Toms Workplace 2018

My Workplace 2018 – How does yours look like?

Last week I was browsing the web and I found a lot of cool looking home office setups. I realized it is quiet interesting to see how people workplaces look like. With that I want to give a quick look at my home office and my workplace setup. Secondly, I would like to share your setup as well. If you want to share yours write a blog, link it in the comments or show it on Twitter, what ever you like.

This is it, this is my workplace if I am not on the road.

  • My main machine today is the 15-inch Surface Book 2 attached to a Dell curved-ultrawide monitor (Dell UltraSharp 38 Monitor – U3818DW), which with Windows 10 and the Snap feature is absolutely great to use.
  • I also have a Surface Pro as a company work machine, which I use mostly on the road when I need a real mobile work machine. It has enough powerful to do serious work and still gives you a mobile work experience.
  • I am obviously using a lot of Surface accessories like the Surface Precision Mouse, the Surface Pen, the Surface Dial and the Microsoft Modern Keyboard.
  • I also use some wireless Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones, not only for travel but also in the home office
  • I like the Surface Pen on my Surface Pro to draw some quick stuff or take some notes in Onenote.


Download Azure Stack Update

How to install and manage Azure Stack Updates

At itnetX, we help customers to implement as well as to operate  Azure Stack. One part of operating Azure Stack is keeping it up-to-date. This means installing Microsoft Azure Stack Updates, hotfixes as well as OEM update packages like drivers and firmware. In this blog post I will cover all the information you need to keep your Azure Stack up-to-date.

Why should you update your Azure Stack

Azure Stack Update

This may sound like a simple question, but a lot of people ask for it. First of all, Microsoft and the hardware vendors are obviously delivering quality fixes and security updates to keep Azure Stack stable and secure. But Microsoft also adds new functionality with their updates packages to keep up with the rapid cloud development on Azure. This is important if you want that your Azure Stack stays consistent with Azure in terms of functionality.

Another important reason to stay current is to stay supported. You are allowed to be behind two major versions of Azure Stack, which means 2-3 months. You basically should update monthly, to make sure that you are secure and stable, however there are reasons why you might have to defer an update. For example, this can happen for some companies, when they are in a freeze period where they are not allowed to do changes in their systems. If you are more than 3 major versions behind, your Azure Stack is considered out of support and will not be supported from Microsoft, until you have the at least required version installed.

You can read more about the Azure Stack servicing policy on the Azure Stack documentation site.

Updates for the Azure Stack Integrated System

Azure Stack Operations

As mentioned before, there are basically three types of updates to Azure Stack. The monthly Azure Stack Update Packages from Microsoft, Hotfixes and OEM updates.

  • Microsoft software updates – Microsoft is responsible for the end-to-end servicing lifecycle for the Microsoft software update packages. These packages can include the latest Windows Server security updates, non-security updates, and Azure Stack feature updates. These update packages are non-cumulative updates and need to be installed one after the other. These updates are fully automated and will update the complete Azure Stack infrastructure.
  • OEM hardware vendor-provided updates – Azure Stack hardware partners are responsible for the end-to-end servicing lifecycle (including guidance) for the hardware-related firmware and driver update packages. In addition, Azure Stack hardware partners own and maintain guidance for all software and hardware on the hardware lifecycle host.
  • Microsoft hotfixes – Microsoft provides hotfixes for Azure Stack that address a specific issue that is often preventative or time-sensitive. Each hotfix is released with a corresponding Microsoft Knowledge Base article that details the issue, cause, and resolution. Hotfixes are downloaded and installed just like the regular full update packages for Azure Stack. Other the the major updates, Azure Stack hotfixes are cumulative per iteration.
 ReleaseCumulativeWhere to find
Microsoft Software UpdatesMonthly (4th Tuesday of very month)NoRelease Notes
OEM Hardware Vendor UpdatesDepending on OEMDependsOEM Website
Microsoft HotfixesWhen neededYesKnowledge Base article

By the way, you can only update Azure Stack multi-node systems, the Azure Stack Development Kit needs to be redeployed.



You can now watch Microsoft’s underwater Datacenter and fish on Live Webcams

A couple of months back Microsoft provided a look at Project Natick, which is basically Microsoft’s project to host datacenter in underwater. This brings obviously some challenges but also some advantages like cooling etc. Today Microsoft also added some public webcam streams to Project Natick, which allows you to watch the Underwater Datacenter and some fish.

Microsoft Project Natick Webcam

About Microsoft Project Natick

Project Natick seeks to understand the benefits and difficulties in deploying subsea datacenters worldwide. Phase two extends the research we accomplished in phase one by deploying a full-scale datacenter module in the North Sea, powered by renewable energy.

 

  • Project Natick is a research project to build an underwater datacenter. Microsoft is investigating the numerous potential benefits that a standard, manufacturable, deployable undersea datacenter could provide to cloud users all over the world.
  • The Natick Phase 1 vessel was operated on the seafloor approximately one kilometer off the Pacific coast of the United States from August to November of 2015.
  • Phase 2 of Natick aims to demonstrate that we can economically manufacture full scale undersea datacenter modules and deploy them in under 90 days from decision to power on. The Phase 2 vessel was deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre located in the Orkney Islands, UK in June of 2018.
  • Project Natick reflects Microsoft’s ongoing quest for cloud datacenter solutions that offer less resource intensive options, rapid provisioning, lower costs, and high agility in meeting customer needs.

If you want to know more about Microsoft Project Natick, check out the website:

Microsoft Project Natick Website

 



Custom Hyper-V Quick Create VM Gallery

How to create a Custom Hyper-V Quick Create VM Gallery

You might have seen that Hyper-V in Windows 10 got a new Quick Create Feature, this will open up a virtual machine gallery, which allows you to download different virtual machine images. For example the default image is a Windows 10 dev environment, which allows developers to quickly spin up a development environment with Visual Studio inside a Hyper-V virtual machine. If you want to create your own items in the Hyper-V VM Gallery.

To do that you simple have to do three things:

  • Create a virtual machine image (a .iso or compatible .vhdx file)
  • Create a gallery source (.json file) and create a gallery item (configuration inside the .json file)
  • Add the gallery source to the VM Gallery UI


Hyper-V Version 9.0

Windows Server 2019 and Windows 10 with new Hyper-V VM Version and UEFI

If you are running the latest Windows Insider builds, for example in Windows 10 Build 17728 and you are running Hyper-V you will see two new improvements. These improvements are also in the latest Windows Server 2019 Insider Preview builds and will be available for production when Windows Server 2019 will be released.

Microsoft Hyper-V UEFI 2019

First Hyper-V UEFI now looks prettier and has more less the same still as other Microsoft devices like the Surface Book or the Surface Pro.

Hyper-V 2019 UEFI



Microsoft Whiteboard

IT Pros – Check out the Microsoft Whiteboard App

A couple of days ago Microsoft announced that the Microsoft Whiteboard App is now generally available (GA). Obviously this is not just an IT Pro app, it can be used by anyone running Windows 10. The Microsoft Whiteboard App is designed to help you collaborate with others in real time using inking and replace physical whiteboards. Microsoft Whiteboard allows you to share and invite others to collaborate on a whiteboard over the web. It is not only available as an app on Windows 10, it is also available on the Surface Hub.

I started to use the Microsoft Whiteboard app heavily. Instead of using OneNote to draw during presentations and workshops, I now use the Whiteboard App. It helps me quickly to draw some technical drawings and do my interactive workshops.

The Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft New Whiteboard

The Microsoft Whiteboard provides you an unlimited whiteboard canvas. You can use a pen, like the Surface Pen, or you can just use your fingers to draw and edit stuff. You have different digital pens and drawing tools available. Form here you just can get started with what every you want to draw, note or plan.

Insert things into the Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard Insert Pictures

You can not only draw and write on the canvas, you can also add different type of files like Images from your PC, Bing or take a picture directly from the whiteboard. You can also add text notes, which you easily can move around.

Microsoft Whiteboard Ink to Shape

Microsoft Whiteboard Ink to Shape

If you want to have some extended features, you can open up the settings and you have some other cool options for inking. Ink to shape basically recognizes what type of shape you want to draw and does automatically convert to the right shape. Even cooler is the Ink to table feature, which lets you quickly draw a table. This makes it easy to draw and quickly get to where you want to go.

Whiteboard Sharing

Microsoft Whiteboard Sharing

I already mentioned that you use the whiteboard to collaborate. You have two ways of sharing it, you can invite people from your Office 365 or Microsoft Account, or you can just simply share a web sharing link, to allow others to join your whiteboard over the web. You will be able to see in real time what the others are drawing.

I hope this gives you a quick overview about the Microsoft Whiteboard app, let me know what you think. You can get the Microsoft Whiteboard from the Microsoft Store for free.



Windows Server 2019 USB Drive

Create a USB Drive for Windows Server 2019 Installation

This blog post covers how you can create a bootable USB media drive to install Windows Server 2019 on a physical server. This blog post will not use any third party tools, it only uses build in tools which you can find on Windows 10 or Windows Server. Depending on your system you will need it to install it on a BIOS system or a UEFI based system, which is slightly different since UEFI will use GPT disks and BIOS will use a MBR disk.

Getting ready to create a USB Drive for a Windows Server 2019 Installation

First you will need to have all prerequisites in place.

  • Download the Windows Server 2019 ISO File
  • A USB Drive with at least 8GB size