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This is the last article of my 3-part blog post series for facilitating experienced Windows system administrators to get productive on Windows Server 2012 with a keyboard and a mouse as the input device. Part 1 and Part 2 are focusing on basic user operations with the new Metro UI. To conclude the series, here are two important facts that one should know when running Windows Server 2012. Again, I want to underscore that Windows Server 2012 is designed with cloud computing in mind, and together with System Center 2012 as the foundation of Microsoft private cloud solutions. For those who are working for becoming a Microsoft private cloud expert, it is imperative to master Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 to develop technical depth in implementing and operating of a private cloud. 11. Wireless Support The same with Windows Server 2008, a default installation ... (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)

Six Steps to Get Started with Windows Azure Active Directory

Windows Azure Active Directory ( WAAD ), a cloud-friendly REST-based implementation of Active Directory for identity management of cloud applications, is now generally available for production cloud apps as a FREE service.  WAAD provides consistent centralized identity management for Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune and your own cloud-based applications.  In addition, WAAD can be integrated with an on-premise Windows Server Active Directory via DirSync and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) gateway components. In this article, I’ll provide a set of resources that you can use to get started exploring and  leveraging Windows Azure Active Directory for your applications … How does WAAD work with Windows Server Active Directory? Watch this quick whiteboard video that introduces Windows Azure Active Directory and how it can integrate with Windows Server Acti... (more)

Building an Automated Tiered Storage Lab with Windows Server 2012 R2

I’ve been speaking with lots of IT Pros over the past several weeks about the new storage improvements in Windows Server 2012 R2, and one feature in particular has gained a ton of attention: automated Storage Tiers as part of the new Storage Spaces feature set. However, not all of us have multiple SSD and HDD disks in our demo or lab gear, so it’s sometimes challenging to evaluate and demo this new feature.  In this article, I’ll step through the process of leveraging Virtual Hard Disks ( VHDs ) to simulate SSD and HDD tiers for the purpose of evaluating and demonstrating the functionality of Storage Tiers in a Windows Server 2012 R2 lab environment. What are “Storage Tiers”? Storage Tiers combine the best performance attributes of solid-state disks (SSDs) with the best cost:capacity attributes of hard disk drives (HDDs) together by providing the ability to create ... (more)

Private Cloud - The Future of IT?

Cloud Computing can be realized through multiple implementation models. One of the implementations that is gaining a lot of interest is the Private Cloud.  This article attempts to look at the key attributes of an ideal Private Cloud and takes a futuristic view of the Private Cloud in an enterprise from the IaaS perspective. Private or Public, every Cloud implementation has to respect four key tenets. They are 1. Elasticity 2. Pay-By-Use 3. Self Service 4. Programmability Elasticity gives the illusion of infinity. Consumers of the Cloud will be able to scale up, scale out or scale down based on the demand for resources. Since this happens on the fly, applications can instantly scale to meet the demand. Pay-By-Use turns the CAPEX to OPEX. Instead of investing in a server farm upfront, the cost can be distributed based on the usage of resources. This is a significant be... (more)

Platform Computing Introduces Low-Cost Starter Pack for Private Cloud

Platform Computing, a provider of cluster, grid and cloud management software, on Tuesday announced the availability of the Platform ISF Starter Pack, an out-of-the-box, end-to-end software product and services offering for companies to quickly set up a private cloud. It provides a low risk, low cost way to evaluate private cloud, enabling architects and IT managers to get a cloud sandbox environment up and running in less than 30 minutes. For only US$4,995, the Platform ISF Starter Pack includes a one-year Platform ISF license for 10 sockets, consulting, training and support. Key Points: Introduced to the market in June 2009, Platform ISF is the first end-to-end software product that provides everything you need for private cloud management. You don't need to string together point tools from various vendors on your own. Platform ISF efficiently manages application ... (more)

Twinstrata and Scality Partnership Delivers Private Cloud Storage Solutions

“One of the primary use cases of cloud storage is as a low-cost alternative tier of storage, allowing migration of less used data,” said Gartner Research Director Adam Couture. “But whether you’re talking public or private clouds, the challenge has always been integrating the cloud with traditional data center storage infrastructure.” TwinStrata, Inc., a data protection and iSCSI cloud storage solutions, has integrated Scality’s RING storage platform into its family of CloudArray virtual and physical appliances. With the addition of Scality integration, CloudArray customers can now easily choose and deploy either a private cloud environment or connect with internationally available public cloud providers powered by Scality RING and receive off-site data protection and disaster recovery capabilities on a “plug and play” basis. TwinStrata’s CloudArray’s ”like local” p... (more)

Security Concerns with Private Cloud on TechNet Radio (Part 1)

In today's episode Sr. IT Pro Evangelists Blain Barton and Dan Stolts talk candidly about Security concerns and issues many IT Pros and organizations face today when thinking about Cloud Computing. Tune in as they discuss the Security Lifecycle, from assessing physical vulnerabilities within your company to how to defend your IT infrastructure as well as your data in the cloud. You can found the video and audio of the TechNet Radio show at: TechNet Radio: IT Time - Private Cloud Security Basics (Part 1) Security Concerns Private Cloud Security in the datacenter Physical Security Wireless Security Public Cloud o Certificates; Public keys; Private keys Planning is vital Security Life Cycle Business Continuity and Disaster Preparation Vulnerability Assessment Loss of Data Hacking Internal compromise Denial of Service DoS Biometrics Cameras Security PLAN Much, much more... (more)

Beta Exams Coming Up for Microsoft Private Cloud Certifications

If you head over to the Microsoft Training and Certification site, you will find that we are publishing some information about the upcoming Microsoft Private Cloud Certifications. The Private Cloud certification is built on Windows Server 2008 R2 and...(read more ) ... (more)

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 as Private Cloud Enabler

This is the first article of a 5-part series examining the key concepts and operations of a private cloud based on VMM 2012 including: Part 1. Private Cloud Concepts (This article) Part 2. Fabric, Oh, Fabric Part 3. Deployment with Service Template Part 4. Working with Service Templates Part 5. App Controller VMM, a member of Microsoft System Center suite, is an enterprise solution for managing physical, virtualized, private cloud, and public cloud resources. In addition to the system requirements and the new features and capabilities, there are specific concepts presented in this article, although fundamental, nevertheless important to know before building a private cloud solution with VMM 2012. This blog series is for readers with a basics understanding of cloud computing. For those new to cloud computing, I recommend first acquiring the baseline information form: ... (more)

Getting Productive with Windows Server 2012 (Part 2)

Windows Server 2012 is designed with private cloud and System Center 2012 in mind. While the IT industry is transitioning into cloud computing and embracing consumerization of IT, as an IT professional, building privte cloud with System Center 2012 is an immediate priority of mine and getting productive on Windows Server 2012 is a key step. This is part 2, a continuation of the 3-part series of getting productive on Windows Server 2012, should you not have a touch device readily available. The user operations walked through here are fundamental and for most Windows users this post will be an easy read. If not already, one should read part 1 first. 3. Settings of Current Screen On any screen, use the combined keys, Windows Logo key + i, to bring up Settings options for the current screen. Or a user can also move cursor to UR/LR, i.e. the upper right or lower left co... (more)