Introducing Windows Server 2025 running in Azure #Winsrv #Azure #Security #Windowsinsiders

Microsoft's newest iteration, 2025, signifies a major advancement in server technology. This release is brimming with novel features and improvements, specifically designed to enhance performance in virtual settings like Hyper-V. A notable inclusion is the extension of hotpatching capabilities to servers outside of Azure, a pioneering step aimed at minimizing downtime and optimizing server maintenance. Our exploration will center on the installation experience on Hyper-V, the uncomplicated onboarding process for Azure Arc, and the server OS patching using the Azure Update Manager.

We are excited to unveil the official name of the forthcoming release of : 2025. There are improvements in several areas:

  • Universal Windows Server Hotpatching
  • Next-Generation Active Directory and
  • Mission-Critical Data & Storage
  • Hyper-V & AI
  • And much more…

There is a preview Build that you can use in Hyper-V or vmware. Get the ISO or VHDX from the insiders portal Join the Windows Server Insider Program here –Get started

In this demo I'll show you that you can also run Windows server 2025 in Azure. At this time there is not yet an default image available in Azure so you need to create your own image.

first we download the VHDX or ISO and create a local VM all standard. I used Hyper-v on Windows 11.

You have the flexibility to modify or add to the image as per your requirements. For the time being, I've utilized the default settings and proceeded directly to Sysprep. Let's dive straight into Sysprep. Sysprep (System Preparation) is a Microsoft tool that allows you to prepare a system (usually a new one) for distribution, by stripping user- and computer-specific data from the system. This allows you to clone the system and deploy it to other computers. Sysprep can be found in the System32 folder of your Windows installation.

Make sure the settings in sysprep are OOBE , Generalize and shutdown

When the sysprep is done we neet to convert the disk, As the disk is vhdx we need to convert this to . (azure requrements)

Convert- -Path .ws2025.vhdx -DestinationPath .ws2025mast. -VHDType Fixed

Make sure the type is set on fixed as when using dynamic disk the VM will not start in Azure. The conversion takes a few minutes depending on the speed of your computer.

Now we are ready to make some steps into Azure.

We create a Storage account or you could reuse the one you already have.

Uploading a Disk to Azure: A Step-by-Step Guide

Uploading a disk to Azure can be accomplished using a variety of tools such as Azure Storage Explorer, AzCopy, or a Shared Access Signature (SAS) token. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Using Azure Storage Explorer

Azure Storage Explorer is a convenient tool for managing Azure storage resources. Here's how you can use it to upload a disk:

  1. Download and install Azure Storage Explorer.
  2. Connect to your Azure account.
  3. Navigate to the storage account where you want to upload the disk.
  4. Right-click on ‘Blob Containers' and select ‘Create Blob Container'.
  5. Give your container a name and click ‘Create'.
  6. Navigate into your new container, click on the ‘Upload' button, and select ‘Upload Files'.
  7. Browse to your disk file, select it, and click ‘Upload'.

Using AzCopy

AzCopy is a command-line utility designed for high-performance uploading, downloading, and copying data to and from Azure Blob storage. Here's how to use it:

  1. Download and install AzCopy.
  2. Open a command prompt or terminal window.
  3. Use the following command to upload a disk:
azcopy copy '' 'https://.blob.core.windows.net//?'

Replace , , , , and with your specific details.

Using a SAS Token

A Shared Access Signature (SAS) provides secure delegated access to resources in your storage account. You can use a SAS token when you want to grant access to resources in your storage account without sharing your account keys. Here's how to generate a SAS token:

  1. Navigate to the Azure portal.
  2. Go to your storage account.
  3. Click on ‘Shared access signature' under ‘Settings'.
  4. Configure the fields as needed and click on ‘Generate SAS and connection string'.
  5. Copy the SAS token and use it as needed.

Remember, each method has its own advantages. Azure Storage Explorer provides a graphical interface, AzCopy is great for automation, and SAS tokens provide a secure way to delegate access. Choose the one that best fits your needs.

For using AzCopy you need to donload it first. Download the AzCopy V10 executable file to any directory on your computer. AzCopy V10 is just an executable file, so there's nothing to install.

Windows 64-bit (zip) https://aka.ms/downloadazcopy-v10-windows

Here are a couple of samples that you can use to upload the image.

azcopy copy ‘.ws2025mast.vhd' ‘https://saws2025demo.blob.core.windows.net/upload-vhd/ws2025mast.vhd’

make sure you login when using the command line. there are some warnings on the login.azcopy login –tenant-id=

https://microsoft.com/devicelogin

If you are not using MFA you will see less warnings but Make sure you always use MFA, security is you friend.

Now we have a succesful login we can stat the copy process.

Or use a sas token, the token can be found on the blob container and properties.

When using the Storage explorer you can drag the vhd file direct into the storage account.

I used the AZcopy command here you can see the progress and the log file for if something goes wrong.

Now that the File is in the Blob container we can start to make an Azure VM

First we make an Image, based on the just uploaded file.

Make sure you use the same generation type as you used in hyper-v. Gen 2 is the default.

now that the image is there we can create a vm from that image

To create a VM is just as creating a default Azure VM except you are using now your own image.

I use a spot sku for this demo it is cheap and will fit the need for this demo. hybernate is not working with the Spot SKU.

The rest next Simular like creating a standard VM

looking ath the Azure diagnostics dusring the deployment you can see the start up of the Windows server 2025 VM in Azure

Time to logon

The server is running in Azure and ready to play with this together with the Azure resources. Be aware it may not be supported as it is still preview!

Hope it was helpful thanks for visiting my blog.

Follow Me on Twitter @ClusterMVP

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Author: Robert Smit [MVP]

Robert Smit is Senior Technical Evangelist and is a current Microsoft MVP in Clustering as of 2009.
Robert has over 20 years experience in IT with experience in the educational, health-care and finance industries.
Robert's past IT experience in the trenches of IT gives him the knowledge and insight that allows him to communicate effectively with IT professionals
who are trying to address real concerns around business continuity, disaster and regulatory compliance issues. Robert holds the following certifications:
MCT – Microsoft Certified Trainer, MCTS – Windows Server , MCSE, MCSA and MCPS. He is an active participant in the Microsoft newsgroup community and is currently focused on Hyper-V, Clustering, SQL Server, Azure and all things related to Cloud Computing and Infrastructure Optimalization.
Follow Robert on Twitter @ClusterMVP
Or follow his blog https://robertsmit.wordpress.com
Linkedin Profile Http://nl.linkedin.com/in/robertsmit

Robert is also capable of transferring his knowledge to others which is a rare feature in the field of IT. He makes a point of not only solving issues but also of giving on the job training of his colleagues.

A customer says ” Robert has been a big influence on our technical staff and I have to come to know him as a brilliant specialist concerning Microsoft Products. He was Capable with his in-depth knowledge of Microsoft products to troubleshoot problems and develop our infrastructure to a higher level. I would certainly hire him again in the future. ”

Details of the Recommendation: “I have been coordinating with Robert implementing a very complex system. Although he was primarily a Microsoft infrastructure specialist; he was able to understand and debug .Net based complext Windows applications and websites. His input to improve performance of applications proved very helpful for the success of our project

 

This article was originally published by The Windows Server HA Blog. You can find the original article here.