WindowsNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter of August 2011 Sponsored by: ManageEngine
Welcome to the WindowsNetworking.com newsletter by Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP. Each month we will bring you interesting and helpful information on the world of Windows Networking. We want to know what all *you* are interested in hearing about. Please send your suggestions for future newsletter content to: email@example.com
There are a lot of changes taking place at Microsoft these days. While it might not be obvious, I can see a very real possibility that Microsoft will be reinventing itself over the next few years. One of the reasons I think this is true is that Microsoft has made a public commitment to go "all in" with the cloud. Cloud computing is a new paradigm for providing applications and services to companies of all size so that companies can focus on their core competencies and not on how to maintain datacenters. But many companies are still on the fence when it comes to the cloud, concerned about issues like reliability and security. To win them over, Microsoft will have to establish a reputation for providing a rock-solid and safe cloud computing experience.
Another thing that leads me to believe there are big changes ahead is the fact that we don't seem to have clear roadmaps for many of Microsoft's products. If you're a Microsoft Forefront fan, you've got to be wondering why there aren't some R2 releases of products such as TMG and UAG on the horizon. And what's up with Forefront Endpoint Protection? I'd also expect to be hearing things about new versions of Forefront Protection for Exchange (FOPE) and SharePoint, too. And it's not just within the Forefront family; it seems that there are other applications that should have had some major revs by now, but don't. Does that mean that Microsoft is getting out of a number of businesses that it formerly had its hand in - planning to get leaner and meaner and focus more on core products? Or does it mean that all the applications and services that were near and dear to us will be repackaged as cloud services? Or will what are now add-on products be incorporated into the operating system in the future, so that you don't have to pay extra for them? Or does it just mean they're taking their time and will be bringing out drastically redesigned incarnations of those products? Nobody's talking at the moment, but whatever the answer, it seems things will not be the way they are now.
We do know that with the cloud will come major changes in the Microsoft's new client operating system, which we know at this time as Windows 8. Win8 is supposed to be the most cloud integrated operating system in the world and will be designed to enable a number of cloud scenarios, as well as the widest array of form factors possible - including smart phones, netbooks, nettops, laptops, desktops and any other top you can think of! It's going to be exciting to see what Microsoft has in store for us with Windows 8 and how we can have cool experiences and integrated access to information and applications on all of these devices.
Of course, this is all conjecture. The folks at Microsoft are keeping their lips zipped about the future, and we probably won't know much until the BUILD conference next month, at the earliest. What do you think? Are the Exchange Server, SharePoint Servers, Microsoft CRM Servers, SQL Servers, Lync Servers and others going to disappear from your datacenter and find new homes in the cloud? Is the cloud going to turn your datacenter into a ghost town? And if your datacenter is looking to be a ghost town, what's going to happen to you?
Let me know! Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share your comments.
See you next month! - Deb.
By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP
Quote of the Month - "A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." - George Edward Moore
3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest
How to insure that Defragmentation takes place with Windows 7
By default, Windows 7 runs a scheduled task every Wednesday at 1 am that defrags the computer's hard drive. The task is also configured so that defrag only occurs when the system is idle. And if your computer happens to be turned off at 1 am on Wednesday morning, the fact that the "Run task as soon as possible after a schedule start is missed" option is enabled for this task will cause defrag to be run the next time the system is startedprovided there's a period of inactivity where the system is idle.
But what if your computer is never idle? Let's say, for example, that you turn your computer on when you get to work and immediately begin working on it, then at lunchtime you shut the computer down, and similarly in the afternoon. In that case, the default defrag task may never run. What should you do to ensure your hard drive doesn't become fragmented?
The solution is to open the defrag task from Task Scheduler, select the Conditions tab, and clear the checkbox that specifies that the task should only run when the system is idle. Doing this will cause defrag to run even when the computer is being used. In most cases, the performance hit from defrag running in the background should be negligible, but be sure and test this anyway before making this configuration change permanent.
For more administrator tips, go to WindowsNetworking.com/WindowsTips
We're all pretty busy these days, and with the economy the way it is, we definitely need to be able to do more with less. You've got more work to do and less time to do it. And you need to keep your skills up to date so that you're ready for the "next big thing". With all the different technologies you can spend time learning about, what should you choose? With the cloud looming over the horizon, it might be a good idea to get up to speed on some of the key technologies that enable the cloud. One of those is identity federation - which enables applications to consume identities maintained in multiple authentication repositories and repositories that are independent of the provider that offers up the application. The Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) is an example of such an identity federation solution. Check out this great article by Derek Melber to get a nice introduction to ADFS here.
I'm hearing a lot about "cloud" these days. I don't know as much as I should about it because I'm running as fast as I can just doing my regular job these days. A few of us were talking about this thing called "private cloud" and I was wondering if that's the same thing as server virtualization. Some of the guys say it's just another name for a virtualized data center, but some of the other guys think it might be something more than that, based on some of the things they've seen about private cloud on the Microsoft web site. What's your take on this? Thanks! - Larry.
Your friends who think that private cloud is more than just datacenter virtualization are correct. While virtualization is an important component that enables a private cloud, you can have a virtualized datacenter without having a private cloud. Cloud computing solutions, whether they be public or private cloud, have five common characteristic, as defined by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):
As you can see, a cloud solution is a bit different from a virtual datacenter. But as I said, many of these capabilities are made feasible because of virtualization; although it might be possible to enable them without virtualization, it would be very difficult. When thinking about a private cloud, your virtualized datacenter would need to have the additional capabilities of self-service, broad network access, pooled resources, rapid elasticity and metered services. If you're interested in how a private cloud is enabled using the Microsoft Private Cloud, then check out the Microsoft Private Cloud site.
Have fun! - Deb.