Vol. 22, #12 - March 20, 2017 - Issue #1123


Impact of Continuous Delivery

Deep Packet Inspection for Quality of Experience Monitoring

Read this whitepaper to get a detailed description of packet analysis techniques to measure high network response times, network delay, server processing times, client processing time, traffic distribution, and overall quality of experience.

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Editor's Corner


This week's newsletter is all about the continuous delivery model for software and how this affects companies both large and small. We'll also dig into our mailbag and share some tips, tools and links to stuff both serious and fun.

Continuous delivery is something those of us in IT know about firsthand because if you want to get more funding for your project you have to continuously gripe and complain until your boss relents as this Dilbert comic illustrates:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/p9gos0dt/


Ask Our Readers - File Explorer hangs when creating a new folder (closing the loop)

Way back in October in Issue #1104 Revisiting Win7 updating, Win10 annoyances, and DDoS mitigation in the section titled "More on Windows 10 annoyances" we mentioned that a reader named Tom has been experiencing an annoyance we hadn't previously heard about:

I have an issue when I have an File Explorer window open on drives in Windows 10 when telling it to create a new folder (and sometimes when re-naming) -- Explorer will hang for 1 to 4 minutes while trying to create it -- It says Non-Responding in the title bar -- then eventually it creates it. Sometimes it creates a "New Folder" folder name and not the name I told it to use. Does not matter how many Explorer windows are open -- the one being used to create a new folder just hangs for some reason. I have each Explorer in its own process.

While we published several workarounds and mitigations for this problem in subsequent newsletters, we heard last week from Tom that he had finally tracked down the culprit and resolved the issue as follows:

A while ago I wrote about Windows 10 folders being created with a 30 second to a minute or so delay and we got some suggestions on how to solve it -- none of which actually worked.

However, I did find out what the root cause really is -- Zone Alarm firewall.

I was having other issues with ZA 2017 with Outlook 2016 and turned it off to uninstall and try a clean install -- and whammo! No problems with folder creation at all.

So, the problem is with any version of ZA since October 2016.

Now as to the Outlook problem, ZA DOES NOT do any AV or Spam filtering at all when you have Outlook 2016 installed!

The features are there, and appear as to be working, but it does NOTHING to prevent SPAM or Viruses within Email. I talked with tech support last night and found that out. No documentation anywhere that it does not work with Outlook at all.

Kudos to Tom for his perseverance in eventually figuring out what was happening. That's real IT pro stuff in action. That's how we roll, we roll like this. Lol.

Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at wsn@mtit.com


From the Mailbag

Last week in Issue #1122 Reader feedback: Mac vs PC TCO we included a smattering of some of the most insightful feedback we received concerning what we raised in Issue #1120 TCO: Mac vs PC. Below are a few more reader comments on this topic which deal more with their personal experiences with the Mac platform vs business decisions:

6 years ago, I bought a MacBook Air as an experiment within my organization to see if it would truly be a game changer in computing. I also bought a few tablets thinking that it might replace the laptop we issue to field personnel. Oh so many years later, I can tell you a few things. First, the organization was very resistant to the MacBook Air as a 'replacement'. They had assumed it would be 'in addition to'. Same with the tablets. Our organization was not willing to fund multiple devices with staff, so abandoned the effort. Second, I, as an IT professional, I fell in LUST with my MacBook Air. It became my daily driver. I created a Windows VM to do all my Window(y) stuff and this year upgraded to the new MacBook Pro with touchbar and am still totally in lust with the portability, power, instant-on and yes, Touch ID. Third, after 5 years of using the exact same MacBook Air, I re-sold that equipment online for 40% of the original cost. Think of that for a second. 5 YEARS after the purchase, 40% of the value was recovered. If you factor the recovery cost into the TCO equation. (which is generally ZERO on the PC realm), that changes the math yet again in favour of the Mac. However, in summation, The PC will simply not die in the same way that Outlook cannot seem to die in favour of the obviously more powerful/flexible webmail alternatives. There are too many 'old corporate dudes' that simply cannot cross the void to envision the cultural shift away from a PC with Word/Excel/Outlook. We must wait a bit longer for the millennial mindset to overwhelm the corporate context. --Eldon from Calgary, Canada

I just retired this past week from a law firm and was the IT Director for 20 years. Five years ago I was a 100% PC person. Said I would never get a Mac. Back then, a Mac did not integrate very well into a windows shop and legal software via Citrix. Three years ago I was told to purchase a Mac Book Air to test and see if it was viable for the law firm. To my surprise after about a week of frustration on learning how to use a Mac, it integrated beautifully. Today Citrix works great, get a Windows 7 desktop and can access all software as if in the office. Now TCO.... A Mac Book Pro cost much more than a HP laptop.... so initial cost is much higher. But without question the quality of a Mac is superior to other laptops. Also using flash drive for hard drive boot up is much faster, response is also faster. So here I am today third day into retirement. I have a new Mac Book Pro with touch bar, and a 27 inch thunderbolt monitor, and LOVE it. In closing I think part of the negativity for Mac Books is that there is a learning curve to learn how to use it. Also a year ago had an attorney that bought a MacBook Air and I installed all necessary software, and gave him an overview... He was taking it on the road over a weekend to use for work... I told it was not a good idea as he is not a strong technical person. Went on the road and came back with a smile on his face loving his Mac Book Air. P.S. Thanks for the newsletter through the years! --Richard

Way back in Issue #1113 What? No computer?? we broached the idea that the desktop PC is dead and has been supplanted by the combination of laptop and smartphone for most people (especially millienials). Jeffrey wrote to us recently to take issue with this conclusion:

I disagree desktops are dead. Maybe they are for personal use, but businesses with offices still purchase and use them, and I think they will for a long time, for several reasons:

1) Computing power -- even an i3 system is still more powerful than a smartphone.

2) Security -- besides being more difficult to just walk out the door with, the operating systems (Mac, PC and Linux) are light years more secure than Android, and while iOS is relatively secure, companies need to share data with Apple.

3) Video displays -- I work for a major insurance company. IT people need larger screens to do their work. Claims processors need larger screens to do their jobs. Sales people need decent sized screens and projectors to do their jobs. Legal needs larger screens to review contracts and write legal documents. I could go on. Smartphones are good enough for e-mail and a few other tasks, but I would like to see someone effectively write a document, edit a spreadsheet, or debug code on a 6" screen!

And as for laptops versus desktops, they have their place. My employer gives me a notebook computer because I do not work in one of his offices, and I usually take my computer when I travel. But office people have desktop systems because they are more powerful and even with the cost of a monitor, are often cheaper than a comparable notebook computer.

I do not see desktop systems going away until smart phones are much more powerful (which means significant breakthroughs in battery technology), and every display is a virtual heads up display, similar to what is portrayed in "Minority Report" or "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.". I think smartphone makers have the gestures part for those displays already developed, though!


Finally, a few of our readers have been catching up on reading our newsletters and have sent us the following answers to some of our earlier Factoid of the Week questions:

Factoid from Issue #1116: The biggest threat to the UK's critical infrastructure is the squirrel. What kind of countermeasures can we possibly deploy to safeguard our own nation's critical infrastructure from targeted attacks by elite units of highly-trained squirrels?

Butch: Some power companies have already deployed a solution for cyber squirrels. See it in this video [EDITOR: Warning, graphic content]:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1znxtk6v/

Factoid from Issue #1119: In 2013 in Turkey, thieves stole an entire 22 tonne, 82 foot metal bridge overnight. Do you know of any heist that was more remarkable than this one?

Roger: Read the following regarding a little-known "heist" in New York City

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fu5si8b5/

And now on to the main topic of this week's newsletter…

 

Impact of Continuous Delivery

First we need to clarify some terminology. Wikipedia defines the term "continuous delivery" like this:

"Continuous delivery (CD) is a software engineering approach in which teams produce software in short cycles, ensuring that the software can be reliably released at any time. It aims at building, testing, and releasing software faster and more frequently. The approach helps reduce the cost, time, and risk of delivering changes by allowing for more incremental updates to applications in production. A straightforward and repeatable deployment process is important for continuous delivery."

http://www.wservernews.com/go/349hp6id/

The Wikipedia article then goes on to make the connection between continuous delivery and DevOPs and also with continuous deployment. The Wikipedia article is very general and process-focused so the concepts it describes may seem to be applicable to a wide range of software engineering efforts ranging from developing applications for the cloud to creating new versions of operating systems.

That's where things get a bit fuzzy though because when Microsoft talks about continuous delivery they almost always seem to focus on building cloud apps for Microsoft Azure as the following articles explain in some detail:

Application Development: Continuous delivery (Microsoft UK Partner Enablement Blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/nkerd458/

Continuous Delivery Tools Extension for Visual Studio 2017 (The Visual Studio Blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/vbfgtwlm/


But many smaller businesses who have PCs and laptops running Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Professional because they don't want to be tied into a complicated volume licensing (VL) agreement with Microsoft that would allow them to use Windows 10 Enterprise feel that they are already facing continuous delivery with the new versions of Windows 10 they've had frequently upgrade their machines to starting with v.1507 then the November Update v.1511 then the Anniversary Update v.1607 and now the upcoming Creators Update v.1703 with even more updates planned for 2017 and beyond. "What ever happened to service packs? I miss them" is something I've many several smallbusiness owners shake their heads and say when I ask them how it's going with their Windows 10 deployment.

My point here is simply that while continuous delivery is probably an appropriate model for the cloud, it often represents a pain point when it's used for operating systems and applications deployed in on-premise environments. Of course getting a VL agreement so you can use Windows 10 Enterprise can help mitigate such pain because it means that instead of being forced to use the Current Branch (CB) servicing model for Windows 10 you can opt instead for the Current Branch for Business (CBB) which gives your business more time for DTAP (Development, Testing, Acceptance and Production) so you can ensure that upgrading to the next Windows 10 version won't cause problems for your business applications. And for larger corporate customers Microsoft offers Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB which represents the Long Term Servicing Branch servicing model where new LTSB versions of Windows 10 are released every 2-3 years similar in timeline to the old service pack approach from earlier eras. The various Windows 10 servicing models are described in detail in this article by Dani Halfin on Microsoft's Windows IT Center:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/mkcweea9/

The main difficulty larger enterprises face is that the LTSB model is more appealing to most of them than the CBB approach because they can stick with their DTAP model of building "golden" images for Windows deployment every couple of years. Ryan Bijkerk explains this well in his recent post (see especially his section titled LTSB or CCBN?) on his Logit Blog:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/4g9aio80/

Ryan's reasoned analysis of the problem contrasts with Dani's article where he bluntly says:

"With Windows 10, organizations will need to change the way they approach deploying updates."

The problem here is that businesses both large and small don't like it when someone tells them they need to change the way they do things because change often isn't easy, it's disruptive and disruption can affect profitability. "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" says the customer; the vendor replies, "You need to buy our a new bush! And we have just the one you need!"

While not referring specifically to Windows 10, Jeroen Swart a Senior .NET Architect at a Dutch agile software development company named Quintor puts it even more bluntly in his Microsoft Channel video titled "DTAP is dead; a tale of continuous delivery":

http://www.wservernews.com/go/5n2inbtt/

That may be find as far as developing and deploying cloud apps are concerned, but if Microsoft keeps pushing the same kind of "DTAP is dead" message to companies looking at deploying Windows 10, they're going to continue getting pushback and maybe even see some customers abandon Windows client for Mac or Linux platforms.

What do you think? How has your organization or company dealt with the challenges posed by the new continuous delivery release model Microsoft has adopted for Windows 10? Email us your stories, suggestions, and comments: wsn@mtit.com


Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Recommended for Learning

An overview of Windows as a service (YouTube)

With Windows 10, Microsoft made the shift to delivering Windows as a service which introduces a new way for how it's built, deployed and serviced. In the next five minutes, Michael Niehaus will demystify the core components of the Windows as a service model. The build release process and update cadence as well as review the upcoming enhancements that further streamline the model.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/h4gln72e/

 

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Cloud Application Development

Wondering how cloud app development can help solve business problems? MVPs and popular instructors Colin Dembovsky and Steven Borg of Northwest Cadence offer helpful guidance on the subject, in this up-close look at Azure app development, platform as a service (PaaS), and DevOps on Visual Studio Team Services. In this demo-rich course, see how Azure can help increase developer productivity in a tool-agnostic way, find out how to build cross-platform mobile apps, and learn about data services provided by Azure. Take a look at microservices and containers, explore identity as the core of enterprise mobility, see how to set up a DevOps pipeline, and much more, in this practical cloud app development tutorial.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/9w0s2dhe/

  

Factoid of the Week

Last week's factoid and question was this:

Sitting in a 15-minute meeting uses more energy than Usain Bolt expends over three 100-metre sprints. Question: What was the most exhausting business meeting you've ever been in?

David Collins from Seattle, Washington gave us the classic response:

The last one…

Now let's move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: Cadbury's Roses chocolate boxes have shrunk for the fourth time in as many years.

Source: http://www.wservernews.com/go/wh3p8g22/
 
Comments: The above story from The Telegraph (a UK newspaper) reminds me of a phenomenon I've been observing (and have been increasingly annoyed with) in recent years which I call "value dilution". I first became aware of it some years ago when I needed a stand-up fan for my office, and after looking around I found I could buy one for a couple of dollars less at Walmart. But when I removed it from the box and assembled it, I discovered that the power cord was only 2 feet long. In other words, the manufacturer had "diluted" their product by utilizing less cabling for the power cord so they could provide "value" to customers by offering their fan at a lower cost. Naturally I had to buy an extension cord so I could plug in my new fan.
 
A more recent example of value dilution that I've observed is with a certain liquid dish soap that we use frequently in our household since it helps us clean up greasy pots and pans much better than any other liquid soap that's currently available at our local grocery store. Well at least the product used to cut thru grease well. It still does actually, but over the last few years the liquid in the bottle seems to have gotten runnier (less viscous) which means we now have to use more of it to get the same amount of grease-cleaning effect. I can't actually confirm this to be true because I haven't measured the viscosity of the soap repeatedly over several years (or its effect per gram of grease per ml of soap liquid) but based on my casual observation (being the one who often does the cleanup after dinner) I do feel that my favorite kitchen grease-remover has gradually gotten less powerful while the label on the soap bottle seems to have become ever more insistent concerning the marvelous grease-cutting capabilities of their new and improved formula. Maybe the soap's chemical composition is being altered by the company in response to increasingly tighter environmental regulations? Perhaps, but what use is it to say it now has "50% more power" when I have to use 50 or 100% more of it to get the same result? Well this is just my own personal opinion anyways and is not based on scientific measurement, and in the meantime we're still sold on using this liquid dish soap as there doesn't seem to be anything better easily available on the market. But this example of value dilution is probably not as annoying as Cadbury repeatedly shrinking the size of a box of Roses. Why not keep the box size the same size and just up the price?

Question: What's the most annoying example of "value dilution" (or whatever you want to call this marketing phenomenon) that you have personally experienced?

Email your answer to us at: wsn@mtit.com

 

Until next week,

Mitch Tulloch

 

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

SQL Server 101: free self-study guide for learning SQL Server fundamentals. It includes the history of SQL and its technical basics. The guide will form the foundation of your future DBA expertise.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ck6z4a0o/

This Outlook 2013 add-in adds extended appointment calendar to see events for several upcoming days, and enhanced new email notification system to delete/flag incoming emails:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/62j6mun5/

SPF Surveyor is an SPF diagnostic tool that presents a graphical view of SPF records:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/hij069af/

ActivePasswords is a lightweight, powerful and fully customizable password strength & account synchronization tool:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/v0y54gn0/

 

This Week's Tips

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Hyper-V - Resizing live VHDs

Mitch Garvis (a.k.a. the other Mitch) has an informative post on his blog about how he had to shrink a VHDX file so he could put in on the internal drive of his Surface Pro to do demos on the road:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/xmerz64t/

Windows Server - ROBOCOPY tip

There's a tip by Raymond Chen on his blog The Old New Thing that frequent users of the ROBOCOPY utility may want to check out:

If you ask robocopy to destroy the destination, then it will destroy the destination

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kqbu48c6/

Seems kind of obvious, doesn't it? Read the comments to Raymond's post for extra insights into this.

Azure - Backing up a VM directly from the management blade

Did you know that Azure Backup provides the capability to back up a virtual machine directly from virtual machine management blade? Read this post from the TechNet Tip of the Day blog for more details:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/5zzcs22m/

Events Calendar

Microsoft Build in May 10-12, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qb9opurg/

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rumh37uq/

Microsoft Ignite on September 25-29, 2017 in Orlando, Florida

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rw1hxlnp/

Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact info@techgenix.com

New on TechGenix.com

Answering all your FAQs about Storage Replica in Windows Server 2016

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fo14efk2/

Active Directory security: Configuring local administrators

http://www.wservernews.com/go/5iuw2gb5/

Citrix Workspace IoT shows the future of the space

http://www.wservernews.com/go/g56tt4qy/

How to start hosting websites with Azure Web Apps

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0gd2ljw3/

Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.13 released into the wild

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ogx9dkwr/

 

Tech Briefing

Enterprise IT

Six plus data center software defined management dashboards (StorageIO)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/n1kmgm2e/

SSD Trends, Tips and Topics (InfoStor)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rd73pwqp/

Exchange Server

Deploying Skype for Business Server (Part 4) - Server Deployment (MSExchange.org)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/sii204z4/

Configuring Custom RMS Templates in Microsoft Azure and Exchange Online (MSExchange.org)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/bmp3en66/

PowerShell

Nearly everything has changed for SQL Server PowerShell (Hey, Scripting Guy!)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/si05iv5i/

PowerShell for File Management (Part 7) (WindowsNetworking.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/uvx58k49/

Security

Forensics: Active Directory ACL investigation (Platform PFE's in Sweden Blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/r4miv2ih/

Convincing phishing message and how ATP helped the remediation (EOP Field Notes)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/op4dvea1/

System Center

Searching through SCOM 2012 Notification Subscriptions using PowerShell (Andres Naranjo’s System Center blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/v5vj1uy3/

Deploying Nano Server Using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2016 (VirtualizationAdmin.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1mwz6ve4/

Other Articles of Interest

New on-premises cloud systems look to redefine hybrid cloud

While hybrid cloud management is improving, the fact that both public and private clouds can use the same servers and storage platform raises an obvious question: why not use the same technology across a public and a private cloud to simplify management. Explore three on-premises cloud systems that aim to do just that, along with their potential pitfalls.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/22i3cjew/


What does the future of VDI hold in 2017?

With 2017 in full swing, will this finally be the year of desktop-as-a-service? Or will VDI shops better deal with hybrid deployments that combine on-premises and cloud-based desktops? Take a look at what experts predict for VDI shops in 2017, including how they will handle the increasing number of graphics-intensive virtual apps.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/i0ch8un0/

Nested virtualization offers flexibility and cost savings

Server virtualization continues to be improved upon with alternative approaches to resource abstraction and even by combining techniques to further optimize virtual environments. One approach to this is nested virtualization. In this tip, explore a breakdown of this technology and the benefits you could see.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/zwyzovst/

VMware NSX vExpert program the latest in network virtualization growth

Building on the success of its vExpert loyalty program, VMware has created the NSX vExpert program to stimulate customer interest in its networking and security offering. In this exclusive tip, take a look at this loyalty program and what it can offer you.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/twnvrgnd/

WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Girl Freestyles In Inline Skates

http://www.wservernews.com/go/heh7zz75/

Amazing Magic Trick With Coffee Mug - Criss Angel

http://www.wservernews.com/go/v6lwjvm9/

A Funny Story Of A Husband Worried About His Wife's Temper

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qxds6qqz/

Best Of The Month February 2017 - Edited By Zapatou

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3rnpua9h/

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Deep Packet Inspection for Quality of Experience Monitoring

Read this whitepaper to get a detailed description of packet analysis techniques to measure high network response times, network delay, server processing times, client processing time, traffic distribution, and overall quality of experience.

Download Now>>

 Image

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.