WindowsNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter - December 2012 Sponsored by: SolarWinds

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

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BYOD: Just Getting Started or Nearing its End?

As 2012 comes to an end and we slide toward another new year, it’s always a good time to look back at what changes the last year has brought us and what trends are likely to continue, grow or recede in the coming year. My editorial in December of 2011 was titled Smartphones and Tablets on your Network: Resistance is Futile. And over the past twelve months, that has proven true to an even greater extent than I would have imagined.

Mobile computing is here to stay, and it looks as if it’s going to gain even more ground in the coming year. The blurring of the lines between consumer products and the workplace continues, as well. Today workers are connecting their personally owned phones and tablets to the corporate network. In a few years, they may be connecting their vehicles. Cars have already been made that have Internet and/or local area network access; many of the major manufacturers have systems in place or in the works, including Ford, BMW, Chrysler, Mercedes and others. Nissan is working on a smart car that is connected to the cloud. Will network admins soon have to add cars to the list of devices they need to be able to manage?

Tablets are gaining in popularity, too, now that the iPad is no longer the only viable choice. Exciting new tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 offer more capabilities than ever before for both personal and business use. The S Pen input option makes it easy to draw diagrams, sign documents and do other things digitally that previously involved paper, printers, pencils and scanners. I got a Note 10.1 a few months ago and it has made me far more productive, both in the office and on the go.

The new Windows 8 tablets provide a more powerful alternative in the tablet form factor. They give you the touch-friendly formerly-known-as-Metro interface, while at the same time allowing you to run regular Windows desktop applications. Many of them include detachable or permanently attached keyboards so they can function like laptops when needed, but convert into tablets for pen input, content consumption, working while standing, and other situations in which the tablet form factor is desirable. I’ve had a chance to work with the Lenovo Yoga 13 and it’s a powerful Windows computer that can be positioned in regular clamshell mode, tablet mode, or in “tent” or “stand” mode for presentations.

It’s likely, though, that smart phones will remain the primary “BYO” device in the coming year. According to comScore, as of May 2012 there were over 110 million smart phone users in the U.S. and Nielsen reported that almost 55% of mobile phone owners had smart phones. There were about 28 million smart phone users in the U.K. at the same point. These statistics indicate that smart phone usage is increasing rapidly. There are no definitive statistics on how many of these devices are personally owned, but according to the SANS Mobility/BYOD Security Survey, at the end of 2011 more than 60% of organizations were allowing  employees to bring their own devices and access corporate resources.

On the other hand, some pundits are predicting the BYOD trend is nearing an end. The rationale behind that theory is that companies will start rolling out corporate issued/owned smart phones and tablets. They maintain that it will become necessary for companies to crack down on personally owned devices because of security risks and the increasing complexity of trying to manage a myriad of different platforms and models. It makes sense – in an ideal world – but others believe the attraction of BYOD (both the convenience for workers and the hardware cost savings for organizations) are too compelling, and that IT departments might as well get used to supporting and managing personally owned devices because it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing how your company’s attitude toward BYOD has changed over the last year and whether you foresee more or fewer personally owned devices on your corporate network in 2013.

By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP

dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

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Quote of the Month - The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. – Bill Gates
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3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest

4. Administrator KB Tip of the Month

Advantages of the Zero Touch Installation Approach to Windows Deployment

LTI (Lite Touch Installation) is a high-volume deployment strategy for small to midsized organizations that combines the use of MDT with Windows Deployment Services, a server role of Windows Server 2008 and later that allows new computers to be deployed through network-based installation. By including Windows Deployment Services in the deployment infrastructure of your production environment, target systems such as bare-metal servers can PXE-boot using the LiteTouchPE_x64.wim boot image created when you update the deployment share in the MDT Deployment Workbench.

ZTI (Zero Touch Installation) is a high-volume deployment strategy for midsize to large organizations that combines the use of MDT with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), which is part of the System Center family of products from Microsoft. Compared to the LTI approach that uses MDT with Windows Deployment Services, the ZTI approach to deployment using SCCM provides the following additional benefits:

  • Support for replication. (MDT requires using Distributed File System Replication.)
  • Support for performing multicast deployment. (MDT requires using Windows Deployment Services.)
  • Support for the bandwidth management of image transfers.
  • Support for reporting on driver availability for devices across your organization.
  • Support for complex repartitioning schemes and the formatting of disks. (This can also be done using MDT, but it requires custom scripting using Diskpart.)
  • Tolerance of poor or intermittent network connectivity.
  • Support for client operating system–initiated deployment.
  • Support for fully unattended deployment.
  • Support for offline deployment from media and CD/DVD spanning.
  • Support for encryption and password protection.

Although SCCM can be used by itself for deploying Windows to target systems, integrating MDT with SCCM provides certain additional advantages, such as task-sequence templates for different types of deployment scenarios, wizards to create packages and task sequences from MDT templates, wizards to create new boot images, and more.

To deploy Windows Server 2012 using the ZTI approach, you should use the following:

  • MDT 2012 Update 1
  • SCCM 2012 with Service Pack 1

For more great admin tips, check out http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/

5. Windows Networking Tip of the Month

MSPAnswers.com has your MSP Answers

Running your own MSP business can be very profitable if you know how to approach the challenges that Managed Services Providers are faced with. Our experts are here to help with their own unique perspective on what it takes to be a success. Here's just a small sample of the articles you will find on MSPAnswers.com:

  • Formula for MSP Success: Putting Customer Service First
  • How quickly should you quote an SLA?
  • You Can't Guarantee Your Client's Safety in the Cloud. But You Can Get Them Close
  • Should maintenance checks be performed remotely?

Today there are very compelling reasons for companies of all sizes to make the switch to Managed IT Services. So even if you aren't a Managed Services Provider yourself, it's becoming increasingly likely that in the near future you will start to rely more and more on Managed Services to deliver crucial elements of your IT infrastructure. Although MSPAnswers.com is primarily aimed at MSP's and those planning to become an MSP, the information you will find on this site will prove to be an eye-opening experience - especially when the time comes to start shopping for Managed Services to augment your own IT department.

MSPAnswers.com is frequently updated with new content so remember to check back and visit often!

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6. Windows Networking Links of the Month

7. Ask Sgt. Deb

QUESTION:

Hey Deb,

I heard about Windows Server 2012 doing something new with IP address management over and above what they've done in the past with just DHCP and DNS. Do you know anything about that? Thanks! -Larry

ANSWER:

Hi Larry,

Yes, Microsoft has expanded on its traditional DHCP and DNS offering by making a new IP Address Management (IPAM) system available to you in Windows Server 2012. What do you get with IPAM? Check this out:

  • Automatic discovery of domain controllers, DHCP servers, DNS servers in the domains that you specify.
  • Customizable IP address display and reporting. You can group IP addresses in a way that makes best sense for you, and you can even create your own custom fields that can be used in addition to the fields that IPAM provides for you.
  • IP address tracking and user logon events are also tracked by the system. You can track by IP address, client system name, or user name.
  • IPAM servers are members of a domain so that it can discover domain resources
  • A single IPAM server can support 150 DHCP servers and up to 500 DNS servers
  • The IPAM server can support up to three years of forensics information

There's a lot more! Check out http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831353.aspx for more information.

Break Bandwidth Bottlenecks!

Donít let traffic bottlenecks slow your network or business-critical apps! SolarWinds Bandwidth Analyzer Pack allows you to detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance issues; track response time, availability, and uptime of routers, switches, and other SNMP-enabled devices; and identify bandwidth hogs and see which applications are using the most bandwidth. Unify network availability, performance, traffic monitoring and more together in a single pane of glass!

Download a 30-day free trial!