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John Savill'ss FAQs on IT Pro Today Hero

Savill's FAQs: From Azure Fabric to Project Honolulu

Three times a week, John Savill tackles your most pressing IT questions. Today, he explains how to find out Azure Fabric information from a Virtual Machine, whether or not to use the Semi-Annual Channel release of Windows Server, and using Project Honolulu with Windows Server 2008.

Three times a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), John Savill tackles your most pressing IT questions.

Read through the FAQ archives, or send him your questions via email.

Today: How to find Azure Fabric information in VMs; what the benefit of the Semi-Annual Channel release of Windows Server is; and Project Honolulu on Windows Server 2008.


Q. How can I find out Azure fabric info about my VM from within the VM?

A. Azure has a metadata service than can be called via REST from an Azure VM to find information about itself, such as VM name, size, location, networking config and more. The IP address to use from within the VM is and is fully documented at

Below is an example of obtaining the information using PowerShell:

#Data info defined at
$url = ""
$data = Invoke-RestMethod -Uri $url -Headers @{'Metadata'='true'} -Method Get
$computedata = $data | select-object -ExpandProperty compute
write-output "VM Name is $($ in region $($computedata.location), size $($computedata.vmSize)"

Below is an output of the test execution however look at $data directly to get a full list of the information available.

VM Name is TestBSeries in region eastus, size Standard_B2s

Q. Why would I need to use the Semi-Annual Channel of Windows Server?

A. There are two primary release channels available to Windows Server customers: the Long-Term Servicing Channel and the new Semi-Annual Channel. The Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), formerly known as the “Long-Term Servicing Branch,” releases a new major version of Windows Server is released every two to three years. By contrast, Windows Server products in the Semi-Annual Channel will have new releases twice a year, in spring and fall. Each release in this channel will be supported for 18 months from the initial release.

The Semi-Annual Channel is a benefit of Software Assurance, so you must maintain Software Assurance to utilize Semi-Annual Channel. 

Q. Does Project Honolulu support Windows Server 2008?

A. No. While Honolulu has support all the way back to Windows Server 2012, it currently relies on a large number of PowerShell cmdlets that were added in Windows Server 2012 and beyond. For this reason, it cannot work pre-Windows Server 2012. You do need to install WMF 5.1 on the Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 servers to enable them to be managed (to get all the PowerShell support).

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