vWorkspace 7.5 Feature Spotlight: Hyper-V Host Maintenance

In this post I want to discuss how to manage and maintain one or more Hyper-V hosts that are within a vWorkspace 7.5 Farm. 

Depending on how you personally manage the deployment of the virtual desktops, desktop groups storage etc. there are many different scenarios. I believe that the most common way will be to have a group of Hyper-V hosts that host all virtual desktops and that there will be multiple vWorkspace desktop groups across these hosts. I am also assuming most people will now make use of the cheap and fast local host storage especially with the great new Hyper-V Catalyst Components in vWorkspace 7.5 and the infrastructure components such as connection brokers and database servers will be on separate hosts with central storage for failover.

So taking my assumption and a sizable deployment of 3000 virtual desktops you will have between 25 to 30 Hyper-v hosts (maybe less with the Catalyst Components vWorkspace 7.5 Feature Spotlight: Hyper-V Catalyst Components – HyperCache).  You will need to apply Windows Updates to these servers on a regular basis so how would you go about this?  In another of my other blogs I talk about the maintenance option on the cloud group.  This could help but it wouldn't allow for your desktop service to continue as it stops users connecting to any virtual desktop in that group.  Also regular virtual desktop groups don't have a maintenance feature so maintenance mode (or disabling the group) might not be the best option.

To take one or more hosts out of the farm for maintenance follow these steps:

  1. In the vWorkspace 7.5 console expand Location > your location > Virtualization Hosts > Hyper-V.  Left click on the Hyper-v Node which will display a list of hyper-v servers with detailed information.
  2. Right click on each host you want to performance maintenance on and select "disable provisioning"
    This will stop any new virtual machines being provisioned to the host however there still may be virtual machines running with connected users and the connection broker may still connect new users to these virtual machines so we have to do a few more steps.
  3. In the vWorkspace console left click on the “Desktops” node under your location and then select the Desktops tab in the information pane.  This will give you a view of all desktop over all desktop groups.  Then group the virtual machines by “VM Host (Load)”.  You can do this by clicking on the column header.  If the column is not visable right click on the header row and select column options and add the column in.
  4. Next disable all the virtual machines that are listed under the host you want to maintain.  To do this highlight them (hold down SHIFT, click on the top VM then click the last to select all of them quickly) right click and select enable/disable computer(s) and disable them.   This will stop any new user connections to the virtual machines.
  5. If there are any users currently connected to any of the virtual machines then they will need to log off.  This can be done in a few ways and it will depend how hard you are on the users.  You could now either allow the users to drain off the host while you contact them and ask them to log off or leave it for a period of time and wait for them to log off by themselves.  If you want to force the users off immediately then you can highlight the computers, right click and select “log off”.  You can multiple select computers by holding down CTRL
  6. Once the users have logged off then you should be in a position where no virtual machines are being created and no users are being connected to them.  Now you could either:
    1. Delete all the virtual machines which can be done via the vWorkspace console or
    2. Shutdown the virtual machine which again can be done via the vWorkspace console.
    3. If you are doing a Windows Update it may not be necessary to delete all the virtual machines you could simply apply the patches and reboot with the virtual machines in tacked
  7. Perform the maintenance tasks, reboot the host etc.
  8. When ready to introduce back into the vWorkspace Farm go back to the Hyper-V host under the virtualization hosts, right click on the host(s) and click enable provisioning.  If using cloud mode desktops will automatically start migrating back onto that host over time.  You may also need to enable the virtual machines again if you did not delete them.


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