WindowsNetworking.com - Monthly Newsletter - January 2014

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

1. Windows Azure – The New Windows NT

It’s the beginning of a new year, everyone is looking expectantly ahead, and all things seem possible. So I’m going to go out on a limb and make a statement that might raise some eyebrows: I think Windows Azure is the new Windows NT.

What do I mean by that? Think about Windows NT, which was the beginning of what we think of as Windows Server today. Back in the early 1990s, Microsoft was just getting into the network computing market. In fact, if you remember the marketing of Windows NT back then, Microsoft was calling it a “network operating system”. Why? Because networking was a big deal at that time.

When it was released, Windows NT had a big uphill battle in front of it, because Novell’s NetWare pretty much owned the network operating system space. I was teaching MCSE certification classes in those early days, and I remember having discussions with my students about whether NT would ever overtake NetWare in market share, and most of them – along with many of the pundits in the IT industry – thought that while NT seemed like a great operating system, there was little chance it would ever overtake NetWare as the network operating system. Well, as you know, the rest is history.

Now let’s fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century. Windows NT has evolved into Windows Server 2012 R2. Windows Server is the big winner in the enterprise server space and accounts for billions of dollars of yearly Microsoft revenue. NetWare is, for all intents and purposes, gone; it was replaced in 2005 by Open Enterprise Server (OES), a Linux-based networking platform (although there are still a few networks out there running the OS). Novell itself was acquired by Attachmate in 2010 at the bargain basement price of $2.2 billion (far less than Microsoft paid for Skype).

Networking today is no longer a hot topic – it’s just there, and taken for granted. Of course all our computers are connected to one another. Grandmas set up and maintain home networks with ease. So what’s the big thing now? Where is the next opportunity for technology companies to take over the world? You guessed it: in the Cloud.

Yes, we’ve been all hearing about the cloud for the last few years and everything seems to be a cloud this and a cloud that. Maybe you’re even tired of the buzz word. But it’s getting hard to deny that cloud computing is the future of our industry. If you’re not in the cloud, you’re nowhere. Of course, this might be seen as a big blow to many of us who grew up in the world of Windows NT, Windows networking and on-premises computing, and who have invested years of time and made lots of money in traditional IT – but in this business as in all aspects of life, the fact is that change is inevitable, and cloud is the paradigm change that all of us in the IT business are going to have to deal with.

The good news is that Microsoft is breathing a new spark of life into our careers with Windows Azure. No, it’s not like Windows NT in that you can’t install Windows Azure on a single server and start learning about how enterprise computing works (although, if you have enough servers, enough storage and enough networking gear, you can install the Windows Azure Pack and have Azure on-premises). However, Windows Azure gives you a relatively easy way to transition your on-premises skills to the cloud.

How? With Azure Infrastructure Services. Azure Infrastructure Services gives you what you really want: server operating systems. Unless you’re the guy who is tasked with racking, stacking and cabling, the real fun of building a network is getting the servers up and running and then installing services and software on them. Azure Infrastructure Services allows you to do that; in fact, you can get virtual machines running more quickly than you ever imagined, much more quickly than you could do in your own on-premises environment. And best of all, you don’t have to manage the hardware. If something bad happens to a host server, that’s Microsoft’s problem! You have an SLA, so they guarantee that the virtual machines will be running with about a 99% uptime.

The interesting thing about Azure Infrastructure Services, and what made me think about Windows NT in the first place, is that right now Amazon Web Services has a big lead when it comes to public cloud Infrastructure as a Service. Now people are asking the same question we did when NetWare was way out in front: “Will Microsoft ever be able to overtake Amazon”?

Maybe you’ve been pondering how to hang onto your job, or even considering getting out of IT altogether. If you ask me, your future is in the cloud, and it’s a bright one. But pilots know that you have to get above the cloud to see the light! If you’re new to the IT business, get familiar with Windows Azure and if you’re already in the IT business, investigate how Azure can help you make your operations more efficient and thus make your business more profitable. In ten years, we might be laughing at ourselves as we do now when we think about how we wondered if Windows NT would ever overtake NetWare.

By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP
dshinder@windowsnetworking.com

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Quote of the Month - The empires of the future are the empires of the mind. – Winston Churchill
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2. Windows Server 2012 Security from End to Edge and Beyond – Order Today!

Windows Server 2012 Security from End to Edge and Beyond

By Thomas Shinder, Debra Littlejohn Shinder and Yuri Diogenes

From architecture to deployment, this book takes you through the steps for securing a Windows Server 2012-based enterprise network in today’s highly mobile, BYOD, cloud-centric computing world. Includes test lab guides for trying out solutions in a non-production environment.

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3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest


4. Administrator KB Tip of the Month

How to Use PowerShell to Display Your Routing Table

Here's a tip from my colleague Ed Wilson (a.k.a. The Scripting Guy at Microsoft) that shows you how to use Windows PowerShell to display the routing table on your Windows Server 2012 computer.

Question: How can you display easily the routing table on your Windows 8 or above computer?

Answer: Use the Get-NetRoute cmdlet from the NetTcpIP module. This command appears here:

Get-NetRoute

Ed Wilson is the bestselling author of eight books about Windows Scripting, including Windows PowerShell 3.0 Step by Step, and Windows PowerShell 3.0 First Steps. He writes a daily blog about Windows PowerShell call Hey, Scripting Guy! that is hosted on the Microsoft TechNet Script Center; for more PowerTips check out the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog

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 run a small business that uses Small Business Server 2003. Yes, I know it’s old, and I’m not sure if Microsoft even supports it anymore. Given the age of this computer, I figured that I better check into what’s happening these days and enter the 21st century in earnest. I checked around to see if there was a new version of Small Business Server and found out that Microsoft doesn’t make it anymore. I talked to some friends and they said that they were using Microsoft cloud services, instead of running their own servers anymore. While my friends made some good arguments for using the Microsoft cloud, I’m a bit of a control phreak and want to get in charge of my company information. It’s not that I don’t trust Microsoft; it’s that I trust me more. That said, I’m no computer guru. I suppose you could call me a power user. I can install Windows Server and run through wizards to get what I need to get done. I’ve heard of PowerShell, but don’t want to get into command line stuff. If I wanted command line, I’d use Linux for free. LOL. So my question for you is, what should I do? Does Microsoft have anything like Small Business Server anymore? If not, can you recommend some alternatives?

Thanks! – Janice.

ANSWER:

Hi Janice,

While it is true that Small Business Server is no more, Microsoft does provide you with an alternative in the form of Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. This product can be purchased as a standalone product, or can be enabled on a full version of Windows Server by installing the Windows Server Experience role. While you don’t get Microsoft Exchange with this version, you do get a lot of high end modern features that I think you’ll like. Some of these include:

- Automatic backup of all the client systems on your network
- Very easy to use server dashboard where you can carry out all of your administrative tasks
- Enable a resilient storage solution that just about guarantees that you’ll never lose data and never run out of disk space
- Easily integrate you small business computing infrastructure with Office 365, which includes Exchange Email and SharePoint online
- No brainer easy to configure and use remote access, so that you’re never disconnected from your office
- Support your mobile devices from the dashboard

I’ve had a chance to kick the tires on Essentials, and it’s not a bad deal. I’d say the only stumbling block might be if you want to run your email in house. In my opinion, most small businesses are better off letting Microsoft host their email – then you never have to worry about losing the precious information in your Exchange database.