WindowsNetworking.com - Monthly Newsletter - December 2013

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

Our Wish List for 2014

Happy Holidays! Everyone's making a wish list this month, so we have one for you. What's a wish list? It's a list of tools that we've gathered to help you get your work done more quickly – so there'll be more time for holiday celebrations. Enjoy!

Hyena's 'Active Editor'

If you have ever had a spreadsheet full of information to update in Active Directory, you know how time-consuming the task can be. Unless you have lots of free time on your hands or you're a scripting expert, you might want to take a look at the popular AD management tool 'Hyena'.

Hyena's development team has added a new ‘Active Editor' feature and designed it to simplify mass updates using either a visual spreadsheet-like view, or by importing data from a simple text file. Basically, you tell it what data is in the file, then let it do the rest.

Learn more or download a free trial.

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Veeam Backup and Replication

Veeam Backup & Replication provides fast, flexible, and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data. It unifies backup and replication in a single solution, increases the value of backup and reinvents data protection for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments. Veeam Backup & Replication is agentless, so now you can stop wasting time and energy on deploying and managing agents in your VMs. With a single license and from a unified console, you can protect your entire virtual infrastructure with features such as Instant VM Recovery, granular file and application-item recovery, and VM replication.

Learn more or download a free trial.

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Altaro Hyper-V Backup

Altaro Hyper-V Backup is a tool for performing backups and restores of Hyper-V VMs. It's an easy to use tool with a bunch of features that makes it suitable for a range of environments and uses. Altaro recently introduced support for Windows Server 2012 R2 (it already supports 2008 R2 and 2012).

A host of storage devices are supported, you can store copies of your VM backups at an offsite location, pick up emails from within Exchange VM backups, etc. so plenty of punch for a lower price than you'd expect from a tool of its kind. A free version is offered for use with up to two VMs.

Learn more or download free version.

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GFI Cloud – Free Asset Tracking

Free Asset Tracking from GFI Cloud provides one place to view high level inventory information across an entire network, such as operating system, processor and RAM for all the windows devices in your network, including laptops on the go.

IT admins can filter their network based on groups, and sort the columns to see which computers have the least amount of RAM, to quickly identify underperforming PCs and computers that need to be replaced sooner than others. Asset tracking does not require any other of the GFI Cloud services, such as antivirus, monitoring or patch management to be running.

Learn more or download a trial version.

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We really like each of these tools and think you will too. Let us know about your experiences with them and we'll share them with the rest of this newsletter's readership! Happy holidays and I hope you find one of these great tools in your holiday gift bag.

By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP

dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

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Quote of the Month - Above the cloud with its shadow is the star with its light. – Pythagoras
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3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest

4. Administrator KB Tip of the Month

How to Check on whether a Domain Controller is Listening on the Required Ports

An Active Directory domain controller is a multi-master application. Any object can be created/updated/deleted on any of the domain controllers of an Active Directory domain. A domain controller must listen on certain network ports before it can listen for the replication traffic. To check on whether a domain controller is listening on the required ports, please run the following command on the domain controller:

Netstat –an –b | find /I “'Listening” > C:\Temp\DCPortsOutput.txt

The above command stores the listening status of the domain controller with the port it is listening on in a text file called DCPortsOutPut.txt. Domain controllers listen on TCP Port 389, 88, 464, 3268 for Global Catalog and 3269 for Global Catalog over SSL. There are also other ports on which a domain controller listens.

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

5. Windows Networking Links of the Month

6. Ask Sgt. Deb

QUESTION:

Hi Deb,

I've been investigating Hyper-V as a possible add-on or even replacement for my VMware vSphere infrastructure. I'm pretty new to this, and was wondering what Microsoft has in terms of high availability for virtual machines. For example, let's say I have virtual machines running on one server and that server goes down. These virtual machines are not clustered. Is there a way to get those VMs up and running again without having to restore from backup?

Thanks! –Manny.

ANSWER:

Hi Manny,

Good question. As a VMware guy, you know that VMware has a number of high availability and disaster recovery options available. Well, the good news is that you'll find similar features in Microsoft Hyper-V. With the introduction of Windows Server 2012, and carried forward and enhanced in Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V includes a feature called Hyper-V Replica. With Hyper-V Replica you can configure the server to replicate your running virtual machines in real time to other Hyper-V servers.

What's really cool about this is that you don't need to configure the source and destination Hyper-V servers to be in the same cluster. In fact, they don't even need to be in the same domain or even in a domain at all. The source and destination Hyper-V servers can be in a workgroup – how good is that? In addition, it works over any IP based network so you don't need to create a special network just to support Hyper-V Replica.

Changes are copied over to the replica server (the server that is receiving the replicated copy of the VM) on a periodic basis that you can configure yourself. You can have the changes sent every 30 seconds, every 5 minutes or every 30 minutes. The replication interval will be related to how often the data changes on the VM that you're replicating.

What happens if the Hyper-V server on which the source virtual machine resides dies? No problem! The replicated virtual machine will come up automatically (if you want it to) and the only data lost would be the data changes that have been made since the last replication interval. Then when the source server comes back up, replication will be automatically renewed, this time with the new host server for the virtual machine acting as the new source for replication.

For more information, check out Hyper-V Replica Overview