Matt Hester's WebLog

Candygrams for the IT Pro on Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V Server, System Center 2012, Azure, Windows 8, PowerShell, Cloud and Office 365

Matt Hester's WebLog

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  • Why Windows Server 2012 R2: Step-by-Step Workplace Join, Bringing Peace of Mind for BYOD

    imageAre you dealing with an explosion of devices connecting to your organization?  Trying to maintain your organizations compliance and security is critical.  Especially with users located all around the world across multiple platforms and devices.   

    If this sounds like you currently or is soon going to be you then you will want to check out Workplace join.  Workplace join allows users to register devices (including IOS) forsingle sign-onand access to corporate data.  Check out todays post to learn how to set it up

  • Why Windows Server 2012 R2: The Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Experience Step-by-Step

    With the new Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Server we really added many features to make this an even more rounded server.  The Essential server also provides a ton of flexibly for deployment and functionality.  We even included the popular client computer backup from Windows Home server.  The Windows Server Essentials Experience role is available in Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard and Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter. For this post I am going to step you through the installation of the Essentials experience on a Windows 2012 R2 Datacenter server.  In a future post I will take you through the rest of the configuration.

  • Windows 8.1 for Business: Oh Start menu, how do I miss thee…or do I?

    One of the most often questions/feedback we get regarding Windows 8.1 is where is my start menu.  These conversations can get very passionate, and usually turn into a commentary around on how much we miss our start menu.  I am sure some folks want to punch the screen.

    I totally understand your frustration and I went through this as well.  While Windows 8 does provide a big change to how we do things in the interface, it did make me re-think why I used my start menu.  What I learned from my own usage and talking to all you wonderful folks,  is that the start menu is used for small common set of minimum tasks.  Here is a list of the most common things folks like yourselves have told me, and I personally had problems finding in Windows 8.1:

    • Shutdown and Sign Out
    • Search
    • Launch and Find Recently Installed Applications

    Like all of you once I learned how to get around Windows 8 and find these basic tasks, I found that I will never need my start menu again.  In this article, I am here to help show you how to accomplish these tasks with ease in Windows 8.1.   In the end I hope you learn some new tips and tricks to improve how you use Windows 8.1

  • Setting Static IP Address in Windows Azure Virtual Machines

    One of the questions I have been asked for a while is how do you set static IP address in Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Well you can, check out my friend John Savill’s great article to see how: Set Azure VM Static IP Address While it is like a DHCP...
  • Group Policies and Access Denied

    One Technologies in Active Directory I am extremely passionate about is Group Policy and I would love to write some more articles on Group Policy, but I want to make sure I publish topics that are of interest to you. So if you would like see more on group...
  • Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud - Hyper-V over SMB (Part 8)

    In today’s post in the modernizing your infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series, I am going to talk about Hyper-V over SMB, which we introduced in Windows Server 2012. It is also important to note that you can use storage spaces to house your SMB share...
  • The Cloud on Your Terms Part 28 of 30: Cloud PowerShell

    Welcome to my personal favorite part of the series, part 28!  Really the series would have been incomplete without a part of the series focused on PowerShell!  As many of you may know PowerShell is one the great tools we can use as administrators...
  • Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud - Step-by-Step: Building Microsoft Azure Virtual Networks (Part 14)

    In today’s part of the series I take you on a quick tour of one of the key building blocks in any successful hybrid cloud environment, and that is Virtual Networks. Now instead of writing about how to create these key features I thought I would should...
  • Migration and Deployment: Installing the Migration Tools (part 8 of 19)

    One of the fantastic tools we included in Windows Server 2012 are the migration tools.  If you are familiar with Windows Server 2008 R2, then you are familiar with these tools.  The tools can easily help you to migrate either to a Windows Server 2012 full installation or a server core installation as your destination.

  • 20 Key Scenarios with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services (IaaS): Deploy Web Server Solutions (IIS or Apache) in the Cloud

    One of the more common workloads the cloud handles fantastically is for your web service.  Whether you want to have your website external or internal facing using Azure web services can help to alleviate the workload on your local infrastructure.   The web could even help alleviate even some of the workload for your websites.  So for the post today I wanted to take you through how to deploy a web application with load balanced web servers.  Also this will be the Instructor led lab I will be delivering at TechEd: Join Me at TechEd North America and Come to my Session: June 3-6 New Orleans!

    In the following guide you are going to learn how to deploy a simple ASP.NET MVC 4 Web application to a Web server hosted in Windows Azure, using SQL Server and configuring load balancing.  The guide below is geared to Windows Server 2012 and IIS (Internet Information Services),  however you can also do the lab with Apache and Linux.  Take a look at this guide here: HOL-IntroToWindowsAzureVirtualMachinesLinux.

    Once you've complete this step-by-step guide, you'll have a cloud-based virtual SQL Server 2012 lab environment that you can use to explore the other new DBA and BI capabilities in this latest version of SQL Server!

  • Top Local Apps: Get Your Team’s Huddle in Order with Hudl

    This month my teammates( Kevin , Brian and Keith ) and I decided to highlight apps that have caught our eyes.  One of the apps that caught my eye is Hudl.  Before I go any further, I love football, and this is probably why this app caught my...
  • Build Your Private Cloud in a Month: Forging your Private Cloud from Bare Metal with System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager

    When you first start working with provision your private cloud, you will need to learn how to provision the physical hardware or bare metal of your environment.  Learning how to provision bare metal systems allows you to deploy physical systems to...
  • Disaster Recovery: What about Fluffy the Cat and Saving Your Desktops?

    Disaster recovery is about being able to get your business back up and running as quick as you can after the disaster happens. Throughout this series, my teammates have focused on the Infrastructure side of the house, servers, virtual machines…etc. You...
  • Windows 8.1 For Business: Remember Our Good Friend Group Policy

    Hopefully you never forgot Group Policy!

    Whenever the topic of working with desktops in business is brought up, IT Pro’s always want to manage and maintain those desktops.  For me the first thing that always come to mind is Group Policy and hopefully does for you as well.  Group Policy is one of the primary tools you can quickly leverage to help control your IT infrastructure.    What better way to manage our desktops than with a free tool that is built into Active Directory, and has been there since the Windows NT days.

    In today’s post I am going to take a look at some of the new features in Windows 8.1 Group Policy as well as some of then new settings you will want to learn to leverage to help manage your desktops.  Oh, by the way you can still change the users desktop background to blue, with blue labels on the shortcuts, or put the logoff command in the log in script, if you are so inclined not that I have ever done that.

  • Heartland IT Pro User Groups

    One of the great aspects of my job is I get to work with a lot of different user groups and meet lots of people from the IT Pro community.  Well I did my best to get a list of all the IT professional  user groups I work with in the Heartland...
  • ANNOUCEMENT: SCU is now available on Channel 9!

    I am excited to announce the partnership between SCU and Channel 9, allowing for all SCU content and the live SCU US event feed available via Channel 9.

    SCU 2015 US will take place 2/4/15 in Dallas, TX. This year’s event includes two live tracks, one of which will be featured on Channel 9 live, the day of the event and the other streamed live through This partnership will allow for the content at SCU to be even more accessible to the community. Additionally, we are pleased to announce that ALL of the content from SCU 2014 Europe will be hosted on Channel 9 after their very successful event this past September

  • Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud - Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 R2 (Part 7)

    In this part of the Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud, we are focusing on of the great solutions we introduced with Windows Server 2012 and improved in Window Server 2012 R2, Storage Spaces. Storage Spaces Overview: In Windows Server 2012...
  • Build Your Private Cloud in a Month: Foundation Windows Server 2012 Storage

    When you start to think of building a private cloud into your datacenters, you might naturally think you need run out and buy a SAN.  While you still may want to go buy a SAN, with Windows Server 2012 you do not necessarily need to.  In Windows Server 2012 there has been a tremendous amount of improvement done to the storage capabilities.  Specifically you now can have continuously available file shares on your cluster servers.  This is mainly due to the new SMB 3.0 protocol built-in to the server, it really has made storage a first class citizen in Windows Server 2012.  So for todays post I am going to take a look at how to build a Windows Server 2012 storage environment using Storage Pools and inexpensive Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS) disks to provide the necessary storage backend for your private cloud infrastructure. 

  • PowerShell Not Your Father's Command Line Part 23 of 31: HUGE Announcements, Disagreements, Best Practices and A Party…Oh My!

    Happy Monday! Alright this post will be a bit out of the usual, but how many times do you get tell folks you have a book and it is publicly available? (Technically this is my second but who is counting lol :-) So here goes: Available NOW: Automating...
  • Windows 8.1 for Business: Getting Started with Client Hyper-V

    Windows 8.1 has a lot to offer Business, probably one of the bigger improvements is the inclusion of Hyper-V in the client.  This provides support for several scenarios including:

    • Test Lab:  This is what I use it mainly for to test all the wickedly cool technologies in Windows Server 2012 R2, among others.   It provides a great way to test and design basic infrastructures, especially leveraging the built-in virtual machine networking. 
    • Application Testing: Testing home-spun or package applications can be done very easily inside of Windows 8.1 client Hyper-V.....

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Dopey Challenge 2015 Week 7 Training: Hottest Half Race Recap and Thoughts

    I had a solid week of training this week! My long run for the week was supposed to be 9 miles, but I had already signed up for a 1/2 marathon in Dallas prior to knowing my training schedule. The race is called was the hottest half. Overall I was happy...
  • Windows 8.1 Deployment In Action: Installing the Tools (Part 3)

    In this part of the series we will take a look at how to install the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (WADK).

  • Download Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) Release Candidate (RC) 1

    Today I am pleased to announce the availability of IE 8 RC 1 Download RC 1 Here Here are a few of the new or improved features in RC1 from the IE team Blog here: Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate Now Available Platform Complete . The technical community...
  • TechNet Radio: (Part 4) Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud - Planning Hybrid Cloud Virtualization

    In part 4 of our “ Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud ” series, Blain Barton and Keith Mayer tackle the topic of virtualization in a Hybrid Cloud environment. Tune in as they discuss how virtualization is no longer constrained to the physical...
  • TechNet Radio: (Part 3) Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud - Planning Hybrid Cloud Networking

    Kevin Remde and Keith Mayer continue our series on “ Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud ” and in today’s episode they discuss various options for networking. Tune in as they go in depth on what options are available for hybrid cloud networking...