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This week's issue of WServerNews takes a step back from our series on cloud computing and asks, Just what exactly is cloud computing? What does the term mean, fundamentally? And speaking of fundamentals, guess what else you can do with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN besides look for the fundamental particles like the elusive Higgs Boson:
Which reminds me of the time I visited CERN about a dozen years ago to write a magazine article about their quest for the Higgs. I got the full tour of the place, the Whole Nine Yards, and as we were driving past some their buildings my guide said, "Did you notice the sheep?" I said, Yes, there seem to be a lot of them grazing in the fields around here. "They're our radiation detectors. The ring-shaped accelerator tunnel is buried more than a hundred meters below the fields in this area. If the high-energy particle beam goes out of alignment and hits the wall of the tunnel under here, it will produce a lot of secondary radiation, so if the sheep get sick and die then we know we have a problem we need to fix."
We like the idea of this technology, but when we last looked at it Microsoft had a client side OS requirement for Windows 7 Enterprise edition. This makes it a hard sell as most all of our machines leverage the Windows 7 Professional OEM license and I do not know how you get to Enterprise edition without putting the client OS on your Microsoft EA. I think if they dropped that client side OS requirement more people would look at it.
Also on the SSL VPN connectivity topic I noticed that Citrix Access Gateway is absent from the top ten which I found shocking. We are a Cisco ASA shop for general users but also have NetScaler/Access Gateway for certain functions. I thought for sure it would have made the top 10 if not the top 5.
Thanks for the heads-up on another great VPN product. Interested readers can find out more about Citrix NetScaler Access Gateway here:
Mike, an IT Director in Indiana, echoed some similar sentiments about DA licensing:
Never tried it, sounds promising! But I read about the requirements here:
And was VERY disappointed the Windows 7 Professional was not a supported client OS. Only Win7 Enterprise & Ultimate. ALL of our Win7 are Pro. Ugh!
Joe, a MIS/Facilities Manager in Texas, expressed some concerns about DirectAccess security:
When using DirectAccess, where is endpoint enforcement of A/V signature dates and checks of firewall up & running accomplished? It sounds like remote Windows is allowed to connect to the inside network without any form of NAC? Not in my net... Microsoft is relying on having their firewall installed aren't they?
These are good questions, but I think the following TechNet article answers them fairly well, especially the concern about NAC/NAP which it turns out DA does in fact support:
Alberto, who supports Active Directory for a large company in Mexico, wanted to recommend the following remote access products:
Feedback to the question: Which third-party remote access solution does your organization use?
We use Cisco Systems VPN 5.0 and Check Point VPN1 SecuRemote
Why: Both are easy to configure and use.
By the way, congratulations for your weekly e-mail with the weekly topic, it is very useful.
Thanks! Finally here's Tom, an IT consultant in Spokane, Washington, who also had remote access product to recommend:
SonicWall, and excellent router/firewall and VPN access appliance. What I really like about it is that when you first configure the SonicWall for a VPN it creates a file (a .rcf file) that must be imported into the VPN client before you can use the VPN. There are several variations too, NetExtender, and two different Apps for iPhony and Droid users, though why anyone would VPN over a phone is beyond me.
Let's take a step back from our discussion of cloud sourcing models and cloud service models, and try to answer something we really haven't rigorously dealt with yet: What exactly is cloud computing? To answer this question I'm going to refer to a terrific little book from Cisco Press titled "The Economics of Cloud Computing: An Overview for Decision Makers" which you can get here:
According to author Bill Williams, the best way to answer this question is with the NIST definition of cloud computing:
"Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."
Bill says that this definition is "considered the gold standard of definitions for cloud computing."
So what does this definition actually say?
Bill also says that NIST highlights the following five things as being essential characteristics of cloud computing:
There's more we could say about what the cloud is, but I think the NIST definition and characteristics of cloud computing pretty much sum things up. If you want to learn more about cloud computing, Bill's book is a good place to start:
Got questions or comments about any of this? Email me at email@example.com.
This tip was submitted to us by a reader named Joseph who is a Computer Network Technician in Georgia, USA:
In your last issue (898), you mention manually sharing the CD-ROM drive on servers. In our environment, we use GPP Network Shares to setup the admin share for the CD-ROM.
Because the preference grants everyone full control, we overwrite the share permission (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\LanmanServer\Shares\Security\) with a registry import. The registry import sets administrators as having full control!
Anyways – thank you for the excellent resources and tips!
Got tips of your own that you'd like to share with our readers? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick news: Search across Microsoft Press books for the topics you want! Have you ever wanted to search across the Microsoft Press book titles to find if or where a topic is mentioned? Safari Books Online provides a great platform for searching across all of our titles. You don't even have to have a subscription to search. Here are a couple of new links to search results on Windows 8 and SQL Server 2012. These links will give you an idea of what you can find:
SQL Server 2012
Excerpted from the Microsoft Press blog at:
"You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." --Robin Williams as quoted in the Internet Movie Database
My three favorite Robin Williams movies:
The Birdcage - Hilariously funny, saw it four times when it hit the theatres. I can't believe it's not on Blu-ray yet!
Insomnia - Hey, he can play a stone-cold villain!
The Fisher King - Without doubt his best movie, very touching and profound.
Until next week.
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From the Official Microsoft Blog comes this post and video by Satya Nadella, President of the Server & Tools Business at Microsoft:
Tom Shinder talks about the updated Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track resources available in this post on the Private Cloud Blog:
Microsoft has announced that it will be discontinuing any further releases of some Forefront-branded solutions. Find out more on the Server & Cloud Blog:
Sander Berkouwer explains how to find the Group Policy settings you need in this post from his blog The Things That Are Better Left Unspoken:
Another article from WindowsNetworking.com that describes some practices you may think will increase the security, reliability, manageability and performance of your Windows-based network but which will actually have the opposite effect:
The new resource sharing protocol, SMB 3.0, enables faster, more reliable file access for users. However, to avoid running into performance bottlenecks, it must be architected to fit your unique business needs. Inside this tip, learn how to successfully work the protocol into your infrastructure.
When it comes to managing your VMware vSphere environment, it's essential to leverage memory management techniques to optimize available resources. Access this exclusive tip to review advanced tactics for enabling memory over-allocation so you can get the most from vSphere.
While Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) are becoming increasingly popular trends, a number of IT pros are considering a third option – Microsoft RemoteApp Programs. Find out if this lighter-weight approach to remote application delivery is a good fit for your business.
When moving applications to the cloud, it's essential to have an effective monitoring strategy in place to avoid performance issues. While there are many cloud monitoring tools available, not all are created equal, so it's important to strategically evaluate your options. Learn how in this exclusive guide.
A very important development in aerospace propulsion that will transform high-speed aviation.
Timelapse video by German photographer Martin Heck showcasing the amazing landscapes and skies of the Alps.
The best clips of birds helping themselves to some food from unsuspecting humans.
Magician Teller performs one of his amazing magic illusions.
Footage of a hippo rescuing a wildebeest calf and a zebra foal from drowning in the strong-flowing Mara River in Tanzania caused a sensation worldwide:
13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar gets a standing ovation from the judges and audience at the X-Factor audition with Nina Simone's "Feeling Good."
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.