WindowsNetworking.com Newsletter of April 2008

WindowsNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter of June 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: dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

Do you wish to monitor your network, servers and services from a single console?

Often admins end-up using multiple tools to monitor their network. As a result, they lack visibility across the IT and the MTTR spikes affecting the end user productivity directly. Try OpManager, a powerful fault and performance management software that lets you monitor WAN, VoIP, Routers, Switches, Firewalls, Traffic usage, Servers, VMware, Services, Essential MS apps viz. Exchange, SQL/AD and other IT devices from a single console.

Download Now - Try our free 30 days trial in your network.

1. Are consumer-targeted "cloud" services clouding the issue of cloud computing?

To those of us who work in a Windows world, sometimes it seems as if "iStuff" gets all the media attention these days. Whether you're an Apple fan or not, it's hard to ignore the fact that you can't open a computer related site or magazine without seeing some "magical and revolutionary" Apple product being featured. This intensified last week when Apple held its annual WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference). The big news out of that, regarding the Apple ecosystem, was related to Apple's effort to get in on the latest hot trend - cloud computing - with something it calls (what else?) iCloud.

You might be wondering: What is iCloud? How will it compete with cloud services from Microsoft, Amazon, and Google? Is it compatible with Windows clients or do you have to have a Mac to use it? Does this indicate that Apple is finally getting serious about the business and enterprise market?

Well, if you go to the Apple web site, you'll see that they focus on the following:

  • iTunes in the cloud
  • Photo stream, which downloads new photos you take to all of your devices
  • Documents in the cloud, with the ability to view and edit the same document on whichever device you're using (at the moment, this works with Apple iWork apps but there is the promise that it is "coming soon" to third party apps as well)
  • App, ebooks, and other content are stored, backed up, and available to you wherever you are
  • Contact, calendar and mail, available everywhere you need it

Okay, there's no denying that this is a handy service. But is this "cloud computing"? It's obvious that it's software as a service (SaaS), since each of these represents a "finished service" (that is, you don't have to develop your own solution or code on your own in order to get it to work). But is it true cloud computing or just a web service? Remember, cloud computing as defined by NIST is much more than just "web services".  Based on the NIST definition and model, a "cloud computing" solution should include the following essential features and capabilities:

  • Broad network access - should be available from anywhere and from a large variety of network devices. iCloud somewhat fits the bill here, since it's available to both PCs and Apple devices (but Windows Vista or above is required for PC access, so iCloud won't be available to those individuals and businesses that are still using Windows XP).
  • On-demand (self-service) access and provisioning - should be able to be provisioned by the end-user, without requiring human intervention to gain access to the service. iCloud qualifies here, since you don't have to talk to anyone on the phone, or do an IM session with a representative in order to get started with the service.
  • Resource pooling - compute (processor), network, memory and storage resources are pooled and allocated on demand. It's hard to access iCloud in this respect, because we don't know the nature of their infrastructure. Apple may be creating a Public Cloud infrastructure, or they may be using more traditional approaches. However, from the perspective of the end-user, the dynamism of a cloud solution isn't exposed, since users are locked into a limited allocation of resources.
  • Elasticity - the ability to dynamically increase resources as needed based on demand, and release those resources to the cloud resource pool when no longer required. In this respect, iCloud is not a cloud solution, since you're limited in terms of how much storage you can use - you're locked into a puny 5 GB. This cloud requirement of dynamic elasticity should give the impression of unlimited capacity to the end user (or more accurately, limited only by how much the end user wants to pay for the service). Again, iCloud falls down here (and although it provides much more online storage space, so does Microsoft's Windows Live SkyDrive, for the same reason).
  • Metered service - metered services, or "pay as you go". iCloud doesn't seem to have an end-user based revenue model (i.e., it's free to the end-user), so the concept of metered service isn't applicable.

You can find the NIST document here.

To be fair, many of the consumer-targeted "cloud" services offered by other companies don't meet all the criteria set forth in the NIST definition, either. There are many misconceptions about what cloud computing is and isn't. Many people consider it to be a marketing term that has no real meaning, and marketing campaigns for services such as iCloud make the situation worse, because these types of "cloud" offerings aren't really cloud applications - they're just web services. There's nothing wrong with web services, and we use web services all the time, but when it comes to the topic of "cloud" computing versus applications in the "cloud" (that is to say, online services), the eagerness to call everything "cloud" only serves to foster confusion. Apple isn't the only (or first) company to jump on this bandwagon, but it is the one getting a lot of attention at the moment.

What do you think? Is iCloud a real "cloud computing" offering or just an online web service? What about Microsoft's "to the cloud" commercials that only peripherally involve cloud services? Are consumers being sold a fairytale when it comes to "cloud computing?"  Or does it matter? Do you think "cloud computing" is real at all, or just a marketing term? Are technology companies just taking advantage of the cloud computing hype? And where does real cloud computing - as defined by NIST - fit into all this?

Let me know! Send me a note at dshinder@windowsnetworking.com and I'll share your comments.

See you next month! - Deb.

By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP
dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

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Quote of the Month - "A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew." - Herb Caen
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Do you wish to monitor your network, servers and services from a single console?

Often admins end-up using multiple tools to monitor their network. As a result, they lack visibility across the IT and the MTTR spikes affecting the end user productivity directly. Try OpManager, a powerful fault and performance management software that lets you monitor WAN, VoIP, Routers, Switches, Firewalls, Traffic usage, Servers, VMware, Services, Essential MS apps viz. Exchange, SQL/AD and other IT devices from a single console.

Download Now - Try our free 30 days trial in your network.

3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest

4. Administrator KB Tip of the Month

Change or Spoof your Network Adapter MAC Address

MAC address filtering is used in some networks to help control which computers or devices end-users can connect to the network. However, remember it is very easy for even average users to spoof or change a network adapter's MAC address in Windows; here's how it's done:

  1. Open the Network Connections window and double-click the desired network adapter.
  2. On the Network Connection Status window, click the Properties button.
  3. On the Network Connection Properties window, click the Configure button.
  4. On the Network Adapter Properties window, select the Advanced tab.
  5. Choose the Network Address or Locally Administered Address Property, select the Value radio button, and then enter the new MAC address. If in Windows 7, you must use one of the following formats:
       x2-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx
       x6-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx
       xA-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx
       xE-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx

Then click OK to save changes and then double-check to ensure that you're using the new MAC address via the Details button on the Network Connection Status window or type ipconfig /all into a Command Prompt.

For more administrator tips, go to WindowsNetworking.com/WindowsTips

5. Windows Networking Tip of the Month

With virtualization being the core foundation of cloud computing, it makes sense that you’ll want to be on top of everything virtual. While still behind VMware in terms of adoption, Hyper-V is quickly gaining on VMware in terms of functionality and scenario support. Most importantly, when you look at the ability to deliver on the core requirements of Private Cloud, Hyper-V might have the advantage over VMware. If you're new to Hyper-V (or even virtualization in general; not everyone is on the virtualization boat yet), then check out the Getting to Know Hyper-V: A Walkthrough from Initial Setup to Common Scenarios document over here.

Do you wish to monitor your network, servers and services from a single console?

Often admins end-up using multiple tools to monitor their network. As a result, they lack visibility across the IT and the MTTR spikes affecting the end user productivity directly. Try OpManager, a powerful fault and performance management software that lets you monitor WAN, VoIP, Routers, Switches, Firewalls, Traffic usage, Servers, VMware, Services, Essential MS apps viz. Exchange, SQL/AD and other IT devices from a single console.

Download Now - Try our free 30 days trial in your network.

6. Windows Networking Links of the Month

7. Ask Sgt. Deb

QUESTION:

Hey Deb,

I hear that the world has run out of IPv4 addresses and that we need to think about deploying IPv6. Is that true? We run mostly a UNIX and Windows 2003 network and I'm concerned that we're nowhere near ready or capable of IPv6. Am I in trouble? Will my systems be disconnected from the Internet? It's hard to find some hard and fast information on this because of all the FUD that seems to be going on out there.

Thanks! - Joey.

ANSWER:

Hi Joey,

I hear what you're saying - it's difficult to sort the reality from the hype, especially since it's true that all the IPv4 addresses have been allocated to distributors (that is to say, there are none in reserve. This doesn't mean that all of the addresses have been allocated to users). What this does mean is that the providers will be more stringent in terms of assigning public IPv4 addresses, but it doesn't mean that you won't be able to get one. It also doesn't mean that your IPv4 only network won't be able to connect to the Internet. For the time being, the Internet is an IPv4 entity, with islands of IPv6 support. Moving forward, those islands of IPv6 will get bigger, but there are no plans for tearing down the IPv4 Internet infrastructure in the near or long term. Of course, it's hard to determine what the actual pace of change will be - since there might be some "killer application" or some other currently unforeseen event that will accelerate adoption of IPv6 on the Internet.

Regarding IPv6 on your intranet, there is no reason for you to be too concerned about the IPv6 capability on your intranet at this time. As long as the services you need to provide to your users are IPv4 capable (and they are at this time) then you'll be in good shape. Going into the future, you'll need to evaluate the applications you deploy, and if any of them are IPv6 only, then you'll need to take that into account. However, there are IPv6 transition technologies that you can employ to help you out while you're transitioning to IPv6.

Bottom line; you don't need to panic about getting your network IPv6 capable at this time. However, I highly recommend that you begin learning about IPv6 now. Take your time, get a good book, and read it and think about how IPv6 can be integrated into your environment over the next few years. A good starting point is Understanding IPv6, 2nd Edition, by Joseph Davies. You can find it here.

Have fun! - Deb.

Do you wish to monitor your network, servers and services from a single console?

Often admins end-up using multiple tools to monitor their network. As a result, they lack visibility across the IT and the MTTR spikes affecting the end user productivity directly. Try OpManager, a powerful fault and performance management software that lets you monitor WAN, VoIP, Routers, Switches, Firewalls, Traffic usage, Servers, VMware, Services, Essential MS apps viz. Exchange, SQL/AD and other IT devices from a single console.

Download Now - Try our free 30 days trial in your network.

TechGenix Sites

ISAserver.org
The No.1 Forefront TMG / UAG and ISA Server resource site.
MSExchange.org
The leading Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 / 2007 / 2003 resource site.
WindowSecurity.com
Network Security & Information Security resource for IT administrators.
VirtualizationAdmin.com
The essential Virtualization resource site for administrators.