WindowsNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter of November 2010 Sponsored by: UniPrint
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
We've been hearing a lot about the cloud lately, what with Microsoft being "all in" and Google, Amazon, Cisco and others pushing us to do more "in the cloud". But despite all the hype, companies are still wary of the public cloud. They're worried about reliability. They're worried about security. And they're worried that the talk about cost savings may prove to be exaggerated, or worse.
Nobody denies that cloud technologies offer some big advantages. By using resources more efficiently, less energy is consumed and costs can be lowered. Cloud-based computing can be more scalable, especially for special projects. Network operations and management can be simplified and personnel costs can be reduced when in-house services are replaced by hosted services.
But going to the cloud means giving up control, and many organizations aren't ready to do that. Is there a way to take advantage of cloud technologies such as server virtualization, VDI, resource automation and virtualized storage without handing over the keys to your kingdom to a cloud provider you may not completely trust? That's where the private cloud comes in, and it's an idea that's catching on - either instead of, or as a transitionary step on the way to the public cloud.
Some organizations are upgrading the hardware in their datacenters, installing their servers in virtual machines and calling it a private cloud, but that misses much of the point. A private cloud uses virtualization to achieve agile provisioning of resources and relies on automation so that those resources can be provisioned more efficiently as needed. The virtualized data center is, in fact, just a stepping stone in the move to the private cloud, according to Gartner vice president Thomas Bittman. The good news is that it's not only possible but probable that your private cloud will grow out of your existing data center, rather than being something for which you have to "tear it all down" to build anew.
That's not to say that you won't have to replace some of your infrastructure, and it just makes sense to get rid of old legacy servers that don't support automated management and might be more trouble than they're worth if you try to configure them to work as part of your private cloud infrastructure. And there is sure to be a learning curve as you make the transition.
Still, Bittman's survey of IT managers earlier this year indicated that three fourths of the data center executives, managers and decision-makers responding said that their organizations would be pursuing private cloud strategies by 2012, and the same number said they planned to invest more money in private cloud than in the public cloud over the next two years. Check out the summary here.
All of this points to a trend and says that at least for the time being, the majority of organizations are more comfortable with keeping their cloud computing inside the corporate firewall. This makes it likely that as an IT professional, your job in upcoming years will be about implementing and operating some aspect of the private cloud. It's also a good bet that hybrid private/public clouds will be the next step, so you'll probably be helping to build a private cloud that can integrate with the public cloud. If you haven't already started thinking about upgrading your skills and knowledge to include cloud computing, it's time you do. Contrary to what the "doom and gloom" crowd may say, the rising popularity of cloud computing isn't going to make IT pros obsolete anytime soon - but it is going to change their job descriptions and the skill sets that will be required to get and keep those jobs. It's going to involve a change in mindset, to focus on the kind of on-demand computing that users will expect from a "cloudified" environment.
We'll be talking more about the cloud in this newsletter and on the WindowsNetworking site in the future, so get ready for a wild ride.
'Til next time,
By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP
3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest
Quick Tip to Restrict Users from Modifying the Schedule Tasks
Group Policy does not provide any policy settings to hide Schedule Tasks created by an administrator or applications. You need to use a small script to accomplish this. This article explains how you can do this using a small script.
1. Create a CMD file by name: Tasks.CMD and then put the following lines in it:
- REM *** START ***
2. Edit or create a Group Policy Object and put the Tasks.CMD in Startup Script.
The above script will create a task by name Task_Name. The task runs the TaskFile.CMD file which you copy to client computers and runs when computer is idle for 1 hour. You can change this as per your requirement.
The next line in script assigns SYSTEM account Full Control permissions removing any other account from the property of the task. This way local users, domain users and even local administrators cannot see the task when they go to Schedule Tasks folder.
For more administrator tips, go to WindowsNetworking.com/WindowsTips
Reduce a volume's size in Windows 7
The Windows 7 Disk Management tool provides an easy to use interface for managing partitions and volumes. Heres how you can shrink a volume to free up space so you can create a new partition on the disk.
Perform the following steps to shrink a basic volume, simple volume, or a spanned volume:
I'm using a TMG firewall right now. I was using a Websense appliance in the past, but found the costs to be too high and when I compared the TMG firewall's URL filtering and anti-malware feature set to Websense, it seemed like TMG offered a much better value. However, one thing that I really need right now is a way to control bandwidth. I'd like to limit bandwidth to certain destination and set bandwidth quota too. Any ideas?
Congrats on upgrading your web filtering solution to the TMG firewall! Yes, Websense is pretty good, but with web filtering pretty much becoming a commodity service these days, you need to look at how to get the best bang for your buck. The TMG firewall certainly provides a lot of value in that area! And you get one of the best anti-malware solutions too. But you're right - the TMG firewall doesn't have any bandwidth shaping or control options. If you remember, way back in the ISA 2000 days, the ISA firewall included some basic bandwidth control options. However, those were dropped with ISA 2004. There are a number of solutions that you can plug into the TMG firewall. One that I'm using is called Bandwidth Splitter, and it's working well for me. If you want to learn more about bandwidth splitter, check out my review of the product here.