Server 2016

Upgrading Server 2012 R2 to Server 2016 and Storage Spaces


Server 2016 has enhanced and added new features to Storage Spaces. Most notably is the introduction of Storage Spaces Direct, Storage Replica, and Storage QoS. This post explores upgrading a physical Server 2012 R2 that uses mirrored tiered storage space.

After installing Server 2016 (Desktop Experience), and choosing to keep ‘nothing’

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In Server Manager, File and Storage Services\Volumes\Storage Pools, we see the old Storage Pool from the prior installation of Server 2012 R2

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To recover the Storage Pool, its virtual disks, and all data follow these steps:

  1. Set Read-Write access server2016-19
  2. Upgrade the Storage Pool Version server2016-18Note that this step is irreversible
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  3.  Right click on each virtual disk and attach it server2016-21
  4. Finally, in Disk Management, right click on each virtual disk and online it
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The virtual disks retain the drive letters and volume labels assigned to them in the old 2012 R2 server. All data is intact.

 

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Windows Server 2016 GUI options


Server 2016 comes with 2 options:

  1. Windows Server 2016, and
  2. Windows Server 2016 (Desktop Experience)

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The first option has no GUI. This was known as (Server Core Installation) in Server 2012.

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The second option has a Graphical User Interface (GUI).

This is not just a change in labels. In Server 2012 R2, the GUI was just a set of features that can be uninstalled and reinstalled as needed. This appears not to be the case in Server 2016.

Here is a feature list from a physical Server 2012 R2 Data Center with GUI:

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and here’s the same list from a physical Server 2016 Data Center with GUI:

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Note that the following features appear not to exist anymore in Server 2016:

  • User-Interfaces-Infra
  • Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra
  • Server-Gui-Shell

In a Server 2016 Data Center (Core) installation, attempting to install the GUI from PowerShell fails. This portion of a PowerShell transcript shows the Server 2016 Edition:

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After mounting the ISO

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and identifying the image ID in the WIM file for Data Center edition

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attempting to install GUI fails:

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GUI options are not even available in a 2016 Core installation:

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Summary:

Unlike Server 2012, in Server 2016 it appears a Server Core installation cannot be turned into a GUI installation or vice versa.


Upgrading Server 2012 R2 to Server 2016


Server 2016 migration guides are not available yet (26 October 2016). server2016-01So this post will explore a domain joined physical Server 2012 R2 to Server 2016 upgrade. This is from Data Center to Data Center edition. The 2012 R2 server has the following roles:

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First I mounted the image:

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Being a Hyper-V host, I live-migrate the production VMs to other Hyper-V hosts. All other VMs are shutdown. Then I run the setup.exe

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and download the latest updates, enter the product key

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Depending on the product key you enter, the next screen shows the corresponding Windows Server edition. I select Data Center (Desktop Experience). This is the option that provides a GUI. For more information on Server 2016 GUI options see this post.

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accept license terms, and attempt to select to keep personal files and apps (not default option)

Issue with Windows Edition and keeping personal files and apps:

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However, that option is not available – un-clickable. The message at the bottom complains about different Windows Editions. That’s not true. As you can see in the background, a PowerShell command that indicates that this server is running 2012 R2 Data Center Edition 😦

I will proceed here since there’s really no personal files or apps that I need.

When you try to proceed, you get a confirmation message that refers to Windows 10 !!??

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This server has a NIC team configured as follows:

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There’s a single external vSwitch bound to the NIC team with a vNIC for the parent partition

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NIC teaming is not supported during upgrade:

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Now breaking the team, means this upgrade cannot be done over an RDP session. To do it remotely you need console/baseboard access. Most modern servers like Dell, HP, and UCS do.

It then proceeds to download the updates:

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Again references to Windows 10 in the middle of Server 2016 installation/upgrade

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Moving on

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Next we get full blue installation screen

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