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  • Blog Post: Lab Ops – Working with Azure VMs

    A couple of months ago I had a very interesting chat with Andy a Data Centre admin at CP Ltd about using PowerShell to manage Azure as Andy is partially sighted, and his team mate Lewis is blind (For more on this please read Andy’s post on the TechNet UK blog ) . I wanted to go into some of the PowerShell...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops – PowerShell 4 and PKI

    In a Remote Desktop Services lab setup involving a gateway to allow connections to our virtual desktops over the internet we are going to need to use an SSL certificate to secure traffic between the remote devices and the gateway. Typically in the past we would have gone into a server running IIS and...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops Redux setting up Hyper-V in a hurry

    I am at Manchester United as I write this and one of the delegates wanted to quickly try out Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012R2. I thought I had an all up post on that but it turns out I don’t, so Nicholas Agbaji this is just for you! You’ll need a latptop/desktop running Windows 7/Windows 2008R2 or later...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops 19 – Software Defined Networking - where’s my stuff

    Well done if you got through my last post, I bolted a lot of stuff together and it all looks a bit confusing particularly if you are moving from Hyper-V to System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (VMM). For a start where’s my network settings? When I was testing my rig I found I couldn’t swap out...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops 18 Getting started with Software Defined Networking

    In my last post I finished up where I had my host under management of Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and that was about it. As with Hyper-V I can’t really use VMM until I have my fabric configured and after adding in hosts the first thing we need to do is look at Networking. To recap my current setup...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops part 17 - Getting Started with Virtual Machine Manager

    In my last post I talked a lot about the way all of System Center works, now I want to look at one part of it Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) as VMs in a modern data centre are at the core of the services we provide to our users. In the good old days we managed real servers that had real disks connected...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops– 16 System Center setup

    This post isn’t going to tell you how to install System Center screen by screen as there are some 434 of these to do a complete install and configure. That’s a lot of clicking with a lot of opportunity for mistakes and while I realise that not everyone needs to tear down and reset everything surely there...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops part 15 - Combining MDT with Windows Update Services

    If we are going to deploy VDI to our users we are going to still have some of the same challenges as we would have if we still managed their laptops directly. Perhaps the most important of these is keeping VDI up to date with patches. What I want to do in this post is show who we can integrate Windows...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops Part 13 - MDT 2013 for VDI

    The core of any VDI deployment is the Virtual Desktop Template (VDT) which is the blueprint from which all the virtual desktop VMs are created. It occurred to me that there must be a way to create and maintain this using the deployment tools used to create real desktops rather than the way I hack the...
  • Blog Post: Lab-Ops part 12 – A crude but effective Domain Controller

    I realised I need to recreate a Domain Controller in my labs and in so doing I noticed a snag in my earlier scripts that really breaks when I use the same snippet for a new DC.  I have this test to see if a VM is ready to be used.. do {Start-sleep –seconds 10} until(Get-VMIntegrationService $VMName ...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops - Stop Press Windows Server 2012R2 Evaluation edition released

    I have just got back to my blog after a few days at various events and I see the Evaluation edition of Windows Server 2012R2 has been released.  I need this for my lab ops because I am building and blowing away VMs for er… evaluations and I don’t want to have to muck about with license keys. For...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops part 11 – Server Core

    My laptop running Windows Server 2012R2 looks like this when it starts: This is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing if: You have a server you want to connect to from a device with touch on that may have a smaller form factor and you have big fingers so you can get to the task you want in...
  • Blog Post: A small problem with Managed Service Accounts

    I am very fortunate to always have the latest versions of Microsoft stuff to play with such as SQL Server 2008 R2, but occasionally something doesn’t work, and so I need to tell the relevant product team what the problem is. In this case I was trying to get the SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP...
  • Blog Post: PowerShell convert

    Back in the day I worked with this amazing guy James O’Neill (@jamesoneill) who really got into PowerShell and had it doing all sorts of clever things like geo tagging his dive photos based on data form his watch and camera. On the serious side he developed a PowerShell Configurator (which is still...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops 6 – Setup VDI in Windows Server 2012R2

    VDI bridges the world of the client and the server, and that can mean that in a world where IT professionals are either experts in one or the other ( Simon and I being  a case in point), most of us have a partial knowledge of how VDI works. There are other reasons why you might be forgiven that...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops 5 - Access Rights in PowerShell

    In my last post I had a section in my script to create access right to a share I had just created and as promised I wanted to dissect that a bit more. To recap what I wanted to do was to create a share with sufficient privileges to use that share for storing VMs as part of my VDI demo. In order to understand...
  • Blog Post: Bye bye Atlanta, Hello System Center Advisor

    One of the many announcements to come out of the recent Microsoft Management Summit was System Center Advisor . Essentially this is Operations Manager (SCOM) in the cloud, so a sort of InTune for servers.  I had a look at the precursor to this, Project Atlanta back in January, but at the time it...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops – part 1 Introduction

    For some people building demo setups is a part of the job,  for example Trainers pre-sales Technical roles and evangelists like me.  Everything shifts as these evolve for example a beta product comes out and we need to show new concepts that the technology introduces, for example software defined...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops 2–The Lee-Robinson Script

    In my last post I mentioned how Marcus Robinson & had adapted PowerShell scripts by Thomas Lee to build a set of VMs to run a course in a reliable and repeatable way.  With Marcus’s permission I have put that Setup Script on SkyDrive, however he has a proper day job running his gold partnership...
  • Blog Post: On the Fourth Day Of Christmas an IT Pro sent to me...

    Four Jolly Nerds (Nerd no. 4 is drawing the cartoon) PowerShell is going to change the way servers are managed when it ships with Windows Serve 2008.  There is already a thriving PowerShell user group in the UK who are itching to play with PowerShell when this is is available in SQL Server 2008...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops part 8 –Tidying up

    If you have been to one of our IT camps you’ll know it’s all live and unstructured which  can mean things can go wrong, typically because we didn’t tidy up properly after the previous event. The problems of repeatedly creating VMs are that: The VM still exists in Hyper-V The files making up the...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops Part 10–Scale Out File Servers

    In my last post I showed how to build a simple cluster out of two VMs and a shared disk.  The VMs are nodes in this cluster.. and the shared “quorum” disk is used to mediate which node owns the cluster when a connection is lost between them.. However this cluster is not actually doing anything;...
  • Blog Post: TechNet Launch Road Shows

    The next round of road shows are going to focus on Windows Server 2008 and Vista sp1 so no SQL Server 2008 this time.  But no peace for the wicked like, many dba's, when not doing my day job I have to get my head around all of the other stuff that sits around the database, such as SharePoint, the...
  • Blog Post: Server 4024 part 2 - Management

    In the second post in this series I wanted to look at how changes to the way you manage things in Windows Server 2012 (WS 2012) affects your management of SQL Server 2012 (SQL 2012). Multi Server Management Traditionally to manage the OS we used to remote desktop onto every server we managed and applied...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops part 3 – Storage in Windows Server 2012R2

    In this post I want to show what I plan to do with storage in Windows Server 2012R2 at the various events I get asked to present at.  If you have been to any of our IT Camps you will have seen Simon and I show off deduplication and storage spaces in Windows Server and now I want to add tiered storage...