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The public cloud has been promoted as a low cost alternative to physical data center infrastructure, mostly to small and medium-sized businesses. That has driven the creation of a robust category of cloud migration services which has emerged as these smaller businesses have made considerable investments in moving their apps from colocation and data center environments into public clouds. Enterprises, however, have been notably slower to invest in public cloud and cloud migration, at least in proportion to their overall IT budgets.  There are many reasons for the slower enterprise adoption of public loud (IaaS) and they have been discussed extensively. I think what is missing is a more robust discussion of the next killer apps for the cloud; the enterprise game changers. ­­ I think the new cloud killer apps for enterprises will leverage cloud-integrated data cente... (more)

Step-by-Step: Speaking iSCSI with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V

Windows Server 2012 and our completely free Hyper-V Server 2012 certainly have some really cost-effective new storage options, with Storage Spaces and Hyper-V over SMB 3.0.  However, many IT Pros have already invested in iSCSI shared storage and, as a result, many Hyper-V deployments also need to be able to leverage these existing storage investments. iSCSI? No problem! Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012 include native support for a software iSCSI initiator as well as MPIO ( Multipath IO ) for  resiliency and load balancing of storage IO over multiple network paths. In this article, we’ll walk through the process of connecting Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012 to common iSCSI storage arrays.  Because most of my IT Pro friends are running Hyper-V either on Windows Server 2012 Server Core or Hyper-V Server 2012, both options without a local console GU... (more)

Public vs. Private Cloud Debate is Real

Zebras and tigers and bears, oh my! Well, there were no bears on an invigorating Power Panel at the 4th International Cloud Computing Expo in Santa Clara Tuesday night, but the subject of the two striped animals mentioned above did come up. Re-visiting a topic that re-appears during times of seismic change in the IT industry, panel moderator Jeremy Geelan, SVP of the event's producer SYS-CON Media, mused as to whether the private cloud was a zebra (based on a comment he heard from way high up in HP) and the public cloud a tiger, ie, you're discussion two completely different animals here that both happen to have stripes. Panel members included Rob Walters from The Planet, Willie M. Tejada of Akamai, and three small-company CEOS--Terry Woloszyn of PerspecSys, Adam Blum of Rhomobile, and Greg O'Connor of AppZero. Geelan's question went to the heart of the private vs. ... (more)

Understanding Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

In Windows Server 2008 R2 (WS2008R2), Terminal Services (TS) has been expanded and renamed to Remote Desktop Services (RDS). RDS is the backbone of Microsoft's VDI solutions. And in Windows Server 2012, RDS is further enhanced and with a scenario-based configuration wizard. Still the concept and architecture remain very much the same since WS2008R2. The new and enhanced architecture takes advantage of virtualization and makes remote access a much flexible solution with new deployment scenarios. To realize the capabilities of RDS, it is essential to understand the functions of key architectural components and how they complement one another to process a RDS request. There are many new terms and acronyms to get familiar with in the context of RDS. For the remainder of this post, notice RDS implies the server platform of WS2008R2 and later, while TS implies WS2008. Th... (more)

GoGrid Private Cloud Now Available in Amsterdam

GoGrid on Tuesday announced the availability of its Private Cloud service in the company's newest data center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. "We're excited to bring our Private Cloud to Amsterdam," stated John Keagy, CEO, GoGrid. "The new solutions make it easy for companies to create the secure environments their business requires, including full isolation of end-user infrastructure to ensure regulatory or industry compliance." To satisfy demand, GoGrid has created three new Private Cloud offerings to help customers worldwide take advantage of scalable compute power, virtual server images, load-balanced infrastructure, private networking, and elastic storage in a completely dedicated and secure environment-without hardware procurement or resource sharing. "Whether they need to segregate network and hardware resources or decrease IT provisioning time," Keagy contin... (more)

Windows Server 2012 Installation Options

New and flexible ways to make changes of a Windows Server 2012 installation after the fact are available. And IT pros can now convert a server from and to Server Core, and change the availability of server components that are previously committed at an installation time. This introduces new dynamics and exciting scenarios for improving supportability, efficiency, and security. This article highlights the three available installation options and some key operations based on the Release Candidate, Build 8400. There is additional information of Windows Server 2012 including: a free eBook, available editions, and a reference table summarizing the available features in each installation option available elsewhere. Server Core This is the default and preferred configuration for deploying Windows Server 2012. Server Core was introduced in Windows Server 2008 as a minimal ... (more)

Server Core in Windows Server 2012 - Improved Taste, Less Filling

Want to reduce your patch maintenance requirements by 1/3rd or more? Of course! Who wouldn't? Well, Server Core in Windows Server 2012 reduces the disk footprint of the operating system by approximately 4GB!  When using the Server Core installation option, the features related to the Server Graphical Shell ( ie., Explorer, Start Screen, and Internet Explorer ) and Graphical Management Tools and Infrastructure are not installed - GUI features that are usually not required on a dedicated server, because we tend to do most of our IT management work from our admin workstations anyway, as a "best practice".  By not installing these features, we gain several advantages: Less filling - particularly useful when virtualizing Windows Server 2012 ... you can conceivably provision a whole lot more VM's on a Hyper-V host if each VM requires ~ 4GB less disk space! More uptime - Fe... (more)

Step-by-Step: Build a Free Hyper-V Server 2012 Cluster - Part 2 of 2

This article is Part 2 in a two-part series on building a FREE Hyper-V Server 2012 Cluster to support highly available virtual machines as a foundation to a Private Cloud solution. If you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 of this article series on the initial steps for building Hyper-V Server 2012 hosts in a Failover Cluster configuration. In this article, we’ll walk through provisioning highly available virtual machines on our new FREE Hyper-V Server 2012 cluster and testing Live Migration failover scenarios. It’s Time to Build Highly Available VMs! Now that we have our Hyper-V failover cluster up and running, it’s time to provision our virtual machines in a highly available configuration.  Once provisioned in this manner, highly available virtual machines can failover to other physical nodes within our cluster in both planned and unplanned failover scenarios.... (more)

Step-by-Step: Build Linux VMs in the Cloud with Windows Azure

The Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering supports running Windows virtual machines and Linux virtual machines in the Cloud. In this article, I provide step-by-step guidance for running a new Linux virtual machine in the cloud using our Windows Azure platform. Linux? That’s right, Linux! Windows Azure runs Linux VMs as a first-class citizen on our cloud platform, with support in the Preview offering for four common Linux distributions: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 SP2 OpenSUSE 12.1 CentOS 6.3 Ubuntu 12..04.1 and 12.10 The best news is … you can try this out for FREE by signing up for a FREE Windows Azure 90-day Trial of our Virtual Machine Preview. Do It: Sign up for your FREE Windows Azure 90-Day Trial Account so that you can follow along with the steps in this article. NOTE: When activating your FREE Trial for Windows Azure, you will be ... (more)

Integrating Active Directory into Windows Azure Virtual Machines

Migrating traditional client/server applications to Windows Azure Virtual Machines is what Don Noonan does every day. The majority of these workloads use Active Directory Domain Services as their authentication provider, or in other words, classic Windows authentication. In this post Don walks us through the best practices high level architecture and the basic building blocks of creating a private forest within Windows Azure. If Active directory is not available, you better be As we all know, if AD is down so is your app. Imagine setting up a single domain controller responsible for both name resolution (DNS) and authentication. You just created another synonym for single-point-of-failure. At a minimum you should deploy two (2) domain controllers, and they should be created as part of an Availability Set. This will ensure that at least one (1) domain controller is al... (more)

Misconceptions Around App Testing in the Private Cloud

The private cloud: What it is (and isn't) The private cloud is misunderstood. At this stage, vendors can be forgiven for not having a firm idea of what the private cloud is and how it can uniquely improve their processes. Too many service providers have branded legacy technologies as "cloud-based," warping buyers' expectations about what a private cloud actually is and should do. In some cases, what developers and testers get with these cloud-washed solutions are nothing more than heavily virtualized environments that offer little or none of the scalability, automation, self-service, and on-demand provisioning associated with cloud computing at-large. As a result, organizations may think of the private cloud as simply a slight update to their internal IT systems, a fresh coat of paint on the same aging infrastructure that they have been looking to leave behind as ne... (more)