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  • Microsoft Azure
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Tag: Windows

Windows Azure Pack IaaS

Update Rollup 3 for Windows Azure Pack available

Microsoft released the Update Rollup 3 for System Center 2012 R2 with a lot of fixes for several product such as Virtual Machine Manager, Data Protection Manager or Orchestrator. This updates to directly affect private cloud deployments and public cloud deployments by service providers by bringing new functionally to the solutions. With that Microsoft also released Update Rollup 3 for Windows Azure Pack which also brings fixes and enhancements.

  • For stand-alone virtual machines (VMs) whose templates specified multiple network adapters, the tenant user cannot associate a particular network to each network adapter.Symptom: If the user is creating a VM that’s based on a template that contains multiple network adapters, the Tenant Site VM extension will automatically assign the first available network.

    Resolution: The tenant user now has the necessary user interface (UI) to select a particular network for a particular network adapter.

  • Developers who use Web Site Cloud to deploy PHP applications do not have an option to specify PHP 5.5 version.Symptom: If the user wants to deploy a PHP 5.5 application, there is no option to specify that version of PHP.

    Resolution: The user now has the PHP 5.5 version option.

  • Usage records that contain more than 4,000 characters of resource data are not supported.Symptom: If the Usage Collector encounters a usage record that has more than 4,000 characters, it fails and shuts down the usage pipeline for System Center usage data.

    Resolution: Some of the instructions in this article involve running an SQL script that will increase the size of the table field to nvarchar(max).

  • Tenants experience unexpected behavior in the portal when they create websites that have the same name in different plan subscriptions that are each on a separate Web Site cloud.Symptom: When a tenant creates two websites that have the same name on different Web Site clouds and subscriptions, the portal may display inaccurate information about one or both of the websites.

    Resolution: Users can now create websites that have the same name through separate subscriptions and clouds without seeing incorrect information about their sites or subscriptions.

  • Tenants who create an ASP.NET site by using Web Site Cloud cannot specify whether the Application Pool will be running in Classic or Integrated Mode.Symptom: When a tenant tries to create a website, the user notices that the Application Mode setting is not available. If the application requires Classic Mode, it will run the risk of failing at run time.

    Resolution: Users can now specify the Application Pool mode for their applications.

  • Administrators cannot use Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN) when they configure SQL Always-On Listeners, because the Windows Azure Pack Resource Provider for SQL Server does not support it.Symptom: When an administrator enters an FQDN in the SQL Extension of the Administration site, the SQL Resource Provider accepts it, but an error is returned after the provider tries to process the FQDN.

    Resolution: FQDNs are now fully supported by the Resource Provider.

  • When a tenant creates a VM, the name that is provided is not honored. Instead, a name is generated.Symptom: When tenants build a VM on premises, they expect the name that they provided to be honored as the NetBIOS name of the computer. This is not the case; the VM extension generates a name to maintain uniqueness in System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

    Resolution: Now the VM Resource Provider generates a name that’s based on the name that the user provides in the following pattern:

    Computer Name = name + “###”

    The numbers are added to the end of the name to guarantee uniqueness in System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

  • The metrics that are associated with websites that are located in separate clouds whose endpoint credentials differ from each other are sometimes not retrieved; instead an error message is displayed.Symptom: When the tenant or administrator accesses information about websites that are located in clouds that are configured to use different endpoint access credentials, you receive the following error message from the Administration site:
    The server could not retrieve metrics (Internal Server Error).

    Resolution: The monitoring service responsible for retrieving the websites data now returns the correct metrics instead of an error.

  • The SQL Resource Provider grants DB Owner permissions to tenants when during database provisioning.Symptom: When a SQL Server Database is provisioned by a tenant, the SQL Resource Provider grants DB Owner permissions to the corresponding SQL login.

    Resolution: Tenant logins that are created after you apply Update Rollup 3 are no longer granted DB Owner permissions. Existing tenant logins and already existing databases are not affected. To retroactively give existing tenant logins the same set of permissions and to remove the DB Owner level access, see the following TechNet article:

  • SQL Server Integrated Security or Windows Authentication is not supported by the Windows Azure Pack Tenant Site SQL extension.Symptom: When the tenant tries to create a database, no option for Windows Authentication is provided.

    Resolution: The SQL Tenant Site Extension now supports Windows Authentication.

For more information check out the Microsoft website: Update Rollup 3 for Windows Azure Pack



Cisco Microsoft

Cisco and Microsoft Announce Sales and Go-to-Market Agreement

At the Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 Cisco and Microsoft announced a multi-year sales and go-to-market agreement designed to modernize data centers through the delivery and acceleration of integrated solutions. This will focus on bringing a deeper integration between the datacenter technologies of both companies. This includes Cisco UCS and Nexus products as well as Microsoft’s CloudOS solutions based Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Center, SQL Server and Microsoft Azure.

Highlights:

Go-to-Market:

  • Cisco and Microsoft agree to a three-year go-to-market plan focused on transforming data centers through the delivery of integrated solutions for enterprise customers and service providers.
  • In year one, the companies will focus on six countries — the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia — with expansion to additional countries in the following years.
  • Cisco and Microsoft will align partner incentive programs to accelerate solutions selling via mutual channel partners.
  • Cisco and Microsoft sales teams will work together on cloud and data center opportunities, including an initial program focused on the migration of Windows 2003 customers to Windows 2012 R2 on the Cisco UCS platform.

Integrated Solutions:

  • Integrated solutions will focus on private cloud, server migration, service provider, and SQL Server 2014
  • Cisco technologies to include Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus switching, Cisco UCS Manager with System Center integration modules, and Cisco PowerTool.
  • Cisco-based integrated infrastructure solutions will include FlexPod with NetApp and Cisco Solutions for EMC VXPEX.
  • Microsoft technology includes Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, PowerShell, Microsoft Azure and SQL Server 2014
  • Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure and Cisco InterCloud Fabric to be integrated in the solutions in future releases

Source and More information: www.streetinsider.com

As you may know I am a Microsoft MVP and a Cisco Champion and I really like doing project with Cisco Hardware since they do a lot of integration with the Microsoft Stack especially System Center and PowerShell. In my opinion this could be a strong partnership and will make life of a lot of people a lot easier.



StorSimple

Microsoft Announces Azure StorSimple Hybrid Storage Solutions For The Enterprise

Today Microsoft announced that starting August 1, the will deliver the new StorSimple 8000 series hybrid storage arrays. The StorSimple 8000 series are the most powerful StorSimple systems ever and have even tighter integration with Azure, including two new Azure-based capabilities to enable new use cases and centralize data management. These new solutions demonstrate how Microsoft is bringing the best of on-premises storage together with the cloud in order to deliver bottom line savings to customers by cutting storage costs from 40 to 60% and helping IT teams focus more on business strategies than infrastructure management.

The new StorSimple 8000 series arrays come in two flavors to meet a variety of capacity and performance needs:  the StorSimple 8100 and the StorSimple 8600, which you can read about here.

The new StorSimple 8000 series arrays come in two flavors to meet a variety of capacity and performance needs:  the StorSimple 8100 and the StorSimple 8600, which you can read about here.  These are enterprise hybrid storage arrays with a twist – instead of being limited to only SSDs and HDDs, these arrays use Azure Storage as a hybrid cloud tier for automatic capacity expansion and off-site data protection. That means IT teams don’t have to spend so much time and effort working on the next inevitable storage capacity upgrade or managing the complex details of data protection. Data stored on StorSimple 8000 series arrays is automatically protected off-site by cloud snapshots, which fill the enormous gap between problematic tape solutions and costly remote replication solutions.

To go with the new arrays, there is the Microsoft Azure StorSimple Virtual Appliance, which is an implementation of StorSimple technology running as an Azure virtual machine in the cloud. With a matching Azure StorSimple virtual machine, StorSimple 8000 series customers can run applications in Azure that access snapshot virtual volumes in the cloud. Customers will be able to run new applications that search and analyze historical datasets without disrupting production work in their datacenter. This new StorSimple Virtual Appliance not only works for data from Windows Server and Hyper-V, but on-premises Linux and VMware servers, as well, providing hybrid cloud capabilities for the most common server platforms today.

The Virtual Appliance also enables disaster recovery (DR) in the cloud. Virtualized applications that store their data on an Azure StorSimple array in a customer’s datacenter can be restarted in VMs in Azure with access to previously uploaded data. Updates to data made during recovery operations can be downloaded later to StorSimple arrays on-premises when normal operations resume.

DR is an area of concern for many customers and they seldom get a chance to test their abilities. Microsoft Azure StorSimple 8000 Series arrays and Virtual Appliances have a feature called Instant Recovery, which presents synthetic, full images of virtual volumes in Azure to applications and end users so they can start accessing data as soon as possible after a disaster. Instant recovery accelerates restores and DR testing by only downloading data that is needed and bypassing data that isn’t needed.

Another groundbreaking capability in this release is the Microsoft Azure StorSimple Manager, which consolidates management for all of a customer’s Azure StorSimple 8000 series arrays and Virtual Appliances. Administrators use the Manager to centrally control all aspects of StorSimple storage and data management from the cloud, so they can ensure consistent operations and data protection/retention policies across the enterprise. The new StorSimple Manager also gives administrators a dashboard with up-to-the-minute status and reports so they can quickly spot storage troubles and trends and allows the IT team to spend less time on storage infrastructure management and shift resources to business applications.

StorSimple customers have been seeing the financial and IT efficiency benefits of hybrid cloud storage for years.  Now, the Microsoft Azure StorSimple solution brings new innovations to enable even greater operational efficiency, and is a great example of technology developed with a hybrid cloud design point and critical customer needs in mind.

 

If you want to know more about StorSimple checkout my blog about StorSimple Cloud as a Tier and the Microsoft blog post from Takeshi Numoto about the new StorSimple 8000 series.

 



Surface Pro 3

My next work machine – Surface Pro 3

I am a Surface Pro user since the first hour, the Surface Pro replaced my laptop. After I got my Surface Pro 2 I replaced my Surface Pro it started to become my daily work machine, which I use for my work, university and at home. With the release of the Surface Pro 2 Microsoft fixed the kickstand and the battery life issues, which really made a huge difference to the first version Surface Pro. My biggest issues with the Surface Pro 2 was the size of the screen. When I worked at university or at a customer the small screen wasn’t really perfect to work for 8 hours. Of course weight and thickness could be better, but for me was never a killer issue, because it was already much lighter and smaller than my laptop. One of the things I liked the most about the Surface Pro was the Pen which was really great for taking notes or during customer workshops.

Yesterday Microsoft announced the new Surface Pro 3 with a lot of great enhancements. The most important changes for me was the screen, they not only made it bigger with a higher resolution, they also changed the ratio from 16:9 to 3:2 which I think makes it even better. I never was  a fan of the 16:9 ratio. Microsoft also made the Surface Pro 3 lighter and thinner than without compromising on performance and battery life.

Surface Pro 3 Specifications

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: Surface Pro 3 292mm x 201.3mm x 9.1mm vs Surface Pro 2 275 x 173 x 13,5 mm which makes it 4.4mm thinner (32%)
  • Weight: Surface Pro 3 800g vs Surface Pro 2 900g which makes it 100g (11%) ligther
  • Screen: 12” ClearType Full HD Plus Resolution: 2160 x 1440 Aspect Ratio: 3:2 Touch: Multi-touch vs a 10,6” Full HD Display on the Surface Pro 2
  • Battery life: up to 9 hours
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB storage with 4GB RAM and 256GB or 512GB storage with 8GB RAM
  • CPU: 4th generation Intel® Core i3, i5 or i7 with TPM Chip for enterprise security
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac/802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth: 4.0 Low Energy technology
  • Ports: Full-size USB 3.0, microSD™ card reader, Headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port
  • Cameras: 5.0 megapixel rear-facing camera and front-facing camera

macbook-air-surfrace-pro-3

 

Microsoft not only released not only the Surface Pro 3 they also released some new accessories for it.

  • New Surface Pro Type Cover which is thinner and got a better and larger track pad
  • New USB Ethernet Adapter with Gigabit Ethernet
  • New Surface Pro Docking station which is larger with more USB 3.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet
  • New Power Adapter
  • New Surface Pen which has an even better integration with OneNote and with over 250 levels of pressure sensitivity and Palm Block technology.

Since I am a huge fan of OneNote I really like how the new Surface Pen integrates with OneNote. The new Pen as a “OneNote” button. Pressing the OneNote button opens a new note in OneNote even the Surface is looked. There are even more features but I am sure you just have to try it out.

It is great to see how Microsoft is building this great synergy between products such as their cloud offerings with OneDrive, software products such as OneNote and hardware. This and mainly the larger screen makes the description to upgrade to the Surface Pro 3 very easy.

The Surface Pro 3 will be available in Switzerland in August.



Install Sysinternals from PowerShell

More about PowerShell OneGet

As already posted and as you can see on my blog, I really like the new feature called OneGet. With the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview, Microsoft released a new PowerShell module which is called OneGet.

OneGet is a new way to discover and install software packages from around the web. The way how this works is that you can connect to repositories around the web or you can just add new repositories by your self for example for internal use. In the preview you have the Chocolatey repository connected. I am pretty sure Microsoft will also add some own repositories to the list, so you can install Microsoft software and packages from a trusted source.

You can get all the different repositories with the Get-PackageSource cmdlet.

Get-PackageSource

You can than list all the packages available for you by using Find-Package, or you could use it to find a specific package.

Find_package

If you have found the right package you can also see all the versions available by using the Find-Package <Package> -AllVersions cmdlet.

Find Package Versions

You can now install the version you need or you can just use the Install-Package cmdlet to install the latest available version.

OneGet PowerShell

After you have installed packages you can of course list them by using the Get-Package cmdlet or uninstall a package by using Uninstall-Package.

But this is not everything, another great thing about OneGet is that it can be integrated in PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC). So think about it for a moment, you can now create simple server configurations with DSC and you don’t have to think about software repositories at all, OneGet does handle this for you.

By the way, Garrett Serack (Senior Open Source Software Developer at Microsoft) also pointed out to me that OneGet also has a place on the Microsoft Open Source Software site CodePlex.

 

 



Install Sysinternals from PowerShell

Install Sysinternals from PowerShell via OneGet

Microsoft just announced the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview. The Windows Management Framework V5 preview adds some cool new feature called OneGet.

OneGet is a new way to discover and install software packages from around the web. With OneGet, you can:
  • Manage a list of software repositories in which packages can be searched, acquired, and installed
  • Search and filter your repositories to find the packages you need
  • Seamlessly install and uninstall packages from one or more repositories with a single PowerShell command

As I did some tests this is perfect to install new software packages very easily. So I started with one of my favorite tools called Sysinternals Suite.

Install Sysinternals from PowerShell

First I have check if there was a Sys internals Package available by using:

This checks online from different sources if there is a package available. After that I installed the package by using:

So this is really easy and guess what, it does not just work for Microsoft Software, there is a lot more of third party Software which can be installed with OneGet. So make sure you checkout the Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview to get the new OneGet cmdlets.

 



CLIXML Export Import

Save PowerShell Object to file for Remote Troubleshooting

This is not something new to the most of you PowerShell guys out there, but still there are a lot of IT Pros which do not know about this. Sometimes we have to do some remote troubleshooting without having access to the system itself. The thing you can do is to let the customer send you some screenshots but that doesn’t really show everything and maybe you have to contact the customer like 100 times to get the right information. A better solution is to let the customer to run a PowerShell command or script and send you the output. But even a text file or screenshot of the PowerShell output is not the best solution. If you get a lot of text in a TXT file it is hard to sort it and maybe there are some information missing because the txt output does not include all information of the PowerShell object.

I have started to use a simple method to export PowerShell objects to a XML file and import the object on another system. This can be done by the PowerShell cmdlets Export-Clixml and Import-Clixml.

What I do is, I tell the customer to run the following command to generate a XML with the PowerShell objects about his disks for example.

After I got this XML file, I can import it here on my local system and can work with it as I would be in front of the customer system.

CLIXML Export Import

As I said, this is nothing new but this can save you and your customer some time. Of course this works with other objects not just disks ;-) For example you can get Cluster Configurations, Hyper-V Virtual Switch Configurations and much more.