Category Archives: Microsoft

Hyper-V remote management… beware changing passwords!

I’ve been struggling this last few weeks with a troublesome Hyper-V remote management issue I’d caused myself in the pursuit of testing new toys & tools, the latest being Hyper-V Server.
Hyper-V Server is a truely marvelous bundle of goodness if there every was, however a word of warning/reminder (we should know better!) when testing changes.. only change one variable at once!

I’d been running a WS2008 server core install for various Hyper-V testing since being involved in the UK Hyper-V RDP earlier in the year.  Anyway as time went on it proved to be rock solid, indeed so stable and with great performance that on a return from Redmond with an insanely cheap (company store & 2$ to the pound!) copy of Windows Home Server (WHS), I  built my first WHS system as a virtualized box on there too.

Windows Home Server (WHS) is a brilliant!, it provides great backup, remote access, and of course centralised content storing.  WHS allowed me to consolidate all of our Vista Media Center content; Video, Music, Recorded TV (beware that one!), entire family life photo library, you know the usual unimportant treacle of life type stuff that you can never replace without the aid of time travel…

Anyway, trying not too ramble (see title, you were warned! ;-)…

When the VM host was a server core deployment I was managing it without too much fuss (okay quite a bit initially, but nothing some great posts by John Howard couldn’t fix, see his masters works at http://blogs.technet.com/jhoward), from a WS2008 laptop… I then rebuilt the server with Hyper-V Server (same name, same IP, ran the usual open her up for remote management scripts) but all I could get was… ‘You do not have permission….’  even though same network setup, same creds, same name.. (different SID & GUID’s of course..).

Oh and ended up writing a pagefile to the ‘offline’ passthrough disks, you know the ones with the unimportant data on….

I struggled with this on and off for a couple of weeks causing great annoyance to my nearly 6 year old, and my now nearly ex-partner whilst quietly sh..ting myself that I just might have lost all of our content inc. entire family life album, if so hopefully death (mine) would be swift…

Only today in another couple of hours of panic and desperation, did I realise that whilst I said ‘same creds’ what I meant was is that during the time of rebuilding my VM host from a server core to a hyper-v server deployment I decided it was time to strengthen the Administrator account password from one I’ve used for some time (we never worried too much about the Administrator as until WS2008 we have always disabled the Administrator account, but now not so simple for WS2008 🙁 but that’s another post! ;-).  Of course, I also changed the password of the WS2008 laptop connecting to the Hyper-V server (both workgroup).

I knew the laptop could connect as configured, as it was working with the previous server core deployment.  Even before using John Howard’s most excellent HVremote tool available at http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/HVRemote I was pretty confident I’d opened everything up as needed on the Hyper-V server (I’d written up and blogged the server core commands inc. Hyper-V back in March/April when involved in the UK Hyper-V RDP – http://reubenjcook.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/windows-server-2008-server-core-setup-scripts-common-commands/).

This morning after much banging of the keyboard, and my head! (we celebrated hard after passing the SCOM & SCCM exams this week :-)), it came to me in a semi-hungover blur… try the old password Luke… I changed both sides and instantly it worked!

I then almost cried with relief as getting this working meant I could start reinstating the virtualised home server with dual passthrough disks containing all of our content, or not and quickly pack my bags and follow my good friend and associate Ashley back to Qatar (he fly back this morning after the SCOM & SCCM training).

Thankfuly, my bacon was saved, and our Indiana Jones obsessed son has had back-to-back Indy all afternoon (wonder why this post is so long?… ;-))

 

 

btw, I’ve since tested by changing the password again, and it immediately breaks Hyper-V management, change it back and voila, straight away you’re back connected.  It would appear the creds are cached for Hyper-V remote managment, will do more testing, but not tonight…

 

 

..now to work on my Hyper-V guest VM being a DHCP server issue (yep 2nd NIC for mgmt), although I think that might be another blogpost! 😉

 

New Xbox Experience (NXE) update…

Today, the long awaited New Xbox Experience (NXE) update was released.  I only noticed when I got home this evening and was attempting to put a game on for my Indiana Jones obsesssed nearly 6-year old!

I was expecting a usual Xbox update after reading the standard prompt about being signed out of Live if not taking the update, but then noticed a new progress bar… the Experience upgrade (about 2 minutes).

WOW!  just a bit! 😉

A totally new UI and effects deck, much nicer integration with Media Center (am running Vista Media Center), overall awesome work Microsoft Xbox team, okay, taken a few ideas and developed them further, but they definately have taken them further! 🙂

The official site is at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/support/hardware/memoryupdate/default.htm and states…

In order to connect to Xbox LIVE and enjoy everything the new Xbox Experience has to offer, you will need an Xbox 360 Hard Drive. While you can connect to Xbox LIVE using an Xbox 360 Memory Unit with 128MB of available space, you will not be able to enjoy all the great features like Xbox LIVE Primetime and video downloads.

 

Training – Microsoft SCCM & SCOM exam preperation bootcamp

This week am attending SCOM & SCCM bootcamp exam preparation training with one of our close associates, Ashley Lawrence. Ashley has been involved with The Full Circle (www.thefullcircle.com) since its beginnings in 2002-03. Ashley & I had worked together (you’ll have to look at my linkedin profile) prior to this, and have succesfully continued to work on various projects together since even though he is now based in Qatar!

Anyway, this week rather than work, work, work, it’s train, exam, train, exam, the details of which are below:

Systems Center Specialisation - Exam Preparation Bootcamp - (SCOM and SCCM)

Event Title: 44HOL003 – Systems Center Specialisation – Exam Preparation Bootcamp – (SCOM and SCCM)

Exam 70-400: TS: Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007, Configuring

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-400.mspx

 

 

 

Exam 70-401: TS: Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, Configuring

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-401.mspx

 


44HOL003 – Systems Center Specialisation – Exam Preparation Bootcamp – (SCOM and SCCM)


We did the SCCM on the Wednesday afternoon, and fortunately most of what we were told must have sunk in as we both passed with flying colours! :-), we came to following conclusions to appraise…

SCCM Exam – in the context of the course, totally applicable, relevant, etc. but then it should be as the ‘course’ was a bootcamp designed to pass the current exam – as usual for a Microsoft exam quite a lot of poorly worded questioning more about one’s ability to read the question rather than test the subject matter.

 

SCCM Course – (i.e. an exam prep bootcamp) it did exactly what it set out to do – increase the numbers of certified SCCM partners (and therefore MCP’s) in the market, by passing the exam (see above re: exam vis-à-vis course), however I’d hope that the full blown course has more real-world examples, and more engaging labs, such as grouping/teaming delegates into sub-groups to work together on real world scenarios e.g. multiple secondary sites distributing and reporting on secondary site level client distributions, etc. to bring everyone together. Obviously the aforementioned example further alienates the smaller shops who don’t run or need multi-level hierarchies, but you get my drift – the labs are weak!

Firdous Gangat & Dave Allen – Firdous & David really made the difference to this course material, which alone would have been quite poor (labs anyway).  Their knowledge added 1000% to its value, this said it did what it said on the tin as I passed both the SCCM & SCOM exams during the week as planned.

heating probems during the week (lack of cooling) caused some problems and some of the kit is quite old (ML310 G1, didn’t really have the horsepower for virtualised SCOM!), when ML110-G5’s came down to £100 someone should have snapped them up!

 

A well deserved beer at the end of the course, but not for me 🙁 my beers scheduled for after the SCOM...

Summary:

This 5 day instructor-led course will help students prepare for Microsoft exam 70-400 on Configuring Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007, and Microsoft exam 70-401 on Configuring Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007. The course focuses on the domains covered on each exam.

 

The course will include lecture and demonstrations by the instructor, hands-on labs for the students, and tips on how to effectively prepare for a Microsoft certification exam. 
Intended Audience:
Systems Integrators, Gold Partners – Technical Audience
 

Prerequisites:

Students should have a minimum of one year of experience with:
Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 or System Center Operations Manager 2007 including configuring distributed applications, using PowerShell, and configuring and deploying Management Packs.
Systems Management Server (SMS) or Configuration Manager 2007 including deploying and managing software and hardware assets.
Active Directory and the Windows server system.

 

The equivalent knowledge may be gained by completing the one or more of the following courses:
Microsoft Instructor Led course 50028: Managing System Center Operations Manager 2007, or Microsoft E-Learning Collection 3386: Implementing Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 and Microsoft Instructor Led Course 6451: Planning, Deploying, and Managing Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007
 
Objectives:
This 5 day instructor-led course will help students prepare for Microsoft exam 70-400 on Configuring Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007, and Microsoft exam 70-401 on Configuring Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007.
 

Agenda:

Part 1 System Center Operations Manager 2007 Exam 70-400
Configuring System Center Operations Manager 2007
Topics
Configure notification.
Manage roles.
Configure System Center Operations Manager options.
Discover and deploy agents within a trusted Active Directory forest.
Discover and deploy agents to systems not using Active Directory.
Labs
Use the Computer and Device Management Wizard
Implement profiles and user roles for Exchange Server
Configure objects for Maintenance mode

 

Deploying and Configuring Management Packs
Topics
Import a Management Pack.
Configure overrides.
Create a self-tuning threshold.
Migrate a Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 Management Pack to System Center Operations Manager 2007.
Configure diagnostics and recoveries for a rule or a monitor.
Labs
Verify conversion of MOM 2005 management packs to SCOM 2007
Create and modify a self-tuning threshold monitor
Building and Deploying Custom Management Packs
Topics
Configure security options.
Configure discovery for Management Packs.
Create monitors and rules.
Create a distributed application.
Create a synthetic transaction.
Labs
Create rules with overrides for specific server roles
Customize Management Packs by creating monitors and related tasks
Create synthetic transaction monitors to check application performance and connectivity
Create a relationship to show a dependency between applications
 
Maintaining System Center Operations Manager
Topics
Maintain a System Center Operations Manager infrastructure.
Create views.
Create tasks.
Fail over from Root Management Server (RMS).
Back up and restore System Center Operations Manager.
Manage and maintain reports.
Labs
Create a Dashboard view and a State view
Create a scheduled task using PowerShell
Create a console task and diagnostic task
Configure data retention settings
Configuring Client Monitoring
Topics
Configure Audit Collection Service (ACS).
Configure Agentless Exception Monitoring (AEM).
Configure Collective Client Monitoring (CCM).
Configure Business Critical Client Monitoring (BCCM).
Labs
Agentless Exception Monitoring—create and configure filters
Configure Client Monitoring Wizard
Create BCCM monitors for Windows clients
Use ACS to monitor domain controllers
Part 2 System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Exam 70-401
Deploying a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SCCM) Server
Topics
Set up and configure an Active Directory schema.
Migrate from an SMS 2003 hierarchy to SCCM 2007.
Configure an SCCM hierarchy.
Set up and configure security accounts.
Configuring an SCCM Infrastructure
Topics
Configure client agents.
Configure site boundaries.
Configure core site system roles.
Configure discovery methods.
Configure client installation.
Configure SCCM infrastructure for Internet-based client management.
Labs
Configure Active Directory discovery method
Specify a boundary for dial up clients
Use VB script to specify download settings
Managing Resources
Topics
Build an SCCM collection by using queries.
Meter software usage.
Manage assets.
Manage inventory flow.
Manage client agents.
Labs
Create a query membership rule collection.
Create a query-based collection rule using WBEM Query Language
Create custom attributes in Active Directory and build a collection based on that attribute.
Create a PowerShell script that executes an action.

Distributing Applications
Topics
Manage packages.
Manage programs.
Manage advertisements.
Schedule distribution.
Track success and failure rates for distribution.
Manage distribution points.
Labs
Use the Copy Packages Wizard to duplicate a package
Create a program dependency
Deploying Operating Systems
Topics
Capture a reference computer image.
Manage task sequences.
Configure site system roles related to deploying operating systems.
Deploy operating system packages.
Customize user state migration.
Deliver applications.
Labs
Create update lists.
Deploy an operating system to a secondary site
Create a PXE service point
Migrate user state

Securing a Network Infrastructure
Topics
Configure Network Access Protection (NAP).
Maintain NAP.
Migrate from Inventory Tool for Microsoft Update (ITMU) to Windows Software Update Services (WSUS).
Deploy software updates.
Manage vulnerability compliance.
Labs
Enable software update management.
Create deadlines for update deployment
Configure maintenance windows

Managing and Maintaining an SCCM Infrastructure
Topics
Manage system health.
Configure automatic maintenance tasks.
Create custom reports.
Maintain clients.
Manage systems by using configuration management.
Manage Wake on LAN.
Labs
Import and export Collections, Reports, and Queries.
Generate alerts for distribution points.

 

 

 

Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS 2008) launch & NMB the largest International pre-release deployment

Today EBS 2008 launched along with SBS 2008 as part of the Windows Essential Server Solutions (WESS).

The Full Circle (www.thefullcircle.com) have been at the forefront of this exciting product development having worked with Microsoft on the EBS Technology Adoption Program (TAP) since early 2008 (we’d actually signed up on Microsoft Connect for what was then known as Centro in January 2007!).

To participate in the TAP you need a customer who’s willing to participate in deploying and trialling early release software known as Release Candidates.  Our customer deployment was with a London City based insurance and reinsurance broker call Newman Martin and Buchan (NMB Insurance –
www.nmbinsurance.com
).

Our old mate, business associate & mentor (for all things PR & communications), John Dean (COO of www.showmethegolf.tv) helped us put together release that announced this exciting project, it went out to coincide with the global WESS launch event and is available online via PRWEB (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/11/prweb1607324.htm), but also below for your enjoyment!:

 

PRESS RELEASE – For release Wednesday 12th November, 16:00 GMT

 


Step Jump for NMB with Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008

 

Largest International pre-launch Deployment Completed

 

 

United Kingdom, November 12th, 2008 Newman Martin and Buchan Limited (NMB – www.nmbinsurance.com), a leading independent Lloyd’s insurance and reinsurance broker, announced today that they had completed a successful migration to Microsoft’s brand new mid-market server product, Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (EBS 2008 – www.microsoft.com/ebs), which launches globally today.

 

EBS 2008 has been developed to help IT managers increase the security, reliability and manageability of an organisation’s IT infrastructure, so they can focus more on strategic projects to boost business results.

 

NMB were invited to trial EBS 2008 as part of the product development phase in January 2008, and are the largest international pre-launch deployment client for the new product.

 

In June 2008 NMB migrated to a pre-release version of the product known as Release Candidate Zero (RC0).  The trial was supported by both HP and Microsoft, who worked in tandem with Microsoft Gold Partner ‘The Full Circle’ to implement the project.

 

Based in the financial centre of the City of London, NMB has over 150 staff. The business was previously supported by a Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server infrastructure, with a small proportion of users accessing Email and calendaring remotely via Outlook Web Access.  The majority of remote Email access was provided using Blackberry mobile devices to around 80 users.

 

With limited remote working, especially in terms of the range of mobile / handheld options available, the existing user experience had become dated. Providing and maintaining remote working required significant administrative and required the use of a complicated VPN infrastructure. As the existing infrastructure platform was at the end of its life, the need to upgrade both server-side hardware and software had become a business imperative.

 

NMB were therefore ideally positioned to gain significant benefit from Microsoft’s Essential Business Server 2008, which was in the process of being developed to support up to 300 concurrent users, and offer an easy migration path supported by simplified administrative & reporting capabilities.

 

According to Simon Edwards, I.T. Manager of NMB: “We appreciated that we would be in the sweet spot for what Windows Essential Business Server 2008 could offer, and were ready to accept the risks surrounding a full scale pre-release migration, and be part of the learning process, in order to enjoy the benefits of a brand new infrastructure.”

 

He added: “We are enjoying the productivity and capability benefits from the key component upgrades such as System Center Essentials (SCE) & Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), plus Exchange Server 2007 with Forefront security technologies.  We are also looking forward to consolidating a number of legacy databases with SQL Server 2008 as included in the Premium version of EBS 2008 we are running.”

 

He concluded: “Most importantly, our staff now enjoys a far more dynamic experience, including mobile and remote access, plus collaboration and document management via SharePoint. It’s been a major step jump for the business, but one that we are delighted we have taken.”

 

The Project was initiated and implemented by London based Microsoft Gold Partner, The Full Circle (www.thefullcircle.com). Reuben Cook, Managing Director of The Full Circle, commented: “We have worked closely with Microsoft for a number of years resulting in our Gold Partner status and were delighted to work with NMB in deploying Essential Business Server 2008.  NMB were an ideal fit to benefit from the improvements contained in EBS 2008, and we were the ideal partner to help deliver them”

 

Cook added: “During the pre-release testing stage, NMB were the largest deployment outside of the US, NMB’s implementation provided unique and valuable feedback to Microsoft.  A number of the experiences we had with NMB had direct results in honing and refining the eventual released product”.

 

 

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners

 

 

Ends: 647 words

 

 

For more information, press only, contact:

 

Newman Martin and Buchan – Simon Edwards, simon.edwards@nmbinsurance.com

The Full Circle – John Dean, press@thefullcircle.com

Microsoft  – Matt Lambert, Matt.Lambert@infernopr.com

 

Publically available web resources:

www.nmbinsurance.com

www.microsoft.com/ebs

www.thefullcircle.com

Simon Edwards (NMB) & Reuben Cook (The Full Circle) post deployment to RTM code of EBS 2008
Simon Edwards (NMB) & Reuben Cook (The Full Circle) post deployment to RTM code of EBS 2008

Drinking from the Virtualisation mug…

...drinking from the mug of Virtualisation!
...drinking from the mug of Virtualisation!

On the drinking from the virtualisation mug, I really am and just the very next early morning after the Execuitve Briefing Center event…

okay, I’d forgotten to put the dishwasher on the night before, but after a quick audit & rinse of the physical environment, Microsoft virtualisation provided much needed ‘capacity & volume’ to support the morning peak workloads and saved the day!… okay the coffee (I’ll get my coat! ;-).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft Virtualisation (Hyper-V & VMM2008) Executive Briefing…

Tuesday 22nd October, 2008

 

Attended an invite only Microsoft Virtualisation Solutions Partner event at the Microsoft UK Executive Briefing Center, Building 3, TVP, Reading…

 

The event was focused around Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, plus the other supporting System Center technologies.  The event was a small, select gathering in the Executive Briefing Center at TVP of only 6-7 attendees plus some key Microsoft UK Virtualisation team members led by Mike Peers.  On the partner/attendee side it was mostly VMware partners with a view to converting and capturing them with Microsoft’s latest kit – believe it or not, they were very, very impressed (esp. with VMM2008).

 

-))
Microsoft EBC Virtualisation event (Hyper-V, VMM2008, etc. :-))

 

Windows Server 2008 64-bit on the ThinkPad T61p…


After reading Keith Combs’ excellent Blahg post on the same subject at http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/archive/2008/02/01/installing-windows-server-2008-ee-on-a-lenovo-thinkpad-t61p.aspx I thought I’d try and update (things move quickly in 64-bit software support) and continue where he left off… Making WS2008 64-bit on a T61 your production machine…

I’ve gone for two approaches, the first is simply using imagex to backup and restore (into Hyper-V child/virtual) a T61 Vista laptop, and in parallel adding the other nice ThinkPad devices and system software to the Windows 64-bit (Vista or WS2008 ) ThinkPad build that made the ThinkPad the market leader in the first place – beyond awesome build quality – awesome system software to help productivity, management, and ultimately improve the RoI and reduce support costs (even if you are supporting yourself ;-))

I’d be tempted to start with the ThinkVantage System Update, at the time of writing this was v3.13.  System Update allows you to pick and install all of this lot plus more from a single, simple GUI – just beware the local repository can get quite large especially if you start installing monsters like the Rescue and Recovery programs (600+MB!).  The local repositor is by default in C:Program FilesLenovoSystem Updatesession – you can clear down all folders bar ‘schedulerupdater’ & ‘system’ and next time you run the update the folders will be recreated but without the actual downloaded binaries, etc.

Intel(R) Chipset Software Installation Utility
Lenovo System Interface Driver
ThinkPad Power Management Driver
Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver for Windows Vista 64bit

Ricoh 4-in-1 Media Card Reader Driver for Windows Vista/XP

ThinkVantage Fingerprint Software Windows 64-bit
ThinkVantage Client Security Solution for Vista 64-bit ?

SoundMAX audio driver
UltraNav
NVIDIA Video
Wireless LAN
Maintenance Mananer
Productivity Centre

ThinkPad Mobility Center Customization

Adobe Flash Player for
Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP and Vista (32 and 64 bit)

query on:
Windows Vista Update Modules KB932063 (Fix for Several problems occur on a Windows Vista-based computer when you work in a wireless network environment)
Windows Vista Update Modules KB929191 (Vista disk enumeration optimizations are disabled on IBM and Lenovo computers)

Whilst not all links mention 64-bit in the title (I’ve kept the titles true to the ThinkVantage System Update as of April 20th 2008) this does not mean they are not 64-bit such as the Ricoh 4-in-1 Card, if you read the detail you will see mentioned “Summarized Windows Vista x86/x64 drivers”

I’ll be adding more to this post and fleshing out the links during the week of 28th April as I  should have plenty of time and, hopefully, the resources to hand get this right as attending the Windows Essential Business Server (formerly “Centro”) partner airlift to Microsoft in Redmond 🙂

http://www.win2008workstation.com/wordpress/

http://blogs.msdn.com/vijaysk/archive/2008/02/11/using-windows-server-2008-as-a-super-desktop-os.aspx

 http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?p=415745&sid=9e3ca7f83f86984fec5e4560f78f979b

Hyper-V & Hybernate, Standby, etc.. http://www.ditii.com/2008/09/24/hyper-v-enable-sleep-hibernate/
you can have Hyper-V installed but not started by the following registry setting:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServiceshvboot]“Start”=dword:00000003

When you start your Hyper-V laptop you will have full access to the power management fucntionality 🙂
If you need to demo a VM, I can start Hyper-V with the command:

net start hvboot
(Power management is then disabled again until the next reboot)