Windows Server 2008 R2

While trying to run the LSI Predictor on one of my servers I was getting the error message

Please install Microsoft (R) Windows (R) Performance Analyzer Version 4.8.7701

It took a while to nail down  what I actually needed to get this installed however the solution is hidden away in the Windows SDK (the link is for Windows 7 but the same applies to Server 2008 R2).

So get that installer downloaded and follow the steps below and you will be able to analyse your servers HDD performance with a pretty nifty tool.

Its a long shot that many people will have this issue but hey why not!

If you have one of the uber new AMD FX Processors (e.g. the 6 core 6100BE) and have tried to run a Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual machine on it you may have seen this error message.

An error occurred while attempting to start the selected virtual machine(s).

‘<VM name>’ could not initialize.

The virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running.

The cause of this issue is well documented in Microsoft KB 2568088 (link), the short version is the newer AMD CPUs have a feature called AVX included that Hyper-V does not like very much.

As such you can sort this issue out by running the command bcdedit /set xsavedisable 1 at a elevated command prompt.

Just make sure you restart your PC after and boom you will be able to run your virtual machines again!

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Custom RemoteFX RDS Farm

Its looking like we got our sizing for our custom RDS servers right and we may well have answered (at least for own internal use) ‘how many users can you get on a RDS server?’.

The video shows our RDS farm under normal load with 24 clients remotely logged in (excluding the admin session I was using) with the CPU usage being either low or idle on occasion.

After recently setting up a Moodle install (hosted on IIS on Server 2008 R2) with SSO (LDAP server based (good old Microsoft AD) with NTLM looking after things) we found that any new users were getting this error message appearing.

Fatal error: $CFG->dataroot is not writable, admin has to fix directory permissions! Exiting.

The simple solution is to this problem is to change the NTFS permissions on the moodledata folder to allow write/modify to any user who is using moodle (I just set ours to domain users).

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Custom RemoteFX RDS Farm

Well its taken a little while but the light at the end of the RDS Farm tunnel is in sight! After heavily modifying two X-Case RM 206 HS cases we now have our first batch of cookie sheet style servers ready for use. The video above goes around a bit of a tour of the case and the photos below go into some particulars in more detail. Continue reading

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Custom RemoteFX RDS Farm

While waiting for the cases/power supplies to arrive for our RDS Server Farm I thought we might as well fire one up and do a little stress testing, the first results (which look at application load times) can be seen below.

Here you see pretty much the entire Office 2007 and Adobe CS6 suite (with a few other programs thrown in for fun) load in almost no time at all.
In the background we had 6 students playing videos on YouTube (RemoteFX doing its thing) however this realy is just a test of the OCZ Vertex 4 SSD.

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Custom RemoteFX RDS Farm

Following on from my first post I am going to look at what will make up by RemoteFX RDS farm including the software and hardware architecture.

First I’ve started out as you would with any small RDS farm; in this case with 4 session hosts and a single connection broker (which will also act as licence server). The 30 endpoints are pointed at the connection broker which then decides which session host they should be logging into.

In my case the servers have only 2 hops between themselves and the endpoints over a fibre optic to a local network switch and then down copper 10/100mb to the client. For the time being the endpoints are just re purposed PCs however we hope to replace them with dedicated thin clients (mainly for power saving reasons) in the next few months.

The connection broker will be hosted as a virtual machine on one of our Hyper-V servers however to make use of RemoteFX technology (will go into this in a little more depth in a later post) the session hosts will all be running directly off physical hardware. Continue reading

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Custom RemoteFX RDS Farm

Sufficed to say budgets are still tight for schools and nothing chews through the budget more than replacing a computer room full of PCs.

One alternative has always been to convert the PCs in the room to ‘fat thin clients’ with a small OS (say Windows Thin PC) and hook them up to a Terminal Server/Remote Desktop Services Farm. The biggest show stopper in this has been the lack of graphics acceleration which performing graphics intensive tasks difficult if not impossible.

Luckily Server 2008 R2 SP1 has come around with RemoteFX technology – this allows you to harness the power of graphics processing in a server. Another issue crops up though – few if any servers (from leading OEMs like HP and Dell) support graphics cards and those that do are just as expensive as normal PCs.

My solutions is – build custom servers out of AMD Fusion APUs (which combine a powerful CPU and GPU on one chip) in true ‘cookie sheet style’.

This series of posts looks at the hardware, software and endpoints (fat thin clients) that I’m going to be using in this project.

A little while ago the guys at Axel let me borrow one of their M80 thin clients to try out with Citrix VDI-in-a-Box and also Microsoft RDS (Server 2008 R2) and I’m happy to say I can easily see this as a good thin client to use in the office although I have my reservations about use in classroom.

This review takes a look at some things that wern’t in the video (also makes some corrections to the video) and should help to give you a better overview of what the Axel M80 thin client can do. Continue reading

One of the wonderful things about Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V is that any driver that was written for Windows 7 will also run in Server 2008 R2! As such its very easy to take any Window 7 compatible PC (with a processor that can do hardware assisted virtualization like the AMD A and FX series) and turn it into a Citrix VDI-in-a-Box proof of concept (POC).

In the video below you can see me doing just that with a HP 6465b notebook (AMD A6 powered) which has been enhanced with a OCZ Agility 3 SSD.

Read on as well for a list of parts that cost less than £265 (exVAT)  that you could use to run your own proof of concept for 3-4 VDI users! Continue reading