Showing posts with label WindowsServer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WindowsServer. Show all posts

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Deploying your own little cloud... "Deploying Windows Azure Pack" series

Windows Networking - Deploying Windows Azure Pack - Part 1

The first article in this series provides an overview of the capabilities and benefits of deploying Windows Azure Pack in enterprise datacenters.

If you would like to be notified when Mitch Tulloch releases the next part of this article series please sign up to the WindowsNetworking.com Real time article update newsletter.

Introduction

Cloud computing is making big inroads into companies today. Smaller businesses are taking advantage of Microsoft cloud services like Windows Azure, Windows Intune and Office 365 to migrate their line-of-business applications and services to the cloud instead of hosting them on-premises. The reasons for doing this include greater scalability, improved agility, and cost savings.

Large enterprises tend to be more conservative with regards to new technologies mainly because of the high costs involved in widespread rollout of new service models and integrating them with existing the organization's datacenter infrastructure. Windows Azure Pack is designed to help large enterprises overcome these obstacles by providing a straightforward path for implementing hybrid solutions that embraces both the modern datacenter and cloud hosting providers.

What is Windows Azure Pack?

To understand what Windows Azure Pack is, you first need to be familiar with Windows Azure, Microsoft's public cloud platform. To understand what Windows Azure is all about, here are some brief excerpts from my recent book Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals: Technical Overview from Microsoft Press:

As a cloud platform from Microsoft that provides a wide range of different services, Windows Azure lets you build, deploy, and manage solutions for almost any purpose you can imagine. In other words, Windows Azure is a world of unlimited possibilities. Whether you're a large enterprise spanning several continents that needs to run server workloads, or a small business that wants a website that has a global presence, Windows Azure can provide a platform for building applications that can leverage the cloud to meet the needs of your business...

Let's look at the definition that Microsoft uses for describing Windows Azure:

Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy, and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool, or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

This definition tells us that Windows Azure is a cloud platform, which means you can use it for running your business applications, services, and workloads in the cloud. But it also includes some key words that tell us even more:

  • Open - Windows Azure provides a set of cloud services that allow you to build and deploy cloud-based applications using almost any programming language, framework, or tool.
  • Flexible - Windows Azure provides a wide range of cloud services that can let you do everything from hosting your company's website to running big SQL databases in the cloud. It also includes different features that can help deliver high performance and low latency for cloud-based applications.
  • Microsoft-managed - Windows Azure services are currently hosted in several datacenters spread across the United States, Europe, and Asia. These datacenters are managed by Microsoft and provide expert global support on a 24x7x365 basis.
  • Compatible - Cloud applications running on Windows Azure can easily be integrated with on-premises IT environments that utilize the Microsoft Windows Server platform.

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Windows Azure Pack vs. Windows Azure

Let's review the definition that Microsoft uses for describing Windows Azure:

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You all know I'm a fan of this... There are just to many businesses, and business people, who freak at the thought of their, or their client's, data being "in the cloud." The Windows Azure Pack seems to be a great middle ground, letting us have the good that is "the cloud" inside our own data centers...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Windows Azure Pack (#WAPack), Related Blogs, Videos and TechNet Articles wiki round-up
Taking the Bus to the next stop... Why you, Dev and IT, should be looking at the Windows Azure Pack.
TechEd NA 2013 Day 1 Announcement Round-up - VS 2013, TFS 2013, InRelease, SQL 2014, Server 2012 R2, BizTalk Services, Azure-in-a-box and even more Azure...

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Windows Azure Pack (#WAPack), Related Blogs, Videos and TechNet Articles wiki round-up

Windows Azure Pack (#WAPack) and Related Blogs, Videos and TechNet Articles

Table of Contents

Hi Windows Azure Pack fans!

Marc van Eijk en I have had some hands-on at Windows Azure Pack (formerly known as Windows Azure Services for Windows Server). There is a lot of info out there, but very scattered. Hopefully we can keep this WAP Wiki updated every now and then. Feel free to add to this Wiki!

...

SNAGHTML1f3c5680

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(via NY Metro Core Infrastructure Team - Windows Azure Pack (WAP) Resources)

Now THAT'S a round-up of WAP resources!

What is WAP (Windows Azure Pack)?

Windows Azure Pack

The Windows Azure Pack delivers Windows Azure technologies for you to run inside your datacenter. Offer rich, self-service, multi-tenant services and experiences that are consistent with Microsoft’s public cloud offering.

Windows Azure-consistent experiences and services in your datacenter

The Windows Azure Pack is a collection of Windows Azure technologies available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost. Once installed in your datacenter, the Windows Azure Pack integrates with System Center and Windows Server to help provide a self-service portal for managing services such as websites, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus; a portal for administrators to manage resource clouds; scalable web hosting; and more.

Download the Windows Azure Pack White Paper

Download the Windows Azure Pack Datasheet

Related Past Post XRef:
Taking the Bus to the next stop... Why you, Dev and IT, should be looking at the Windows Azure Pack.
TechEd NA 2013 Day 1 Announcement Round-up - VS 2013, TFS 2013, InRelease, SQL 2014, Server 2012 R2, BizTalk Services, Azure-in-a-box and even more Azure...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Windows Server 2012 & R2 TechNet Library Documentation - One PDF (and only 7, 970 pages!)

Kurt Shintaku's Blog - DOWNLOAD: Windows Server 2012 R2 & Windows Server 2012 TechNet Docs (110.9 MB, 7970 pages)

"This download is an Adobe® PDF of the entire contents of the Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 section of the Microsoft TechNet Library, for the convenience of Windows Server users who have limited Internet access, or require a portable version of the Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 documentation. The PDF is 116 MB, and 7,970 pages in length. Highlights of the PDF include the following. ..."

Windows Server 2012 R2 & Windows Server 2012 TechNet Library Documentation (110.9 MB, 7970 pages)

Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 TechNet Library documentation as a PDF.

Version: 1.0

Date Published: 11/27/2013

WS12_R2_and_WS12_TechNet.pdf, 110.9 MB

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This was just so over the top, I had to blog about it... 7,970 pages, that's awesome...

Reminds me of the days when we got the TechNet/MSDN stuff on the subscription CD-ROMs.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Windows 2012 Server Edition Comparison Matrix and more...

Firewall.cx - Windows 2012 Server Foundation, Essential, Standard & Datacenter Edition Differences, Licensing & Supported Features.

Windows Server 2012 Editions

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On the 1st of August, 2012 Microsoft released Windows Server 2012– the sixth release of the Windows Server product family. On May 21st 2013, Windows Server 2012 R2 was introduced and is now the latest version of Windows Server in the market.  Microsoft has released four different editions of Windows Server 2012 varying in cost, licensing and features. These four editions of Windows Server 2012 R2 are: Windows 2012 Foundation edition, Windows 2012 Essentials edition, Windows 2012 Standard edition and Windows 2012 Datacenter edition.

Let’s take a closer look at each Windows Server 2012 edition and what they have to offer.

Users can also download the free Windows Server 2012 R2 Licensing Datasheet in our Windows Server Datasheets & Useful Resources download section, which provides a detailed overview of the Licensing for Windows Server 2012 and contains extremely useful information on the various Windows Server 2012 edition, examples on how to calculate your licensing needs, Virtualization instances supported by every edition,  server roles, common questions & answers, plus much more.

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Windows Server 2012 Foundation edition...

Windows Server 2012 Essentials edition ...

Windows Server 2012 Standard edition ...

Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition ...

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Windows  Server 2012 Licensing - Understanding Client Access License (CAL) and Device Access License (DAL) Licensing models ...

Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition Licensing Model ...

Windows Server 2012 Essentials Edition Licensing Model ...

Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition and Datacenter Edition Licensing Model ...

Conclusion

Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 is an attractive server-based product designed to meet the demands of small to large enterprises and has a very flexible licensing model. It is very important to fully understand the licensing options and supported features on each of the 4 available editions, before proceeding with your purchase – a tactic that will help ensure costs are kept well within the allocated budget while the company’s needs are fully met.

A co-worker shared this with me and while it might be cribbed from other resources, I still liked it. There's nothing like a little comparison matrix to be a "thousand words" multiplier...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A test lab to play with eDiscovery across Exchange Server 2013, Lync Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, and Windows Server 2012 file shares

Microsoft Downloads - Test Lab Guide: Configure eDiscovery for an Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, and Windows File Shares Test Lab

Use these step-by-step instructions to configure eDiscovery across Exchange Server 2013, Lync Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, and Windows Server 2012 file shares. 

Version: 1.0

Date Published: 11/18/2013

eDiscoveryTLG.doc, 250 KB

eDiscoveryTLG.pdf, 531 KB

Some snaps and snips from the Doc;

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In this guide

This guide takes you through configuring an eDiscovery solution. This solution uses SharePoint Server 2013 Search Service to crawl SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and Windows file shares for items that may be relevant to ongoing litigation. You’ll be doing this by using the five server computers and two client computers configured with server-to-server authentication from the Configure an Integrated Exchange, Lync and SharePoint test lab. You can view the Configure an Integrated Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint Test Lab overview video to help you get started.

Important

This TLG uses multiple virtual machines (VMs) to illustrate the separation of services and distribution of roles in the eDiscovery solution. In consideration of resource limitations though, the number of VMs used is kept to a minimum. The architecture that’s presented here is for test lab purposes only and should not be used in production. To see production scale architectures and sample topologies refer to:

· Technical diagrams for SharePoint 2013

· Exchange 2013 Planning and Deployment

· Lync 2013 Planning

For information about how to configure this test lab in Hyper-V, see Hosting the integrated Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint test lab with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

...

Test lab overview

In this test lab, integrated functionality is deployed by using the following:

· One computer running Windows Server® 2012 named DC1 that is configured as an intranet domain controller, Domain Name System (DNS) server, and DHCP server.

· One intranet member server running Windows Server 2012 named SQL1 that is configured as a SQL database server and enterprise root certification server.

· One intranet member server running Windows Server 2012 named SP1 that is configured as a SharePoint Server 2013 web server, an enterprise root certification authority and with Windows file shares.

· One intranet member server running Windows Server 2012 named EX1 that is configured as the Exchange Server 2013 email server.

· One intranet member server running Windows Server 2012 named LYNC1 that is configured as the Lync Server 2013 Standard Edition server.

· One member client computer running Windows 8 named CLIENT1.

· One member client computer running Windows 8 named CLIENT2.

The integrated test lab consists of a single subnet named Corpnet (10.0.0.0/24) that simulates a private intranet. Computers on the Corpnet subnet connect by using a hub or switch. See the following figure.

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Had to highlight this as it's in my day job business sphere... I don't know if/when corps will start using something like this, as apposed to the current commonly used "vaults" but it's good to see Microsoft starting to get into this space.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Windows Server Essentials Media Pack" (DNLA Stream, HTML5 and Dashboard Media stuff)

Microsoft Downloads - Windows Server Essentials Media Pack

This pack enables the media streaming functionality for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and the Windows Server Essentials Experience server role in Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard and Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter. By downloading and installing this pack, you will be able to restore the media streaming functionality.

Version: 1.0

Date Published: 10/21/2013

wsemp.exe, 16.9 MB

This pack will enable the following functionality on for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and the Windows Server Essentials Experience server role in Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard & and Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter:

  • Streaming of media (photos, music and videos) to DLNA-compliant receivers
  • Smooth streaming to HTML5 HTML5-compliant browsers through by using Remote Web Access and to web service applications
  • UI elements associated with the configuration of media streaming in the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard

I've been wanting to host an Windows Home Server/Windows Server Essentials box in the house for the longest time... And yet, have never found the want too. That said, when/if I do, I'll want to add this to it...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
The next SBS, WSE, beta is now available. Windows Server 2012 Essentials Beta (and SDK) is now available
“Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials” Think “Windows Home Server Meets the Home Office/Small Business”

Thursday, October 03, 2013

VMware or Microsoft? 35 posts, six weeks, two products, one great series...

Chris Koenig - VMware or Microsoft? – The Complete Series

Some of the guys on my team have created an AMAZING series of blog posts comparing Windows Server and Hyper-V to VMWare’s offerings. Here’s a complete list of the entire series – you should DEFINITELY take a look…

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Full of I.T. - VMware or Microsoft? – The Series Introduction

Hello out there all of you virtualization fans!… all of you datacenter supermen and superwomen!… all of you who get excited when skillfully and elegantly applied information technology makes your work lives and the work lives of the people you support – and the businesses you provide value to - just so much better!

We have a new 6-week blog series for you entitled “VMware or Microsoft?”

“Who’s ‘we’?  And what is the series about?”

We are the 11 IT Pro Technology Evangelists serving the United States on behalf of Microsoft.  And the series is.. well… let’s call it “Shark Week” for IT Pros.

“You mean.. like what just ended on the Discovery Channel?”

Exactly.  Except that instead of one week, it’s six weeks long.  And instead of sharks, it’s virtualization platform and management comparisons.  But in terms of ferocity, well.. they’re exactly the same.  (Minus the sharp teeth and all of that violence, of course.)  What we want to do during these six weeks is to dispel some of the myths and misinformation that is out there.  In this series we promise to provide you with articles that are rich in technical detail, proving that Hyper-V and System Center 2012 are the best choice for virtualization and serving up applications; whether your “clouds" are local, in the public cloud, at a hosting provider, or a combination of any of those.

We also promise that, if we’re discussing an area where VMware simply has a better solution, or has a technology that Microsoft can’t match, we’ll acknowledge it honestly.  We know that, as Microsoft employees (and especially as a bunch of folks who hold the title of “Evangelists”), we automatically are seen as impartial.  And let’s face it: We are. (smile)  But we’re also confident enough in the products and the company that we represent to be able to just tell it like it is.  ...

“Do you have a list of topics created?”

Yes, we do have a list.  But it’s definitely subject to change.  It’s no secret, and certainly no accident, that this series will be happening over the week when VMware will be holding their VMWorld conference.  So we know that our list might change drastically during that week as a result of the announcements and improvements that VMware will most certainly make....

It's likely if you're already heavily invest in one side or the other, this series might not change your mind, but I do like that the guys tried to be as honest as possible in their comparisons. And it never hurts to see what the other side of the fence looks like...

Friday, September 13, 2013

New from NirSoft, SoundVolumeView (think "Uber volume control with profiles, command line and more" utility)

NirBlog - New utility to control the sound volume on Windows Vista/7/8/2008

SoundVolumeView is a new tool for Windows Vista/7/8/2008 that displays general information and current volume level for all active sound components on your system, and allows you to mute and unmute them instantly.

SoundVolumeView also allows you to save a sound profile into a file, containing the current volume level and the mute/unmute state of all sound components, as well as the default sound devices, and then later, load the same file to restore exactly the same volume levels and settings.

There is also extensive command-line support, which allows you to save/load profiles, change current volume of every sound component, and mute/unmute every sound component, without displaying any user interface.

NirSoft - SoundVolumeView v1.00

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This utility works on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 2008. Both 32-bit and 64-bit systems are supported.
Windows XP and older systems are not supported

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Start Using SoundVolumeView

SoundVolumeView doesn't require any installation process or additional dll files. In order to start using it, simply run the executable file - SoundVolumeView.exe

After running SoundVolumeView, the main window is displays all sound items found in your systems. There are 3 types of items: devices, subunits, and application volume.
For every item, the current volume level is displayed in percent unit. For devices and subunits, the volume level is also displayed in Decibel. For subunits, the volume level is displayed for every channel separately.

Increase/Decrease/Mute Volume

In the main window of SoundVolumeView, you can select one or more items, and then mute, unmute, increase, or decrease the volume of selected items, using accelerator keys:

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Sound Profiles

SoundVolumeView allows you to save all your current sound settings into a sound profile filename, and then load it later when you want to restore these settings.
The sound profile file stores the following information:
  • Volume level of all active sound components on your system. (Devices, Subunits, and application volume) For Subunits, the volume level of every channel is stored separately.
  • Mute/Unmute state of all active sound components on your system. (Devices, Subunits, and application volume)
  • Default render/capture device.

You can save and load sound profiles by using the 'Save Sound Profile' and 'Load Sound Profile' options under the File menu, or by using the /SaveProfile and /LoadProfile command-line options. There is also a recent menu located under the File menu, which allows you to easily load the last 10 sound profiles you used, as well as you can also load the recent 5 sound profiles from the tray menu (If the tray icon is turned on)

Be aware that sound profiles are bound to specific computer and its devices. You cannot save a sound profile in one computer and then load it into another computer.

Command-Line Options

You can use the command-line options below to change the volume level and mute/unmute status of every sound component on your system.
In the [Name] parameter , you can specify one of the following fields:
  • The name of the item, as appeared under the 'Name' column. (If you have multiple items with identical name, you should use the ID field.)
  • The ID of the item, as appeared under the 'Item ID' column.
  • For sound devices (Type = 'Device'), you can also use the value specified under the 'Device Name' column.
  • For application items (type = 'Application), you can also specify the process filename, for example: firefox.exe

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NirSoft (the heir apparent Sysinternals?) continues to provide a series of awesome utilities for Windows. I mean check out some of the available tools and utilities;

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See what I mean?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

What's the new in Windows Server 2012 R2?

Kurt Shintaku's Blog - INFO: New Windows Server 2012 R2 Innovations… listed!

The System Center Team blog wrote a great post that goes over some of the most significant improvements made to Windows Server 2012 R2.

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  • Storage transformation –...
  • Software defined networking – ...
  • Virtualization and live migration – ...
  • Access & Information Protection – ...
  • Java application monitoring – ...

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The System Center Team Blog - Better Together - The New Windows Server 2012 R2 Innovations – Download Now

There are quite a few products that make up the Microsoft Cloud OS vision. Windows Server 2012 R2 is in preview right now and ready for your evaluation.  We also have a strong management platform that make up the System Center family of products. They are designed to have tight integration with the core being Windows Server.

If you are looking for information on Windows Server 2012 R2, we have been rolling out detailed information though Brad Anderson’s What’s New in 2012 R2 blog series.  That will continue but we thought you would like a short consolidated list for consideration.  Here are some of the new innovations in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Storage transformation – Delivers breakthrough performance at a fraction of the cost

  • The storage tiering feature of Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 R2 automatically tiers data across hard disks and solid state drives based on usage to dramatically increase storage performance and cost efficiency.

Software defined networking – Provides new levels of agility and flexibility

  • Network virtualization in Windows Server 2012 R2, along with the management capabilities in System Center 2012 R2 provides the flexibility to place any virtual machine on any node regardless of IP address with isolation. 
  • New in-box gateway in Windows Server 2012 R2 extends virtual networks to provide full connectivity to physical networks as well as access to virtual networks over the internet.

Virtualization and live migration – Provides an integrated and high-performance virtualization platform

  • Cross-version live migration enables virtual machines running on Windows Server 2012 to be migrated to Windows Server 2012 R2 hosts with no downtime.
  • Live migration compression provides dramatic time savings (approximately 50% or greater) by using spare CPU cycles to compress live migration traffic with no special hardware.
  • Live migration with RDMA enables offloading of the process to the NICs (if they support RDMA) for even faster live migrations.

Access & Information Protection – Empowering your users to be productive while maintaining control and security of corporate information with Windows Server 2012 R2

  • Enable users to work on the device of their choice (through BYOD programs or on personal devices) by providing a simple registration process to make the devices known to IT and be taken into account as part of your conditional access policies
  • Deliver policy-based access control to corporate applications and data with consistent experiences across devices
  • Protect corporate information and mitigate risk by managing a single identity for each user across both on-premises and cloud-based applications and enabling multi-factor authentication for additional user validation

Java application monitoring – Enables deep application insight into Java applications.

  • Provides performance and exception events as well as level alerting within Operations Manager for Java applications.
  • Supports Tomcat, Java JDK, and other Java web services frameworks.
  • Line-of-code level traceability with performance and exception metrics for .NET and Java application monitoring for more actionable, tool-driven dev-ops collaboration

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Try Windows Server 2012 R2 on Windows Azure today!

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In a word, lots (for an R2)

 

Related Past Post XRef:
"Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2" [Preview eBook Release]

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

"Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2" [Preview eBook Release]

Microsoft Press - Free ebook: Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Release

We’re very excited to announce another free ebook offering from Microsoft Press. Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Release (ISBN 9780735682931), by Mitch Tulloch with the Windows Server Team, introduces new features and capabilities, with scenario-based advice on how the platform can meet the needs of your business. Get the high-level overview you need to begin preparing your deployment now. This book is based on the Preview release and will be updated to cover Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM.

Download the PDF version of this title here (108 pages, 5 MB). UPDATE: The EPUB format is here and the MOBI format is here.

Watch for the lengthier RTM edition of this ebook later this year!

If you prefer a hard copy of the book, you can order it here from our official distributor, O’Reilly Media, for $9.99.

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No need to jump through any hoops, just click. Will keep my eyes open for the RTM version...

Friday, August 02, 2013

Azure, PowerShell, Virtual Networks, VM's, Domains and Lab building, a three part series

chris e. avis - writing about microsoft and technology.... - Build a lab in Windows Azure for learning PowerShell – Part 3 of 3 – Configure the Virtual Machines

I have decided to use Windows Azure as my lab environment because it is the fastest and most accessible way for me to work on this from anywhere in the world. I travel a lot so I want to be able to access the lab while on the road. This is a self-contained lab environment that for right now is just for my PowerShell learning. But it has the potential to be used for other lab scenarios and is completely expandable.

I am using the following book to teach myself more about PowerShell -

“Learn Windows PowerShell 3 In A Month Of Lunches” by Don Jones and Jeffery D. Hicks

I have decided to use Windows Azure as my lab environment because it is the fastest and most accessible way for me to work on this from anywhere in the world. I travel a lot so I want to be able to access the lab while on the road. This is a self-contained lab environment that for right now is just for my PowerShell learning. But it has the potential to be used for other lab scenarios and is completely expandable.

You can create your own Windows Azure Lab by following along. The first step is to get signed up for a Free Windows Azure Trial account here -

To create the lab environment, we have to build out a few different pieces -

Ongoing summary posts of what I learn as I read the book and learn more about PowerShell.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hopefully, if you are at the stage of wanting to learn PowerShell, you already know how to create a Windows Domain Controller. Even if you don’t have much experience with Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, you should be able to stumble through this part easily. But there are a few configurations we need to look at to ensure all of the virtual machines can speak to each other.

Note - If you have not already created three (3) virtual machines, go back to Part 2 to review the steps for creating the additional virtual machines. We will need a total of three (3) for our lab. Once you have the required virtual machines, come back to this post to complete the configuration

*** Important *** – When creating the additional virtual machines, ensure they are all in the same Cloud Service, Virtual Network, and Storage Account. You can look at the configuration of the Virtual Machine we created in Part 2 to find this information

..."

Want to build a complete lab to play with, and learn, PowerShell? Or a series to help you learn about building such a lab on Azure? Want to see about creating your own little cloud hosted domain? Want to use your MSDN Azure allowance?

You'll want to read this series...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Windows Server [2012 R2]: The Best Infrastructure to Run Linux Workloads"

In the Cloud - What’s New in 2012 R2: Enabling Open Source Software

Part 4 of a 9-part series.

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There are a lot of great surprises in these new R2 releases – things that are going to make a big impact in a majority of IT departments around the world. Over the next four weeks, the 2012 R2 series will cover the 2nd pillar of this release: Transform the Datacenter. In these four posts (starting today) we’ll cover many of the investments we have made that better enable IT pros to transform their datacenter via a move to a cloud-computing model.

This discussion will outline the ambitious scale of the functionality and capability within the 2012 R2 products. As with any conversation about the cloud, however, there are key elements to consider as you read. Particularly, I believe it’s important in all these discussions – whether online or in person – to remember that cloud computing is a computing model, not a location. All too often when someone hears the term “cloud computing” they automatically think of a public cloud environment. Another important point to consider is that cloud computing is much more than just virtualization – it is something that involves change: Change in the tools you use (automation and management), change in processes, and a change in how your entire organization uses and consumes its IT infrastructure.

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As I noted above, it simply makes logical sense that running the Microsoft workloads in the Microsoft Clouds will deliver the best overall solution. But what about Linux? And how well does Microsoft virtualize and manage non-Windows platforms, in particular Linux?  Today we’ll address these exact questions.

Our vision regarding other operating platforms is simple: Microsoft is committed to being your cloud partner. This means end-to-end support that is versatile, flexible, and interoperable for any industry, in any environment, with any guest OS. This vision ensures we remain realistic – we know that users are going to build applications on open source operating systems, so we have built a powerful set of tools for hosting and managing them.

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Windows Server: The Best Infrastructure to Run Linux Workloads [GD:They said it, not me...]

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At the core of enabling this single infrastructure is the ability to run Linux on Hyper-V. With the release of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, and enhanced by the updates in the 2012 R2 version, Hyper-V is at the top of its game in running Windows guests. We’re delivering this with engineering investments in Hyper-V, of course, but also in the Linux operating system.

You read that correctly – some of the work we are doing at Microsoft involves working directly with the Linux community and contributing the technology that really enables Hyper-V and Windows to be the best cloud for Linux.

Here’s how we’ve done it: Microsoft developers have built the drivers for Linux that we call the Linux Integration Services, or “LIS.” Synthetic drivers for network and disk provide performance that nearly equals the performance of bare hardware. Other drivers provide housekeeping for time synchronization, shutdown, and heartbeat. Directly in Hyper-V, we have built features to enable live backups for Linux guests, and we have exhaustively tested to ensure that Hyper-V features, like live migration (including the super performance improvements in 2012 R2), work for Linux guests just like they do for Windows guests. In total, we worked across the board to ensure Linux is at its best on Hyper-V.

To ensure compliance, Microsoft had done this LIS development as a member of the Linux community. ...

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Manage Heterogeneous Environments Using Standards and System Center

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For our customers, we wanted to make managing Linux and any CIM-based system simple to automate via PowerShell. We introduced the PowerShell CIM cmdlets in Windows Server 2012 which enable IT pros to manage CIM based systems natively from Windows.

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Open Source on Windows

In any IT environment, open source is more than just the operating system. You may be using open source components in your applications, whether you are a vendor offering Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) from the cloud, or an enterprise running open source components in your datacenter.

To provide customers with increased flexibility for running open source-based applications on Windows, Microsoft simplified the process for building, deploying and updating services that are built on Windows. This was achieved through the development of a set of tools called “CoApp” (Common Open source Application Publishing Platform), which is a package management system for Windows that is akin to the Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) on Linux.

Using CoApp, developers on Windows can easily manage the dependencies between components that make up an open source application. Developers will notice that many of the core dependencies, such as zlib and OpenSSL, are already built to run on Windows and are available immediately in the NuGet repository. Through NuGet, CoApp-built native packages can be included in Visual Studio projects in exactly the same manner as managed-code packages, making it very easy for a developer to download core libraries and create open source applications on Windows. Those of you with a developer orientation can get more details on CoApp in these videos: GoingNative - Inside NuGet for C++ and Building Native Libraries for NuGet with CoApp’s PowerShell Tools....

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Summary

Enabling open source software is a key part of our promise to support the efforts of our customers as they continue to transform their datacenters with the cloud. This enablement is a key tenet of the scenarios we design and build our products to handle. The features and functions that enable open source software are an integral part of our products, and each element of these products are built and tested by our core engineering teams. These efforts are fully supported by Microsoft.

As you might expect for the “Enable OSS” tenet of this 2012 R2 release, key parts of our open source enablement are themselves open source. For example, the Linux Integration Services are open source in the Linux kernel, and Microsoft releases the source code for most of the agents that System Center uses on Linux and UNIX to provide management capabilities. OMI and CoApp are also an open source projects, and, of course, PHP on Windows is part of the PHP open source project.

With this release Microsoft is clearly the choice for datacenter infrastructure if you require the ability to run and manage open source software alongside Windows.

..."

Sorry for the link-bait title, but couldn't resist. That's a strong claim. Given the Microsoft of today, I actually don't think it's too insane or crazy either (imaging say that 10 years ago!) 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Privatize your cloud with help from these two new Channel 9 Series "Build a Private Cloud with WinServer & System Center" and "Move to Hybrid Cloud with System Center and Azure"

Channel 9 - Build a Private Cloud with Windows Server and System Center

View the first of two Jump Starts in a series covering the end-to-end process of implementing a MS cloud solution, providing a deep dive into key topics associated with implementing a Microsoft hybrid cloud solution. This Jump Start is a scenario-based, bottom up approach to designing and building your private cloud on Windows Server 2012 and incorporating the full spectrum of System Center 2012 SP1 components. MVP Pete Zerger and Microsoft Senior Technical Evangelist Symon Perriman focus on bringing a greater understanding to key topics related to the fabric, such as virtual networking and leveraging the storage and networking capabilities of WS2012 along with creating service templates in VMM and on the Service Manager CMDB as we move up the management stack. Additionally you learn how the service-catalog comes together to deliver an intuitive self-service experience in a step-by-step approach.

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Channel 9 - Move to Hybrid Cloud with System Center and Windows Azure

View the second of two Jump Starts in a series covering the end-to-end process of implementing a MS cloud solution, providing a deep dive into key topics associated with implementing a Microsoft hybrid cloud solution. This Jump Start is a continuation of "Build a Private Cloud with Windows Server & System Center Jump Start" and focuses on successfully monitoring and managing ongoing operation of a private cloud environment. MVP Pete Zerger and Technical Product Manager Matt McSpirit provide example after example on how to integrate Azure IaaS into our private cloud to deliver hybrid cloud capabilities in System Center 2012 SP1, how to develop hybrid cloud self-service scenarios in System Center 2012 App Controller and in the System Center Service Manager Self-Service Portal, and demonstrate full integration of private and public cloud with ITIL.

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I want the cloud and all it promises, but I want it in my data center (well I don't but out clients do). So the Azure Pack and Private Cloud are currently high priority key words in my feed scanning...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
13 Modules, six weeks, 2 exam preps and a whole lot of private cloud building going on...
What's this Private Cloud thing? Here's a free online conference on just that... "Building the Private Cloud"
Building a private IaaS Cloud with Windows Server 8 whitepaper
Microsoft Free Virtual Private Cloud Event, Jan 17th
Microsoft Private Cloud Solution Hub

Monday, July 08, 2013

Think virtualizing SQL Server is evil? Here's a 94 page PDF from the SQL Server team that might have you thinking otherwise... "Best Practices for Virtualizing and Managing SQL Server 2012"

Taylor Brown's Blog - New White Paper - Best Practices for Virtualizing and Managing SQL Server 2012

I wanted to let everyone know the SQL Server team has just published a shiny new white paper (96 pages long) that discusses all the best practices for managing SQL Server on virtual machines in Windows Server 2012...  It's a very well done white paper and definitely worth reading.

Here's a link to it: Best Practices for Virtualizing and Managing SQL Server 2012

Best Practices for Virtualizing and Managing SQL Server 2012

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Snip from the PDF:

Introduction
This guide provides high-level best practices and considerations for deploying and managing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 on a Microsoft virtualization infrastructure. The recommendations and guidance in this document aim to:
 Complement the architectural design of an organization’s specific environment.
 Help organizations take advantage of the key platform features in SQL Server 2012 to deliver the highest levels of performance and availability.

Executive Summary
With the proliferation of applications in everyday use, enterprises have an increasing need for more instances of databases such as SQL Server. Most applications have their own set of database requirements, leading to the use of multiple versions of databases and to significant costs related to the databases and related hardware resources. More importantly, the hardware deployed for databases is not fully utilized or there is a demand to scale up hardware resources to meet peak utilization on certain databases. Therefore, it has become important to control the cost of databases and related hardware resources, and to optimize and scale the use of hardware resources in different scenarios to provide better flexibility and maintain service level agreements (SLAs). An ideal solution to this problem is virtualization.

Virtualization is fairly common now. Many organizations worldwide have moved beyond the nascent stage into being more advanced users of server virtualization, specifically. These organizations have gained benefits in the areas of costs, efficiency, operations, availability, agility, and resiliency.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 provide a host of new features that can be used to effectively virtualize demanding database workloads that previously were not considered for virtualization. This guide explains these new features in the context of how organizations should consider virtualizing SQL Server 2012 on Windows Server 2012 and the benefits of managing this virtualized environment with Microsoft System Center 2012. Working together, these industry-leading products deliver an integrated platform with a low total cost of ownership (TCO) as well as mission-critical scale, performance, and availability. The platform also provides enhanced end-to-end security, management, and monitoring capabilities.

Further, many organizations now want to go a step beyond and adopt an IT infrastructure that is optimized for and ready to work in the cloud. They need an IT infrastructure that can seamlessly span from a private to a public cloud. To achieve this goal, organizations require a common virtualization platform that can increase performance and efficiency across the infrastructure. In this regard, Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V offers an ideal virtualization platform for SQL Server 2012.

Target Audience
This guide is intended for IT professionals and technical decision makers (TDMs), including IT consultants, architects, database administrators, and IT managers. They can use this guide to understand how to set up an environment for virtualizing SQL Server 2012 using an integrated virtualization platform built on some of the latest Microsoft technologies, such as Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and System Center 2012. Understanding key considerations and best practices can help TDMs effectively plan and deploy SQL Server 2012 virtualization using Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. This guide serves the following purposes for these key roles:
Architects: Understand how the entire virtualization environment will work as they design the architecture.
IT Managers: Design processes to fit the overall virtualization environment so that costs are reduced and efficiency is increased as much as possible.
Database Administrators: Understand how SQL Server 2012 can be set up and function in the virtual environment.

Finally snaps of the ToC:

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting a picture of the "Blue" Wave...

Redmond Recap - Approaching Build: What is the “Blue” wave?

This week will be quite a barrage of Microsoft-related information. TechEd Europe kicks off tomorrow in Madrid, and the Build conference will get rolling on Wednesday in San Fransisco. This blog post will put some of the agenda items in temporal perspective.

“Blue” was originally the rumored code name for the next update of Windows 8, later announced as Windows 8.1. But during the winter, the news broke that Blue will encompass a larger platform update spread over a period of time. With TechEd North America now behind us, we already know quite a few pieces of the puzzle, but is that all?

I don’t usually take part in speculation, but this post almost wrote itself as I oriented myself in preparation for all the information that will be released in Build. I hope the information contained herein will help the readers understand the conferences’ offerings in a broader perspective.

The following graphic shows what I hold important.

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The “Services updates” is somewhat murky, but refers to alleged updates to services such as Skydrive, Outlook.com and others. It is fuzzy, but serves to remind that this is more than a set of service packs released in tandem.

..."

This is a great pic of the coming "Blue" release cycle...

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

13 Modules, six weeks, 2 exam preps and a whole lot of private cloud building going on...

virtuallycloud9  - Build Your Own Private Cloud Series Complete! Here is the list of articles and links:

Are you virtualizing your servers? Yes, of course!

Are you spending less time managing your servers as a result?  Hmm … No!

Server Virtualization is Great, But …

Server virtualization has been a great set of technologies to reduce our capital expenses and some operating expenses by consolidating a larger number of virtualized server workloads in a smaller footprint of physical rack space.  As a result, we’ve been able to purchase less data center hardware and likely have lower power and cooling costs in running our data center.

However, most IT Pros are not seeing a reduction in the amount of time they spend with day-to-day management of server operating systems and applications.  Let face it … whether you have 100 physical servers or 100 virtual servers, you still have 100 server operating system instances to administer, configure, monitor, patch and update.  In fact, because of reduced capital costs when using server virtualization, many IT Pros report that they are now faced with managing a much larger ( and growing ) number of operating system instances and applications – these days, it seems like everyone in the company wants their own VMs!  As a result, IT Pros are forced to spend most of their day managing VMs and applications, and often don’t have enough time to spend on improving their IT environments.

Private Cloud … To The Rescue!

Well, Private Cloud is the answer! Private Cloud is not a product, but rather an approach for designing, implementing and managing your servers, applications and data center resources by reducing complexity, increasing standardization and automation, and provide elasticity – the ability to easily scale your data center up, down, in or out – to support evolving business and technical requirements.

Private Cloud applies the same principles used for scaling and managing the world’s largest public clouds to your private data center environment.  Now, you can have your very own cloud!

Build Your Private Cloud – The Series

My fellow Technical Evangelists and I have authored a content series that steps through building your very own Private Cloud by leveraging Windows Server 2012, our FREE Hyper-V Server 2012, Windows Azure Infrastructure Services ( IaaS ) and System Center 2012 Service Pack 1.

Week-by-week, we walk through the steps to envision, plan and implement your very own Private Cloud to take your existing data center to the next level and give you the tools and time back in your day for improving IT services and being able to change and shift with your business / IT needs.

Below is the weekly breakdown of each topic that we’ve written in this series to help you build your own Private Cloud.  Be sure to bookmark this page and check back daily to progress through building your Private Cloud this month!.

    WEEK 0 – Get ready to follow along!

    WEEK 1 – Build Your Private Cloud Foundation with Windows Server 2012

    WEEK 2 – Building Your Private Cloud Fabric with System Center 2012 SP1

      WEEK 3 – Configuring and Optimizing Your Private Cloud with System Center 2012 SP1

      WEEK 4 – Deploying and Servicing Applications in Your Private Cloud with System Center 2012 SP1

      WEEK 5 – Extending and Protecting Your Private Cloud

      WEEK 6+: Study and Get Certified on Private Cloud

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    I want this... a Private Cloud... Matter of fact, fired off an email this morning to kick off the internal thinking about something like this... ;)

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    Windows Azure, Active Directory, the cartoon

    MSDN UK Team blog - Windows Azure Active Directory Cartoon

    I posted this video on to Channel 9 before Christmas but I can see something has gone wrong with the indexing and it’s pretty undiscoverable on the site. Thought I’d make it known through the blog

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    I'd done 100% nothing Windows Azure AD related, but I love these kinds of videos and I guess since I've NOT done anything it was created just for me! :P

    Tuesday, January 08, 2013

    Serving up essential development information on "Web Services and Extensibility for Windows Server 2012 Essentials"

    The Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server Blog - Web Services and Extensibility for Windows Server 2012 Essentials

    Hi, I’m Mike Chen, program manager for the Windows Server Essentials team, and today I would like to share with you the extensibility story for Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

    I’ll start with an overview of the extensibility points across Dashboard, Launchpad, Remote Web Access, and Health Monitoring. As you know, Windows Server 2012 Essentials is a hybrid solution that connects your on-premises environment to the cloud service. We will use cloud service integration scenarios when we talk about the extensibility points; these extensibility points can also be used by non-service-integration add-ins.

    Let’s take a look at the Windows Azure Online Backup add-in (for more information, see the blog post Windows Azure Online Backup and Windows Server 2012 Essentials).

    ...

    In the preceding screenshot, add-ins can be used in the Dashboard in four places:

    1. Top-level tab. Usually, as a standalone feature, most add-ins will have a separate tab. We recommend that you use all capital letters for the names of your tabs to be consistent with other built-in tabs. A top-level tab will own its standalone content space in the content area.
    2. Sub-tabs. To logically separate your features, you can have multiple sub-tabs under your top-level tab. If you own a separate top-level tab, you will naturally group sub-tabs together. If your add-in doesn’t create a top-level tab (for example, your add-in provides additional manageability for storage), you can add a sub-tab to the tab in question instead.
    3. Main panel. Different add-ins typically have different requests. While you can build your main panel from a blank panel, you can also leverage the list view in the SDK if you’re managing a list of objects, such as users or folders.
    4. Task panel. When you manage a list of items or a service, you usually need per item tasks and global tasks. When you leverage the list view, the Dashboard allows you to register per item tasks where you can perform tasks on a single item, such as removing a folder. It also allows you to perform global tasks, which apply to the entire add-in functions, such as registering your service.

    ...

    Client-side integration is also interesting when you write an add-in to integrate with online services.

    • Launchpad. Most of the service integration, such as Office 365 Integration, provides value to end users where they need to have shortcuts to the new functionality they get from add-ins. In this case, you can extend the Launchpad by adding an additional shortcut.
    • Remote Web Access. Remote Web Access allows you to provide links on the Homepage, as well as provide your own page.
    • Health Integration. If the online service has dependencies on the client, such as agents running on the client or settings on the client, you can implement health monitoring rules on the client so that the monitoring results can be rolled up to the admin view. (Note that health integration is able to monitor the server as well.)

    ...

    Web service platform

    Anywhere Access is important for home and business environments today

    ..."

    I never jumped onto the Windows Home Server wagon, though I had wanted to and thought about it a good bit. If there had been a v3 I would have. In hindsight, I guess I'm glad I missed it... That said, I'm still interested in Windows Server 2012 Essentials and how it might be that WHS "v3". I'm kind of waiting on if it gets picked up by some top tier OEMS though...

    Anyway, anytime there's officially supported extensibility and API's, that makes it that much more attractive to me. I doubt I would ever actually extend it, but that fact that I could, well, that's cool.. :)

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

    First and only Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess book now available...

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    Erez Ben-Ari just published the 1st and only book dedicated to DirectAccess, Microsoft's VPN-like technology, Windows Server 2012 Unified Remote Access Planning and Deployment

    • The essential administrator’s companion for the successor to DirectAccess
    • Get to grips with configuring, enabling and deploying Unified Remote Access
    • A quick start guide to have you up and running with Windows Server 2012 URA in no time

    What you will learn from this book

      • Refresh your knowledge of various VPN solutions over the years and the history of DA
      • Gain a full picture of the exciting improvements in the new DirectAcess access product in Windows 2012
      • Put URA into perspective by learning about IPv4 and IPv6
      • Review the scenarios and architecture underlying Unified Remote Access
      • Take a deep dive into deploying GPO in an organization
      • Understand Multi-Site scenarios with URA
      • Explore how to deploy cloud-based scenarios for URA
      • Discover interoperability with Windows 7 clients
      • Take advantage of step by step instructions for configuring and enabling URA
      • Fine tune the security and network including advanced configuration with PowerShell
      • Get to grips with URA monitoring and reports
      • Learn to avoid common problems, issues and mistakes

    DirectAccess has the reputation for being hard to get running. And while I've heard that it's easier with Server 2012, it's still not click-click-click easy (and probably shouldn't be, given this is a VPN solution?). If you're an IT admin and thinking about DA, this looks like a must have book.

    And the fact that it comes from hungry team at packt is just icing on the cake... :)

    Friday, December 07, 2012

    [Pending Book Review] "Windows Server 2012 Hyper- V Cookbook"

    Disclosure: The team at Packt have provided me a free ebook version of this book for this review...

    My friends at Packt (anyone who gives you free stuff is a friend... right?) have provided me another book to review. I've been following virtual machine tech for about a decade now, and while I've used them as a consumer, I've never gotten to deep into them. You know how it is, doing just enough to get the job done, get the game running, get the test environment spinning, just barely enough to make today's problem go away.

    So when the chance to get a litter deeper into the tech, let alone the shiny new stuff in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, well I had to jump on that.

    "Okay, okay Greg, enough tease, what fricken book are you talking about" you ask?

    Windows Server 2012 Hyper- V Cookbook

    windows server 2012 Hyper-V

    • Take advantage of numerous Hyper-V best practices for administrators
    • Get to grips with migrating virtual machines between servers and old Hyper-V versions, automating tasks with PowerShell, providing a High Availability and Disaster Recovery environment, and much more
    • A practical Cookbook bursting with essential recipes

    As soon as I get this read, I'll post my usual book review, giving my thoughts and impressions...