After I have created my templates with Packer in the previous posts, I can now use them every time as a quick source for creating my own virtual machines. Thanks to Terraform, I’ll be able to deploy each new vm in a matter of minutes, and also to customize each of them as I need.
After I configured my Ansible server to manage my windows machines in the previous article, one of the first tasks I planned to automate was patching. Patching is one of those extremely boring but needed activities, and in any environment, even with a small amount of server, automated patching may be a savior. As long as proper data protection is in place, like a daily backup of the involved virtual machines, we can safely plan automatic updates, and if anything goes wrong, we just need to revert the virtual machine to the previous state.
As I’m studying Ansible, one of my goal is to manage my several Windows machines with it. I know it sounds strange as Ansible was first designed to deal with Linux systems, but this powerful configuration management platform supports Windows since version 1.7, and is completely agentless: it relies on SSH for linux/unix machines, and Windows Remote Management (WinRM) for Windows machines. Through WinRM, Ansible can connect to Windows machines ard run PowerShell scripts. The idea of using Powershell as the main code to execute tasks in Windows systems, together with the agentless approach, made me be even more curious in learning more about the Windows support.
Virtual appliances are one of the coolest and most useful little things that you can use in a virtualized environment. Whenever you need to quickly test a new software, a new platform, it’s always nice and welcomed when its creator puts out a pre-configured appliance for it. No time “wasted” to install and configure the underlying operating system and all the needed libraries, the virtual machine is ready to be powered up and used.
This has always been the case for software based on Linux, because its redistribution license has always granted the possibility to easily repackage it and distribute the final appliance. With Microsoft however, this has always been a problem. Software based on Microsoft platform cannot be easily packaged that way.
Lately, however, I found a great solution to have at least the whole operating system up and running in few minutes.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Veeam Backup & Replication, often fueled by competitors, is that it requires the complete server installation in order to run restores. So, this becomes a Single Point of Failure, just like many other solutions from competitors. This is completely untrue: there are two main features in Veeam that make restores possible even without the server installation.
After an in-place upgrade in the latest versions of Windows (2008 and up), the installation keeps a complete copy of the previous operating system into a folder named “Windows.Old”, in case you’d like to revert the upgrade. This is a useful option, but it leave your installation with a huge wasted space on the disk.
Learn how to remove the folder without installing Disk Cleanup or rebooting.
In seguito all’aggiornamento di un server a Windows 2012 non tramite reinstallazione ma grazie al cosiddetto aggiornamento “in place”, potreste notare un anomalo consumo di spazio disco. E’ possibile tramite alcune semplici attività di manutenzione recuperare numerosi GB di spazio disco.