Green Cloud Azure Pack

Green Cloud based on Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure Pack

If you try to host some IaaS workloads or build a Hybrid Cloud environment connected to a service provider in Switzerland, you probably want to check out the Green Hyper-V ServerCloud.

Based on Hyper-V technology from Windows Server 2012 R2, Green virtual servers provide you with a powerful, high-availability server platform for your applications. The virtual servers can be seamlessly integrated into your existing IT environment, using Site-2-Site VPN.

Green also offers a own image container function in Windows Azure Pack which allows you to quickly and smoothly migrate your server to the Hyper-V ServerCloud, including configuration and software. Install your VHDX and ISO images and save valuable time on reinstallation and setup.

Options and the ability to gradually expand the system pave the way for future expansion. From individual applications to virtualization of entire IT areas, Server Cloud offers enough scope for your business.

Green Server Cloud

Some of the cool stuff Green offers in there Cloud Solution:

  • Cloud based on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Windows Azure Pack
  • Powerful packages on virtual server with up to 16 CPU cores and 128GB RAM
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Images
  • Linux Images (CentOS and more…)
  • Bring your own Server and ISO Images
  • Create VM Checkpoint (Snapshots) right from the Tenant Portal
  • Seamless expansion of local infrastructure through network virtualization and free-of-charge site-to-site VPN
  • Local service and support in three local languages
  • High Security standards implemented in the Green Datacenter
  • Server Location in Switzerland
  • Hyper-V Replica support – Replicated your Hyper-V Virtual Machines to the Green Cloud for DR scenarios
  • 30 days free trial

Green Business Connectivity and Security

Green Cloud Datacenters

Green is using it own datacenter to host the Green Cloud. The GreenCloud is hosted in their Tier 4 and Tier 3 datacenters for maximal security. The newest green.ch data center offers all the benefits of a state-of-the-art data center. It is situated in an excellent location, is the only Swiss data center that was awarded a Tier 4 design certification, and was designed for energy-efficient operation.

The Lupfig site is located west of Zurich in an easy to access location. It is far away from hazardous zones, yet centrally located within the Zurich-Basel-Bern business triangle.

From the very beginning, greenDatacenter Zurich West was designed for highest availability. All systems required for operation are duplicated. Multiple feeds are used for the power and emergency power supply, and the connection to the data network. And these feeds are even separately routed within the data center. Four security perimeters protect the data center against unauthorized access. Security measures include biometric access systems.

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy awarded greenDatacenter Zurich West the Watt d’Or 2013 for exemplary energy efficiency in the buildings and space category.

Green Cloud Technology

Green Cloud Image Container

As already mentioned Green is using the Microsoft Cloud Platform stack with Windows Azure Pack and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V for their Cloud offering. By using Hyper-V Network Virtualization and Site-2-Site VPN, customers can easily connect their local networks to the Green Cloud and build a Hybrid Cloud scenario. Green also extended their offering beyond the standard WAP offerings by adding additional features such as Hyper-V Replica support, the option to create Checkpoints (Snapshots) of Virtual Machines and the possibility to bring your own server images and ISO images to the Green Cloud.

Green Cloud Checkpoints

So if you are interested in the things Green offers checkout the 30 days free trial offering.

 



VMware ESXi 6.0 Enable SSH Service

Enable SSH on VMware ESXi 6.0 via vSphere Client

In another blog post I wrote how you can enable SSH on a VMware ESXi 6.0 host directly on the host it self. In this blog post I show you how you can enable SSH on your VMware ESXi 6.0 host via the VMware vSphere Client.

Open the VMware vSphere client and connected to your ESXi server and open the Configurations tab.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Configuration

On the Configurations tab choose Security Profile.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Security Profile

Open the Properties tab so you cen see the Security Profile properties and the Remote Access services. Here you can enable the SSH Server on the VMware ESXi host.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Enable SSH Service

If you have some issues check the firewall settings on your VMware ESXi host.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Firewall SSH Port

If you want to enable SSH on directly on your VMware ESXi host check out the following post: Enable SSH on VMware ESXi 6.0



VMware Esxi 6.0 Enable SSH

Enable SSH on VMware ESXi 6.0

 

I already wrote some blog posts how you can enable SSH access for older VMware ESXi versions such as VMware ESXi 4.1, VMware ESXi 5.0, VMware ESXi 5.1 and VMware ESXi 5.5. This post now shows you how you can enable SSH on the VMware ESXi 6.0 host. As in the other versions this is pretty simple. By enabling SSH allows you to remote troubleshoot your VMware ESXi host and also coping files on your server.

On the Login screen of your VMware ESXi host press “F2″

VMware ESXi Logon Screen

It will ask you about username and password to login to the VMware ESXi server:

VMware ESXi 6.0 Login

After the login go to the Troubleshooting Options on the System Customization page.

VMware ESXi 6.0 Troubleshooting Options

You can now enable SSH on your VMware ESXi 6.0 host. After you have enabled SSH you can connect to the ESXi host via your favorite SSH client.

VMware Esxi 6.0 Enable SSH

If you want to enable SSH on your VMware ESXi host directly from the VMware vSphere Client you should have a look at the following post: Enable SSH on VMware ESXi 6.0 via VMware vSphere Client



Windows Server 2012 Logo

Microsoft Nano Server your new Cloud Platform infrastructure Server

Microsoft yesterday announced the availability of Windows Containers and the new SKU for Windows Server vNext named Nano Server. As Microsoft mentions, Nano Server is a purpose-built operating system designed to run born-in-the-cloud applications and containers. But Nano Server is not only designed for Modern Application, but it also is ready and designed to run on your datacenter fabric such as Hyper-V Server and Scale-Out File Server.

Nano Server is a redesign version of Windows Server Core which is very lightweight, very small footprint and remote managed. The first version of Nano Server is designed for the following key scenarios:

  1. Born-in-the-cloud applications – support for multiple programming languages and runtimes. (e.g. C#, Java, Node.js, Python, etc.) running in containers, virtual machines, or on physical servers.
  2. Microsoft Cloud Platform infrastructure – support for compute clusters running Hyper-V and storage clusters running Scale-out File Server.

As mentioned Nano Server has a very small footprint and the first version show some great improvements versus the Windows Server:

  • 93 percent lower VHD size
  • 92 percent fewer critical bulletins
  • 80 percent fewer reboots

To achieved this results Microsoft removed some parts of Windows Server like:

  • GUI stack
  • 32 bit support (WOW64)
  • MSI support
  • RDP
  • Some default Server Core components

By removing the GUI stack makes this server to a true headless server, without any login screen or RDP support. By removing things like this, a lot of people will need a totally new way to manage this servers. The answer is simple and is the best practice for managing servers for a long time called Remote Management. Nano Server will offer some advanced remote Management features such as:

  • WMI
  • PowerShell
  • PowerShell Desired State Configuration
  • RSAT Tools
  • System Center and other Management tools
  • Web-based management tools (to replace local inbox management tools)

In my opinion the effort Microsoft does with Nano Server really makes sense and will help Service Providers as well as Enterprise companies to deploy clouds even faster, more secure, more efficient and with less management overhead. I am really looking forward to Microsoft Ignite to get some more information on Nano Server. If you want to see a little bit more about Nano Server checkout the following video.

 

 



Powershell

Get name of the PowerShell script file inside the script

When you create a script you sometimes want to create some output for a log file for example. In many cases it makes sense to use the script file name for the log file so you can easily see from which .ps1 the .log file was generated for example. To get the name of the PowerShell ps1. file you can use the following command:

This will return the ps1. file object. To get only the name string you could use:

To create a log file with the script file name you could use the following commands:



Powershell

Move files to folder sorted by year and month with PowerShell

I had to sort a lot of files and put them into folders for each month and year. So for example when the files was created/modified in February 2012, the file had to be moved into the folder 2012 and the subfolder 2 (for February). For this I created this quick and dirty script:

Please as always if you use a PowerShell script from the internet, test it first before you run it against your production environment.



Microsoft Band

My Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health User Review

Back in November I finally got my Microsoft Band after spending a lot of time try to find one in different stores in the US. Since then I have used my Microsoft Band every day and I was waiting for the first big update and the release of the Microsoft Health Dashboard to write my first review on the Microsoft Band since the web dashboard was one of the most critical and most important feature for the Microsoft Health platform. Yesterday Microsoft finally released the first major update to the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health with a lot of improvements such as the new Health Dashboard and a Developer SDK Preview.

I was reading a lot of reviews from different only magazines which were trying to review the device, but in my opinion have never really used it or are just wearing some Apple glasses. Let me try to review some of the features of the Microsoft Band and how I use them a little bit differently from the professional reviewers. Of course since I am focusing a lot on the Microsoft platform I am not really neutral, as Swiss people normally are, but I try to give you a good review on the product.

What is the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health

Microsoft Health Cloud

When I was reading some of the reviews done by professionals, I really saw that they didn’t really get the point of the device. Microsoft is advertising the Microsoft Band a fitness band and not as a smartwatch, even the Microsoft Band got a lot of smartwatch features, which by the way are really good, it is a fitness tracker which helps you to collected more and more health data about yourself. The devices was made my some “fitness geeks” inside the Xbox division and what they in my opinion did, was creating a device for themselves. And this is why the Microsoft Band actually an absolutely great device, because it is made from people with passion and not from a marketing research team. As mentioned this is a fitness tracker but of course with some really great smartphone features.

The Microsoft Health platform on the other site is where all your health information collected come together. The platform is not only made for the Microsoft Band but for other vendors as well which can integrate into the Microsoft Health platform. Since I am using the Microsoft Band I started wondering why I didn’t use a device or service like this earlier. We collect so much data about our environments but we do not really measure our health data and try to understand it. With Microsoft Health and the sync to the Microsoft HealthVault you can now get all your health data in one place. I also bought a Fitbit Aria smart scale which sends information about my daily weight to the Microsoft HealthVault. With the Microsoft Band and the Microsoft Health platform as well as the HealthVault I can now collect all my Health information and analyze them in one place.

Fitness Tracker and Workouts

Microsoft Health Dashboard Calories Observations

The most important feature of the Microsoft Band is to measure your fitness and health. The Microsoft Band comes with a lot of sensors and functionality to measure your health, and it shows you have active you were. With the Microsoft Band you can keep track of different kinds of workouts such as running, cycling or just general workouts. I use it a lot when I play badminton to keep track of my heart rate and calories burned. All the data gets synced to the Microsoft Health platform so you can review it on your Microsoft Health apps on Windows Phone, Apple iOS, Android or on the new Microsoft Health Dashboard.

  • 24-hour heart rate monitor: Gives you a better understanding of your calorie burn, sleep patterns, and peak and resting heart rate so you can perform at your best.
  • Run: Whether you’re on the treadmill at the gym or outdoors in the rain or sun, you can view your run summary on your band with personalized metrics in the phone app including pace splits and heart rate.
  • Cycling: With the latest update Microsoft supports now a specific mode for cycling, which not only keeps track of your heart rate and calories but also on speed and your route using GPS.
  • Steps: Set a goal and track your progress. Microsoft Band calculates the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve traveled each day.
  • Built-in GPS: Measures the distance you’ve run and tracks your pace and route. Save your favorites to retrace your steps and challenge yourself later.
  • Calorie tracking: Count the calories you burn each day. View daily or weekly stats, set goals, and receive a virtual “high-five” when you reach them.
  • Guided Workouts: Fun and challenging workouts from fitness partners like Gold’s Gym, Shape, and Men’s Fitness with exercise prompts on the band and much more in the app.
  • Goal setting: Challenge yourself by setting daily step and calorie goals. Microsoft Band notifies you when you meet them so that you can stay motivated.
  • UV monitor: Get a quick read of the UV Index while you’re out and about.

Sleep Tracker

Microsoft Health Dashboard Sleep Summary

I think one of the coolest and most interesting features is the sleep tracker. When you are going so sleep you just start the “sleep mode” and the Microsoft Band will check how long it took you to fall asleep, who long you slept, how many times and when you did wake up, how your heart rate was during that time, if you were in restful or just light sleep. So you can really find out how good or bad you sleep and probably can try different things to change your sleep behavior.

Smartwatch features

Microsoft Band Smartwatch

As I wrote before, Microsoft is advertising the Microsoft Band as a fitness band and not really as a Smartwatch, but it really is a Smartwatch and I think was one of the smartest moves in the whole campaign. When I hear the word smartwatch I always think about gadgets which will replace our old school watches and I don’t think this will happen in the short term. Probably this is because I am Swiss but I think watches are not just some gadgets to show you some time, they are more kind of personal jewelry. Don’t get me wrong I am not just talking about expensive watches, even cheap watches can be jewelry and help express yourself. I am not saying that we won’t use smartwatches, because for some scenarios they really make your life easier, but I think they will be more of an addition to our watches we already have, instead of replacing them. For example on my right arm I wear a normal Swiss watch and on the left arm I wear the Microsoft Band where I had my Nike Fuelband before. So form a marketing perspective I like the word and the concept of additional “bands” a lot more, than thinking about smartwatches replacing our existing watches. But this is just my personal opinion.

The Microsoft Band comes with a lot of smartwatch features:

  • Text Messaging: Get your text messages right on your wrist.
  • Calls: See incoming call and voicemail notifications on your band.
  • Calendar: Microsoft Band stays in sync with the calendar on your phone, reminding you of important events throughout the day so you can be where you need to be.
  • Email: Monitor and preview email activity right on your band, so you don’t have to pull out your phone in the middle of your lunch date.
  • Smart notifications: Choose which alerts you get on your wrist. Change the notification settings on your phone and your Microsoft Band will match.
  • Watch mode: Turn on “Watch Mode” to always display today’s time and date without pressing any buttons.
  • Facebook & Facebook Messenger: Stay up to date on Facebook without having to check your phone. Get the latest posts, comments, photo notifications, and personal messages on your band.
  • Twitter: Tweets, mentions, retweets, messages, new followers. Set your preferences on your phone and see it all on your wrist.
  • Cortana: If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1, you can take notes and set reminders with your voice using Cortana personal assistant.
  • Weather: Get real-time weather conditions and a 5-day forecast to plan your week.
  • Finance: Create a watch list for select stocks in your Microsoft Health app. View the latest ticker activity right on your wrist.
  • Starbucks: No need to reach for your wallet. Enjoy coffee on the go with your Starbucks card ready to scan at arm’s length.
  • Timer & Stopwatch: Time your laps or your entire workout with the stopwatch. Set alarms to wake up silently or remind you to go for a run.
  • Do-not-disturb mode: Tap the icon on your band to turn all notifications off.

The features are great and they are not just here, they are well optimized for a device on your arm wrist. In my daily life I only use some of the features which are integrated. For example I really like the notifications you get from calls, messengers and text messages. For example if I receive a call during a meeting with a client, I can quickly check my wrist and see if the call is important or not and I can quickly answer it with a text message for example “I will call you back”, or just press it away, without having to take the smartphone out of my pocket. Another feature I like is the Cortana integration. Cortana on your Windows Phone knows when your next meeting or flight is and helps you keep track of that by reminding you to leave to catch the flight or meeting. Another use case I use the Microsoft Band a lot is when I login to somewhere using Two-factor authentication, where I get a security code send as text message, which I can now see on my wrist without using my smartphone.

Overall I like the smartwatch features which are integrated but they are not my primary use case for the Microsoft Band or any smartwatch, since there are a lot of things a lot easier to do when you are using your smartphone.

Design and Hardware

Microsoft Band

Let’s talk hardware and design. Well Microsoft did a great job fitting all these sensors inside the Microsoft Band, but of course adding so many sensors make the thing look bulky and the flat screen should be probably replaced with a curved screen. But basically that is all the criticism I have for the hardware design. The weight is absolutely okay and if you have used other fitness tracker before it makes not a difference. Microsoft promises around two days of battery life, for me it is most of the time even more. This is okay but of course I have used the first version of the Nike Fuelband which I had to charge every 4 weeks in average, and I thought charging my band every two days would be hard, but it wasn’t. Since the Microsoft Band only takes a couple of minutes to charge the first 80% this is enough, so I charge it during the time I take a shower.

Software

Microsoft Band Windows Phone App

With software comes all the beauty to the platform. Microsoft offers the Microsoft Health App to sync your Microsoft Band with your phone and with the Microsoft Health Cloud for Windows Phone, Android and iOS. In my opinion the app is great and helps you quickly find things. Of course the app wasn’t the best place to make long term analytics, but for this you have the new released Microsoft Health Dashboard in the web.

Microsoft Health Dashboard

Microsoft Health Dashboard Steps Summary

We had to wait for that, but Microsoft finally released the Microsoft Health Dashboard yesterday. The Microsoft Health Dashboard app is a web console if you will, where you get all the information coming from the Microsoft Band. You have different kind of views to view a specific day, week or month and compare your data. You can get a simple view of the steps and workouts you made or even an overview about your sleep behavior.

Microsoft HealthVault

As mentioned the Microsoft HealthVault is where all your health information comes together. Microsoft HealthVault is a trusted place for people to gather, store, use, and share health information online. Since the latest update you can now setup Microsoft Health to sync data directly to the HealthVault. For me the HealthVault becomes more and more interesting especially if I try to get more data in there such was weight information. For this I bought a Fitbit Aria Smartscale which uploads data to the HealthVault.

Availability

The Microsoft did lunch the Microsoft Band back in November 2014 without a big announcement. Microsoft just released it and made it available in the Microsoft stores months before the Apple Watch will be available. Unfortunately there are two problems, first of all the Microsoft Band is only available in the US and even there it is still hard to get since it is most of the time out of stock. You have to get on some waiting lists and wait to finally get it. One the software site Microsoft released the Microsoft Health app for basically all the mayor smartphone platforms such as Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

Feature Requests

I am pretty happy with the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health, but of course I have some ideas and wishes for future releases.

  • Platforms – Microsoft has now several Health Platforms and apps, such as Microsoft Health, MSN Health, HealthVault and Xbox fitness, to just count a few. It would be great if they would move MSN Health and Xbox Fitness to the Microsoft Health platform.
  • Xbox integration – As mentioned, on your Xbox One you get Xbox Fitness, which is btw great especially if you are using Kinect. Microsoft should make Microsoft Health available over all platforms and integrate the in a single data store.
  • Friends – It would be great if you could add friends using the Microsoft Health to compete with them in workouts or other goals.
  • Badges and Competitions – Would be great if Microsoft would build something like an award system for the Health platform, so you get awarded for workouts and more.
  • Hardware – Even I like my first version Microsoft Band, it would be cool to have a v2 which has kind of a more improved design.
  • More Hardware – It would also be great if Microsoft also offers other products, such as smartscale and other health related gadgets.

Conclusion

Microsoft did a great job with the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health. They not just created a cool gadget, they really created a product which helps people tracking their health and get more productive. I have used other trackers before like the first version of the Nike Fuelband and I also bought some Fitbit stuff for my parents, since Fitbit is available in German language. I have to say that I totally get the best experience in features and usability with the Microsoft Band, it is easy to use and configure and it shows you the information you need in optimized way.