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Virtual hard drive attached in VM in windows server 2012 r2 becomes offline after administrator logoff

Posted on 2014-11-13
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Last Modified: 2015-02-18
I have a new Windows Server 2012 r2 environment that is a domain.  I have 3 VM's running on the host.  The host has a VHDX attached to a NAS that is used for backup of the machine, except for the VM's which I didn't want to backup from the host since one of them is running Exchange 2013 and I didn't want to stop receiving email during the backup process.  The host backup runs fine, without an admin being logged in.  I logged into the Exchange Guest, created another VHDX on the same NAS (in a different folder) and setup backup on the guest.  When I manually run backup on the guest it is successful.  When I schedule it, I get notification that it is started, but it never completes.  When I look at the logs, I get an indication that the backup drive is offline.  More digging tells me that the volume is not available.  Is there some setting that I need to enable to allow this connection to remain even when I log off?
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Question by:Wyant Niswonger
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by:Svet Paperov
ID: 40442895
My guess will be that the NAS OS is not compatible. Did you try upgrading its Firmware?

Windows Server 2012 supports VHDX files a Windows Server 2012-based SMB share only.

My recommendation will be using iSCSI, if supported on the NAS device, instead of shared volume. iSCSI protocol is much more stable and portable between different manufactures.
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by:Wyant Niswonger
ID: 40453403
I setup an iSCSI partition on the NAS, and then connected to it on the VM.  The backup (Windows Server 2012 r2 with Exchange 2013 SP1 running on it) finally completed, but it took over 13 hours.  The entire drive space on the VM is only using 45 GB.  I am stumped why it is taking so long.  I have upgraded the NAS firmware to the latest.  Also, the NAS is working just fine on the host which has a VHDX setup on it as a backup solution.  That drive is 350 GB and completes in about an hour and a half, has all the AD roles on it too.  Any thoughts?
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by:Svet Paperov
ID: 40456176
How did you configure the backup: to a dedicated volume (iSCSI) or to a VHDX file on a share created on iSCSI? If you are using a dedicated volume as a target, that probably means an issue with the network adapter. Are you using a dedicated adapter for the backup?
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Author Comment

by:Wyant Niswonger
ID: 40456552
Dedicated volume, (iSCSI).  But the same NAS has no issues with a backup running from the host to it using a VHDX and runs in about an hour and 20 minutes.  The Exchange machine is a VM on the HOST.  So:

HOST MACHINE (Called JARVIS.  Yeah, I know I'm ripping off Tony Stark.)
Running Windows Server 2012R2
HyperV installed
ADDC,FSMO
the Host has a 4 GIG NIC TEAM that is port channeled on the Cisco Switch using LACP
The NAS is a Single GIG connection to the Same Cisco Switch.
This has a VHDX on the NAS connected via GIG ethernet.
VM called Remote running Windows Server 2012 R2, Exchange 2013, Client Access and Mailbox role.
Created as was suggested an iSCSI partition on the NAS and started the service on the VM to connect the iSCSI and it is viewable under Disc Management.  Started Windows Server Backup and configured it to backup everything on REMOTE, except the iSCSI disc.  Started the Exchange backup agents.
This backup starts at 1 am.  I have Blat running to email me when it starts, stops or if it fails.
I got emailed today at 15:23 that the backup was complete.

The backup on JARVIS starts at 2100 and was complete by 22:23 yesterday.  It is NOT using iSCSI.  IT is using a VHDX that I created and dedicated to WSB.

Am I missing something?  I am relatively new to Hyper-V VM's.  But it would seem to me that the VM should be at least as fast as the Host given that the VM is only using a total of 48 GB and has only 8 mailboxes on it.

Thoughts?  Anything else that I can provide to help?
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Expert Comment

by:Svet Paperov
ID: 40458311
It looks like a networking issue then.

Here are some recommendations:
-      Update NIC drivers
-      Use Microsoft teaming instead of manufacture’s software
-      Change Load balancing mode to Dynamic

The following EE articles and answered questions could help:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Microsoft_Applications/Virtual_Server/A_12915-Best-Practices-Network-Building-Hyper-V-Infrastructure.html

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Windows_Networking/Q_28500744.html

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/Windows_Server_2012/Q_28034400.html

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On another note: the configuration you have with ADDC running on the same physical host as Hyper-V is not supported and you cannot use the additional license for a virtual machine. Recommendation: have a ADDC installed on different physical host. Then, if you own 2012 Standard edition, you can install up to 2 VM on the Hyper-V host with the same license. In case your network is really small and this is the only available server, you could have a different configuration: keep the host in Workgroup environment and install DC on a virtual machine.
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Author Comment

by:Wyant Niswonger
ID: 40469469
I am not using the same license for my VM's.  I have several licenses.  Everything is working fine except for the backup.  The backup is simply taking an excessive amount of time.  I do not have an additional physical machine to use.  I was using a machine with SBS2011 on it that failed.  I moved the domain to 2012 R2, fresh install.  Created the accounts, created the VM's installed Exchange and Exchange is running like a champ.  I just don't understand the slowness of the backup.  The other VM's on the host run very quickly.  I am using iSCSI as was suggested.  Those backups complete in less than an hour.
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by:Svet Paperov
ID: 40470784
As I understood the Exchange server is backing up from the guest OS but what about the other virtual machines. Are they backed up from within the guest OS as well or on the host level?

Did you follow the instructions here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd876854(v=exchg.150).aspx and set VSS full backup for the Exchange server?
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Author Comment

by:Wyant Niswonger
ID: 40470787
checking the link above now, but yes the re backing up from the guest.  will report back after checking that link
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Author Comment

by:Wyant Niswonger
ID: 40470807
I checked the link and am already doing everything.  Here is the output from the Exchange command shell.  Name                   : Mailbox Database 0641854074
SnapshotLastFullBackup : True
LastFullBackup         : 11/27/2014 9:03:27 PM
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Accepted Solution

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Wyant Niswonger earned 0 total points
ID: 40609380
I ended up resolving this by deleting the VHDX and creating another iSCSI partition on the NAS.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Wyant Niswonger
ID: 40616136
The Lenovo NAS software works best when it is converted to iSCSI for Windows shares. I have not had any issues since I converted the entire NAS (less the OS) to iSCSI in 3 different partitions. I added 2 of them to my host server as shares (1 for backup and 1 for files and shares) and the 3rd I attached to the Exchange Guest. The backup now takes about an hour and a half on each device.
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