Use a tablet instread of a PC! Great idea right?

So I’ve been conducting a number of studies recently and a client asked me why in a recent study I hadn’t considered tablet’s as a PC replacement (primary device) when looking at VDI DaaS solution. When the question was posed it was something that I had actually not given a lot of thought, luckily with a brain full of VDI knowledge I worked in in nanoseconds that replacing my thin client with a tablet (non Full windows device)essentially had the same effect (just with now a mobile management effort required as well). Now having had some more time to ponder this in detail I thought I would give some further insight (any tablet donation’s are welcome!)

VDI = Reduced TCO??? Continue reading

MAP 9.0 Beta Overview and Review

Introduction

In this guide I walk quickly through the installation and a sample configuration for collecting windows data, performance data and creating some simple reports.

What’s changed?

Taken straight from the beta readme file here is the list of changes from the previous version:

•Added Server and Cloud Enrollment scenario

•Added Remote Desktop scenario

•Added Capability to inventory software using SWID tags

•Added option to open reports folder from report generation progress window

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Inside the mind of a solution – Selecting a general purpose document management system

“I started to write this a while ago… but never got round to publishing….” – Dan

A shared folder will do surely?

Back when I started in IT a network share was KING of the hill when it came to sharing documents and spreadsheets. Moving onwards from FAT based systems we could start giving access to groups (hopefully the correct type for those who have shared the pain when people haven’t used local groups) and having granular permissions both at the share and file system level.

Alas this shared pool of file storage still had many limitations, some can be augmented with search and shadow copy but mainly it’s a large pool, generally only separated by two dimensional folder structures (I’m ignoring access based control and metadata search but again this is an augmentation)

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My response to a Hyper-V vs. VMware vSphere 5 blog

I came across a blog on twitter today at the below URL. I thought I would at least spend a few minutes checking it out, due to some of the erroneous information in it I decided I would re-post but with my comments on some of the points raised.

Before people jump in, yes I work with MS technology but I’ve also spent years working with VMware hypervisors. Personally I don’t really care which one people use, it’s more important to spend time on CSI than argue over hypervisors. I do care about advice being correct though…. So here goes.

http://t.co/q82tsQSf1K

The below was tweeted by @vmwarearmy

Hyper-V 2012 versus VMWare vSphere 5

2012-11-05

Tasked with investigating whether a big P2V project should go the Hyper-V 3 (Server 2012) route or the VMWare (vSphere 5.1) route, I spent a few weeks testing both solutions. I also spent some time googling the subject – and that is actually why I am writing about it here. The classic “VMWare versus Hyper-V” search yielded absolutely no useful information. In this post I will add my findings in the hope that this will be useful to someone.
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So where do I put those domain controllers again?

While designing a solution for a customer I’m once again looking at domain controller placement. No matter which way we look at this there are pro’s and con’s. There is always a way of getting into a chicken and egg scenario!

For the sake of clarity this is only relating to Windows Server 2012 (here’s the TechNet article outlining ADDS on Hyper-V guidance http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/virtual_active_directory_domain_controller_virtualization_hyperv(v=ws.10).aspx)

There are a few options (I’ve listed the main ones)

  • Run 2 Physical Domain Controllers (Microsoft Recommended Solution)
  • Run at least 2 virtual domain controllers
  • Run a domain controller in the parent partition

Physical DC’s

If we follow the guidance we should probably have at least 4 Physical DC’s, this covers the local availability and geo-availability. The problem with this is if you are not a multisite company. (For this an idea would be to use Azure Site-to-Site VPN and a pair of Azure VM’s)

Run at least two virtual domain controllers

Ok so this seems easy…however what boundary do our Hyper-V hosts sit in? Workgroup or Member server?

Depending upon your requirements a workgroup would be fine. The main reason I can see not to have this is that Shared-Nothing Live migration only functions on hosts that are a member of a domain. You can still setup Hyper-V replicas using certificates however you will experience service downtime if you want to failover to the secondary replica (this also will apply to fail back)

A solution for this is to make the Parent partition a member of the virtual domain. If you do this you just need to ensure that the DC’s are set to always start and any other virtual machines have a start delay included. It’s also a good idea to anchor the DC’s to a specific host and stay away from CSV’s and making them highly available. (P.S. also don’t lose your local admin account details – in the event that the VM’s don’t come up you will need to logon locally)

Run a domain controller in the parent partition

So I would have said make sure you reserve host memory however (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831766.aspx) states that Hyper-V 2012 dynamically reserves host memory – it only states this for the hyper-v and Failover Cluster roles though. I don’t know the exact mechanism it achieves this so it’s still something to be mindful of.

Secondly when we install a domain controller role the OS disables Disk Write Caching. This (so I have read) can have a 30% degradation of performance. It may be possible to isolate the NTDS/SYSVOL elements to a different physical disk group to avoid this.

Is this a supported configuration? It’s not a recommended configuration, as with all things your case will most likely be dealt with however you could potentially be asked to put a physical DC in at some point.

If you choose this route I would make sure every host is a DC (global catalogue and AD integrated DNS) and that no DNS islands can be created.

Conclusion

I’ve run every one of the mentioned configurations without having a problem. The main problem I find is that people are not prepared enough. As part of your ADDS implementation it is highly advisable to test and document recovery steps for all possible scenarios. Remember, ADDS underneath is a complex system, even on two physical servers you need to understand the impact of a server failing and the steps required to recover. (One test that people often forget is to turn off all your DC’s at once and then try to get back up and running again – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2001093)

It’s a good idea to read this as well! Best practises for Hyper-V 3.0: http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2013/03/10/windows-server-2012-hyper-v-best-practices-in-easy-checklist-form.aspx

Where ever your domain controllers end up, choice what right for your scenario, if you spend the right level of time upfront then you should be able to get any of the possibilities working for you in a relatively simple manner.

In my travels I have come across the following article:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/wincat/archive/2012/08/29/windows-server-2012-failover-cluster-enhanced-integration-with-active-directory-ad.aspx

This explains that new Windows Server 2012 functionality means we can build a two node cluster with virtual domain controllers and that the cluster will still start. I’m going to setup a rig to test this soon!

Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Services Preview (not so fast! You need an access code!)

OK so I was awake early this morning, I checked my twitter feed and saw the following URL posted:

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/datacenter/hyper-v-recovery-manager-on-windows-azure-game-changer-in-dr-architecture/6186

Eager as anything to see this cloud DR service in action I went to sign up:

I Logged onto the Windows Azure Dashboard

Clicked NEW

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My SharePoint 2007 Nightmare

Ok so this is for my notes really… (and for anyone who is interested in having to migrate from SharePoint 2007 based technology!)

So our hosted service provider won’t give us a .spb file (I have no idea why!). In addition to this their advice is to use webdav. Great for copying a single document maybe.. not for performing a migration or archive copy. To make matters worse still we have no central admin access so I can’t use a native backup.

So we rock in with either the following:

  1. SharePoint Web Services using custom code (c#) – long
  2. SharePoint Designer 2007 – create a backup to .cmp (nice and easy)
  3. Buy a third party product to to option 1

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