Showing posts with label Server. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Server. Show all posts

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The First Look at Windows Server 2016


Firebrand teamed-up with Microsoft Evangelist Ed Baker to deliver a First Look at Windows Server 2016 in London, on Thursday 13th August. Seventy lucky Firebranders squeezed into a room at Microsoft’s offices in London to catch a glimpse of Windows Server 2016 in action – and to see what the Nano Server buzz is all about.

Ed opened by saying there was going to be a “fundamental change” in the way we use Windows Server. After three hours of demos – including a few PowerPoint slides - we’d learnt why.

Nano Server is at the heart of this fundamental change – it’s fast, it’s small, and it’s easy to use (common themes throughout the new look OS). Microsoft describes it as “a purpose-built operating system designed to run born-in-the-cloud applications and containers”.

Small and perfectly formed, Nano Server is designed for fewer patches and updates, faster restarts, better resource utilisation and tighter security. The focus on size was highlighted when Ed unveiled his server setup – which looked complicated as a network map on screen, but was no more than a laptop and four hard discs on the table in front of him.

“Servers aren’t valued pets”

Before we got to see Windows Server 2016 in action, we were given a reality check. Ed reminded us that “servers aren’t valued pets” concluding by bluntly saying “when you don’t need them – kill them”. We no longer need to get attached to our servers…kill off a server when you don’t need it, and reactivate it when you do. That’s the power of cloud computing.

Ed asked us all to think ‘services’, not ‘servers’. We’ve moved away from a data center being made up of expensive hardware; individual servers in a siloed infrastructure. Slow, expensive innovation and development constraints have been replaced with low-cost, standardised, automated processes. Nano Server – combined with PowerShell – is what allows us to do this.

Before getting into the detail, Ed explained just how little computing power Windows Server 2016 needs: a 1.4GHz 64-bit processor, 512MB RAM, a 32GB disk and a Network Interface Card. That’s it.




What’s New in Active Directory Domain Services?

The development of Windows 10 and Office 365 means Microsoft is heavily in the world of single sign-on and end-user self-service. Windows Server 2016 is the backbone that supports this – through Azure Active Directory (AAD)  connected to Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). As Ed explains: “If you can manage and control your identity, you can manage and control your data”.

And guess what – it’s simple. Just tell Azure AD Connect AD DS which servers it needs to be assigned to and it does the rest for you - installing the synchronisation and even ADFS if required. Other improved AD DS features include:

  • Privileged access management
  • Azure Active Directory Join
  • Microsoft Passport – helping you keep all your important data even more secure

There was also a definite cheer ripple across the room when Ed announced that Windows Server 2016 won’t work with  File Replication Service (FRS) or Windows Server 2003.

Nano Server finally unveiled

At last, Ed showed-off what everyone was here to see. He setup a Storage Direct Cluster through Nano Server, using four Nano nodes (the four hard disks mentioned at the start of the article) and a Windows Server 2016 node (the laptop).

In the past (for now the present) each disc device would need to be connected to a node. This is restrictive - especially as the network gets bigger and we’re trying to upscale. Now, storage spaces can be hooked-up directly with internal disks, eliminating the need to share SAS infrastructure.

This couldn’t have been achieved before without a shared storage mechanism like a JBOD enclosure or a SAN, now we can use standard internal storage and create a shared pool across all the nodes. In this instance each nano dodge had four small internal hard disks making 16 in total. These were combined into a storage direct pool and then added to a failover cluster, in the form of a storage volume formatted as a cluster shared volume.

The pretty-simple setup process is only done once, because it can then be re-used and automated whenever new server space is required. With the new rolling cluster upgrade, you can now add new servers to a cluster, transfer the settings to it and upgrade the cluster version number (to get all the benefits of Windows Server 2016) - all by simply running a rolling upgrade in PowerShell or though the failover cluster manger GUI.

Having spun up the network, it took an impressive 30 seconds to boot (compared to at least five minutes from previous OSs). Yes, there were some cheers in the audience.














Even more new features in Windows Server 2016

There was also time to hear about a few more features in Hyper-V and File and Storage Services. New features for Hyper-V in Windows Server 2016 include:
  •  Rolling Hyper-V Cluster upgrade
  • Production checkpoints
  • Hot add and remove for network adaptors and memory
  • Integration Services delivered through Windows Update
  • Storage Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Virtual machine configuration version
  • New virtual machine configuration file format
  • Hyper-V Manager improvements
  • Linux secure boot
  • Compatible with Connected Standby
  • Windows PowerShell Direct - ever lost the ability to get into a VM? Rather than binning it, you can use PowerShell Direct to get into it

New features for File and Storage Services in Windows Server 2016 include:

  • Storage Spaces Direct – the next stage in software-defined storage, which enables SATA and NVMe devices to become cluster-available. This is what enables each server to plugin direct with its own internal discs, rather than the need for a shared SAS JBOD
  • Storage Replica – developed to help you “tolerate” disasters. Disasters happen, and they can be planned for by replicating data between sites via standard storage and networks
  • Deduplication

Nano Server is seven times faster!

Ed concluded by comparing deployment and servicing (based on all patches in 2014) improvements for Nano Server. All make impressive reading:
  • Nano Server takes just 40 seconds to boot, compared to more like 300 from full Server
  • The disk footprint of Nano Server is 400MB, with Sever Core almost 5GB
  • Virtual Hard Disk size 400MB compared to 6GB in Server Core
  • Critical bulletins – for full Server, there were 23, compared to two for Nano Server
  • Number of reboots – only three from Nano with 11 from full Server

All of the demos were on Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2, with Technical Preview 3 coming soon. So in the words of Ed, download the Technical Preview now and start playing!



About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Is your business safe from the Visa & MasterCard Backlash?


By 


Visa and MasterCard will suspend your ability to process online payments if you are using Windows Server 2003.

When Windows Server 2003 End of Service hits in July 2015, any business running the software will no longer adhere to the PCI compliance standards. Without updates and support, the integrity and security of the Windows Server 2003 platform cannot be guaranteed.

Adherence to PCI is required for businesses that want to host Visa and MasterCard transactions on their websites. Lose it and your crippling your businesses ability to make money online.

Microsoft states that “Payment Card Industry (PCI) policies will not be met with an operating system that is EOS”.
With just under a year to go until Microsoft cuts all support for the outdated software, businesses could be risking far more than they realise.

You don’t have much time - Upgrade now

When Windows Server 2003 loses all support on July 14th 2015, you can’t afford to be caught unawares.  Continue running the software at your peril – failing to upgrade could cost you £100,000 a year.

What’s more, according to Microsoft’s initial estimations, it could take you 200 days to migrate, so you’re going to have to act fast.

But, updating to Windows Server 2012 doesn’t have to be a trial. If you’re amongst the 62% of businesses who haven’t yet planned to migrate – you can still make sure your transition a smooth one.  

Avoid those frustrating first-time software mistakes. Become a Windows Server 2012 expert in just 9-days and make your upgrade an easy one. Plus, you’ll be Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certified – your first step to earning the advanced MCSE certification.

What percentage of your revenue comes from online payments? This could disappear come 2015.

So, start making your migration plans now, you don’t have long!

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Windows Server 2003 Support to end: you don’t have much time


By 


In just 364 days, support will finally end for Windows Server 2003. As of 14th July 2015 Microsoft will no longer be providing patches and security updates for the 10-year-old software. Many applications will cease to be supported and you’ll also risk losing your compliance with important industry standards and regulations.

RIP
Image courtesy of jchandler
One year may sound like a long time, but according to Microsoft’s initial estimations, it could take you 200 days to migrate.

How failing to upgrade could cost you over £100,000 a year

Every day you use the unsupported software, you run a massive risk:

  • Custom Support costs - Support costs money and you’ll have to do plenty of it. You can expect to spend tens of thousands on more advanced security. Without updates to Windows Server 2003, you’d have to spend your own cash on firewalls and intrusion detection. Custom support will cost upwards of £115,000 a year, according to Microsoft.
  • Security insecurities – Without support, you’re on your own. The end of all patches, bug fixes and updates puts your system at a dire risk. Unpatched systems pose a huge vulnerability, they just can’t adapt to ever changing technology standards. Cyber criminals will view you as easy prey - and rightly so. It’s not cheaper either; the average cost of a data breach rose to £2M in 2013. Not to mention the reputational damage you’d face getting hacked.
  •  Application woes - It’s officially End of Support from Microsoft and that means it’s unofficially end of support for third party developers. Developers around the world won’t keep their programs optimised for dead software, so support for numerous apps will end. Microsoft are doing their part too and discontinuing support for all apps running on Windows Server 2003.
  • Compliance Issues - Running unsupported software is a hassle, and an expensive one at that. When running out-of-date software you are legally obliged to undergo regular independent audits. In some cases, these audits could cost more than upgrading your systems.

Don’t have a plan to upgrade?

(Un)fortunately you’re not alone. 62% haven’t planned to upgrade or migrate, a survey by App Zero found. Despite strenuous efforts by Microsoft to make customers aware, analysts estimate there are more than 10 million machines still running Windows Server 2003.

End of Support for Windows Server 2003 poses a greater challenge than the retirement of Windows XP. “It’s not just what applications and services you have, it’s also the relationships between them that are important,” Tony Lock, programme director at analyst firm Freeform Dynamics explains.

“Because of the length of time they have been deployed, the way that some of these applications and services feed off each other might not be in people’s heads any more. Getting a clear picture of what you have is vital.”

But it’s not all bad, as Lock points out, you might find that there are servers deployed which no one is using. In such a case, reacquainting yourself with your server infrastructure could also prove to be a cost saving exercise.

Get ready to implement Windows Server 2012 in just 9-days

As well as the basic advantages of owning supported software, Windows Server 2012 is a massive improvement. You’ll benefit from reduced costs, virtualisation and cloud support, better performance, increased security, and of course, official Microsoft support.

Make sure your migration to Windows Server 2012 is a smooth one - get Windows Server 2012 certified with official Microsoft Training. You’ll learn the fundamental set of skills needed to develop and manage your Windows Server environment.

You must be planning your migration over the next few weeks so don’t waste time. Take the Firebrand course, in only 9-days, you’ll learn everything twice as fast as traditional training.

Don't neglect this upgrade
Image courtesy of click/morgueFile








About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.