• Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) now available for Windows 8

    Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 includes Server Manager, Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins, consoles, Windows PowerShell cmdlets and providers, and command-line tools for managing roles and features that run on Windows Server 2012. In limited cases, the tools can be used to manage roles and features that are running on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008. Some of the tools work for managing roles and features on Windows Server 2003. MORE

  • Jose Barreto Shows You “How-To” Build a VM Cluster

    Many of you have likely read some of the technical blog posts produced by Jose Barreto. Last Thursday Jose posted a lengthy article we think many of you will find interesting. The article instructs you on the fine art of building a technical lab using Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V virtualization, Failover Clustering, and SQL Server 2012.  This is all accomplished on a single machine. MORE

  • Microsoft breaks Surface, announcing family of Windows 8 tablets


    Microsoft entered new territory Monday evening, announcing the Surface family of tablet computers. The first devices, which feature 10.6-inch 16:9 HD screens and a unique 3 mm-thick touch-sensitive cover that provides a full keyboard, will be "comparable [to] ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PCs" -- thin, light and high-performance, in short -- according to the press announcement. It will be available in Windows 8 and Windows RT versions, sporting front- and rear-facing cameras, Office 365 and the recently unveiled Windows 8 apps. Steven Sinofsky talks about the development of the People, Mail and Calendar apps on the Building Windows 8 Blog. There are plenty of developer and IT angles to explore, so stay tuned for blog postings from the teams contributing to this, dare we say it, revolutionary device.

  • Microsoft shows Windows 8 for business, launches Windows on ARM development

    Tuesday's focus at TechEd North America is Windows 8, as Antoine Leblond, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows Web Services, showed a wide range of applications and Visual Studio demos. Speaking to an audience in Orlando, Leblond and the Windows 8 Team introduced the first details about programming Windows 8 applications for ARM devices using familiar and proven Visual Studio tools. Get a start on your Windows 8 exploration with Steven Sinofsky's “Building Windows 8” blog: Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture. Then, dig into Jason Zander's posting for more on Visual Studio's role in ARM development.

  • Introducing Windows Azure Active Directory (AD) - Web Single Sign-on (SSO)

    Modern software systems rarely operate in an unconnected closed environment.  Today’s systems might be connected to partners and customers through a variety devices and networks.  To support these systems, we need the ability to identify users of the software, data and systems.

    A week or so ago we introduced some of the concepts through the work of Kim Cameron and John Shewchuk.  They describe the social enterprise and the facilities needed to support distributed identity management.  A healthy debate ensued but it doesn’t stop there.  MORE

  • Building an application for the Windows Store - Part 1

    In previous posts, I’ve alluded to one of our key focus areas for Visual Studio 2012 being the theme of connected devices and continuous services.  This includes creating a top-notch set of tools in Visual Studio 2012 to both design and build amazing Windows apps and the services that back them.

    With Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 released, I’ve decided to explore and document the end-to-end development of a basic Windows Store app that uses services on the backend.  For this task I’ve chosen to use Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8. MORE

  • Welcome to the new Windows Phone Dev Center

    We are pleased to announce the debut of the Windows Phone Dev Center, the new online home for Windows Phone developers. The site, an evolution of our retired App Hub developer portal, is designed to provide everything you need to build, publish, and manage apps for Windows Phones around the world. The result of months of careful planning and attention to your feedback, it has new features to help make Windows Phone app development faster and more profitable. MORE

  • Inside PowerShell with The Scripting Guys

    It’s fascinating to watch how quickly PowerShell has been embraced by the community.  It is a language and technology beloved by developers and information technology professionals. The Scripting Guys are a driving force behind this community engagement and you really need to take notice of their amazing work.

    Each month The Scripting Guys blog pumps out a bunch of technical articles on PowerShell.  You might see several articles per day and these aren’t mere marketing articles.  The articles you see are technical articles on how to use PowerShell with Microsoft products and cover security, management, reporting and other interesting areas. MORE

  • Cloud Based Backup - Windows Azure Online Backup

    It’s sometimes easier to think about cloud computing in all or nothing terms – move everything into the cloud or leave everything as-is, on-premises.  But, as most know, the emerging reality is more of a hybrid approach, combining both cloud and on-premises resources.  Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 are embracing the hybrid model with services including Windows Azure Online Backup.  It’s a great example of how Windows Server, System Center and Windows Azure work together in what we call the “Cloud OS”. MORE

  • Hyper-V over SMB support in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012

    In Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V added the capability to store virtual machine (VM) resources on network shares hosted on NAS devices as an alternative to SAN remote storage. The Hyper-V storage stack in Windows Server 2012 now supports increased resiliency for network disconnects for these VM resources by using the “resilient handles” feature in the SMB protocol. This basically means that now virtual machine resources such as VM configuration file, ISO files, VHD files and VHD snapshot files can be stored on any remote SMB file share that supports the SMB 2.2+ protocol. MORE

  • Kosmos File System (KFS) Released as an Open Source Project

    This is a guest post by Sriram Rao, Principal Scientist Lead in the Cloud and Information Services Lab (CISL) at Microsoft. His current research interests are in building storage and compute infrastructure for processing big data.  Some of the results of his research have been released as part of two open source projects that he started: (1) Sailfish, a compute infrastructure for big data, and (2) Kosmos file system (KFS), a distributed file system for storing massive amounts of data.  KFS is currently deployed in a production setting, on the scale of 1000's of nodes, where it is used to manage multiple petabytes of data. MORE

  • Migrate From VMware to Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 using a free, simple, standalone tool

    Windows Server 2012 is generally available for evaluation and purchase by all customers around the world. Additionally, there is great news for organizations that are looking for a way to migrate virtual machines hosted on VMware vSphere to the Hyper-V host in Windows Server 2012.  The production (RTW) version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) and the Beta version of the VMware console plugin version are both available to download. MVMC is one resource available as part of the Switch to Hyper-V program announced at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference earlier this year. The Switch to Hyper-V program helps partners and customers go beyond virtualization to true cloud computing by providing guidance, resources, and tools that take the risk out of virtual migrations, reduce the time and effort required, and define best practices. MORE

  • New Administrative Interfaces for Windows Server 2012

    There were two server installation types prior to Windows Server 2012: full and core. Core servers provide a low attack surface by removing the Windows Shell and Internet Explorer completely. However, it presented quite a challenge for many Windows administrators as Windows PowerShell and command line utilities were the only methods used to manage the servers and its roles locally (you could use most management consoles remotely).

    Those same two server installation types return in Windows Server 2012; however, we have added a third installation type: Minimal Server Interface. MORE

  • Microsoft Office 2013 Reaches the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) Milestone

    Last week was a busy week for the company.  Our Office division reached the release to manufacturing milestone for a large and impressive array of client, server and cloud based products and services. General availability is planned for the first quarter of 2013. For those of you with MSDN and TechNet subscriptions, you’ll have to wait a little longer for the download. MORE

  • Building a Windows Server 2012 Cloud Infrastructure with PowerShell

    Complementing the existing efforts to provide guidance around building a Cloud Infrastructure with Windows Server 2012, two additional pieces of collateral have been uploaded to the TechNet Gallery that help automate and streamline the overall scenario, showcasing not only great new features, but also the flexibility and utility of PowerShell. MORE

  • Skype and Messenger Are Coming Together

    Skype and Messenger are coming together. Millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype. By updating to Skype, Messenger users can instant message and video call their Messenger friends.

    This effort started with the release of Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows a few weeks ago, which allows you to sign into Skype using a Microsoft account. Now Messenger users just need to update to the latest version of Skype, sign in using a Microsoft account, and their Messenger contacts will be there. MORE

  • The New World of Data

    This is an exciting time in the world of data. Big data is growing. The cost to store and process data is rapidly dropping. The scale and economics of cloud computing is enabling broader access to incredible levels of computing power for large and small organizations. Combined, these trends underscore the importance and need to find the value in data.

    This week, more than 4,000 IT professionals, database administrators and business intelligence specialists are gathered at the PASS Summit in Seattle where I will share Microsoft’s vision for the modern data platform, showcasing new investments with in-memory computing, big data and business intelligence to accelerate insights with any data in this new world of data. MORE

  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Delivers Scalability and Performance for Virtualized Enterprise Apps

    When Windows Server 2012 became available to our customers earlier this year, we asked ESG Labs to conduct an independent evaluation of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V running SQL Server 2012 tier-1 workloads in a virtualized environment and report on their findings. We were thrilled to see the results, which demonstrated significant improvements in performance, scalability and the ability to reduce TCO. This was coupled with extremely low virtualization overheard. MORE

  • WOWZAPP 2012 Hackathon for Windows is Underway

    REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 9, 2012 — Microsoft Corp. today kicked off WOWZAPP 2012: Worldwide Hackathon for Windows, the first simultaneous global hackathon for students, startups and professional developers in the company’s history. Following the recent Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 launches, more than 100 locations across five continents will hold weekend-long hackathons for students and other participants to create apps for the Windows ecosystem.

    “With more than 17,000 students registered to participate, WOWZAPP 2012 will be the largest simultaneous hackathon of student developers ever, acting as a catalyst to bring a wealth of new, exciting and quality apps to the Windows Store,” said Moorthy Uppaluri, general manager of Worldwide Academic Programs at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to empowering students with the tools and resources they need to showcase their creativity and make money through app development.” MORE

  • Building Applications for Microsoft Office and SharePoint

    Today at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, we shared significant updates to these tools, with a range of improved support to make building new Office 2013, Office 365, SharePoint 2013, and SharePoint Online in Office 365 more flexible and productive.

    Over the last few months we’ve been making continuous updates to “Napa”, a lightweight, in-browser companion to the full Visual Studio rich client. These updates have included support for publishing apps to SharePoint, for sharing a project with a friend or with the community, lots of editor improvements, and much more. As you don’t need to install anything onto your machine in order to build apps with “Napa”, it’s the fastest way to get started with Office and SharePoint development. You can do so today at http://dev.office.com. MORE

  • Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview Now Available for Windows 7

    In Windows 8, we reimagined the browser with IE10. We designed and built IE10 to be the best way to experience the Web on Windows. With the IE10 Release Preview for Windows 7 consumers can now enjoy a fast and fluid Web with the updated IE10 engine on their Windows 7 devices. The release preview of IE10 on Windows 7 is available for download today.

    IE10 on Windows 8 brings an entirely new browsing experience and set of capabilities to the Web, such as a new touch first browsing experience and full screen UI for your sites, security improvements that offer the best protection against the most common threats on the Web, improved performance, and support for the HTML5 and CSS3 standards developers need. MORE

  • Active Directory Indexing For the Masses

    You may have noticed a steady stream of technical blog posts from the our Premier Field Engineering team covering a variety of Windows Server roles, features and functions.  One of the members of that team, Adrian Corona, did an excellent blog post on Active Directory (AD) indexing.  The information pertains to Windows Server 2003 and higher. MORE

  • VMware Costs Are Higher Than Microsoft’s

    Recently we came across the updated VMware cost per application calculator and discovered what our customers and partners have been telling us all along – VMware vSphere 5.1 costs more than Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 combined. And we’re not just talking about license acquisition cost, but also the capital expenditure costs (CAPEX), including power, space, storage, and server hardware costs. MORE

  • What's New for Group Policy in Windows Server 2012

    Some of you that know me (through my www.gpoguy.com and www.sdmsoftware.com sites), know that I spend an inordinate amount of time exploring, developing against and helping customers with Group Policy. So I was anxious to see what changes Microsoft made in Server 2012 with respect to Group Policy. Of course, as a Group Policy MVP, I had a chance to see and even give input on these improvements months ago, but now that this stuff is live, let's explore some cool new features that Microsoft has added to Group Policy. It's important to note that while these are really evolutionary rather than revolutionary, they've added some key new capabilities to make Group Policy really your best friend for enterprise-class configuration management. MORE

  • The Windows Azure Management Portal Continues to Make Great Improvements

    The Azure development team continues to make improvements to various aspects of the management portal.  You find new capabilities that include localization support for 6 languages, operation log support, support for SQL database metrics, Virtual Machine enhancements (quick create Windows + Linux VMs), Web Site Enhancements (support for creating sites in all regions, private github repo deployment), Cloud Service Improvements (deploy from storage account, configuration support of dedicated cache),  Media Service Enhancements (upload, encode, publish, stream all from within the portal), Virtual Networking Usability Enhancements and custom CNAME support with Storage Accounts. MORE