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November, 2012

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  • Poll: Licensing

  • WhitePaper: IDC- Delivering Private Cloud Today with Microsoft System Center 2012

    imageMicrosoft recently introduced System Center 2012, a tightly integrated management solution built from the ground up for automated private cloud application and infrastructure management. IDC interviewed a range of System Center 2012 early-adopter customers about their private cloud strategies and the role that System Center 2012 is playing in support of those programs. This white paper discusses IDC's industry-wide views on private cloud management trends and priorities, describes how System Center 2012 is addressing these needs, and highlights System Center 2012 customer experiences and lessons learned. The goal of this paper is to equip IT decision makers with a context for designing their own private cloud management evaluations and pilot projects.

    Download the WhitePaper

  • Guest Post: System Center Operations Manager 2012 – Tuning Noise

    PaulieColourPaul Gregory is one of QA’s principal technologists – specialising in delivering training around Microsoft Server operating systems, virtualisation and systems management. During a 29-year career within IT, Paul has helped many international organisations develop infrastructure solutions based on Microsoft technologies, as well as supply training services during the last 14 years. Paul has helped QA deliver numerous Microsoft partner training skilling programmes for Microsoft – particularly around the areas of Microsoft Server operating systems, virtualisation and System Center. Paul was also heavily involved in the recent Microsoft Windows 8 / Server 2012 TAP programme where he played a key role in the testing of core Windows Server 2012 technologies and positioning this information back to product specialists in Redmond. With the advent of the Microsoft Private Cloud solutions based on System Center 2010 & 2012 Paul have been responsible in helping Microsoft prepare the Partner channel both in the US and Europe for these technologies.

    Often customers I come across install SCOM and panic the main reasons for this are:

    1) Trying to do too much too soon

    2) Not fully understanding their environment

    3) Not understanding SCOM tries to predict issues

    There are a few other reasons but we do not need to worry about them here. But this gets me to where I want to be the noise. Starting with item (3) it is important that SCOM tries to predict events so there is always a balance between being noisy and missing events which need to be reported to predict a future event and where that line needs to be drawn will vary from one organisation to another.

    One area I see people struggle with this is managing basic hardware capacity issues. For example monitoring free disk space. The main problem is most systems today will have fairly small OS drives and much larger data volumes so different thresholds need to be set. However the default rules for managing free disk space apply to all drives in a computer. To be able to manage this correctly a number of things need to be put in place for best practise.

    1) Standardize Server Builds – I often here that server builds are a bit random, it is never too late to standardize the build.

    2) Create SCOM Groups for each drive (steps below)

    3) Set Overrides for each drive group and for each OS type.

    This model will then allow different disk space thresholds to be set for each group of hard drives.

    SCOM Drive Groups

    1) From within the SCOM administration console select the Authoring panel

    2) Select Groups and choose Create Group on the right

    3) Give the group a name and description and create a new management pack for storing Windows Server Hardware Monitoring Overrides in if one does not exist

    4) Press Next until on the Dynamic Members page

    5) Press the Create/Edit button

    6) In the drop down box choose either “Windows Logical Hardware Component” or “Logical Drive (Server)”. These allow you to select drives based on name or other properties. Press Add

    7) In the table change the first Drop Down box to “Display Name” in the third box enter C: Press OK

    8) Complete the wizard

    9) Repeat to create any other groups for other Drive letters you wish to set separate rules for.

  • Guest Post: System Center Configuration Manager Application Catalogue

    By Paul Gregory

    System Center configuration Manager introduced many new features. One of the features revolving around the new User Centric element of the product is the Application Catalogue which allows users to select software they would like to install and if required have it Approved by an Administrator.

    One question I get asked a lot is supporting this functionality it untrusted forests and this is possible. To enable this support a few things need to be considered

    · The Application Catalogue server has to be able to authenticate the users that connect to it

    · Configuration Manager needs to know about the users that will request applications

    To enable this cross forest support the following steps need to be performed

    1) Install the Application Catalogue Web Service in the same forest as the SCCM database

    2) Install the Application Catalogue Website in the untrusted forest giving SCCM credentials to deploy the role to a member server in the remote forest

    3) The Application Catalogue Web Service and Website will communicate using Self-Signed certificates these can be replaced with certificates from a PKI infrastructure if needed

    4) Enable User Discovery or User Group Discovery for the remote forest in SCCM. This is needed because applications displayed in the catalogue are based on the collection targeting so the applications will need to be targeted within SCCM to the users in the remote forest.

    PaulieColourPaul Gregory is one of QA’s principal technologists – specialising in delivering training around Microsoft Server operating systems, virtualisation and systems management. During a 29-year career within IT, Paul has helped many international organisations develop infrastructure solutions based on Microsoft technologies, as well as supply training services during the last 14 years. Paul has helped QA deliver numerous Microsoft partner training skilling programmes for Microsoft – particularly around the areas of Microsoft Server operating systems, virtualisation and System Center. Paul was also heavily involved in the recent Microsoft Windows 8 / Server 2012 TAP programme where he played a key role in the testing of core Windows Server 2012 technologies and positioning this information back to product specialists in Redmond. With the advent of the Microsoft Private Cloud solutions based on System Center 2010 & 2012 Paul have been responsible in helping Microsoft prepare the Partner channel both in the US and Europe for these technologies.

  • Deutschland - Windows Azure Newsletter gestartet

    Hallo @all,

    für Deutschland gibt es einen Windows Azure Newsletter. Wer mehr erfahren möchte und kontinuierlich über Neuerungen und Hintergrundinformationen bescheid wissen möchte, dann hier Anmelden. Es werden interessante Themen von Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Plattform as a Service (PaaS) und Software as a Service (SaaS) in Windows Azure dargestellt.,

    Hier Anmelden

    Liebe Grüße

    Patrick

  • WS2012 Designed for the cloud - real benefits for Physical Embedded Servers

    Several key goals of the WS2012 Server rewrite were to accommodate requirements of the cloud business. Datacenters which provide cloud capability are generally massive and have unique requirements which are normally a superset of those found in a smaller environment. These requirements include uptime, resiliency, flexibility, cost savings, manageability, speed and security.

    In this article, I would like to explain some of the new features that provide dramatic improvements in Speed of the WS2012 servers sold by our OEMs in specific environments that are dependent upon throughput, such as storage, financial, industrial control, gaming, printing, communications and broadcast verticals, as examples.

    SPEED

    In order to expand performance on a server, many things must be in place.

    Multiple processors, and the more the better.

    More memory with dynamic allocation.

    Higher bandwidth through the networks.

    An unbounded connection to disk farms.

    Self healing capability.

    Microsoft, in order to increase the performance of datacenters servicing the cloud, implemented support for up to 640 physical processors (not just cores).

    An expansion of memory was needed to service all these processors and the resulting virtualized instances that would be running on them. Ergo, not only were the upper limits increased for memory (to 4TB, but also the way in which they were allocated and used. Also, support for SSD is incorporated.

    Storage spaces allowed the combination of multiple storage technology types into a single storage pool. And this is no ordinary storage pool. WS2012 can run ReFS -Resilient File System, which allows doing file checks on the fly (imagining doing a FSCHK of 300 million files in seconds--- a direct result due to the files being checked in advance), in essence providing self-healing data that did not have to go through cleansing and correction at the storage level.

    Also implemented was support for the off-loading of storage transfers from the server computer to the storage vendors like EMC, Hitachi, Network Appliance. (This was not only for SAN environments, but now, also support for NFS was added). This optimizes usage of the pipe, and expands our ability to work in heterogeneous environments and service existing disk farms.

    In order to maximize the speed of the disks, the use of 4K blocks have become the standard. This is what disk drives want to see.

    imageSMB 3.0 to allow multichannel support and a refactoring of SMB 2.0 allowed Network transfers to reach 97% of DAS (direct attach storage) speed. Additionally, files are always opened in a “write through” mode.

    (As an aside, de-duplication at the file level was incorporated. This not only saves space, but does assist in reducing time spent searching for files, and support for 256 i-scsi targets was supported.)

    And finally, NIC teaming, with the capability of creating a failover cluster of 16 channels or aggregating 32 ports (with load balancing in both scenarios) to maximize throughput was incorporated. NIC products from multiple vendors could even be blended together. With this kind of thrimageoughput, and support for networked storage, you can see how an IPSAN can be built with throughputs of up to 320Gb/sec (using 10Gb/E network cards). What used to be hard is now easy.

    We measured 1 million IOPS with some of our tests, and we did not even reach the upper bound of WS2012. (I spelled “Million”, because I was certain some would think that number was a typographical error). This is due to the previously mentioned features, as well as SMB Multichannel with SMB 3.0… this means that very powerful storage can be built but for a tenth of the price companies pay today to EMC/NTAP.

    image

    If these performance enhancements are of interest to you, go to http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded/en-us/evaluate/windows-embedded-server.aspx download and begin testing a demo copy of WS2012.

  • Guest Post: Top Tips on System Center 2012 from 1E

    1. 1E Consultants took a deep dive into System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and here are their top tips for success.
    2. Application model – ConfigMgr 2012 introduces a completely new alternative approach to software distribution – the Application Model. With the Application Model, an Application has a number of Deployment Types, each defining the required source files, install and uninstall command lines and user experience (e.g. does a user need to be logged in?), similar to the properties of the legacy Package and Program.
    3. Site hierarchy – data can be now coordinated and replicated throughout the Central Administration Site (CAS), while boundaries can be set for all ‘sites’, providing a simpler, minimalist way to manage the IT infrastructure. A Single Site ConfigMgr 2012 hierarchy will be a reality for most organizations with less than 100,000 clients to manage.
    4. Site-to-site replication – Site-to-Site communication has received a major overhaul in ConfigMgr 2012 with the introduction of SQL replication replacing most of the legacy file transfer in and out of inboxes. Changes in any Primary Site database will be replicated globally to all Sites in the hierarchy, not just the immediate parent or child.
    5. Administration – The Admin Console in ConfigMgr 2012 has been completely redesigned and written from the ground up. It does not use MMC, displays only the features the admin has rights to and has a separate MSI for installation. The revamped admin security model offers a combination of security roles, collections and security scopes to define what objects an administrative user can see and the types of actions they can perform.
    6. Managing clients over the internet – New to ConfigMgr 2012 is the possibility for internet-based clients to evaluate user-based policies (such as Application Deployments).
    7. Scalability – support for up to 400,000 clients in a Single Site hierarchy when the database for the CAS is running SQL Server Enterprise. Each Primary Site can support up to 100,000 clients if the database and Primary Site roles are hosted on separate servers.
    8. Distribution points – There are some notable changes in the role of the Distribution Point (DP) in ConfigMgr 2012. Essentially a single Distribution Point replaces the previous Branch Distribution Point.
    9. User in control – ConfigMgr 2012 has been built with the user in mind. The Software Center provides an accessible interface for the user to view and manage all software installed, as well as a new level of control over the actions that will impact users the most.
    10. Client health and efficiency – new agents such as Health Evaluation and Endpoint Protection, as well as the Automatic Deployment Rules feature, work to ensure clients remain healthy, operational and efficient.
    11. Client configuration – the introduction of ‘profiles’ replace the previous blanket global approach to configuration, allowing more specific settings dependent on your needs. What is really cool with this interface is that new classes can be added by connecting to WMI on any computer and browsing to the class you want to report on.

    If you would like a detailed version of these tips please mail: su.kent@1e.com. For further information on 1E’s integration capabilities with System Configuration 2012, please visit: http://www.1e.com/it-efficiency/solutions/system-management-services/

    Useful Links

  • Useful System Center and Windows Server 2012 tools

    IPD Guide for System Center 2012 - Operations Manager now available!

    The Infrastructure Planning and Design (IPD) Guide for System Center 2012 - Operations Manager outlines the infrastructure design elements that are crucial to a successful implementation of Operations Manager. It guides you through the process of designing components, layout, and connectivity in a logical, sequential order. You’ll find easy-to-follow steps on identification and design of the required management groups, helping you to optimize the management infrastructure.

    · Download the IPD Guide for System Center 2012 - Operations Manager.

    · Learn more about the IPD Guide Series.

    Determine Windows Server 2012 Readiness with MAP 8.0 Beta

    Accelerate your Windows Server 2012 migration with Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 8.0 Beta. This latest version of MAP adds new scenarios to help plan your environment with agility and focus while lowering the cost of delivering IT. Included in MAP 8.0 Beta are hardware and infrastructure readiness assessments to assist you in planning the deployment of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, preparing your migration to Windows Azure Virtual Machines, readying your environment for Office 2013 and Office 365, and tracking your usage of Lync.

    · Download the MAP Toolkit.

    · Learn more

    · Join the beta.

    Secure your environment with new SCM 3.0 Beta!

    Secure your environment with new product baselines for Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, and Internet Explorer 10. The latest version of SCM offers all the same great features as before, plus an enhanced setting library for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 2008 R2 and bug fixes. The updated setting library gives you the ability to further customize baselines, and also improves GPO Import feature affinity. SCM 3.0 provides a single location for creating, managing, analyzing, and customizing baselines to secure your environment quicker and more efficiently.

    · Download SCM.

    · Learn more about Security Compliance Manager.

    · Join the SCM 3.0 Beta.

  • Neue Windows Azure Supportangebote – Standard-Level kostenfrei nutzen bis 31.12.2012

    Hallo @all,

    auf dem Product Group Blog von Windows Azure hat Steven Martin (General Manager, Windows Azure Business Planning & Operations) ein neues Azure-Support-Angebot veröffentlicht.

    Es gibt neue Azure Support Level und der Standard-Level steht kostenfrei zur Verfügung bis zum 31.12.2012.


    1 Additional information on Premier Support, including how to purchase, can be found here.
    2 15-minute response time is only available with the purchase of Microsoft Rapid Response and Premier Support for Windows Azure.
    3 Business hours for local languages and 24x7 for English.
    4 Professional Direct is only available in US, UK, and Canada

     

    Nach dem 31.12.2012 wird der Azure Support mit folgenden Preisen angeboten:

     

    Wer den Azure Support jetzt ausprobierne möchte kann dies bis zum 31.12.2012 kostenfrei tun. Dazu einfach auf windowsazure.com das Windows Azure Management Portal öffnen und im User-Menü “Contact Microsoft Support” auswählen.

    image  image

    Danach füllt man den Wizard aus und beschreibt das technische Problem:

    image

     

    Liebe Grüße

     

    Patrick

  • Event: Video: Slide Decks: from first 2 days of Six Steps to Azure

    Six Steps to Windows Azure launched last week with over 160 attendees over the 2 days at our London kick off events which were run in partnership with the UK Windows Azure User Group.  Our first event Azure in the Real World showcased some fantastic real life solutions. Our second day focused on Advanced Topics in Windows Azure which included Windows Azure Media Services and Web Services.  Overall the feedback has been fantastic.(#sixstepsazure) The audience was a real mix of those who have just started with Windows Azure to those considering it in the coming year.

     

    image         image

     

    Here is the content that was delivered by a great line up of speakers  on the 8th and 9th November.

    8th November:

    Powerpoint Decks:

    Hitting the Limits of Azure Storage presented by Richard Wadsworth

    Drillboard:A sports app case study presented by IQ Cloud

    Sheffield University: Environmental Projects on Azure presented by Shaping Cloud

    Bootstrapping a start-up with Windows Azure presented by Labtrac Solutions -

    How SaaS Changes an ISV’s Business Model presented by David Chappell

    Videos:

     

    Hitting the Limits of Azure Storage. Richard Wadsworth, Amido

    Drillboard: A Sports App Case Study. Matt Quinn, IQCloud

    Sheffield University: Environmental Projects on Azure. Carlos Oliveira, Shaping

    Bootstrapping a Start-Up with Windows Azure. Damian Otway, Labtrac Solutions

    Exploring the Micro: .NET MicroFramework and Windows Azure. Andy Cross, Elastacloud.

    How the Cloud Changes Financial Services. George Kaye, Derivitec and Andy Cross, Elastacloud.

    David Gristwood talk to David Chappell.

    9th November:

    Powerpoint Decks:

    Windows Azure Media Services presented by Nuno Filipe Godinho

    Windows Azure and Active Directory presented by Steve Plank, Microsoft.

     

     

    What’s next in Six steps to Azure?

    Step 2: Architecture and Design for Windows Azure - Join us online on 26th November:

    · Windows Azure Architecture for Developers  - 10:00am

    · Windows Azure Architecture for IT Professionals – 12:00pm

    Step 3: Integration with Mobile and the New World of Apps – Join us online on 4th December

    · Integration with Mobile and the New World of Apps Part 1 – 10:00am

    · Integration with Mobile and the New World of Apps Part 2 – 12.15pm

    We also have a number of Windows Azure Developer camps, which will take attendees from knowing nothing about the cloud to actually having deployed a simple application, and made it available on the public internet.

    Other steps to follow but you can find out about the entire programme here.