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Vol. 17, #39 - September 24, 2012 - Issue #898
This week's issue of WServerNews is all about Software as a Service (SaaS), one of the three basic models for delivering cloud computing services to customers. But first we should ask ourselves this question: WHAT WILL I DO IF DELIVERY FAILS?
Two readers contacted us concerning one more feature they've discovered was removed in Windows Server 2012, namely the Indexing Service (Content Indexer) which is no longer available as an optional feature. If you're still using the Content Indexer in your organization, you might consider migrating to one of the following:
Microsoft Search Server Express 2010
Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint
And while this next issue might seem like a minor point to most administrators, one small change in Windows Server 2012 is that an admin share is no longer automatically created for a CD-ROM drive. This might affect you if you need to perform certain kinds of network-based installations, but you can still manually share a CD-ROM drive so it's just a small inconvenience.
Have you discovered any other features or capabilities that no longer work in Windows Server 2012? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcus from Germany pointed out that while Windows Server 2012 is officially "here" that's not true of Windows Server 2012 Essentials, which is scheduled for general availability by the end of 2012 as described in the Windows Server Essentials and Small Business Server Blog:
Alan, a sysadmin from Des Moines, USA, pointed out a useful link that we thought we would share with our readers. The Windows Certified Products List lets you search for different products and product categories to find out which devices have been certified for Windows 8 or older versions of Windows client operating systems:
Got any links you feel the readers of this newsletter might find useful? Email me at email@example.com and I'll share them with our readers.
Finally, a reader named Tom had the following comment about my including a quote from Russell Crowe in Gladiator in this issue:
Think about it, after 2,000 some odd years, we still invent quotes from dead Romans about life!
A few weeks ago in Issue #895 of this newsletter we examined some of the different sourcing models for cloud computing. For example, you can source a solution yourself either by building a private from scratch, by purchasing or leasing a third-party private cloud appliance, or by having a partner host your private cloud. You can also out-source your cloud computing needs to a hosting provider that offers public cloud services.
In this issue we'll begin talking about the different service models for cloud computing. There are three basic cloud service models:
We'll focus first on SaaS, which is where a public cloud service provider hosts line-of-business applications and you (i.e. your business) pays them a usage-based subscription fee to allow your users to use these applications. Current SaaS offerings run the full gamut of LoB applications including email and collaboration, office productivity, document management, project management, CRM, ERP, helpdesk, and even PC management and security.
Some well-known examples of SaaS offerings from Microsoft include:
Examples of popular third-party SaaS providers include:
and many others. As you can see, the SaaS marketplace is alive and kicking.
I've personally used Office 365 and have found it good to work with and have recommended it for several businesses. The service comes in different plans appropriate for small businesses to large enterprises:
There are also free trials available:
Have you used any SaaS services like Office 365 or Google Apps in your own business? What are your impressions of them? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to share your thoughts with our readers.
SaaS - The Good
SaaS is a great solution for startups that are rapidly growing and don't want to commit to building, operating and maintaining an in-house IT infrastructure.
Some SaaS providers offer both shared and dedicated services, so if you're concerned about your company's data being stored on a shared infrastructure you can pay extra for dedicated hosting on a physically isolated infrastructure.
SaaS - The Bad
Business applications delivered via the cloud typically have only minimal customization capabilities, so you're pretty much forced to accept them as-is. Unless of course you're a large enterprise customer, in which case you may have some leverage to get the provider to provide additional customizations.
Make sure your service level agreement with the provider guarantees a high level of application uptime and performance, otherwise your users will gripe and complain and their productivity may suffer.
SaaS - The Ugly
One major problem with SaaS is that departments or even individual users can bypass your IT procurement process by purchasing subscriptions to applications they feel they need to get their job done. This can quickly lead to an ugly situation with IT losing control over which applications have been deployed across the organization. While users should have the apps they need to perform their work, bypassing IT is not the way to ensure this because it can end up with users violating security policies or, even worse, your business might end up violating mandated governance and compliance requirements.
Send us feedback
In future newsletters we'll examine the advantages and disadvantages of the other two cloud service models PaaS and SaaS. But for now, if you have any thoughts on SaaS feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Your computer won't power up anymore, so you remove the hard drive and install it as a second drive in a different computer. Then you realize that you've encrypted some of the files on the drive using EFS but you failed to back up the encryption key and certificate to removable media. Does this mean those files are lost forever?
Maybe. But first you could try using the reccerts.exe utility to recover the certificate as described in this thread on the Security forum on TechNet:
You can obtain this utility by opening a ticket with Microsoft Support:
And if you don't want to pay for support on this issue, you could try following the somewhat advanced instructions found here:
I've known at least one person who successfully recovered encrypted files using this procedure, but I haven't tried it myself and can't guarantee the results. And you might want to clone a copy of the drive before you try to recover encrypted data from it.
Got tips you'd like to share with other readers? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we have two titles on network security from McGraw-Hill Professional:
Hacking Exposed 7: Network Security Secrets & Solutions - I still remember buying the first edition of Hacking Exposed what now seems like many, many years ago (time moves quickly in the computing world). The fact that this title has now gone through seven editions is testimony both to the quality of the information it contains and the enduring relevancy of the topic of safeguarding computer networks:
Reverse Deception: Organized Cyber Threat Counter-Exploitation - This book provides a good overview of network security concepts, principles and practices and should be must-reading for those in information systems management:
"You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too." --Roy Campanella as quoted in Maximum Fitness Magazine
That's true of working with computers too, isn't it?
Until next week.
To export your Hyper-V virtual machines try this free Powershell script
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 is now available from the Microsoft Download Center:
The MBAM Compliance Data Cleanup Tool is now available and can be used to to delete machine records from the with Microsoft Bitlocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) Compliance Status Database:
Keep folders synchronized using this powerful, full-featured tool which also supports versioning:
Contact Michael Vella at email@example.com to get your conference or other event listed in our Events Calendar.
Is your organization’s network service up-to-date with the latest configuration best practices for High Availability and Load Balancing? Now is the time make sure, before you have an outage. Learn the latest from a Microsoft Exchange MVP who will help you identify where your High Availability network stands today and avoid future outages.
Join J. Peter Bruzzese, Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and the cofounder and CIO of ClipTraining on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 1pm ET, 10am PT to discover tips and recommendations you need to know about HA server configurations.
In this complimentary 45 minute Webinar, you will discover:
Contact Michael Vella at firstname.lastname@example.org to get your webcast listed in our Webcasts Calendar.
We'll begin with some links to blogs for different Microsoft SaaS offerings:
Office 365 Blog:
Microsoft Online Services Team Blog:
The Windows Intune Team Blog
And of course you can find them on Twitter and Facebook too.
From awhile back on the Building Windows 8 blog comes this post about the reimagined role of cloud services in Windows 8:
From Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen blog comes this post on how to quickly get used to working with the new Windows 8 user interface:
A simple enough request, right? AskPerf tells us how:
From the Canadian IT Professionals blog comes this post by Mitch Garvis that explains which features are available only in Windows 8 Enterprise, which features are not available in Windows 8 Enterprise, and more:
This post from the Office IT Pro Blog describes Microsoft's new standalone server product called Office Web Apps Server:
When it comes to cloud computing, you can either take an “outside in” or an “inside out” approach – a decision that often causes IT departments and individual business units to butt heads. Learn how adopting a hybrid cloud model can unite these two teams and deliver the best of both cloud worlds.
Should your SMB implement a public cloud or VMware vSphere? While each option has its fair share of pros and cons, many of your peers are choosing the cloud over an internally managed virtualization environment. Find out why in this essential resource.
Windows PowerShell can significantly improve virtual desktop management, but only if IT pros know how to leverage it. In this resource, explore answers to frequently asked PowerShell questions and review tips that can help you successfully leverage this platform in your organization.
Many businesses are leveraging self-service private clouds to eliminate the time-consuming manual tasks associated with provisioning VMs. Inside this exclusive resource, learn essential tips that can help you take advantage of this advanced strategy in your organization.
By now you've probably realized that the editors of this newsletter really like XKCD a lot. Here's a YouTube video showing a live comic drawing from a talk by Randall Munroe at MIT about his webcomic:
And here's a video animation of the classic XKCD comic "The man who fell sideways":
What's your favorite XKCD comic? Email us at email@example.com
Do a simple test ... Watch this video and count the red cards in the deck:
Bard Canning spent four weeks working frame-by-frame to produce the ultimate Mars Curiosity descent video: 30fps true motion-flow interpolation, color and detail enhanced, 1080p and sound:
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 from Microsoft Press and has published hundreds of articles for IT pros. Mitch is also a seven-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 Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.