Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Does my SAN support ODX? (So Many Questions. So Little Time. Part 46)

    Dan asked this at a TechNet Event IT Camp a few months ago…

    Dan's Questions

    For those of you not familiar with it, ODX stands for Offloaded Data Transfer (or, I suppose, “X-fer”).  It is a capability that some storage vendor solutions have to offload the transfer of data.

    “Um.. duh!”

    Sorry.  The idea with ODX is that, if I’m, say, some server or service that wants to move data from point A to point B, and both of those points are managed by the SAN, then I can tell the ODX capable SAN “Move it”.  And it does…without any further interaction from me.

    “Isn’t that basically what a file move does anyway?”

    Old School StorageNot necessarily.  Usually the Operating System manages the move.  Read from A.  Write to B.  Read from A.  Write to B.  Read from A…

    “I get it.”

    Good.  But the benefit of ODX is that it offloads the processing so that the operating system doesn’t have to deal with it.  And it usually happens MUCH MUCH faster than it would otherwise if the OS had to manage it.

    Windows Server 2012, and virtual machines running under the new version of Hyper-V, can and will take advantage of storage that has this capability.  End result: Great performance – Especially for operations such as doing a live storage migration (that’s “storage vMotion” for you VMware-heads out there), for which performance is an important factor.

    To answer your first question, Dan… I know that many of the big players are providing support for ODX, or that they will be very soon.  There isn’t any one place I can currently point you to show you a list of vendors, but I know that many of the usual big storage names are doing it.  Check with your vendor of choice. 

    And the answer to your second question about Fibre Channel is – yes.  Fibre Channel (and Fibre Channel over Ethernet)  is also a supported Transport/Controller protocol. 

  • Full of I.T. Shark Week: When will Microsoft admit defeat? (So many questions. So little time. Part 45)

    This question came from a land-lubber coward** (meaning: didn’t give his/her name) at a TechNet Event IT Camp in Minneapolis…

    (**Just joking, friend.  I thanks for coming to the event!)

    AdmitDefeat

    SurfaceI absolutely love this question.  There is so much genuine passion in this topic, and believe me, I have a strong opinion - just like most devotees of mobile devices.  (And our numbers are growing every day.)

    My short answer: NEVER!

    My longer answer:  I guess the question needs to be answered in a certain context.  That is to say: What is the mobile arena?

    I am assuming that the writer of this question means smartphones; though I suppose he/she may mean tablets as well… or anything really that is “mobile” - having the form-factor that is easily carried around.

    Is Microsoft going to give up in this area?  Absolutely not.  Microsoft is committed to providing an experience that users of all kinds (business, consumer, young, old, earthlings and aliens, geeks and… whatever the rest of you call yourselves) will use and love.  To do that means having software and hardware that people want to use and treasure, and that works just the way they want it to.

    “But don’t you think Microsoft is late to the game?  Hasn’t Apple already locked-up the tablet space and haven’t Android phones won?”

    Nope.  It’s never too late.  A common User Interface (UI), a solid, integrated experience between devices, and a cloud platform that connects them all… that’s going to help Microsoft win in the end.

    Disclaimer: I am a stockholder, and work for Microsoft.

    “No kidding.”

    With regard to the next version of Windows Phone, I wish I had more to tell you.  I know that new phones with Windows Phone 8 are coming soon.  I believe there are going to be some really great surprises there.  And I’m loving using my old (?!) HTC HD7 so much that I don’t mind waiting to see what’s next before changing phones. 

    Have you tried one yet?  I highly recommend that the next time you’re near or in an AT&T store in the U.S. or Microsoft Store that you try out some of these phones. 

    And while we’re on the subject of shark bait, check out the “Smoked by Windows Phone” videos.  It’s all about getting stuff done.  Fast.

    ---

    What do you think?  Is Microsoft out of the race?  Are you excited for the future?  Do you love your Windows Phone as much as I do?  (And if not, have you tried one yet?)  Do you think the Microsoft Surface is going to be really great, or should we just get back in the boat?  Let’s discuss it in the comments.

  • Windows Server 2012 Essentials Release Candidate is available for download

    Download the RC of Server 2012 EssentialsOverview

    Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials (formerly Windows Small Business Server Essentials) is a flexible, affordable, and easy-to-use server solution designed and priced for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices that helps them reduce costs and be more productive.  Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials is an ideal first server, and it can also be used as the primary server in a multi-server environment for small businesses.


    Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials enables small businesses to protect, centralize, organize and access their applications and information from almost anywhere using virtually any device.  Additionally, Essentials has the ability to grow as your business grows, providing an elastic solution that allows you to purchase and then perform an in-place conversion to Windows Server 2012 Standard if your business needs change over time.

    “Hey Kevin – did you just copy/paste that text from the download page?”

    Yes, I did.   Work smarter, not harder.  Smile

    There are also some instructions and important links – again from that page…

    Instructions

    Follow the instructions in the Technical Library and use the following product key: M4YNK-GV7CR-GPDCP-4KKJX-2YPP2.
    For more information, see the links below:

  • Full of I.T. Shark Week!: Chuck Norris and PowerShell Scripting

    Okay.. here's the REAL Shark Week

    I received this question at a TechNet Event IT Camp in Minneapolis a few months ago…

    Mike Chuck Norris

    Can Chuck Norris write PowerShell scripts?  Naturally.  And only he can run his PowerShell scripts under MS-DOS 6.1.

    Shark!It’s a little know fact that, after codename “Monad”, rather than “PowerShell”, the name was originally going to be “NorrisShell”.

    There is a hidden “Set-ExecutionPolicy” cmdlet parameter: –executionPolicy RoundhouseKick

    His scripts can execute and complete an infinite loop in 1.4 seconds.

    The Microsoft TechNet Script Center for IT Pros web site is actually hosted on Chuck Norris’s Windows Phone

    Hi YA!

    ---

    By the way – you can start working with and learning PowerShell 3.0 in Windows Server 2012 and/or Windows 8 today!

    ---

    Got more Chuck Norris PowerShell facts to add?  Share them with all of us in the comments!

  • I want to learn PowerShell. Where are the sample scripts?

    “Kevin, I just want to start using it with some already-built examples.  That’s how I learn best.”

    Try it out!You’re in luck!  The PowerShell Script Explorer Release Candidate was just, um.. released.  Here’s the description from the download page:

    Microsoft® Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell® (Release Candidate) helps scripters find Windows PowerShell scripts, snippets, modules, and how-to guidance in online repositories such as the TechNet Script Center Repository, PoshCode, local or network file systems and Bing Search Repository. Microsoft® Script Explorer enables:

    • Integrated community and Microsoft resources to help you unlock the power of Windows PowerShell.
    • Seamless searching across online repositories to locate script samples relevant to you.
    • Establishing and searching local, network, and corporate script repository is easy.

    Download it HERE.  And share what you think of it in the comments.

  • So do I have to throw out all of my logo’d shirts now?

    Today Microsoft is unveiling a new global brand.  The old

    Goodbye old friend.. you've served us well.

    is history.  Sure, you’ll see it around for quite awhile (like on my formerly-official presenter shirts), but going forward, this is the new face of Microsoft:

    A new logo for a new period in Microsoft's History

    “Seriously?  You’re changing the logo after all these years?”

    Yessiree.  And I agree that it’s time for the change.  Microsoft is entering a huge new time in its history.  The new wave of releases and product areas (Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows Azure, XBOX, Microsoft Surface, etc.) really demands a shift in our identity; and the public face of the company in the form of a logo is a big part of that.

    Check out this slick video showing off today’s new branding of our product lines..

    For full details, check out THIS POST on “The Official Microsoft Blog”.

    Now I gotta ask the boss if I can expense some new shirts…

    ---

    I like it, but what do you think?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • And here’s a puzzler…

    Why is the “English” version of the Windows 8 download on TechNet is actually a little larger than the “English-United Kingdom” download?

    We have a bigger...download.

     

    Is it because we Americans use longer words, or, like, inject other um stuff into like sentences and stuff?  Do we require additional help documentation?  Or are we denying some application or functionality to our brothers and sisters “across the pond”?

    And why aren’t we giving Australia it’s own version, “mate”?

    Hmmm....

    Discuss amongst yourselves.

  • Evaluate Windows 8 Enterprise–90 Days for FREE

    Get the 90-day free evaluation of Windows 8 Enterprise

    If you’re not already a TechNet or MSDN Subscriber, you have another option for trying out Windows 8.  Microsoft has made  90-day free evaluation downloads available.

    Check out the Windows 8 Evaluation FAQ HERE, and then GO HERE to get the bits!

  • Full of I.T. Shark Week!: Gotta keep moving!

    Okay.. here's the REAL Shark Week

    There’s a theory that a Shark needs to keep moving, or else it will die.

    “Is that really true?”

    Do I look like Jacques Cousteau?  I don’t know.  You look it up.  But I think the same can be said for virtual machines.

    “They’ll die?”

    Stop interrupting me.  In your datacenter, no machine in production should ever be unavailable.  Period.  It’s there for a reason, whether or not it is running on physical hardware or as a virtual machine.  Just because it’s virtual doesn’t make it any less important.  Downtime (death) is not an option. 

    But the realities of hardware and operating systems are still such that sometimes you need to update/upgrade/shift/repurpose/etc.  A benefit of virtualization is that we can adjust and move virtualized servers and their storage to different hardware when these transitions (planned or not) are taking place.  So.. VMs move.  And they move.  And they must never die.

    Both Microsoft and VMware have capabilities that allow you to move running virtual machines and their storage from one place to another with no downtime.  VMware calls it vMotion.  In Hyper-V it’s called Live Migration

    “So, what makes them different, then?”

    I’m glad you asked.  Just as Microsoft doesn’t make you pay extra for virtualization, we also include the live migration of virtual machines and storage for no additional cost.  In the new version of Hyper-V, we no longer limit you in how many simultaneous migrations you can perform at a time.  And while clustering is still important for the sake of automating high-availability, we even allow you to perform something called a “Shared Nothing Live Migration”, where, with absolutely zero downtime, you can move a virtual machine between two otherwise unrelated physical hosts, and where the machine is just running on local storage.  In my datacenter (aka spare bedroom that is my office) I demonstrate moving a running virtual machine from the C: drive of one old laptop to another’s C: drive, all while remote-desktop connected to the running virtual machine.  It’s magical. 

    Here’s a chart** comparing the free vSphere Hypervisor, vSphere (the purchased product), and Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012.

    image

    1. Within the technical capabilities of the networking hardware
    2. Live Migration (vMotion) is unavailable in the free vSphere Hypervisor – vSphere 5.0 required
    3. Live Storage Migration (Storage vMotion) is unavailable in the free vSphere Hypervisor
    4. Live Migration (vMotion) is available in Essentials Plus & higher editions of vSphere 5.0
    5. Live Storage Migration (Storage vMotion) is available in Enterprise & Enterprise Plus editions of vSphere 5.0
    6. VXLAN is a feature of the Cisco Nexus 1000V 1.5, available at additional cost to VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus

    And yes, the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server can do everything that Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 can do.

    Want more details?

    MM900040895[1]

    ---

    **I realize that things change.  VMware will likely soon improve their capabilities to better compete with Microsoft’s Hyper-V.  As they should.  These numbers come from a good talk given by Matt McSpirit at TechEd North America 2012.  I highly recommend viewing the recording of his session HERE.

    ---

    Have you tried a “shared nothing” migration yet?  Let me know if you have any questions on getting it configured.  And if you have any opinions at all on the topic, we can discuss it in the comments. 

  • TechNet IT “Mini-Camp” Event–August 30, 2012 in Minneapolis (Edina), Minnesota

    Register HERE

    Yes indeed!  It’s short notice, but I’d love to see about 30+ IT Pros from the area on Thursday, August 30th.  We’ll be holding an IT “Mini-Camp”, where we’ll discuss and give you some hands-on time with Windows Server 2012 and the new version of Hyper-V virtualization.

    Here is the text from the registration page, describing what we’re doing:

    Microsoft Edina Office
    3601 W 76th St
    Suite 600
    Minneapolis Minnesota 55435
    United States

    Meal: Yes

    Language(s): English.

    Product(s): Microsoft System Center 2012 and Windows Server 2012.

    Audience(s): IT Decision Maker, IT Generalist, IT Implementer and IT Manager.

    What’s New in Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V 3.0
    Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V 3.0 have been acclaimed by industry pundits as the most ambitious release of Windows Server since Windows 2000!   Windows Server 2012 was released to manufacturing in early August, and will be generally available in September.  Attend this event to learn what’s new in Windows Server 2012 in Scalability, Virtualization, Storage, Networking and Manageability and get a jump start in preparing for how best to leverage Windows Server 2012 in your environment.

    As an optional, added bonus: If you’d like to install and work with Windows Server 2012 on your own PC (in a boot-to-VHD or virtualized installation), we’ll also be helping those who wish to get it installed and to work through some exercises along with the instructor.  To do this, you will need to bring a minimum of one computer running Windows Vista or later with the following hardware configuration:

    • x64 compatible processor with Intel-VT or AMD-V technology
    • 4 GB RAM
    • 60 GB of free disk space on a local drive (Drive C:, or some other internal drive)
    • An available USB port
    • No drive encryption (Bitlocker or 3rd party)

    If you wish to download the release candidate evaluation of Windows Server 2012 prior to attending the event, feel free to download it from here: http://aka.ms/Server2012.

    ---

    NOTE: The event is scheduled to go from 8:30am to 4:30pm, but the schedule for the afternoon is flexible and depends upon how many people want to do the installation and hands-on work. 

    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

    ..and I’ll see you there!

  • Breaking News: Today is the day! Windows 8 is Released to Manufacturing!

    fireworks

    Wow.. I don’t think I need to tell you that this is a very exciting day for PC users and, really, for a world of people who depend upon computers to improve their lives; both work and personal. 

    And selfishly, it’s especially exciting for me, as I happen to be here in Redmond, and on campus, taking advantage of some Private Cloud training.  If there’s any kind of a celebration here that’s open to all employees, I hope to attend. 

    “Excellent!  When can I get it?”

    Today it’s being delivered to OEMs so that they can start putting it on their new hardware.  The GA (General Availability) happens on October 26, 2012, which is when you’ll be able to buy it or buy hardware that has it.

    Businesses and subscribers (TechNet, MSDN, Partners, etc.) will be able to download it very soon.  I’ll provide the TechNet link when I know more.

    In the meantime, here are some resources:

    CELEBRATE!!!

  • It’s “Shark Week” on Full of I.T.!

    Okay.. here's the REAL Shark Week

    Yes indeed!  It’s SHARK WEEK on FULL OF I.T.!   This is the week of the year that we get aggressive here on the blog!  We stir up the waters and bait the hooks with tasty I.T. goodness!  We rip our competitors to shreds!  We…

    “Hey Kevin… Aren’t you just stealing this idea from the Discovery Channel?”

    Huh?  They have a Shark Week, too?  No.. they probably stole it from me. 

    “25 years ago?”

    And besides, this is completely different.  I don’t have a big car company sponsor like they do.

    Anyway, this week I’m going to be commenting on and linking to resources that compare and contrast Microsoft’s solutions to our nearest competitors, as well as adding some of my own commentary.  (Carefully worded, of course.  I don’t want to be fired.)  And I invite you to join the discussion if you completely disagree with me; or if you just want to add a “yeah!”… either way is perfectly fine with me.

    “So, what’s the topic today?”

    I have a lot to say with regard to VMware in comparison to Hyper-V in the soon-to-be-launched Windows Server 2012.   And I know two things for sure about this topic:

    1. If you’re doing virtualization today, you’re probably using VMware, and
    2. You’re likely either already trying or will soon be trying Hyper-V as an alternative.

    So today I thought I’d throw a few quick stats into the water, to whet your appetite and get you thinking about how Hyper-V compares** to VMware…

    Capacity Comparisons

    Notice that we’ve included a comparison with both the free vSphere Hypervisor as well as the not-so-free top-of-their-line vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus version.

    “But why didn’t you include the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server in this chart?”

    I did.  Everything you see here in terms of capability, you get with both the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server as well as Hyper-V that is included in Window Server 2012.  There is no additional cost associated with capacities that will allow you to run the biggest, baddest, great-whitest workloads you can imagine.

    “Great-Whitest?”

    Okay.. it was a stretch.

    Want more details?

     

    Happy Cartoony Shark

    ---

    **I realize that things change.  VMware will likely soon improve their capabilities to better compete with Microsoft’s Hyper-V.  As they should.  These numbers come from a good talk given by Matt McSpirit at TechEd North America 2012.  I highly recommend viewing the recording of his session HERE.

    ---

     

    What do you think?  What else would you like me to compare?  Point me to the shark-infested waters, and let's see if I can tread water!

  • Full of I.T. Shark Week!: Why Office 365 and not Google Apps?

    Okay.. here's the REAL Shark Week

    “It’s been said that the secret to a good marriage is to understand that ‘it must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.’  Microsoft has 20 years of expertise in the enterprise arena, and the release of Office 365 a year ago only extends that commitment. Our commitment to our customers is both total and permanent. What’s more, it is equal, meaning that we’re always listening and will continue to evolve to meet our customers’ needs and desires.”

    “By contrast, it’s hard to determine whether Google’s commitment to its enterprise customers is either total or permanent. Google Apps for Business (GAFB) grew out of a consumer offering and does not generate a significant portion of Google’s overall income. Not surprisingly, Google once again showed a lack of innovation and investment in Google Apps for Business at its recent Google I/O conference.”

    That quote is from an excellent article posted recently on the “Why Microsoft?” blog, summarizing and celebrating the successes of the first year of Office 365.  I highly recommend you read the full article, and the 7 “successes” during the year that was.  If you’re in the process of considering the productivity suite for your business, and you are deciding between Google and Office, you really need to understand who has the most experience in the enterprise, and who really has the full solution in place.  Not doing so would be like jumping into shark infested waters with a steak strapped to your chest.**

    ---

    **Okay.. perhaps that’s a bit dark.  But you get my point.  Smile

  • BREAKING NEWS: While I was away, the Windows 8 bits hit TechNet and MSDN!

    Gee.. you go out to the gym for a couple of hours and come back and lo-and-behold the Windows 8 released (RTM) bits become available for download for TechNet and MSDN subscribers!  So if you subscribe, go to the site and get ‘em while they’re hot!

    “What about other folks?  When can I buy it?”

    If you’re a Microsoft Software Assurance customer, you’ll be able to download the bits on August 16, 2012 (yes.. tomorrow).  If you’re a Volume License customer without Software Assurance, you’ll be able to purchase Windows 8 through your Microsoft Volume License Resellers on September 1st, 2012.

    “And what about the rest of us?”

    October 26th.  That’s when it will hit store shelves, and also become available on new and exciting hardware such as the Microsoft Surface.

    Surface

     

    ---

    BONUS for you developers: Visual Studio 2012 is also now available for MSDN download.

  • Full of I.T. Shark Week!: Who has the biggest disk?

    Okay.. here's the REAL Shark Week

    In this final day of Shark Week! on Full of I.T., we will do a quick comparison of storage capabilities between Hyper-V and VMware’s vSphere 5.0. 

    Hyper-V 3.0 in Windows Server 2012 and in the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 have some new capabilities and new capacities in the storage arena.

    “’Arena’?  Shouldn’t that be ‘Shark Tank’?”

    Ride the shark!!Ah yes, right.  In the shark tank.  Capabilities such as support for direct connections to Fibre Channel storage for virtual machines, like 4KB disk support, and natively supporting Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX), are now just included for no additional cost with Hyper-V

    And how big of a disk do you think you need?

    “Pretty big.. and getting bigger all the time.”

    And that’s the key point, right?  2 terabytes of disk-drive space for a single virtual machine is probably enough for now – but why stop there?  And if I decide to use a virtual disk to hold data for a very large database, what if I need more than that?  So now the new .VHDX format disks, among other improvements, now support growing up to 64TB in size.

    TRY THIS AT HOME: On your Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 test machine, open up Storage Manager, and create a new disk.  Create it as dynamically expanding, and create it as a 64TB (or 65,535 MB) size disk.

    “Oh wow!  It works!  I actually have 64TB of space!”

    Not so fast!… remember, that’s a dynamically expanding (“thin provisioned”) disk.  It will only expand as far onto your physical disk as the space you actually have. 

    So to summarize, here’s a handy chart comparing** VMware’’s free vSphere Hypervisor, vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus, and Hyper-V 2012.

    My disk is bigger!

    1. The maximum size of a physical disk attached to a virtual machine is determined by the guest operating system and the chosen file system within the guest
    2. vStorage API for Multipathing (VAMP) is only available in Enterprise & Enterprise Plus editions of vSphere 5.0
    3. vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI) is only available in Enterprise & Enterprise Plus editions of vSphere 5.0
    4. VMware documentation doesn’t mention whether or not their platform support 4K Advanced Format Drives.

    Want more details?

    ---

    **I realize that things change.  VMware will likely soon improve their capabilities to better compete with Microsoft’s Hyper-V.  As they should.  These numbers come from an excellent talk given by Matt McSpirit at TechEd North America 2012.  I highly recommend viewing the recording of his session HERE.

  • More Breaking News: Windows Server 2012 is ALSO Released to Manufacturing!

    Yeah!!!I actually thought we were going to wait a day and not steal any of the thunder around the Windows 8 RTM, but today Microsoft also announces the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Server 2012.

    Here is the announcement on the Windows Server Blog.

    “Are we going to have to wait ‘til October 24 for Server 2012 to be generally available, too?”

    No!  We’re actually making it available on September 4, 2012!  Check out THIS PAGE to save the date for the launch.

     

     

    People happy about Server 2012's release!