Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
Last week, Microsoft quietly released the final version of the Office 365 Integration Module for SBS 2011 Essentials. They did this not with a lot of fanfare, but a simple blog post here. They seem to have forgotten to notify the beta testers as well in their rush to make the holiday season. Never mind though – we’ll forgive them this time.
Long story short, this module provides some great integration between SBS 2011 Essentials and Office 365. It will allow you to easily do a number of things that would normally require you to flip between the SBS 2011 Essentials console and the Office 365 web page.
Sunday, December 25th, 2011
Just a brief Christmas post to wish you all a very merry Christmas. Christmas day for me is one starting with my traditional breakfast BBQ. This year we’ll have 15 people being feed direct off the grill with bacon, sausages, eggs, and anything else we decide to throw on the barbie. I hope that this Christmas brings everyone closer to their loved ones. It’s been a hard year for many and it’s time we take a break from the humdrum of work and stop. Just for a day. To be with the ones we love and appreciate them more.
For those that don’t celebrate Christmas, I still give you the best wishes for you, and your families. See you in 2012.
Friday, December 23rd, 2011
Each year at Christmas, I buy myself something small just for me. This year, I decided it was time for a new watch. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but I wanted a watch that did more than just tell the time. Last week while onsite, one of my customers (also a fellow geek gadget guy) showed me his new watch. It was an iPod Nano combined with a wrist band.
Naturally this is more than a watch. It’s also a music player, voice recorder, radio and a fitness tracker as well. All available via the touch screen. Whats more is that it’s also a USB drive too which means you can literally carry special information around with you. Very cool. I bought mine from Dick Smith Electronics – they have a special on right now that includes the watch band. You can also buy alternate watch bands as well from many places – here’s one of them that I’ve gotten mine from iwatchz.
So if you are looking for that last minute geek gift, have a look at this – very cool.
Have a great Christmas everyone. I’ll be taking a few days off so the blog will be quiet till the new year. Happy 2011.
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
One of my fellow SBS MVP buddies Kevin Weilbacher mentioned this recently, that he found a free PowerShell eBook. I believe it’s based on PowerShell 1.0, but the same concepts and commands should be fine in later versions of PowerShell as well. You can download your copy here
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
I read an article today from Moheb Moses from Aussie firm Channel Dynamics – you can read it indepth here.
The article highlights something that I’ve long believed, that EVERYONE is your customer, not just those that pay you money to do their work, but those that supply you with goods and services as well we your own internal staff… they are ALL customers. Vendors in particular though are often overlooked as those who only want to pimp their own products with the exclusion of all others. Fair enough I say – that’s their job. However a real relationship with a vendor is where they understand that not ALL of their products will serve the needs of ALL your clients. A real relationship will know when to stop trying to push the latest special onto your as if your life depended on it. Relationships… that is what it’s all about – above and beyond product I say.
The article also says “vendors can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you ignore them, they will ignore you.” This is so true. I’ve heard many a time from resellers about how vendor X does not call them… but of course – they’ve never opted to call the vendor themselves. They are only interested in the vendor when they want to get something from them. Not what relationships are about.
One of the keys to my success over the years has been building relationships with vendors. It’s worth the investment for those vendors who are interested and see it as a two way relationship. Make a New Years Resolution to do it yourself and see how well it works for your business.
Monday, December 19th, 2011
That’s it – it’s done. All virtualised servers for SBSfaq.com (aside from our public website) are now running on Windows 8 Hyper-V.
Yes – I know that Microsoft have said do not run this in production, but I am taking steps to minimise the risk so that I can learn the technology that will be the basis for whatever Microsoft does in the SMB market over the next few years. SBSfaq.com has a couple of servers – there’s our main SBS server, a W2008R2 Terminal Server, a W2008R2/SQL Server, and then a couple of additional servers for monitoring the network and things like that. A few weeks back, I moved over all of the servers with the exception of the SBS server to the Windows 8 with Hyper-V. Yesterday I moved over the SBS server to it and it’s running faster than ever and has been stable for the past 24 hours. I actually didn’t want to move it just yet, but a sudden bout of hardware instability in the old server forced my hand sooner than I had planned.
Now – I get to play with more cool stuff. I’m going to dig into Hyper-V Replica as a means for helping our clients at Correct Solutions to have a very cool way to have redundancy in their network at an affordable price. I’ll share some of my experiences here as they happen and as I’m permitted by the NDA I’ve signed with Microsoft.
Friday, December 16th, 2011
We’ve seen this week a lot in the news about the ANZ Bank and the security issue they’ve had with their online banking. ANZ have now taken their online statements offline until such time as they resolve the issue.
The IT Professional that discovered the issue is a colleague of mine. We’ll call him Mr Y for now. Here’s the side to the story that has not yet been published… and it’s certainly a real issue and a concern that it’s not yet been resolved.
So I have to wonder, if the ANZ Bank have known about this security flaw for many months now, then why the heck did it take pressure from the press for them to do anything about it? Why also have they now inconvenienced all of their online customers by removing access to the online statements when they could have resolved this earlier without the negative press that has ensued?
What about other banks that are using the same system – they themselves are vulnerable and yet we’ve not seen anything to suggest that they have taken action to resolve the issue.
As an IT Professional, I have to wonder what their security response policy must look like. For them to have failed to acknowledge the issue initially, and then once the press alerted them to it, further fail to acknowledge they knew about it is just not acceptable.
As an ANZ customer, I’ve got to consider also the security of the information that they have on me. How do I know it’s still secure with such lax policies as they have in place to allow this to go on?
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Veeam is a product that I’ve been meaning to look at for some time now since a good friend of mine introduced me to them a while back. One of the things that has stopped me however is that I’m a user of Hyper-V and not VMWare. Their latest version v6 supports Hyper-V now so it’s time to check it out.
I’ve just been alerted to a free NFR offer that they have for anyone who is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).
They are offering a 12 month free license for testing use to MCPs. You can register for your free license here
Check it out – I’ll be playing with this some more over the coming holiday season.
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
One of the things I love about the new Windows 8 server that is available for testing from Microsoft is the file copy dialog box and the graphing it shows you.
Below I’m copying a 500GB file from a W2008R2 server over to my Windows 8 test system. It gives me not only the time remaining, but also an indication of the speed of the transfer.
If you run Task Manager, you can dig into things more still with deal data on the NIC and it’s performance.
My 1GB NIC is getting a bit of a workout
And you know what is really cool about this…. the 1 hour estimate actually was about 1 hour!!!
Monday, December 12th, 2011
Recently while troubleshooting a system for a client, I ran across the situation where the StorageCraft VSS Snapshot provider disappeared.
When you ran the vssadmin list providers command, you only got the list below.
I then decided to see if the service was present by running the services console and it was not even listed. That’s right the StorageCraft Shadow Copy Provider was not present in the list of available services.
The fix was pretty simple. Re-run setup again on the ShadowProtect installer and select the Repair option. Reboot once it was done and voila… it’s back as you can see below.
Not sure why it disappeared in the first place, but it’s back now and the system is running far more reliably than before.