Windows 8 CP/Beta RSAT

For those of you testing Windows 8 CP and Windows 8 Beta, you will need to install the RSAT tools to leverage the new Server Manager as well as the updated GUI based tools.

You can download the RSAT here: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28972

These are similar to the Win7 RSAT except that instead of all the tools being disabled by default (turning windows feature on or off) in  the RSAT for Win8 CP/Beta, tools are once again all enabled by default (like in XP/2003). You can open Turn Windows on or off to disable tools that you don’t want to use.  In RSAT for Win8, GUI-based tools are accessed from within the Server Manager console, on the Tools menu.

ImportantImportant !!

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview should not be installed on a computer that is running administration tools packs for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server®. Remove all older versions of Administration Tools Pack or Remote Server Administration Tools—including earlier prerelease versions, and releases of the tools for different languages or locales—from the computer before you install Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Some System Requirements for Servers to be managed:

To use this release of Server Manager to access and manage remote servers that are running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, you must install the Windows Management Framework Targeted Release (WTR) package on those servers. Server Manager in Windows Server “8” Beta or Windows 8 Consumer Preview cannot manage down-level Windows operating systems until updated Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) providers are installed on those systems. For more information, see Windows Management Framework 3.0 on the Microsoft Download Center.

Windows PowerShell and Server Manager remote management must be enabled on remote servers to manage them by using tools that are part of Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Remote management is enabled by default on servers that are running Windows Server “8” Beta. For more information about how to enable remote management, see Manage multiple, remote servers with Server Manager.

Additional Notes:

If running the tools from Windows 8 CP/Beta, you will notice the inability to launch as a different user from the start screen. This is a definite problem if you are in an organization the abides to good security standards and enforces a different account be used to access server resources than that of your desktop.

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However, don’t give up hope, you can still create a shortcut on the desktop and then launch as a different user form the options menu by holding the shift key while right clicking the shortcut (just like in Windows 7). Hopefully this will be fixed in the production ready release.

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Hope you enjoy the new single pane of glass as much as I do.

 

Jason Condo, MCITP
Principal Consultant, Systems Management and Operations

Windows 8 Road Show!

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Windows 8 Server Road Show

Do Way More with Way Less (Money, Effort & Time)

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You’re hearing about Windows 8 Server, but why should you care?
IT continues to feel budget pressure as businesses try to increase efficiency and resource utilization. In today’s Technology Roadmap, you saw some of how current technology can help with that goal. But what about tomorrow? Bennett Adelson and our partner Veeam can help. Come see us present new and important features in Windows 8 Server including demos on the Consumer Preview release. Let us show you how this new server release will help you do way more with way less!

TARGET AUDIENCE

Technical Decision Makers
Team Leads
Server Administrators

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REGISTRATION DETAILS

(location/date are registration links)

Cleveland (April 2nd)

6050 Oak Tree Blvd, Lower Level
Independence Ohio, 44131

Columbus (April 3)

8800 Lyra Dr. Suite 400

Columbus Ohio, 42340

Detroit (April 4)

1000 Town Center, Suite 1930

Southfield Michigan, 48075

Cincinnati (April 6)

4605 Duke Dr. Suite 800

Mason Ohio, 45040

TENTATIVE AGENDA

Keynote: “Do Way More with Way Less (Money, Effort, and Time)”

Breakout 1: Windows Server  8 Overview

Improvements to the Shell, GUI, and Tools

Server Manager
PowerShell

Improvements to Storage

Files System
Repair
Storage Spaces
Data De-duplication
Windows Storage API
Offloaded Data Transfer

Breakout 2: Hyper-V Deeper Dive

Management Improvements

PowerShell support
Resource Metering and Chargeback
Hyper-V Replication

Scalability and Reliability Improvements

SMB 2.2 for VM hosting
Concurrent Live Migration
SMB Live Migration
Live Storage Migration
Shared-Nothing Live Migration
Virtual Fibre Channel
Network Virtualization

Breakout 3: Veeam – Top Hyper-V Data Protection Challenges Dissolved

Closing/Raffle

Microsoft Certification, The Private Cloud, Windows 8, and You

In an earlier blog post, I discussed why we value certification at BA, and I mentioned the new Private Cloud Certification from Microsoft.

One thing that has come up for us recently that directly relates to this new certification is how Microsoft is moving very quickly to being “all in” on the cloud.  I was recently giving a presentation at the Microsoft office in Independence about the future technology roadmap for Microsoft, and the impending release of System Center 2012 fits in to that.  The vision is to use one set of tools to manage your applications across internal, private clouds, and external, public clouds.  The same tools can be used to quickly and easily adjust capacity as necessary, and even (with Windows Server 8) move virtual machines from your datacenter to a service provider datacenter with no server reconfiguration – no network changes, no account changes – just move the VM up to the public host or move it back as you see fit.

That kind of new functionality fits in with the idea that as always, the IT industry continues to evolve and change.  In the recent presentation I talked about how we have moved physical to virtual servers, and now how we are again moving from disjointed, disconnected virtual servers to a unified collection of virtual servers that supply application services in an elastic, on-demand way.  This allows you to supply services on demand to your customers (internal or external) in a fast, efficient manner.

Another change in the industry is that technology cycles continue to compress.  Users expect more functionality in less time, and technology companies like Microsoft (and Google, and Oracle, and so on) have been forced to improve their offerings with shorter turnaround times as a result.  One result of this is that certification gains value coming and going.  That is due to the fact that certifications on “the new thing” gain value because they show the ability to keep up with the pace of change, while certifications on “last year’s thing” gain value because a lot of organizations are unable to update their infrastructures to match the pace of change in the industry.  This means that a certification offering needs to be able to change rapidly to meet the new technologies head on while still supporting you on current technology.

One of the reasons BA likes the Microsoft Certification offering is because it continually updates, to help you keep your skills up to date in this changing environment; meanwhile, they don’t drop certification on a short timeframe, but instead keep it available to reflect what’s happening in “real life,” not just what’s next.  The Private Cloud Certification I mentioned previously will be joined soon by a Windows 8 Certification, in time for or soon after that product’s release.  That certification is being developed as I type this (I can say that for a fact).  You can get prepared now for Windows 8 Certification by gaining or upgrading your certification to MCITP: Enterprise Desktop on Windows 7, which will be able to be upgraded to Windows 8 through the standard upgrade exam process.  I can tell you from experience that upgrade exams are generally more productive for a taker than the “from nothing” version, because they can focus on what’s new and not have to cover an entire product functionality set.  Thus, if you are able to obtain one of the MCITP: Enterprise Desktop certifications on Windows 7 now, and begin working with the Consumer Preview as blogged about by Jason, you will be in a good position when the upgrade exam becomes available (likely later this year).

Oh, one last closing note on this.  Bennett Adelson isn’t the only company that cares about certification.  I am aware of a local company that is offering a four-figure bonus at the moment for .NET Framework 4.0 certification to keep their developer skills up-to-date.  And beyond my personal experience, a 2011 CompTIA study found that IT professionals gain an average 9% salary increase immediately after receiving certification, and 29% over the long term, versus peers who are not certified (channelinsider.com, 2011-10-19). And in a in a 2010 survey of hiring managers, 91% said they consider employee certification as a criterion for hiring (Microsoft Learning, 2010).

We will be doing a roadshow on Windows 8 in early April (post coming in the next day or two), and that would be a great way to get your knowledge on the platform kick-started.  In the meantime, grab the Consumer Platform and give it a try!

Michael C. Bazarewsky, MCITP, MCT
Principal Consultant, Windows Server and Security

The Private Cloud and Microsoft Certifications

This is the first in a short, occasional series of posts related to Microsoft Certification and why we care about it at BA.

One way that BA works to ensure that the Advanced Infrastructure group – and indeed all of our consultants – stay relevant is through training and certification.  Technology changes quickly, and our customers expect us to not only know what they are using now, but what they will be using next.  One easy way to demonstrate that is through industry certifications around the products we work with.  In the case of Advanced Infrastructure at a Microsoft Gold Partner, this often means Microsoft Certifications.

As I’m writing this, much of the industry is moving to a “private cloud” model.  We will be talking about this more in future posts and at future events, and if you haven’t seen this as a topic yet, you soon will.  The ability to provision new resources for end-users on demand – indeed, even self-service those requests – and do it in a cost-effective, manageable way is at the front of many organizations’ short lists for IT projects in the next 0-24 months.  Quoting the Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform website:

A private cloud delivers fundamentally new capabilities that represent a generational paradigm shift in computing.

Of course, with this change in model, there is a need for new skills and the ability to demonstrate that we have these skills.  Luckily for us, Microsoft has recently announced a new Private Cloud Certification which covers this rapidly growing field.  It builds on the existing MCITP: Server Administrator and adds two new System Center exams to demonstrate knowledge of how to use System Center with Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2 (and later, Windows Server 8) to deploy and manage a private cloud.

Of course, while we’re waiting for the April beta of the certification exams, we’d be more than happy to help you improve productivity and lower cost – do more with less – today with these technologies.

— Michael C. Bazarewsky (MCITP, MCPD, MCT)
Principal Consultant, Windows Server and Security

Windows 8 Consumer Release – Notes from the field

As if there won’t be enough tidbits of information coming out about Windows 8 now that it is a bit more polished. I will post things as I discover them and think they are useful.

First Impressions

First off, Windows 8 is very similar to Windows 7. I have yet to find something that I could do in Windows 7 that I can’t do in Window 8. However, what it does do, it does WAY FASTER. For example:image

  • My fingerprint swipe to unlock my system used to take 2-8 seconds, now it is a blink.
  • I a noticing about a 2x-3x disk speed improvement in moving data between drives than when I was on Windows 7.
  • IE 10 loads and is available at least twice as fast as IE 9 on Win 7
  • Driver installations occur in a blink. Refreshing all the drivers from the installation PNP happened impressively quick.
  • The actual installation of Windows was faster than the burning and verifying of the installation DVD.

What I like:

  • Speed!
  • Everything is very similar to Windows 7 so the learning curve to get things accomplished is minimal.
  • Love the file copy functionality and the ability to pause copies. Many times if I have had a huge file copy going that bogs down the system and need to perform a quick task and have had to wait. No more now with the pause button.
  • The new task manager rocks.Much more information and better control of what is happening.
  • That I can still do what I need to do with minimal change.
  • Since I use a Windows phone and have gotten used to it, the tiles and store functionality is similar and has grown on me.

Some issues seen

Currently, I only have only come across one bug. It occurs when you are doing multiple file copy tasks and the file copy list is trying to update. You get an interface lockup in which you can move the mouse around but none of the apps respond, hotkeys don’t imagework, and the screen does not refresh.

Multiple monitors don’t play nice

It was nice that they have permitted the four corners for use with a mouse, the pain however is when you are using multiple monitors or have a large screen that you have a LOT of screen space to drag across to perform functions. It seems I find myself performing the slide-and-pickup of the mouse a lot to launch or switch apps.

On the topic of two screens, only allowing Metro apps to take that main screen is cumbersome although it is nice that you get a psuedo-taskbar on the second screen to launch pinned applications. However you are missing the taskarea so you cannot view or modify anything that is in there without switching out of your application.

Another issue is that it is much more difficult to select the corners or the charms on the right side of the screen (the image to the right). I find myself missing and moving the mouse to the second monitor which closes it and I have to start the process over again.

Some useful “tricks”

Since I had issues with multiple monitors and the ability to use the corners, I decided to poke around for some shortcuts. Here are some I found useful.

Hotkeys

Pressing the Windows key and some specific keys can make you life easier. Here are some useful shortcuts:

  • Windows + X : pseudo start menu.
  • Windows + C : Windows Charms. Same as dragging you mouse to the lower right corner.
  • Windows + M : Minimize all apps and show the desktop, including Metro apps.(does not toggle).
  • Windows + D : Show the desktop (toggles).
  • Windows + F : search for files
  • Windows + Q : search for apps
  • Windows + 1 through 0 : toggles between your apps you have open in the taskbar
  • Windows and then start typing : switches to Start and launches the app search with the letters you typed.

 Closing Metro Apps

Metro apps don’t have the classic window bar at the top that allows you to minimize or close the application when you like and are designed to suspend when you swap out of the app to another. However, you can still close the application if  you are truly finished with it. To do so, grab to top of the app window with your mouse or finger and pull down. You will see the application reduce and become slideable to the left or to the right. This allows you to dock the application to a resizable bar on the left or the right. If you would like to close the application, just continue to pull the application downward to the bottom of the screen. Not necessarily intuitive on a pc, but makes sense and is kind of like throwing it a way when you are done with it.

Want more info?

There are also a bunch of documents you can read to understand all the new features (trust me, there are many new things)

Jason Condo
Principal Consultant – Systems Management