Monthly Archives: November 2008

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Third round of HyperV links and info

From the partner managed newsgroup –


This is the third round of this Hyper-V Knowledge Sharing series. Now you
are familiar with Hyper-V and have general troubleshooting skills, How to
get more?

Selling tools:
==========
Integrated Virtualization ROI Tool Now Available
Strengthen the case for your solutions, reduce your sales cycle, and
demonstrate the total cost of ownership advantage of Microsoft
virtualization solutions by leveraging the Microsoft Integrated
Virtualization return on investment (ROI) tool.
http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization/tco-roi.mspx

Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=67240B76-3148-4E49-943D-4D9EA7F77730&displaylang=en <http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=67240B76-3148-4E49-943D-4D9EA7F77730&displaylang=en>

Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool
The Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool manages the workflow of updating
large numbers of offline virtual machines according to their individual
needs.
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=8408ECF5-7AFE-47EC-A697-EB433027DF73&displaylang=en <http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=8408ECF5-7AFE-47EC-A697-EB433027DF73&displaylang=en>

Gear Up – Key Sales Enablement Tool
The World is buzzing around virtualization. Your customers, our competitors,
and the media are all talking about it. But everyone’s having the wrong
conversations. Virtualization is far bigger than what people think.
Together, Microsoft and you can tell a better story – one that completely
changes the game.  Download the kit in Onenote.
www.ms-gearup.com <http://www.ms-gearup.com>

Resource
=========
Microsoft Virtualization – Learning Portal
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/virtualization/default.mspx

Imagine a world where people and computers get the resources they need the
moment they need them, where companies are able to mobilize and manage the
resources of their entire infrastructure, both virtual and physical, to meet
fast-moving business demands. Welcome to the world of virtualization-where
all of this is a reality and almost anything is possible.

At Microsoft, virtualization is a means for enabling our long-standing
vision of dynamic IT, an environment that helps people in an organization
anticipate and respond to business challenges and opportunities. Microsoft
is the only company that provides an end-to-end suite of virtualization
products and technologies-all tied together by a centralized, policy-based
management system.

To help you deploy and manage the latest virtualization products-Windows
Server 2008 with Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center (including Virtual
Machine Manager 2008 and Microsoft Desktop and Application
Virtualization)-Microsoft Learning offers a complete set of training,
resources, and streamlined certification paths to help you stand out in your
field and get virtual now like never before.

Virtualization Resources
http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization/resources.mspx

Microsoft provides data center, desktop, and management virtualization
solutions. Here is a select group of resources that provide an overview of
the benefits you can achieve with our end-to-end solution set, including
white papers, podcasts, webcasts, and analyst research and reviews.

Hyper-V and Virtualization Technical Solution Center
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualization/default.aspx

Blogs of Senior Program Manager, Hyper-V team, Windows Core Operating System
Division.
http://blogs.technet.com/jhoward/archive/tags/default.aspx


TechNet Blogs – Virtualization
http://blogs.technet.com/tags/SoftGrid/default.aspx?PageIndex=21

Okay so this isn’t my normal geek post

But I just had to share.  This is what you get when you cross a geek, a MINI owner, Martha Stewart and a Thanksgiving weekend.


While my Sister is restringing the tree with Christmas lights, I’m decorating gingerbread cookies and cinnamon ornaments.


http://www.handmadecountry.com/ezine/cinnamon.html


They look like gingerbread, smell like it but are obviously non edible and then you can tie them to packages as ornaments/gift tags.



(yeah okay, okay, so this isn’t a geeky post, but you have to admit they are kinda cute in a bizarre way)


Somehow I have to do a PepperWhite Convertible lookalike in honor of my Sister’s car.


Don’t worry, we now return to your regularly scheduled geek blog.


Here.. read this:


How to succeed with small business cloud computing |SMB IT | Curtis Franklin | InfoWorld:
http://weblog.infoworld.com/smbit/archives/2008/11/small_business.html


And this looks interesting and I need to try it out just for grins:


http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSEC2/2007-08-29/GettingStartedGuide/introduction.html


And a wise tip I read on a blog about cloud services.  When setting up any of the Microsoft Office Cloud services, don’t hook it to your own Passport account but set one up specifically for that client.  If you are an employee or a consultant and you part ways you can hand over the access without having to try to get it untangled from your own personal passport account.

So what’s the best firewall for SBS 2008?

The other day I did a blog post about poking a hole in SBS 2008’s internal firewall to ensure that Quickbooks ran properly and someone said that I needed to run an external firewall because SBS’s looked like swiss cheese.  And he’s right, I do need to run a proper firewall because the firewall on the Internal nic is NOT (let me repeat that) NOT to be seen/used/or thought of as an external facing firewall.  While you should not disable it as it provides critical hardening services to that firewall/networking stack, it should not be seen as any substitute for the external firewall.  Any application sitting on that server will need a policy/exclusion/allowance in that firewall policy.  Turn the firewall off, and you just locked yourself out of RDP.


This is the “swiss cheese” of SBS 2008’s firewall in image form:







(Note I enable network discovery so that exception is not standard)



I also for grins clicked on that “notify me” just to see if it would do anything.


But bottom line, that’s not the firewall settings of an outward facing firewall.


So what firewalls are good for SBS 2008?


Depends on your budget.  I don’t consider Linksys style of firewalls to be “business” quality but I certainly have two here at home to be able to run a SBS 2003 and a SBS 2008 so that they don’t complain about one another (if you need the ability to have a network outside of your SBS network, consider having two routers to provide this ability).


In a business setting, I want more.  The firewall guru of SMB, Amy Babinchak recommends http://www.calyptix.com/.  I like them for several reasons, one of them purely emotional.  If you remember Sally Fields emotional award ceremony a few years back.. “You like me, you really really like me!”…. one can say similar about Calyptix and the SMB space.  “They like us, they really really like us”.  We’re not a “Enterprise cut down cost center” like some firewalls, nor are the interfaces need a degree in rocket science to set up.  And you can’t go wrong with a paranoid Lawyer being the CEO either.   


I think you need to look at your budget and paranoia, and standardize on models for your client base.  It makes it much easier to manage.

Doesn’t everyone make gingerbread cookies that look like this?


Rolled out and baked.. now to decorate.  Hope everyone had a nice Thankgsgiving holiday.

Should you run a/v on the parent in HyperV?

The guidance states as follows:


http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd283088.aspx


Do not run any applications, such as antivirus programs, in the management operating system—run all applications on virtual machines. By keeping the management operating system free of applications and running a Windows Server 2008 core installation, you will need fewer updates to the management operating system because nothing needs software updates except the Server Core installation, the Hyper-V service components, and the small (approximately 600 KB) hypervisor.

Note
If you need to use the full version of Windows Server 2008 and run applications in the management operating system, then you should run an antivirus program there.


Now while I recommend that when you are first getting started using the full GUI of Windows 2008 and HyperV is wise so that you get the basic foundational concepts down, I’m still not convinced that if you do nothing but run HyperV role in the management operating system that you need an antivirus at that level.  You put risks on the system of false positives and of virtual disks getting mangled by file scanning. 


I’m not convinced that in the SMB space even if you use full GUI that the risks of running antivirus on the parent are worth it.  You certainly need to ensure that you exclude the virtual disks to ensure that you won’t suddenly lose the virtual disks.


The parent shouldn’t be surfing or emailing or doing anything but run that HyperV.  If you are worried about something infecting the HyperV from the guest, I think you have a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.  What kind of connectivity are you building between that HyperV parent and the guest?  The amount and type of connectivity will dictate the amount and types of infection risk.  Now compare that to the risk that A/V companies will probably not have a HyperV build in their test matrix, that you run the risk of false positives, that if there is an issue caused by that a/v it will be the last thing you look for.  Is the risk of infection on the parent greater than the  mitigation you can develop/understand?


I think the risks outweighs the benefits up on that parent and we shouldn’t knee jerk install antivirus on everything.

Small Business Server 2008 – Screencast series and Video Tutorials:

 Small Business Server 2008 – Screencast series and Video Tutorials:
http://www.netometer.com/video/sbs.php


Dean Stefanov does a screencast on how to change the smarthost port in Exchange 2007


How to Change Smart Host port in SBS 2008 | NetoMeter Blog:
http://www.netometer.com/blog/?p=52

When your security solution is a bit too secure

Went to help someone fix their Internet connection.  Vista, wireless laptop would connect to the Linksys router but not the Internet.  Tried to walk through some troubleshooting steps but no go.  Looked at the laptop, tried to do some diagnostic steps and realized that the security center indicated that the a/v was not installed.  But clearly Norton (not my fav) was installed on the workstation as the icon in the system tray indicated.  But trying to launch the control panel would launch nothing.  Hmm.. So we had media and a product key to reinstall so let’s try uninstalling Norton to then reinstall it.


Save your Norton 2008 Product Key, then download and run the Norton Removal Tool:
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/norton2008.nsf/docid/2007082908475279?Open&docid=2005033108162039&nsf=tsgeninfo.nsf&view=docid

Norton fortunately provides an uninstaller program as attempting to uninstall it would fail.  About 1/2 way through the process of using the removal tool, Internet access came back.


Many times your security solutions may be a cause of issues as well.

Microsoft Firestarter event

This looks to be interesting… however I do have to say that the comment that “just like all other FireStarter events” makes me ask what other FireStarter events have there been?


Windows FireStarter- Live Meeting:
http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032396930&EventCategory=2&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US


Event Overview


On December the 12th (Friday) we are hosting a Windows FireStarter! If you are a Developer or an IT Pro you’d definitely not want to miss this event.

Just like all other FireStarter Events, we will be recording and making the entire content available for download post event. All the sessions in this event are presented to you by some Excellent Microsoft Speakers who are Subject Matter Experts.

Take a look at the agenda below:

Agenda:    
  Session Name Speaker
8:15 – 8:30 Kick off  Mithun Dhar
8:30 – 9:30 Keynote/Why Vista! Chris Henley
9:30 – 10:45 The Case of the Unexplained  Mark Russinovich 
10:45 – 11:00 Break  
11:00 – 12:15  Building Differentiated UI Applications Using Composite WPF Glenn Block,  Bob Brumfield & David Hill
12:15 – 1:00  Lunch   
1:00 – 2:00 Best Practices for Developing for Windows for Windows Standard User  Crispin Cowan
2:00 – 3:00 Windows Security and Bitlocker  Byron Hynes
3:00 – 3:15 Break  
3:15 – 4:00 (Windows 7 + Windows Server 2008 R2) Teaser Session Byron Hynes
4:00 – 5:00 Windows for everyone! TBA

We are bummed that you cannot attend this meeting in person! We’ll strive to make sure that you have as good an experience when you attend Online. If you still think you can make it in person – click here to REGISTER FOR THE IN-PERSON EVENT.

To participate in this event via Live Meeting, here’s what you’ll need to do:

When: December 12th 2008 8:30 AM- 5:00 PM PACIFIC

The Live Meeting Space won’t be active till 8:00 AM on December 12th

Computer Audio
To use computer audio, you need speakers and microphone, or a headset. Questions can be asked via the Q&A panel in Live Meeting.

Really going down memory lane

Really going down memory lane tonight just to see if I could.


Okay so it’s kinda like seeing if Microsoft Bob will load on Vista, but that’s indeed SBS 4.0 on Vmware.  For the record it wouldn’t load on HyperV and it’s barely up in Vmware.  The video card extenstions won’t install so the video is funky, but it’s an interesting experience in reminding myself of how much everyone has dealt with change through these years.



To build boot floppies you can use MagicISO and then save the files and img or vfd files.  You may need to save them and rename them to the vfd format (the images won’t mind a bit)


Doing some actions on that build to try to deal with drivers and what not.. well it’s just painful let me put it that way.  It definitely has reinforced to me just how much change occurs in technology.


I hope you’d not spent day one of a Thankgiving weekend strolling down memory lane like I have.  You should be preparing for what’s coming ahead:  Download the SBS 2008 documentation — http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc707659.aspx , sign up for a trial of MS online — http://www.microsoft.com/online/default.mspx

Do you spec machines with floppies?

Small Business Server 4.0 Readme.wri File:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/180108

When you read these old chesnuts of readme files, it’s a wonder people got stuff installed at all isn’t it?  You had to build boot floppies first and use that to build the server.


So the other day for one of the guys that needed to test a migration from SBS 2000 to SBS 2008 I started digging through all my old media that I have.  I have all the way back to 4.0.  Well .. I have cdroms and floppy disks… but I should say it’s not “workable” media for those boot floppies for sure.  Back then you couldn’t boot from cdroms but had boot media.  You could regenerate that boot media, but the only computer I have that had a floppy disk drive at home is my Server.  Then I’m trying to find floppy disks that even work anymore.


Windows NT Boot Disks | Boot Disks:
http://www.bootdisks.us/windows-nt/24/windows-nt-boot-disks.html

Even that site that builds boot media is not liking to write to the floppy disks that I have.  Given that they are probably 8 years or more old and bit covered in dust, I’m not surprised.


So I’m a wiz at magicdisk, and magiciso… do they have a magicfloppy out there somewhere?


Hey I may have found one formattable floppy disk… amazing.


Think back to all the change in technology in the last how many years and how we save and store data has changed.  Think of how much more we save and store.  Change is one thing that is constant in technology isn’t it?  One thing to keep an eye on is how we store our stuff.  Are we future proofing it as we store more and more.  Sticking it in platforms we can move it out and off of in future years as technologies change? 


Spoke too soon, the floppy disk writing job is dying.  Off to try to dig up another one.  Obviously floppy drives were/are not a technology that ensured future proofing.


So how many of your computers these days don’t have a floppy disk?  I’m still spec’ing them on our desktops just because the HP model doesn’t charge hardly anything at all for that drive and on rare rare occasion we still do get license disks and what not on it but I’m to the point that I should be asking myself why I do spec machines with it.