Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog
First off - if you're wondering why the sudden silence after only two video diaries from TechEd, be assured that the rest are coming. I got really busy at TechEd (go figure) recording Podcasts and having fun. And then I had events plus a few days off the following week. So, I fully intend to give you a few more belated video diary entries soon. In the meantime, please check out the Podcasts I recorded for Virtual TechEd and TechNet Radio while I was there.
But now... I just had to post this because I really really want one of these. Father's Day has passed (and I had a very nice day), but my birthday is coming up really soon; so, start a collection now to help me to get my very own Robot B9 from the old TV Series "Lost In Space".
I learned about their availability from this blog entry in On 10.
Sweet! Only $24,500! Okay.. yeah, I won't be getting one any time soon. But how cool would that be?! I'm really geeking out over this today. I have many fond memories as a 3-6 year old watching that show. I didn't want to be a policeman or fireman. What I really wanted was to be Will Robinson.
UPDATE: Here's photo evidence: My brother Paul is holding the toy B9 we got for Christmas in 1968.
Click to see the full photo. Thanks, Dad, for digitally scanning all those old family slides!
Below are the questions I pulled out of the Q&A log from the TechNet Webcast: "Windows Vista Reliability Improvements", along with extended answers (especially to those I answered verbally).
Hope you find them useful!
PS: Here is my resource page for this webcast.
"Did Microsoft send out some reliability updates last months? My Vista systems were crashing all the time and large network transfers were taking forever and then a couple of weeks ago things cleared up?"
Yes indeed; there were updates made available that improved these situations. As I mentioned in the webcast, you have the option of installing "recommended" updates as well as the critical updates now using Windows Update or Microsoft Update. And yes, there were reports that some people were having issues with large file transfers (fortunately I never experienced this) that have been fixed with recent updates.
"I am a power user. Does Home Premium edition allow access to GPOs?"
Yes and no. <smile> Home editions do not have the ability to join domains, so "Group Policy" doesn't actually exist. Still.. all PCs (including home machines) have LOCAL policy, which can indeed be edited if you have administrative permissions.
Check out this TechNet Magazine Article which describes the improvements in, and how to work with, local policy in Windows Vista
"How is my reliability with Vista if I do have Virtual PC 2007 running and have more 02 guest system on the same computer?"
Vista will just treat Virtual PC as another application - so you shouldn't have any reliability issues directly related to it. However, as I mentioned on the webcast, there are sometimes issues (though fewer and further between these days) with Virtual machines going to full-screen and back; depending on your video hardware and drivers.
"Is that Reliability Monitor running all the time or is it something that needs to be configured to begin logging?"
It's logging by default; because it's just recording more information to the eventing system by default. You can disable parts of it if you choose.
NOTE: During the webcast I misunderstood your question. I answered thinking you were asking about the performance monitor. The performance monitor counters are not collecting data by default. You have to enable and then turn on that kind of logging. Sorry if I mislead anyone with my answer.
You can find details on the Reliability and Performance Monitor here.
"Can you manage through group policy whether the system can send information to Microsoft? Can you turn that option off in GPO?"
See this page: "Windows Error Reporting and Problem Reports and Solutions Feature in Windows Vista" for a good description of these features, as well as how to manage them via Group Policy.
"On a domain-joined system, can the built-in diagnostic tools notify IT in some manner?"
Yes. A couple of ways. You could set up Task Scheduler tasks triggered by the events you are interested in either from the Event Viewer or from the Task Scheduler. Or you could set up an Event Subscription to send the events to your local workstation, and launch the task from there.
For a good description of the Task Scheduler, look here.
And for details on setting up Event Subscriptions, click here.
"I have had to re-load Vista 9-10 times since January because of frequent fatal crashes, usually after installing a Microsoft update, and the new built in startup repair functions, while good, have only worked 1-2 times. When the startup repair wizard wont work and system restore doesn't work (which it never has on the startup repair mode), what else can I do before I consider reloading Vista?"
Well.. if you're having these kinds of issues, I'd guess the problem was related to faulty hardware or drivers that are causing such bad corruption. (Even though Vista is better at detecting such things, you may have a hard drive that is failing.) I really recommend contacting Microsoft's support folks to see if they have any suggestions on what you could log for them in order to find the problem.
"Can the Reliability Monitor be remotely connected from a Helpdesk computer to review the failure/installation information?"
Absolutely. Just Right-Click on the top level item on the left, and select "Connect to another computer..."
"Can the Event Viewer triggers be exported for backing up or, use on another computer or, must I set them up manually for each system (non-domain-joined)?"
Yes. Look at this article on managing tasks. Click on the "Export a Task" link there for the specifics.
"What do you know about the problems regarding windows update? There are a lot of reports of failed updates. For example if 1 out of 10 updates fails, the whole batch will sometimes fail."
It's hard to say what your problem might be. I've seen it (though not as often as you say you have) in cases where system resources were otherwise being used up by other applications. Usually just shutting down rogue processes using the Task Manager (or, worst-case, a restart of the OS) has cleared this up and allowed me to install the updates.
"The exception for updates occurring monthly would include emergency\critical security updates?"
Right. The key word there is "emergency". If there is some virus or worm or very malicious thing that is out in the wild, and is something taking advantage of a vulnerability that wouldn't require someone to mis-configure or otherwise click on and run something to install it - then yes, you'd see an update immediately. But fortunately these are becoming more and more rare.
"Can the reliability reports be retrieved remotely (ex: sms or some online reporting tool)"
The tools you should start looking at for doing this in a business would definitely be the System Center tools - specifically Operations Manager (the new version of what was called MOM). Operations Manager 2007 now supports rich DESKTOP (as well as Server) monitoring and reporting.
"You said the memory diag tool runs in very little memory. What if the memory location it is running in is corrupt?"
Ooo... I don't know. In that case you're probably not going to be able to run it at all - which would probably mean you've got such corruption that wouldn't even boot an OS. Not even Linux.
(DOH! Was that out loud?! I'm gonna get in trouble now! <chuckle>)
"That person that left was me, got an error in live meeting, no OS Crash! (Running Vista) :-P Thank you for an awesome WebCast"
You're welcome! Thanks for coming back! :)
Then shame on you!
Just kidding. But if you are, and now that I have your attention, I think you should know that SP3 (Service Pack 3) for Office 2003 was released today.
Go to http://www.microsoft.com/Office for the details (look under "downloads"), or use Microsoft Update. Get it before the rush.
What's your performance?
"What's your point?"
Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 is Microsoft's new Business Intelligence solution. It was announced back in June of 2006, and is officially being launched TODAY.
It's all about business performance management.
Check the website for the announcement, and other good overview resources. And here is the PRESS RELEASE.
Unless you're living in a cave (and if you are, then WOW, caveman! You're getting Internet access in a cave, man!) you know that the excitement is building around Halo3.
Check out this cool car that the Pontiac and Bungie folks are giving away as a prize. The article also describes a sweet deal for getting all of the XBOX Live Gold service for FREE for three days. Best Buy is to be thanked for that one.
Click the picture, or click here for details.
"Kevin.. what does this have to do with I.T.?"
Nothing at all... unless you consider that a lot of geeks like me really love playing Halo, driving tricked-out Pontiacs, and shopping at Best Buy.
It was simply too cool not to share.
And yes.. I enjoy Halo when I get the chance. I do indeed drive a Pontiac (a beat-up '98 Grand Prix that my son is currently begging to buy off of me). And I shop at Best Buy because A) it's a pretty good store, and B) we don't have a Fry's up here.
"Microsoft Office 2007 for $59.95?! It's a steal!"
You know it. It's "The Ultimate Steal" (which also happens to be the name of the promotion). Microsoft is making a special edition of Office for STUDENTS available at that price. So.. students can have for $60 what otherwise costs around $679.
(For you math students out there - that's less than 1/10th of the full price!)
Note: This was available as of September 12 in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, and available on September 20, 2007 in Spain, Italy, and France.
Offer ends April 30, 2008. Always read the fine print.
RTW = Released to Web...
And that's what happened today to Microsoft's new web-based, cross-browser media platform plug-in and technology.
Check out the Silverlight home page, and some of the awesome examples of using Silverlight being announced today by many of our partners. (My favorite is the Halo 3 HD video site I blogged about a few days ago. But my boys are going to also like the WWE page.) There are also links to blog postings and screencasts demonstrating how to incorporate Silverlight into your own web applications.
Here also is the Silverlight Home Page. And developers might want to check out the Silverlight Developer Center.
RTM = Released to Manufacturing
SCVMM = System Center Virtual Machine Manager
and JAFJ = Jump Around for Joy! Woohoo!
Yesterday, the product responsible announced that they have "shipped" System Center Virtual Machine Manager?
"Cool, Kevin... but what is it?"
This is another in the suite of System Center tools... and it manages virtual machines. Hence the name. Duh! Some of you who have been watching the SCVMM site may recall that I interviewed Edwin Yuen about System Center Virtual Machine manager after his talk at TechEd this year in Orlando.
You really should take a look at this tool if you're considering managing virtual machines in your IT admin plans. It is the future of virtual server management; really at the heart of doing true "dynamic systems", were we can provision, allocate, and re-allocate or distribute "servers" to our host hardware based on usage and current needs.
"Is this a tool for Windows Server 2008's Windows Server Virtualization (WSV)?"
Not at this time - because WSV isn't released yet. And so this version doesn't support that capability. But yes, eventually it will - and this is going to be the way you'll want to manage your virtual machines on their respective hosts in the new WSV world as well.
"Show it to me! I want to see it in action!"
You're in luck! My teammate and friend Keith Combs has put together some FANTASTIC screencasts to show off how it all works. Check out his blog post here, which includes a great write-up and links to his screencasts.
"Cool! Can I get it now?"
Well.. the evaluation will be available soon at this location. As you may recall from Windows Vista when it RTM'd last November... RTM doesn't mean "on store shelves now" or "available for purchase now". It means, "We've signed off and are ready to ship this sucka!" The pricing has been announced here. And you should really check the deals you get when you buy it as part of an Enterprise suite.
Wow.. it's been a fun couple of weeks! First we put the first official released version of Silverlight out. Then we went to manufacturing with System Center Virtual Machine Manager. And now this... although THIS actually happened two weeks ago - and they just neglected to tell anyone about it until the e-mail I received this morning.
Yes, it was back on August 24th that the folks responsible quietly signed off on the final build of the product that is now called System Center Configuration Manager.
"SCCM? Oh! You mean the new version of SMS?"
Check out SCCM the home page for all the good details. And download an evaluation copy here.
Or you can kick the tires in a TechNet Virtual Lab.
"But when can I buy it?"
GA (General Availability) will be in a few weeks. I've heard a date, but as I'm not adequately sure I am allowed share it, it'll have to wait. Sorry.
...and a great example of Silverlight in action, too.
CHECK IT OUT
One more time, for those who missed it before...
RTM = Released to Manufacturing
"And what is SCDPM?"
SCDPM is System Center Data Protection Manager 2007. It's a new version of the DPM product (first released last year), and contains several incredible improvements.
Last week, at a Microsoft Across America team meeting in Phoenix, AZ, I had the privilege of attending a presentation by Jason Buffington on all the benefits of the new DPM 2007.
Folks... seriously... this is going to make backup, recovery, and archiving of your application data and files SO EASY.
If you read nothing else about DPM, at least check out Jason's blog post about the RTM, and the details on why this version will change how you think of backing up your company's knowledge assets. But you should also check out the DPM team blog , too. And here's the new DPM site as well.
I’m sure some of you are more well-versed in the area of storage than others. And no matter where you fall on that continuum, you may be wondering what kinds of storage are available for Hyper-V Virtualization.
“Hey Kevin – What kinds of storage are available for Hyper-V virtualization?”
Umm.. yeah. Glad you asked.
My friend Bob Hunt addresses that very topic in his Part 5 article (from our “20+ Days of Server Virtualization” series). He outlines the main storage platforms, as well as some of their comparative strengths and weaknesses.
READ HIS ARCTICLE HERE
“I was just about to ask you that question, Kevin.”
Well then, my timing is good. And so is the timing of this virtual roundtable (VRT, we like to call it) about Windows 8, and what IT Professionals should know. The event took place on March 1st, where we had 280 people online viewing the event live. Many of us (including Matt Hester and I) were attending online and answering live questions via text. (it was fun!)
Here is a two minute introductory trailer:
And here is the full recording!
And importantly, here is the official event landing page, with additional related and useful resources. (Like getting the evaluation of Windows 8 Enterprise)
In part 7 of our "20+ Days of Server Virtualization”, Keith Mayer gives us some powerful PowerShell commands to turn on the iSCSI initiator, connect, and use iSCSI storage from our Hyper-V host.
Read His Article: Speaking iSCSI with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V
In this episode I welcome Technical Specialist Susan Smith from the Windows Intune team as we discuss Intune’s cloud-based solution to manage PCs and mobile devices. Tune in as we describe Intune’s capabilities and how it can help support your mobile workforce while still ensuring a better managed and secured IT environment. BONUS: Try Windows Intune free for 30 Days. Sign up here!
Download the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation today and test your applications, hardware and deployment strategies with Windows 8.
“Storage vMotion? isn’t that a VMware thing?”
Yes, and although I’m sure that most of the readers of this blog are also familiar with the Microsoft terminology “live migration”, it’s still useful to help those who are more familiar with the vSphere world understand that, with Hyper-V v3.0 in Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012, we can do that, too. And for absolutely no additional cost.
In our “20+ Days of Server Virtualization” part 8, my cheeseheaded friend Brian Lewis writes up a very useful step-by-step on how you can live migrate the storage of a running virtual machine – Storage Live Migration.
READ HIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE HERE
PS – Did you know that Hyper-V on Windows 8 also supports Storage Live Migration?
My friend Tommy Patterson brings us part 9 of our “20+ Days of Server Virtualization”, in which he introduces and describes the functionality in Hyper-V to support the networking of your virtual machines. He describes the basic operations and options, as well as some of the more advanced topics of performance, off-loading, and new security features.
READ HIS ARTICLE HERE
I’ve discussed Windows Server 2012’s inclusion of NIC teaming on my blog before. Back in Part 7 of our “31 Days of our Favorite Things” last October, for example, I blogged about it.
In part 10 of our current “20+ Days of Server Virtualization” series, my phriend from Phoenix Harold Wong also describes NIC Teaming in Windows Server 2012, and outlines some of the more technical aspects and options, and even how to do some of the configuration using Windows PowerShell. It’s well worth the read!
In this, the first of Eight Windows 8 tips and tricks sessions, I welcome Principal Technical Account Manager Lex Thomas to the show. Tune in for part 1 as we show you around the new modern user interface in Windows 8.
In part 3 of our Windows 8 Tips and Tricks series, Principal Technical Account Manager Lex Thomas and I show some improvements in Windows 8 that will help you be more productive.
In part 2 of our Windows 8 Tips and Tricks series, Principal Technical Account Manager Lex Thomas and I dive deeper into the new modern user interface for Windows 8.
If you’re a VMware user, you’re probably familiar with the “vMotion” capability; moving a live, running virtual machine from one host to another. Until recently, that move had to take place among and between clustered hosts, but recently Microsoft Hyper-V (and later VMware in vSphere 5) allowed the live moving of virtual machines without clusters.
Still, clustering is valuable for high availability. I want some mechanism to detect when a host is having problems, and have machines move or re-started on another virtualization host automagically.
In part 12 of March’s “20+ Days of Server Virtualization” series, my Milwaukeen friend Brian Lewis gives us a step-by-step on how to configure high availability using Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V, and NO ADDITIONAL COST*.
“Hey Kevin – you’re posting about articles that were released in March? It’s April. Where have you been?”
Ah, you caught that, did you? It’s been a crazy few weeks of travel, delivering IT Camps, a family vacation to Nashville, TN (which we loved!), and an Azure Bootcamp. So, I’ll be playing catch-up over the next week or two. You have been warned.
* Take that, VMware.
You may ask, “How easy is it to set up a cluster of virtualization hosts for Hyper-V virtual machine high availability?”
“How easy is it to set up a cluster of virtualization hosts for Hyper-V virtual machine high availability?”
I’m glad you asked.
Short answer: Very
Longer answer: Let’s let my friend Matt Hester show you in our 13th installment of “20+ Days of Server Virtualization”.
Did you know that virtual machines can also be clustered?
Yep. We call it “guest clustering”, where a cluster of application-hosting computers, sharing storage, are actually virtual machines. In this way we provide a “whole ‘nuther level of high availability” in the fact that if an application can benefit from and take advantage of being cluster-aware, then we can support that availability even while the application is running on virtual machines.
In part 14 of our “20+ Days of Server Virtualization” series, Keith Mayer describes the benefits and operations of virtual machine guest clustering in great detail, as well as some of the improvements to Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 that make it even more powerful.
CHECK OUT HIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE HERE
Back in October of last year, in Part 5 of our “31 Days of our Favorite Things” series, I wrote about Hyper-V Replica. “With Hyper-V Replica you can easily create and maintain an off-line copy – a replica – of a virtual machine on a separate virtualization host. This means, for example, that if your main location or host for an important virtual machine goes down becomes unavailable, you can easily fail-over to the replica.”
“Is it necessary to use quotes if you’re just quoting yourself?”
I don’t know. Better safe than sorry. I don’t want to get into trouble with myself.
Anyway, when using Hyper-V Replica capability in a clustered set of virtualization hosts, there is an additional consideration: Where does the replica come from? Where does it go to?
What I mean is – a set of virtual machines running on clustered hosts could be running on any of those hosts at any given time. So how do I refer to the cluster, whether as the source or destination of the replication, as an individual entity?
The answer: The Replica Broker.
In part 15 of our “20+ Days of Server Virtualization”, my friend Yung Chou gives us a great rundown of what the Replica Broker is, what it does, and how to configure it for using Hyper-V Replica in a clustered environment.