server.

Connecting to Hyper-V 2012

To connect your Windows 8 PC to your Hyper-V host, you need to follow these steps:

Firstly, on the Hyper-V host, open a command prompt and type sconfig and press enter. You will then see all the basic configuration options shown here:

SCONFIG Menu

I will take a bit of time to talk you through the options above.

Leave 1) alone as you have not yet created your domain.

Change your computer name as in 2). You can call it whatever you like, but it is worth giving it a name you can easily identify to keep it organised.

3) is very important. You will need to create a local administrator account with the same username and password as the Windows 8 PC that you will be working from. In short, if you log onto your Windows 8 machine as "Bob" with the password "123" you need to create an account on the server called "Bob", with "123" as the password. This is so that your PC is able to connect to the Hyper-V server while on a different domain or workgroup without failing authentication.

Make sure 4) and 7) are enabled, and set 5) to manual,

Set your static IP, subnet mask, default gateway, and DNS servers in 8).

Check the date/time is correct in 9), then choose 15) to exit to command line.

Configure your Windows 8 PC

Since your Windows 8 machine and Hyper-V host server are not members of a domain, you will need to allow your Windows 8 machine to authenticate to the server.

Open control panel, choose administrative tools, then component services.

Expand computers, and right click on my computer choosing properties from the menu.

Then go to the COM security tab and click on Edit Limits under the access permissions field.

Next, highlight ANONYMOUS LOGON and tick the box for remote access, then click ok.

 

Component services

Add your Hyper-V host to Hyper-V Management console

If you haven't already done so, you will need to enable the Hyper-V management feature on your PC.

To do this, open control panel, go to programs and features, click turn windows features on or off, select Hyper-V Management Tools and click OK.

DCOM settings

Now you can open Hyper-V Manager from your home screen with this icon. DCOM settings

Hyper-V Manager

To connect to your Hyper-V host server, click on the actions menu and pick connect to server from the list.

At the prompt, add your server by typing the server name, then click OK.

Connect to Hyper-V

You are now connected to your Hyper-V host and can create, delete, reboot and fully manage your virtual machines!

I have created the two virtual servers, a domain controller (NWDC01) and a Terminal Services server (NWTS01). I configured my domain controller with the domain name NWDOMAIN and added my terminal server to the new domain. I have not added my Hyper-V server to the domain as I want to keep it as a standalone host for my virtual servers.

Hyper-V Manager

 

Install Server Manager

You could of course use remote desktop to connect into these virtual servers and manage each one individually, but you want to be able to view all potential issues from a central point to save time and be more efficient in your work.

Here's where we get clever!

Download and install Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 8 from the Microsoft website taking care to choose the correct version for your operating system.

RSAT download

You may find that while attempting to install this application, it runs through and says it has been successful in a matter of seconds, yet there is no sign of the server manager console on your machine.

If this happens you will need to install the US language pack described in the next step, as the installer requires this language pack to install Server Manager.

In control panel, click languages, then click add language. Scroll down to English and double click. Then from this sub list, pick English (United States)and click add.

Now on the main screen shown below click options.

Language pack

Next, click download and install language pack.

Language pack

Once this has successfully installed, you can run the RSAT installer again, and this time you should find it takes around 5 minutes to install.

You are not required to reboot your machine at this point, and can go right ahead and launch the server manager application from your applications list on your home page (press the Windows key and you should see the icon shown below on your home screen).

 Server Mananger

The first thing you will notice about the Server Manager console is that there are currently no servers to manage.

Server Mananger

If you have added your Windows 8 machine to the new domain, you should be able to add your servers by clicking add other server to manage, and using the active directory tab to search the domain without issues. However if like me you want to keep your windows 8 machine on your current work domain, or workgroup, you need to add the server you are trying to add, to your trusted hosts, and also create a DNS entry using your host file.

Open an elevated command prompt, (right click and open as administrator) and start PowerShell by typing PowerShell and pressing enter:

Then at the prompt, type the following command replacing "%servername%" with the name of your new virtual servers.

Set-item WSMan:\localhost\client\TrustedHosts -value %servername% -concatenate

Trusted hosts

Accept the message by typing Y and pressing enter, and the server you specified will now be trusted by your machine.

Now open an elevated note pad (right click on notepad and open as administrator) then browse to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc and open the file named hosts. (to see this file you may need to select "all files" from the file type menu)

Now add the server name and the IP address separated by pressing the tab key twice. Save the document.

Host file

That's it! You can now add your Hyper-V host machine to your server manager console on your Windows 8 machine, and administer the Hyper-V host using the Hyper-V-manager snap in.

Add your servers to the server manager console

In the server manager console window, click the add another server to manage link on the dashboard. You now have three options set out in tabs across the top of the new window.

If your PC is on the same domain as the servers you want to manage you can use the active directory tab, and click "find now". You will see all available servers on your domain and you can add them to your console by highlighting the server, and clicking the arrow to move it into the window to the right. Then click OK and you have added your server to the console.

If your machine is NOT on the domain, you must use the DNS tab and type the name of your server. As long as you have created the host file entry correctly, when you click "find" your server will show in the window. Highlight it, and click the arrow to add to the right hand window. Click OK.

Add servers

Your server has now been added, but you will notice that there are errors on the window that follows.

Error

If you click on the manageability link you will see the error below.

Error 2

This error occurs because you are trying to connect to the server using your local credentials, and we want to connect using the domain credentials (or local credentials of the server if it is not on a domain)

Right click on this error and click "manage as" which will provide a prompt to put in a username and password. Here you need to use the following format: domain\username.

Now your machine is connected to the server using the correct domain credentials and you can continue to configure your remote server as required.

I have added my domain controller to the console, and you can see the roles that I have configured on the server are showing on the left-hand side of the dashboard. From here you can add more roles, remove roles, and add more servers to manage.

Server Manager

If you click on these roles you will see event logs specific to this role, and a list of services that are running. From here you can monitor performance, start or stop a service and proactively attend to any errors shown.

To manage a role you can click on the tools menu at the top of the dashboard and pick a snap-in to launch, such as DNS, Active Directory Users and Computers, or Group Policy Management and you will be able to manage and configure these services running on the remote servers.

Add all your servers to the console in the same way, and you now have full control over your servers running Microsoft Server 2012 from the comfort of your own desktop or even while offsite using your laptop if you have a VPN connection back to your office!

This can be very, very useful for engineers on the go!

For more assistance with Windows 8, Hyper-V and RSAT, give us a call on 0114 299 4050.

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