The Windows Server Notebook

October 7, 2010  10:19 PM

AVIcode the latest cloud-inspired acquisition for Microsoft

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

This week, Microsoft announced that it has acquired AVIcode, Inc., a Baltimore-based private company known for its .NET application monitoring software.

The move is similar to the Opalis acquisition back in December in that AVIcode will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft with its software being delivered under the System Center umbrella. And as with Opalis, the latest move is cloud-motivated.
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October 5, 2010  3:23 PM

Will cloud computing cost you your job?

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

In a recent article, “Yes, you will lose your job to cloud computing – unless . . .“, consultant and author Greg Shields cites the economies of scale as a key challenge facing IT admins in regards to the cloud. He writes:

“An organization that hosts 1 million mailboxes can economically implement technologies that guarantee 100% uptime, unlimited space and ubiquitous access anywhere on the Internet. As the economies of scale grow, those organizations can accomplish this at a price that’s cheaper than your salary, and when they screw up, they’ll refund your business money. You can’t say the same.

That’s a big problem for your continued employment.”

OK, so that’s sort of a dreary assessment (which Greg himself acknowledges later in the article). Fortunately, he also goes on to list various ways IT pros can adapt to the changing industry, hitch their wagon to the cloud and, ultimately, remain employed.

But the question is, do you agree with Greg’s assessment of the cloud’s eventual effect on IT? Do you share these same concerns? What’s your current stance on cloud computing? Sound off in the comment section below and share your thoughts.

For more of the latest cloud news and expert analysis, visit

September 30, 2010  6:21 PM

Microsoft updates servicing tool for offline VMs

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Microsoft’s Virtual Machine Servicing Tool (VMST) 3.0 is now available for download, an update to the previous 2.1 version of the utility. The tool is designed to let admins keep their offline virtual machines up-to-date with the necessary patches and system updates without having to bring them online (thus exposing your network to out-of-date machines). The tool can be used to service offline VM templates and VHDs as well.

VMware’s vCenter Update Manager for vSphere is designed for this exact same purpose, but it doesn’t work with Microsoft’s VM management product, as vCenter Server is required to run the tool. Continued »

September 2, 2010  9:10 PM

Microsoft weighs in, reacts at VMworld 2010

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Microsoft vs. VMware — tale as old as time.

As everyone knows, VMworld 2010 took place this week in San Francisco. Like last year, Microsoft’s booth did not provide any demos for Hyper-V, as the company claimed VMware’s expo agreement prevents directly-competing products from being showcased (which VMware countered and Citrix found a way around).

Microsoft did make its presence felt in other creative ways, however.
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August 25, 2010  10:54 PM

Exchange Server 2010 SP1 hits the streets

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

UPDATE! (8/27/2010)

My colleague Bridget Botelho has written a more detailed rundown of the SP1, with insight from Directions on Microsoft’s Rob Sanfilippo.

ORIGINAL POST (8/25/2010)

Let the upgrades begin? Microsoft has officially launched the first service pack for Exchange Server 2010, nearly three months after the beta was announced at TechEd North America this year.

The update includes archiving and discovery improvements along with various UI enhancements to the Exchange Management Console and Control Panel. Customers can also expect new mobile management features and a faster Outlook Web App (OWA) reading experience, according to Microsoft.

The archiving enhancements include the ability to import historical data from .PST files and automated deletion and archiving of email, along with other capabilities. Microsoft’s Michael Atalla posted a pretty detailed rundown of what’s new with SP1 back in April.

So what’s missing?
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August 19, 2010  9:19 PM

Configuration Manager R3 comes as no surprise

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

The next version of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 should officially ship soon, with the release candidate approved earlier this month. The update is relatively minor, however, when compared to the full-blown revamp on the way with SCCM v.Next, for which an initial beta is already available.

I spoke recently with Mark Mears, a systems specialist of Windows design and operations for Macy’s Inc., to get his thoughts on the new power management features for SCCM 2007 R3. (There are a few other updates as well, but the new power consumption reports are the big news.) He said he wasn’t surprised by Microsoft putting out an R3 for SCCM, even with the v.Next already available.
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August 13, 2010  6:57 PM

Domain controller virtualization continues to spark debate

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Less than two months ago, we posted an article by Microsoft MVP Gary Olsen on the topic of domain controller virtualization. The article was actually a follow-up to something he wrote way back in 2006, where he pondered if virtualizing DCs was really a good idea.

At the time of the first article (which predates Hyper-V), questions about I/O bottlenecks, security and even Microsoft’s questionable support of DC virtualization made the whole concept seem somewhat dicey. The recommendation was that while it was possible (Microsoft did have “how to” documentation, after all), virtual domain controllers should really only be implemented on a limited, non-critical basis.

Obviously, virtualization is a lot more popular today than it was back then, and continued technological advances have made it arguably the driving force in today’s IT market. So of course everyone is all together when it comes to virtualizing DCs now, right? Wrong.
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August 5, 2010  3:52 PM

Mark Russinovich moves to Azure – what does it all mean?

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

While Microsoft has yet to make an “official” announcement, it seems most have heard by now that Windows legend Mark Russinovich has joined the company’s Windows Azure team. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley broke the story late last week via Microsoft evangelist Matthijs Hoekstra’s Twitter page, and since then the Internet has lit up with posts about the news.Mark Russinovich

So what does it all mean? Well at the very least, it likely adds more credibility to Microsoft’s overall cloud platform. Russinovich is an extremely well-respected figure in the IT community, having cofounded Winternals Software and the immensely popular Sysinternals website. He’s been working as a technical fellow for Microsoft since 2006 – most recently with the Core OS Division team — and has been described by many as knowing Windows better than those who created it.
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July 13, 2010  10:05 PM

New Azure appliance too big for IT

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

The latest addition to Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform promises to give customers greater control over cloud-based data, though the release isn’t likely to mean much to most IT professionals right away.

The company announced its Windows Azure Platform Appliance at the Worldwide Partner conference (WPC) in Washington, D.C. this week. The appliance, which has also been dubbed Azure-in-a-box, is designed to let organizations deploy Windows Azure in their own data centers. It includes the company’s SQL Azure Database and will run on Microsoft specified hardware, storage and network configurations.
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June 24, 2010  7:52 PM

Hyper-V R2 to support more clustered VMs – right now

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Amidst all the talk about dynamic memory and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, one recent virtualization update has managed to fly under the radar – and it actually has nothing to do with the upcoming service pack. Though few seemed to notice, Microsoft recently announced that it has increased the number of virtual machines supported by Hyper-V R2 in a cluster.

As of R2, Hyper-V supported up to 384 VMs per server. That number dropped to 64, however, if those virtual machines were running in a cluster. Microsoft has updated Hyper-V to allow clustered nodes to also support a maximum of 384 virtual machines. The total number of VMs per cluster has also been increased to 1,000 (up from an initial limit of 960).
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