Public Beta of service pack for windows 2008 r2 and windows 7 is on the way…

dynamic memory allocation, 3-D graphical experience for remote users via Remote FX and preparation for Cloud computing are few of the major promises to come along with it. In an opening-day keynote speech at Microsoft Corp.’s Tech•Ed 2010 North America conference they has release the official note saying public can expect this service pack on end of the July. Stay tune for this and see what experiment you can experience.

I would be more happy to see the Dynamic memory allocation feature which will allow the VPC to dynamically borrow the memory from other VPC’s when they’re under utilized.

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SCVMM 2008 R2 documentation update is out!

If you’re using Microsoft HYPER-V  as you main stream virtualization platform then you know SCVMM is the centralized management console to mange several HYPER-V hosts.  Apart from that is have the capability to manage cross different virtualization technology hosts as well (Eg: ESX)

Since SCVMM is a dynamic product which keeps on evolving all the time new updates and hot-to guides appear frequently. Microsoft team recently released some of the documentation updates. You can reach them here. Apart from that one of the best place to hang around and get the latest info would be HYPER-V @ TechNet.

As per my personal view year 2010 –2012 would be the peak time Sri Lankan market would adopt Virtualization. Most of the time Enterprise companies has been in the observation and internal review about virtualization and how to adopt for that. Since virtualization is a vast area ISV’s will have a great opportunity to provide the ideal solutions.

HAPPY VIRTULIZATION YEAR TO ALL!

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Upgrading your Domain controllers to Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2

So you have been running on Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 AD environment for quite some time and prefer a change. Windows 2008 has been out there for almost 16 months now, including the release of Windows 2008 R2. In this article we’ll discuss some of the key facts you need to consider before you jump into upgrade process and some of the pit falls you need to avoid.

What are the upgrade options available for me?

In-Place upgrade – In this method you can upgrade your existing server to Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2. But the key thing is you can’t in-place upgrade your windows 2000. You need to upgrade that to Windows 2003. (Do you really need to install windows 2008 on that old hardware 🙂 There are few caveats you need to take into consideration before going this path,

  • The Windows Server 2003 patch level should be at least Service Pack 1
  • You can’t upgrade across architectures (x86, x64 & Itanium)
  • Standard Edition can be upgraded to both Standard and Enterprise Edition
  • Enterprise Edition van be upgraded to Enterprise Edition only
  • Datacenter Edition van be upgraded to Datacenter Edition only

Apart from that consider your Domain and Forest functional level as well. In windows 2008 R2 you’ll have some cool roles and features but to get that you need to upgrade the functional levels to R2. Consider the following facts.

Transitioning – Migrating this method means you’ll be adding Windows Server 2008 Domain Controllers to your existing Active Directory environment. After that migrate the FSMO roles to the new server and safely demote the existing windows 2003 domain controllers. You’ll have to purchase new hardware for this. In case if you’re planning to use your existing hardware then temporary you’ll have to bring a new server with windows 2008 to get the roles transferred. Few things to remember at that time is,

  • Global Catalog availability
  • Enable your new 2008 DCs as DNS servers (if using Microsoft DNS)
  • PDC Emulator sync with external time source
  • Ensure the demotion of your existing DCs is fully replicated to all your other DCs before promoting the replacement (if re-using the same name and IP address).
  • Changes to your backup and recovery procedures
  • Anti-virus software compatibility with 2008
    Monitoring software compatibility with 2008
  • Any other services/applications running on your existing DCs (e.g. CA, WINS, DHCP, File and Print).
  • Applications and systems that may be impacted during the outage of your DCs during the demotion/promotion (i.e. those that may be hard-coded to the name or IP address).

Transitioning is possible for Active Directory environments which domain functional level is at least Windows 2000 Native. In a way this is my favorite method considering the risky method of in-place upgrade.

Restructuring – In this method you’re going to create a total different domain and transfer the existing domain details (Eg: user accounts, passwords, profiles…etc) to the new domain. One good example is when a company having two or three domains and they wanted to merge to a one domain name. Microsoft ADMT is one of the useful tool in this scenario(Active Directory Migration Tool) Apart from that there are third party tools available to this kind of transition.

when it comes to upgrade your domain environment careful planning is vital in the beginning to avoid unnecessary problems which can be lead to un-reversible. So take good time to read the documentation and do the lab environment tests. Here is a one good article which can give you some useful information.

PM me if you need any assistance on migrating your company domain environment to windows 2008

Better together with Windows 2008 R2 and Windows 7

Few weeks back I had the privilege to conduct a session on Windows 2008 R2 and it’s new features. This session has been combined with Windows 7 and it’s new features. Windows 7 session has been conducted by Sabeshan. He is one of the Microsoft Certified Trainer in NetAssist.

We have conducted this session to audience who comes from filed engineer to IT manger level. So instead being too techie of the product features we highlighted the technology and how they can implement and get quick ROI from their network. When it comes to new technology some companies are slow adaptors and especially with few Enterprise companies. With Business perspective side there are few reasons for that. We wanted to break that barrier and demonstrate how effectively they can use the technology and get their expectations with less complex setup. Though we didn’t went on deep technical level on that day our future sessions will be deep dive into each product feature with live demonstrations.

We kept on demonstrating Windows 7 bit locker features, VHD boot up, Windows 2008 Active Directory Administrative Center, Recycle bin, PowerShell, Group Policy new feature usage….etc. Direct access could have been preferred one but with limited time frame I had to keep that away for a later time.

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Well there will be no fun without some introduction on Microsoft licensing 🙂 So we introduce one of Sri Lanka’s distributor as well to do some introduction. So keep in touch guys for more updates on future sessions. Some of the contents has been uploaded to the NetAssist training institute web site which can be reached from following links,

http://netassist.com.lk/windows7.html

Windows 2008 R2 upgrade paths

In my public session on “Windows 2008 R2” I have been raised with questions about the upgrade path options and how to do the upgrade. Some of the questions related to the upgrade from Windows 2003 domains rest are from Windows 2008 to 2008 R2.

Microsoft has been always trying to focus and listen to customer / partner comments and requests for their product improvement. With R2 they have included a feature called as “Windows server migration tools” This will allow you to carry our the process of transferring services (AD, DNS, DHCP..etc) from your previous Windows operating system to the new Server environment.

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So how to do those task using the given tools will be a total separate topic and a separate blog article 🙂

What operating systems are supported and unsupported in the migration path has been updated on the TechNet.

Windows 2008 Server Core Configurator 2.0

If you’re managing Windows 2008 CORE operating system you know the pain of typing long commands in the console 🙂 (Well we can use RSAY of course but not for everything) I’ve been using Core configuration tool to make life easier since most of the common commands can be managed UI within the core itself. Recently Core configurator version 2.0 has been released. Core configurator 2.0 only works with R2! so if you want to manage the previous versions of Windows 2008 core edition better keep the old version in handy as well.

Core configurator version 2.0 under open source so you have the complete rights to modify it as well 🙂

Some of the tasks you can do with core configurator are,,

  • Product Licensing
  • Networking Features
  • DCPromo Tool
  • ISCSI Settings
  • Server Roles and Features
  • User and Group Permissions
  • Share Creation and Deletion
  • Dynamic Firewall settings
  • Display | Screensaver Settings
  • Add & Remove Drivers
  • Proxy settings
  • Windows Updates (Including WSUS)
  • Multipath I/O
  • Hyper-V including virtual machine thumbnails
  • JoinDomain and Computer rename
  • Add/remove programs
  • Services
  • WinRM
  • Complete logging of all commands executed

    You can download it from here.

  • Introducing Windows 2008 R2 E-book is available – free download

    Well folks Microsoft did it again. This time the MS learning and Press book guys decide to give away the E-book free. This book is complete and comprehensive book which contains information about the latest information about the Windows 2008 R2.

    As you all aware Windows 2008 R2 officially released on October 22nd. Now it is time for us to get our hands dirty as a early for a better preparation on this product along with Windows 7. You can get the E-book from here.