October, 2008

  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 3.2 Release for Beta!

    Many of our customers do not know what computers are in their IT environment or what applications have been deployed.  The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 3.2 Beta makes it easier for customers and partners to quickly identify what servers, workstations, and network devices are in their IT environment. MAP also makes specific and actionable IT proposals and reports to help customers get the most value out of Microsoft products and infrastructure. Over 500,000 Microsoft customers and partners have already used the MAP Toolkit and its prior versions including one of our Luxembourg customers Banque de Luxembourg.

    The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit is a scalable and agent-less assessment platform designed to make it easier for our customers to adopt the latest Microsoft technologies. In this latest version, MAP has expanded its assessment capabilities to include SQL Server 2008, Security Assessment Proposal, Forefront/NAP migration, Microsoft Online Services, as well as providing a Power Savings assessment to help your customers “go green.”

    In summary, MAP 3.2 assessment areas now include:

    • SQL Server 2008 Migration Proposals and Reports (NEW!) 
    • Security Assessment Proposal (NEW!) 
    • Forefront/NAP Readiness Proposals (NEW!) 
    • Microsoft Online Services Migration Surveys, Proposals, and Reports (NEW!) 
    • Power Savings Proposals (NEW!) 
    • Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Migration Proposals and Reports (NEW!) 
    • Server Migration Reports and Proposals (Windows Server 2008 and “virtualized guests by hosts” reporting) (NEW!) 
    • Server Consolidation Reports and Proposals (Virtual Server 2005 R2 and Hyper-V)
    • Desktop Security Assessment to determine if desktops have anti-virus and anti-malware programs installed and up-to-date, or if the Windows Firewall is turned on
    • Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 Hardware Assessment Reports and Proposal

    Download Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 3.2 BETA (Live ID login and registration required

    Read MAP Toolkit Case Study: See how Banque de Luxembourg benefitted from using the MAP Toolkit

  • Cloud Computing: Microsoft Azure

    Yesterday at PDC we announced Microsoft Azure which is our Cloud-based service foundation. Azure Services Platform combines the growing power of the Web-based “cloud” and today’s computers and devices with a suite of services designed to help developers deliver compelling new experiences across the PC, Web and mobile phone or PDA.  The new platform extends to developers the ability to rapidly develop and deploy new applications into the cloud, without having to worry about how they will scale up. It gives businesses a new set of choices for how they deploy IT. And consumers benefit through new abilities to see their growing array of digital devices linked together in new and exciting ways.

    Key components of the Azure Services Platform include the following:

    • Windows Azure for service hosting and management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking
    • Microsoft SQL Services for a wide range of database services and reporting
    • Microsoft .NET Services which are service-based implementations of familiar .NET Framework concepts such as workflow and access control
    • Live Services for a consistent way for users to store, share and synchronize documents, photos, files and information across their PCs, phones, PC applications and Web sites
    • Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for business content, collaboration and rapid solution development in the cloud

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    Read more about our Software + Services platform:

  • New Infrastructure Planning and Design guides

    I had this in my mailbox for a while now but because of the high workload I had lately I didn’t manage to blog about it. Now that I do have a bit of spare time I wanted to inform you about a few new Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) guides.

    Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007

    The Infrastructure Planning and Design team has been working on a new guide - Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 with R2. Get the beta guide here.

    This guide targets key information to bring your infrastructure up to date, thereby enhancing user experience and delivering business benefits. Find out how new features like Application Virtualization management support and support for Windows Server® 2008 clients will assist decision making in the planning of your Configuration Manager infrastructure. Follow detailed steps and graphics as you redesign your infrastructure, examining roles to be deployed and upgrade strategies to be used, along with designing sites and hierarchies.

    Use this guide to determine the scope of the services to be provided and choose to partially or completely redesign your infrastructure. Have confidence in knowing that the steps in each phase are described in detail and that the necessary tools are provided to manage the process.

    Infrastructure Planning and Design streamlines the planning of a Configuration Manager infrastructure by:

    • Defining the technical decision flow through the planning process.
    • Listing the decisions to be made and the commonly available options and considerations.
    • Relating the decisions and options to the business in terms of cost, complexity, and other characteristics.
      Framing decisions in terms of additional questions to the business to ensure a comprehensive alignment with the appropriate business landscape.

    Windows Server 2008 File Services & Print Services

    The Infrastructure Planning and Design series for Windows Server 2008 has been updated with File Services and Print Services guides. Download the entire IPD series or download an individual guide. Visit www.microsoft.com/ipd to learn more.
    These guides provide you with key information to bring your infrastructure up to date, saving you time and money. Strategically planning printer pool and file services can help you avoid problems before they begin, allowing you to serve your customers more reliably. Use these guides to determine the scope of the services and choose to partially or completely redesign your infrastructure. Each phase is thoroughly explained in easy to follow steps, helping you to efficiently navigate through the process of managing your infrastructure.

    Infrastructure Planning and Design streamlines the planning process by:

    • Defining the technical decision flow through the planning process.
    • Listing the decisions to be made and the commonly available options and considerations.
    • Relating the decisions and options to the business in terms of cost, complexity, and other characteristics.
    • Framing decisions in terms of additional questions to the business to ensure a comprehensive alignment with the appropriate business landscape.  

    Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) version 4.5

    Infrastructure Planning and Design guides have been updated with the introduction of Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) version 4.5. Download the entire IPD series or download the individual guide.

    This guide provides you with key information to bring your infrastructure up to date, saving you time and money. Find out how App-V’s HTTP streaming of virtual applications from an IIS server will impact your performance and scalability decisions. Using App-V 4.5 with its many new features to strategically plan your application virtualization infrastructure can help you avoid problems before they begin, allowing you to serve your customers more accurately and reliably.

    Use these guides to determine the scope of the services to be provided and choose to partially or completely redesign your infrastructure. Have confidence in knowing that the steps in each phase are described in detail and that the necessary tools are provided to manage the process.

    Infrastructure Planning and Design streamlines the planning process by:

    • Defining the technical decision flow through the planning process.
    • Listing the decisions to be made and the commonly available options and considerations.
    • Relating the decisions and options to the business in terms of cost, complexity, and other characteristics.
    • Framing decisions in terms of additional questions to the business to ensure a comprehensive alignment with the appropriate business landscape.

    Additional Infrastructure Planning and Design series guides are available as beta releases on the Connect Web site. They are open beta downloads. See below for instructions on how to access the beta guides.

    To join the Infrastructure Planning and Design Beta, follow these steps:

    1. Visit the https://connect.microsoft.com/InvitationUse.aspx?ProgramID=1587&InvitationID=IPDM-QX6H-7TTV&SiteID=14&wa=wsignin1.0 on the Microsoft Connect Web site.
    2. Sign in using a valid Windows Live ID to continue to the Invitations page.
    3. Scroll down to Infrastructure Planning and Design.
  • A Technical Overview of System Center Data Protection Manager

    A few weeks ago Karandeep Anand who is the Lead Program Manager for System Center Data Protection Manager visited our Belgian sub. We took the opportunity of his visit and organized an IT Pro event together with the Belgian System Center User Group. Because this was organized on a very short notice we only could welcome around 15 attendees but we did record the session and posted it online onto our Chopsticks platform.

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    Data Backup & Recovery for Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, Files & Hyper-V – A Technical Overview of System Center Data Protection Manager

    We will provide an overview of DPM 2007, and deep dive of how DPM protects Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Office SharePoint Server, and Microsoft Hyper-V/Virtual Server-using both near continuous protection to disk and long term archival to tape.
    DPM was one of topics covered during Virtualization road show and this is an excellent opportunity to follow up on the Backup capability for our Hyper-V offering.

    Speaker: Karandeep Anand - Lead Program Manager Microsoft  Corp

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=618#

  • Latest community Chopsticks video’s

    The Belgian community is pretty much alive and beside organizing quite a lot of events they also create chopsticks video’s. With this blogpost I wanted to share with you what community based video’s we have put online lately:

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    UAC and the need for two user accounts?

    In this session Tom will illustrate why the Microsoft best practice of having two user accounts (standard user and admin user) in a domain environment still stands even when you have a Vista client with UAC enabled.

    Speaker: Tom Decaluwé – http://www.it-talks.be
    Blog: http://trycatch.be/members/decaluwet

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=630

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    Fun with Regular Expressions for Office Communications Server - Part II

    Office Communications Server 2007 and its tools use Regular Expressions for phone number manipulations and rules.
    You will see how you can build your own Regular Expressions from scratch. This first part will show you how easy it is to make regular expressions to capture and replace phone numbers.

    Speaker: Johan Delimon – http://www.proexchange.be

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=611

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    5 cmdlets to get you drawn into the power of Exchange Management Shell

    In this chopsticks video, Ilse will show you 5 cmdlets that will allow you to administer and manage more effectively your Exchange 2007 environment. The following cmdlets will be covered in detail: Start-Transcript, Get-Mailbox, Get-MailboxStatistics, Move-TransportDatabase (PS Script), and Test-ServiceHealth.

    Speaker: Ilse Van Crieking – http://www.proexchange.be

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=615

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    How to restore one item using DPM2007

    In this video, llse will show you how you can use DPM 2007 to restore one item in a mailbox, by using the Recovery Storage Group in Exchange 2007.

    Speaker: Ilse Van Criekinge – http://www.proexchange.be

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=631#

  • Out of band security update: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067

    This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in the Server service. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an affected system received a specially crafted RPC request. On Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 systems, an attacker could exploit this vulnerability without authentication to run arbitrary code. It is possible that this vulnerability could be used in the crafting of a wormable exploit. Firewall best practices and standard default firewall configurations can help protect network resources from attacks that originate outside the enterprise perimeter.

    This security update is rated Critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and rated Important for all supported editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

    The security update addresses the vulnerability by correcting the way that the Server service handles RPC requests. For more information about the vulnerability, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) subsection for the specific vulnerability entry under the next section, Vulnerability Information.

     

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/default.aspx

    I recommend you to apply the patch ASAP.

    Webcast on Security Bulletin

    Join us for a brief overview of the technical details of the security bulletin. The intent of this webcast is to address your concerns. Therefore, most of the webcast is devoted to attendees asking questions about the bulletin and getting answers from our security experts.

    Register: TechNet Webcast: Information Regarding an Out-of-Band Security Bulletin Release (Level 200).

  • November Edition of TechNet Magazine Online

    imageSystem Center: Monitoring Windows Server 2008 with OpsMgr 2007

    As you deploy Windows Server 2008 into your environment, you’ll need a way to manage and monitor its health, performance, and availability. Fortunately, you can use the existing System Center tools you are already familiar with. See how you can use OpsMgr 2007 to manage your Windows Server 2008 assets.

    System Center: Using Configuration Manager with Windows Server 2008

    The release of System Center Configuration Manager SP1 added full support for managing Windows Server 2008 systems, including such new features as server core. Get a quick overview of deploying the ConfigMgr agent and using ConfigMgr to manage Windows Server 2008 systems throughout your organization.

    System Center: Granular Targeting in Operations Manager 2007

    For every monitoring object you build, you must also decide what target to use. Choosing the correct target is critical, but knowing how to go about choosing the correct target is not always clear. Steve Rachui explores various options for correct targeting in OpsMgr and provides guidance for choosing the appropriate method for each scenario.

    Windows Server 2008: Presentation Virtualization with Enhanced Terminal Services

    Virtualization isn’t limited to virtual machines and the virtualization of operating systems. Terminal Services has been abstracting the presentation layer of remotely run applications and desktops for years. Take a close look at key improvements to Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008 and get some tips for using these new features.

    Windows Server 2008: Tracking Changes in Your Enterprise Database

    SQL Server 2008 introduces two new features that allow you to track changes more easily and efficiently. Paul Randal examines the new Change Tracking and Change Data Capture features and discusses the implications these features will have for database administrators.

     

  • Data Backup & Recovery for Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, Files & Hyper-V – A Technical Overview of System Center Data Protection Manager

    The Belgian System Center User Group organizes their second event and will have Karandeep Anand as a speaker. Karandeep is a Senior Program Manager on the System Center Data Protection Manager team and is very knowledgeable about this product.

    They took the opportunity to host a session at the Microsoft offices on Tuesday Oct 14th from 18:00 until 20:00.

    Come join us for a deep dive on System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007. In this session, we will provide an overview of DPM 2007, and deep dive of how DPM protects Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Office SharePoint Server, and Microsoft Hyper-V/Virtual Server-using both near continuous protection to disk and long term archival to tape.

    After the session you will have the opportunity to ask questions about DPM.

    DPM was one of topics covered during this week’s Virtualization road show and this is an excellent opportunity to follow up on the Backup capability for our Hyper-V offering.

     

    Location: Microsoft Belgium – Da Vincilaan 3 – 1935 Zaventem

    Sessions starts at 18:00 Sharp, doors open at 17:30

    You can register by sending a mail to medewerkers@scug.be

     

    Hope to see you there!

  • TechEd IT Professional EMEA: Security Track Top 5

    I continue my series of Top 5 sessions at TechEd IT Professional with the Security track who is owned by Michael Anderberg and Michael Kalbe

    Do These Ten Things Now or Else Get 0wn3d!

    New to information security? Or been around so long that you feel your skills need lubricating? Well, then don't just sit around the lunch table with strangers and make small talk. Instead, come to Steve Riley's lunch session covering the ten most important things you need to do right now to get and stay secure. Perhaps it'll seem like common sense, but you'd be amazed at how people often overlook the basics. You can address most of today's security risks by following a few simple steps, none of which involve following massive checklists, performing strange incantations or purchasing curious products from unknown companies. So bring your appetite for excellent security guidance and enjoy (re)learning what you need to know to protect your data.

    Steve Riley

    Windows Security Boundaries

    In this session, learn what constitutes a security boundary; get a tour through core Windows technologies, including user sessions, Code Integrity, PatchGuard, Service Security Hardening, and User Account Control, to learn where Windows currently defines such boundaries; and gain insight into why application compatibility and user experience make defining boundaries much more difficult than it might seem.

    Mark Russinovich

    Anatomy of a Hack 2008

    Lately there has been an increase in attackers attempting to monetize user's naivety. One of the methods currently in vogue is the use of fake anti-malware software, for which the user is expected to pay. This method permits the attackers to not only install malicious software on an unsuspecting user's computer, the victim also pays the attackers for the privilege. In this presentation, Jesper Johansson will demonstrate one such attack and show how to tell that it is fake.

    Jesper Johansson

    Windows Logins Revealed

    Every day we log into our Windows systems. But what really happens when we do? How DO our workstations and our domain controllers exchange logon information without revealing our passwords? Security hardening guides talk about how scary old-style LM, NTLM and NTLMv2 logons are, but why EXACTLY do they say that - particularly when it's practically impossible to keep all of the old-style logins from happening even in the most modern network? How DOES AD's favorite logon protocol, Kerberos, work? How is it more secure than the old guys and where should you look more closely at securing it? Everyone wants to harden their systems and Windows supplies a wealth of really neat group policy and Registry settings but many people still haven't taken those simple hardening steps because, firstly, they don't understand them entirely and secondly, they fear compatibility problems. Join expert Windows explainer and security geek Mark Minasi in an in-depth look at how Windows logins work, how they can not work (and how you can fix them) as well as how to better secure them. After seeing this talk, you will have NO excuses for not tweaking those group policy security settings!

    Mark Minasi

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  • Windows Server 2008 Core Config

    If you have been working with W2008 Server Core you know you need to use quite some command line tools to configure your server. If you don’t want to use those command line tools you can now download a tool called coreconfig from the codeplex site. This tool will provide you with a bunch of scripts you can use to configure your server. Basically you are going to start your coreconfig tool with the setup script which will open a menu based window and from there on you can select which type of configuration you want to do.

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    Download: http://www.codeplex.com/CoreConfig

     

  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 available as a download Today!

    Yet another milestone reached with the release of Hyper-V server.

    Download here: English  | Click to view licensing

    Licensing Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 is a stand-alone product that will be available via the Microsoft Download Center free of charge.
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 does not require CALs for the product itself.
    • CALs will be required for all Windows Server virtualized operating systems which are hosted on Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008.
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 will be available in the following languages:
      • English (EN-US)
      • German (DE-DE)
      • Japanese (JA-JP)
      • French (FR-FR)
      • Spanish (ES-ES)
      • Chinese Hong-Kong (ZH-HK)
      • Chinese Simplified (ZH-CN)
      • Korean (KO-KR)
      • Portuguese (Brazil) (PT-BR)
      • Chinese Traditional (ZH-TW)
      • Italian (IT-IT)
      • Russian (RU-RU)