Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog
Canadian IT Pro Advisor and Blogger Rick Claus has written a write-up (?!) on some resources available for helping with the Novell-Netware-to-Microsoft-Active-Directory migration process.
You’ll find his article here.
Yep. You could say that when it comes to Information Technology, Microsoft is full of IT.
A question I get asked a lot – and in fact one that I always wondered when I was managing IT at a software company, was, “How does Microsoft do their own e-mail/security/backup-restore/software distribution/blah/blah/blah?”
Here’s a webcast series that will help answer that question (for you AND for me.)
The description from the series’ landing page follows:
The latest internal experiences of Microsoft are at your service in the ongoing How Microsoft Does IT series of webcasts. Presented by top authorities from the Microsoft IT organization,these topical presentations illustrate how Microsoft deploys and manages its own worldwide enterprise environment.
You can register to watch live presentations using Microsoft Office Live Meeting or search the archives for previous presentations below. You can also view related whitepapers, access case studies and listen to streaming audio presentations simply by clicking on the appropriate links on this page. We hope you find this insight beneficial and look forward to sharing more experiences with you.
Many of you who have been to my live events recently have seen this great video done by our Microsoft TechNet counterparts in the UK. I haven’t been able to share it with you until now – now that I’ve just learned that they’ve made it available for online viewing, anyway.
And remember: We Share Your Pain!
(Thanks to UK SQL Specialist and blogger Mat Stephen for sharing this.)
Yes indeed, SP2 for Exchange Server 2003 went live yesterday (Oct 19, 2005).
Here’s where you can get it, as well as find additional information.
The schedule of Microsoft Webcasts for November is ready to go.
I’ve posted the entire schedule, complete with breakdowns by topic or product/technology, as well as full descriptions, as an article HERE.
See you there!
Yep. I’m coming to you right now via text at several thousand feet up in the sky, on my way to Dallas, TX. There, in the Las Colinas office of Microsoft, building 1, we’re holding a week of team meetings and training.
Should be fun. I get to meet my new boss for the first time. Also my new boss’s boss’s boss. And my new boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. Seriously… I’m not making this up.
(I’d include links to them above if I knew what their blog addresses were – or if they have them.)
I’m also currently typing this message into BlogJet, installed on Windows Vista (build 5238). I wonder if people around me are seeing some cool stuff for the first time. (I’m being careful not to open anything TOO new around here. They’re all sleeping near me anyway. <heh>) Or perhaps they think I’m using a Mac.
I’m probably the least Mac-experienced person around. I used one once… but was frustrated trying to figure out how to get the stupid floppy disk out. For all I know that disk is still stuck in there. And so I don’t know what it is about the new AERO (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, Open) user interface that has people exclaim, “Oh… wow.. it looks more like a Mac now.” Just shut up.
So anyway.. I get into DFW at around 10:00AM CDT. I tried to get to town early enough to go golfing with some teammates, but they decided to do a 7AM tee time. <sigh> So I guess I’ll be heading for the hotel early. Hopefully they’ll have a room ready, and I can plug in and get some work done (the date of this posting should be an indication of what time I finally got connected).
PS – If you attended one of my TechNet Events in Chattanooga or Knoxville, keep watching this space. I haven’t forgotten your questions, and will have the answers here soon. Sorry for the delay!
Doesn’t this guy look happy? He’s found WSUS!
I had a couple of really good WSUS questions in email recently, and I wanted to share them with you here.
Dan P. writes:
“I am interested in chaining WSUS servers and have tried in a lab environment, but wasn't sure if correctly. Can you answer me this? Will the downstream WSUS server receive all downloads and metadata from the upstream WSUS, or only those updates approved by the primary WSUS? Can the downstream WSUS therefore only distribute or approve the already approved updates of say WSUS01, the update location.”
Well, I have found some documents that may help you (if you haven't seen them already):
This one is on "Choosing a Deployment Type":http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/library/WSUS/WSUSDeploymentGuideTC/ccf5da8c-62c3-4dfd-a5a4-b4da50f0b2ff.mspx
The way I see it, there are two issues: Setting up the Chain (which is simply a transport for ALL update metadata - not any information about the approval information) and the "Management Style".
Here's a document on the why's and how's of "Choosing a Management Style":http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/library/WSUS/WSUSDeploymentGuideTC/ccf5da8c-62c3-4dfd-a5a4-b4da50f0b2ff.mspx
So your choices are to create "Replica" WSUS Servers (Centralized Management), or "Autonomous" ones (Distributed Management). Autonomous servers still get the updates and update metadata from the upstream servers, but they do not get any approvals forced down to them. Replicas also receive the approval information.
As to the issue of when the updates are actually transported down the chain, you could use the "Deferred Download of Updates" option. In that case, only approved updates would then be downloaded and transported down the stream (in the Centralized Management Scenario).
Here is the WSUS Deployment Guide:http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=E99C9D13-63E0-41CE-A646-EB36F1D3E987&displaylang=en
And the Operations Guide:http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=E26BCDB4-EF0B-4399-8A71-9B3B00C4F4CD&displaylang=en
Hope you find this useful, Dan!
I was browsing the TechNet web site for solutions to a couple of great WSUS questions I received in e-mail, when a search result caught my eye:
“End to End Update Management – How Windows Vista Reduces the Pain of Update Management”
Here’s the paper’s “executive summary”:
“This white paper describes how the Microsoft Windows operating system Windows Vista improves the update management experience for both information technology (IT) professionals and end users. The Microsoft four-phase update cycle highlights the changes in the end-to-end update experience of IT professionals. The paper also addresses the changes to the end-user experience resulting from the new Microsoft Update (MU), Microsoft Windows Update Agent (WUA), the new version of Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), and the reduction in reboots required when updating the Windows Vista client.”
My take on the paper:
It lays out quite nicely the goals of improving the update experience, for end-users and IT Pros alike. Easy assessment and detection tools. Smaller updates. Quicker transfers. Fewer reboots. Overall – less disruption. The article is worth the read if only to understand that Microsoft is trying to make the process better, and has the tools for you to do it.
“Wow.. I can hardly wait to get my hands on this stuff, Kevin. Do I have to wait for Windows Vista to improve our Update Process?”
Emphatically – NO!
Okay… I have to say I’m a bit dissappointed at the way this article mixes how much better it will be when Windows Vista ships.. and “blah blah blah in the Windows Vista timeframe blah blah”, with the technologies and tools that are already available.
Many of the technologies and improvements that the article describes are available NOW! Microsoft Update is HERE! And WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) gives you the flexibility and power as the article describes, TODAY! Please don’t wait for Windows Vista. Read the article and investigate these great resources if you haven’t done so already.
“There’s got to be something new in there, though, right?”
Yes, there are a couple of great tidbits. For example – Windows Vista is a single binary (hardware and language independent), which means you have fewer images to patch, so less time patching and testing prior to rolling patches out. New technology supporting fewer reboots is hinted at. The Windows Update Agent (WUA) is going to be a standalone application, for a “more consistent and reliable end-user experience”. BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) is improved to resume downloads based on state that now carries over even after a reboot or disconnect, and Windows Vista will include a download manager that can help you manage current download jobs.
My favorite new feature is going to be WIM (Windows IMages), which is a disk image format that can be patched directly. Yep.. you heard me… you’ll be able to have images of installed Operating Systems that you can patch directly into… so your distributable images will be kept up-to-date without having to build a machine, patch it, and re-capture the image. That’s HUGE! (And it’s just a small taste of what WIM will be able to do.)
So… read the article with the understanding that a lot of what it talks about is already here, and that things are definitely going to get even better!
And the disclaimer at the end of the article applies to my posting as well:“Note: Features discussed on this site are subject to change. Some may not be included in the final product due to marketing, technical, or other reasons.”
Yep… today is the 2nd Tuesday of the month, which means that when they are available, new updates and security patches go live. And today there are a couple moderate, several important, and even a few CRITICAL updates now available to download, test, and install.
More information here.
There is also an updated Malicous Software Removal tool.
There are NO “high-priority, NON-security updates”.
Hmm… maybe I should clarify…
Bill Steele shared with our team a very interesting situation he ran across while installing Office 2003 on a rebuild of his Tablet PC.
Let’s all play “SPOT THE IRONY”!
Steve made some big announcements the other day about future product lines and services all around security – how Microsoft is going to take some of the security technologies recently purchased and developed (okay.. purchased) and roll them out in the coming months.
Here’s the Press Pass article all about it.
As promised to the attendees of my Exchange Server 2003 SP2 talk I gave at the HP Exchange Academy yesterday, here is the slide deck:
File Attachment: 20051005 Exchange SP2 Talk (cleaned).ppt (3842 KB)
Windows Server 2003 R2 Webcast Series – Extend Connectivity and Control in Your Environment
Did you know that there is a new version of Windows Server 2003 coming? Did you know there are new features coming in Windows Server 2003 that will help you extend your connectivity and control your management costs? Windows Server 2003 R2 is almost here. In this webcast series for IT professionals, Microsoft subject matter experts walk through the new R2 enhancements. For details and to register, visit the webcast series website.
The sessions include:
Introduction to Windows Server 2003 R2
Take a tour of the new Windows Server 2003 R2 software, covering the Windows Server release cycle, product roadmap, and business benefits of Windows Server 2003 R2. The discussion includes a look at the new Windows Server 2003 R2 scenarios: branch management, identity access and management, and storage management.
Windows Server 2003 R2 End-to-End (level 200)
Learn how Windows Server 2003 R2 extends Windows Server 2003, providing the most efficient way to manage and control access to local and remote resources while easily integrating into your existing Windows Server 2003 environment.
Web Single Sign-On and Identity Federation with Active Directory Federation Services (level 200)
Attend this session to get an overview of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Active Directory Federation Services, a component that enables Extranet Single Sign-On (SSO) and Identity Federation.
Branch Office Benefits in Windows Server 2003 R2 (level 250)
Learn how technologies such as the Distributed File System and Print Management Console enable efficient Wide Area Network file replication and enhanced remote management.
Efficient Storage Management in Windows Server 2003 R2 (level 200)
Join this session to explore new tools that simplify many of the tasks necessary to set up an efficient storage environment for the Windows platform.
Peter Jackson, the producer/director behind the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy has agreed to be the executive producer of the new “Halo” film, based on the game of the same name.
Here’s the story at MSNBC.
Hmmm…. I wonder…
The Cable Guy’s article from last month talks about the new, “Next Generation” TCP/IP stack that has been built for Microsoft Windows Vista and the next version of Microsoft Server (codename: Longhorn Server).
The article lists a number of improved features as well as nearly a dozen new ones. It also includes an architecture diagram showing the components and their APIs.
I’m currently sitting in an airplane on my way to Philadelphia. My trip this week is made possible by the Exchange Team, who needed a speaker to talk about the upcoming Service Pack at an HP Exchange 2003 Academy Conference. And since I just delivered an SP2 talk at the newly formed Minnesota Exchange Users Group, I am well prepared.
Harold Wong was going to do it, but he couldn’t make it.
Anyway… I’m really excited about many of the new features. One in particular that I’m excited to try out is the Custom Weighting Feature in IMF. This gives you the ability to create an .XML document that adds your own text and weightings for what you would consider to be spam.
Here’s some text from the release notes:
The following sample XML file and the table of values demonstrate how this feature can be used, and how the behavior of Intelligent Message Filter can be customized.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16"?>
<CustomWeightEntry Type="BODY" Change="1" Text="foo1"/>
<CustomWeightEntry Type="BODY" Change="-1" Text="foo2"/>
<CustomWeightEntry Type="BODY" Change=”5" Text="the quick brown fox"/>
<CustomWeightEntry Type="BODY" Change="-9" Text="über sentence"/>
<CustomWeightEntry Type="SUBJECT" Change="MIN" Text=" ?????"/>
<CustomWeightEntry Type="BOTH" Change="MAX" Text="J’aime Français!"/>
The new version of the Intelligent Message Filter (IMF version 2.0, now included IN the service pack) will read this file as the service starts up and add your text to the text it watches for. Very cool!
See the Custom Weighting Feature section of the Exchange Server 2003 CTP Release Notes for more information.
Oh... and there are a couple of blogs you should watch if you're interested in more Exchange information.
One is Eileen Brown's Weblog. She's an IT Pro Evangelist and Manager in the UK, and one of the top "Microsoft Bloggers".
The other is the Exchange Team's Weblog: "You Had Me At EHLO..."
If you're not watching these, or subscribing to them using RSS, you should.
Below are some additional resources for the “Understanding Group Policy - Part 1” webcast I delivered on October 3, 2005.
Hope you find them useful!
Directory Service Operation Guidehttp://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/wssra/raguide/DirectoryServices/igdrog.mspx
Introduction to Group Policy in Windows Server 2003http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/gpintro.mspx
Implementing Common Desktop Management Scenarios with the Group Policy Management Consolehttp://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/technologies/management/csws2003.mspx
Staging Group Policy Deploymentshttp://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/library/DepKit/e5288e42-62b8-4f9e-a665-95b6e02389a3.mspx
Administering Group Policy with the GPMChttp://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/gpmc/gpmcwp.mspxGroup Policy Infrastructure (White Paper)http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d26e88bc-d445-4e8f-aa4e-b9c27061f7ca&displaylang=en
Group Policy Manangement Console (Download)http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/info.aspx?na=22&p=1&SrcDisplayLang=en&SrcCategoryId=&SrcFamilyId=&u=%2fdownloads%2fdetails.aspx%3fFamilyID%3d0a6d4c24-8cbd-4b35-9272-dd3cbfc81887%26DisplayLang%3den
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 028
This tidbit comes as an answer to a really good question asked at a recent TechNet Event:
“When creating a Maintenance Plan, you showed that you can set up the entire plan to launch at a particular time or on a schedule. Can you schedule the individual steps in your plan?”
No, I don’t see a way to do this. You should really think of a plan as some entire set of work that should be launched at a particular time. If you need different tasks scheduled differently, then they should be part of another plan.
Got an IT question? Give me a comment, or contact me.
Oh yes! The Scripting Guys are at it again. More fabulous, funny, and above all USEFUL content on how to use scripts to your I.T. management advantage.
Mark your calendar: October 24 – 28, 2005. Hurry up and register today. Space is limited! Seriously!
See Dean Andrew’s TechNet Webcasts blog for more details, and more importantly for a list of all the prizes. (Note: you must be present at all of the webcasts to be eligible for some of the prize drawings.)
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 027
“In your demo of integrated log viewers, you showed looking at the SQL and NT Event logs on the database server you were managing. Can you integrate and view IIS Log information from a remote IIS Server?”
This question is a good one. I can see why you’d like to see what’s gone on on the SQL Server at the same time as on the IIS Server where the web application that is using it is running.
However, in the log viewer in SQL Server 2005, you’re only looking at the logs on the one server. You can open up two log windows side-by-side (for other servers), but you won’t be able to see it on the same timeline.
A solution is to EXPORT the log from one machine, and IMPORT them into the log viewer currently looking the other. Or export from both and import into the same console. This functionality IS supported on the Log File Viewer.
Microsoft Word came out 22 years ago today.
Microsoft Introduces Word9/29/83 Microsoft introduces its full-featured word processing program, Microsoft Word for MS-DOS 1.00. PC World subscribers receive a free demonstration floppy disk of Microsoft Word in the magazine's special Software Review. "This is the first time in the history of publishing that a magazine has featured a floppy-disk bind-in," said David Bunnell, Publisher of PC World.
(And on a related note, today is the 21st anniversary of my marriage. Wow. Our marriage is of legal drinking age here. …and it’s 5:00 somewhere…)
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 026
“If I’m running SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition, and I use the Database Engine Tuning Advisor, will I see Partition options available?”
This quesiton came about mainly because partitioning is available SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, but not Standard. The answer is that the Tuning Advisor will simply not make partitioning suggestions on Standard Edition.
Below are some additional resources for the “Exchange Best Practices Analyzer” webcast I delivered on September 28, 2005.
Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Toolhttp://www.microsoft.com/exchange/downloads/2003/exbpa/default.mspx
Exchange Team Blog: “You had me at EHLO…”http://blogs.technet.com/exchange/archive/2004/09/21/232516.aspx
Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer – MOM Management Packhttp://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=583FA809-F151-4784-AFD4-44D0B7687E6A
SQL Server 2005 Tidbit 025
“What if a Maintenance Plan fails at some point? Do I have the ability to restart the plan at a particular step?”
The answer to this is similar to the answer to the one in tidbit 28 – You really should consider plans as full sets of work. If the plan fails at some point, you would probably want to launch the task separately, or create a job just to tackle what wasn’t otherwise completed.
Yes, Service Pack 2 for Microsoft Office is available today.
Here are some notes from a memo I received about it…
“Why should I upgrade?”
SP2 is an update to Office programs and servers that addresses top customer experience issues. To optimize the customer experience with SP2, Microsoft recommends people update their Office applications and servers to take advantage of the improved stability of the Office system.
Improved Security – SP2 includes an enhancement to Outlook to help prevent “Phishing.” Outlook has also improved the handling of “Junk” email. Junk messages are now rendered as plain text, preventing HTML information from being viewed inadvertently. Links are also now disabled in “Junk” email messages with SP2.
Improved application stability – SP2 includes many fixes and enhancements for Office applications and servers based on customer and partner feedback as well as extensive internal testing.
Support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 – Microsoft Content Management Server, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft InfoPath 2003 have been updated to include support for the upcoming releases of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 has been updated to include support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
Go to http://www.microsoft.com/office for more details.