The Windows Server Notebook

April 9, 2013  8:37 PM

LANDesk buys key Windows Server management tools from VMware

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

LANDesk said it bought Shavlik Technologies, which, with its suite of Microsoft patch management software, became a division of VMware in May of 2011.

LANDesk said it would rebrand four products and restore the Shavlik name, including the formerly titled vCenter Protect. That product will become Shavlik Protect. Two other products, an update catalog and SDK will also have their names updated.

In a note to customers, Mike Hall, the vice president of sales and marketing for LANDesk, said the company is expanding its core IT management services and entering new markets.

LANDesk is a systems management company with products that deal with endpoint patch management and application virtualization.

Are you a VMware customer who uses Shavlik products? What do you think of this move? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

April 8, 2013  10:02 PM

Day one buzz from MMS 2013

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Today at Microsoft Management Summit 2013′s first day, conference-goers heard a lot of talk about software-defined networking and enhancements to the company’s Azure strategy.

Read more about it here, and find out why some attendees thought the Azure updates were less than impressive, but were more interested in the hot topic of software-defined networking.

Plus, check out this Storify of some of the top tweets at sessions today.

April 4, 2013  6:34 PM

Critical fixes coming for IE, Windows in April Patch Tuesday

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger

This month’s Patch Tuesday will bring critical and important fixes for multiple programs.

In the advance notification for April, Microsoft calls out nine bulletins. Two are marked as critical and seven are marked as important.

April’s two critical bulletins address remote-code execution vulnerabilities. Multiple versions of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Windows are affected.

The bulletins marked as important address vulnerabilities concerning information disclosure, elevation of privilege and denial of service. Microsoft Office and multiple versions of Windows Server and Microsoft Windows are affected.

In March’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft included a number of non-security updates for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

What do you think of this month’s patches? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

April 3, 2013  4:06 PM

Configuration Manager 2012 Upgrade Assessment Tool released

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Windows XP’s support life shuffles off into the sunset next year and Microsoft wants to ease that transition as much as possible.

The company released the Upgrade Assessment Tool (UAT) for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. It allows administrators to analyze machines on a network to see if they are capable of running the latest versions of Windows software.  It generates a report that gives an enterprise-wide view of computers ready for upgrades.

The UAT also determines what device drivers are compatible with Windows 7 or Windows 8.

It can be downloaded from Microsoft, so long as the latest cumulative update to System Center 2012 is installed.

April 2, 2013  3:37 PM

Microsoft releases hotfix for AMD servers running RemoteFX

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

IT shops running Windows Server 2012′s RemoteFX feature on AMD-based servers have a new update to download and apply.

Users running RemoteFX  – the protocol used in Remote Desktop instances — in Hyper-V on a Windows Server 2012 machine might have encountered poor graphics performance when enabling the RemoteFX feature. Microsoft said the cause of the issue had to do with Hyper-V incorrectly configuring the Page Address Table (PAT) cache type on AMD machines.

Admins can download the hotfix if they are affected by the issue by visiting Microsoft’s website.

April 1, 2013  2:21 PM

March in review: the top Windows Server tips and news

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger

For our monthly feature, we round up the most popular content from the previous month and share it with you.

In March, our readers were interested in the latest batch of Patch Tuesday fixes, deduplication, PowerShell cmdlets and features in Windows Server 2012.

Fixes for USB exploit, IE highlight March 2013 Patch Tuesday
The month’s Patch Tuesday had four critical fixes and three important fixes. The critical fixes came to IE and Silverlight, but one important fix to keep an eye on is the threat to USB drivers that could let attackers gain access through an “evil maid” attack.

Seven things you should know about Windows Server 2012 deduplication
Deduplication can make a huge difference in data storage demands. If admins plan to implement deduplication technology in Windows Server 2012, there are seven important things they should know.

The PowerShell cmdlets you need for Windows Server 2012
This guide is a compilation of the best tips and features that highlight why PowerShell cmdlets work so well in Windows Server 2012.

Get rid of failover clusters headaches in AD with Windows Server 2012
In Windows Server 2012, Microsoft took care of major Active Directory issues. Some of the AD problems fixed include flexible organization unit administration and eliminating the reliance on AD to form a cluster.

Deployment eased by Windows Server 2012 security upgrades
With Windows Server 2012, Microsoft made it easier to deploy security while overhauling key security technologies that used to be handled by third-party products.

What content from March was most helpful for you? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

March 21, 2013  4:53 PM

Windows Blue initiative said to trickle to Windows Server 2012

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

We won’t need a Thinking Chair for this one: Windows Server will likely also be part of Microsoft’s Blue release strategy.

More clues are certainly filling up our handy dandy notebook about what to expect from Windows Server Blue, as Stephen Chapman at MSFTKitchen pointed out.

Chapman posted three screenshots of resumes referencing experience with Windows Server Blue. The software design engineer and senior UX design lead both listed the updated release in their job descriptions.

Judging from the resumes, admins might expect enhanced MSDTC features in the Blue update. Plus, admins could expect a refined UX in Windows Server Blue.

Mary Jo Foley reports that sources within Microsoft are planning to release new features that matter to cloud customers, as they are the most likely to early adopt.

March 7, 2013  6:57 PM

Patch Tuesday critical fixes coming for IE, Office, SharePoint and Silverlight

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger

The latest batch of Patch Tuesday bulletins will bring a number of fixes for critical vulnerabilities in multiple programs for March.

Microsoft released an advance security bulletin this week that includes a total of seven bulletins. Four of the bulletins are marked as critical and three are marked as important.

March’s critical bulletins address vulnerabilities with remote code execution and elevation of privilege. Multiple versions of IE, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft SharePoint are affected by these vulnerabilities.

The month’s important bulletins address information disclosure and elevation of privilege vulnerabilities. Multiple versions of Microsoft Office and Windows Server are affected.

March’s total number of bulletins is less than the 12 bulletins for last month’s Patch Tuesday, which had a near-record breaking number of 57 patches.

What do you think of this month’s patches? Let us know in the comments on this post, or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

March 5, 2013  6:04 PM

Windows Azure adds two factor authentication, new features

Jeremy Stanley Jeremy Stanley Profile: Jeremy Stanley

Windows Azure identity management has lagged behind the mature on-premises Active Directory. But Microsoft has made strides to make both access management options equal citizens (and in turn, is making the cloud offering more appetizing to weary administrators).

The company delivered more enhancements to Windows Azure Active Directory this week, including a big security enhancement.

Large companies have been the recent target of major user data theft, and one of the ways Microsoft hopes to combat this is through two factor authentication.

If enabled for a user, when a user correctly inputs their password when logging in, a code will be text messaged to their phone in order to gain access to the server. This isn’t quite ready for primetime, Microsoft marks the feature as a “preview” — meaning some parts might not work.

User account creation also came to the Windows Azure AD interface. This gives administrators the ability to manage user subscriptions right in the Windows Azure Portal. Role based access control also comes to Azure AD, allowing admins to assign other users as administrators. Removing and adding users now also works right from the Azure Portal.

Microsoft also made available the previously announced ability to sync and federate Windows Server AD with Windows Azure AD. When a change is made on Windows Server, it automatically syncs to the Azure Portal, and vice versa.

Windows Azure has gained credibility among corporate IT recently with its pricing and feature improvements.

What do you think of the latest changes to Windows Azure? Are you using Windows Azure AD? Let us know in the comments below, or find us on Twitter @SearchWinServer

March 1, 2013  2:24 PM

February in review: The top searchWindowsServer news and tips

Toni Boger Toni Boger Profile: Toni Boger

For our monthly feature, we round up the most popular content from the previous month and share it with you.

In February, our readers were most interested in the latest batch of Patch Tuesday bulletins, getting around Window Server 2012′S GUI, what the language in Azure’s cloud data privacy policy means for customers and answers to common PowerShell questions.

IE, Exchange vulnerabilities highlight near-record Patch Tuesday
In a Patch Tuesday that almost broke the record set in April 2011, 57 patches were issued for vulnerabilities in Windows Server, Internet Explorer and Oracle’s Outside In library. Other critical patches were issued for media codecs in older OSs.

How to work without the GUI in Windows Server 2012
There are good reasons for keeping the Modern UI in Windows Server 2012, but if admins want to skip it, there are options for ways to work around the GUI, including third-party apps that bring back the Start menu and moving as many tools as possible to the desktop.

How to use PowerShell to pass info to remote computers
If admins need to execute something locally and share it with remote computers, PowerShell remoting can ease the process with specific techniques that include parameter blocks and inputting specific variables.

Cloud data ownership explained in Windows Azure privacy policy
If you take a close look at Microsoft’s privacy policy for cloud data in Azure, customers own their data, but the policy still lets Microsoft use their data for things like statistical analysis, troubleshooting to keep the Azure operation running and threat detection/prevention.

Using PowerShell script prompts for input
There are many ways admins can make and run a script prompt for input in PowerShell, but our expert says the best way to do it is to let PowerShell do most of the work and to make some small but effective changes to the coding.

What content from February was most helpful for you? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServer.

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