Vol. 20, #8 - March 11, 2013 - Issue #920Image

967 Tips for Healthier Servers!

  1. Editor's Corner
    • User-friendly Hyper-V Backup
    • From the Mailbag
    • Whole Lotta Tips
    • Tip of the Week
    • Recommended for Learning
    • Quote of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. Events Calendar
    • Americas
    • Europe
    • Asia
    • Africa
  4. Webcast Calendar
    • MSExchange.org Webinar: Are You Ready for Exchange 2013?
    • Register for Webcasts
  5. Tech Briefing
    • Hyper-V Tips
    • Configuring iSCSI Storage
    • Businesses Use the Cloud to Stay Competitive
    • Step-by-Step: Building a FREE System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 Lab
    • VMware Protect - What Is It and How Can It Help You?
    • Wireless Tune-Up: Businesses Get Up to Speed with Wi-Fi
    • Planning for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
    • Ways to Increase Wi-Fi Security
    • Top 2012 Windows Security Settings Which Fail to Be Configured Correctly
    • Migrating a standalone Office 365 tenant to Exchange 2010
    • PowerShell for reducing the size of a VHD
    • Converting VHDs to VHDX and other questions
    • Microsoft Office Series For IT Pros
    • Your Personal Isolated Lab - Featuring Windows 8 + Hyper-V
  6. Windows Server News
    • Tools that determine your cloud ROI
    • Choosing thin client devices: What to look for
    • What to expect from the RHEV 3.1 Web-based management interface
    • Assessing the pros and cons of Linux desktop environments
  7. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
  8. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • Running Hyper-V? Download FREE Hyper-V Backup

 

Running Hyper-V? Download FREE Hyper-V Backup

Altaro Hyper-V Backup makes backing up & restoring Hyper-V VMs easy, fast and reliable. Plus, you can get started for free for up to 2 VMs (forever). What you get for free: * Make live backups (with VSS) * Fully restore a backed up VM in 5 clicks * Supports Windows Server 2008 R2 & 2012 * & more! Need to back up more than 2 Hyper-V VMs? Prices start as low as $345/host!


Learn more & Download FREE version now! (No hassle, no sales pitch)

 

Editor's Corner

Don't you just love those magazines that say things like "455 ways to lose weight!!" or "236 must-have gadgets!!" on their covers? Naturally no one's actually going to try and count to see whether those cover blurbs are actually accurate or not. But still, they probably do attract a few extra eyeballs for magazines that use them.

So along the lines of such nonsense, this issue of WServerNews brings you a whole bunch of different tips on various topics of interest to IT pros. Are there actually 967 tips in this issue? No of course not. But I do hope you do find at least one tip in this issue that helps you improve server performance or troubleshoot some problem in your environment.

And speaking of marketing, did you know that CRIME CAN PAY when it comes to social media?
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732359574

User-friendly Hyper-V Backup

Of course marketing isn't all bad. In fact it helps us pays our bills because this free newsletter couldn't exist without the help of our sponsors like Altaro, a fast-growing developer of user-friendly backup solutions aimed at SMBs. Be sure to check out the Tech Briefing section of this issue which has links to some recent posts on the Altaro Blog for Hyper-V and Windows Administrators. And while you're at it, click on one of the ads in this issue and check out the full line of products and solutions offered by Altaro.

Thanks for helping to support WServerNews!

From the Mailbag

In the previous issue Persistence Pays Off (Issue #919) we discussed using persistent vs. pooled desktops for a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). A reader named Glenn, who is Director of System and Server Operations at a university, responded with a recommendation concerning a product:

We are in the process of replacing physical PCs with VDI, and we are using Unidesk as the management portion for our VMware View implementation. When we started looking at VDI the storage requirements and lack of good management tools were big concerns of ours.  Unidesk allows us to reduce our storage requirements by leveraging a single master image, it allows us to package applications that are layered on top of the OS, and it does the persona management for Persistent desktops. We are currently running Non-Persistent Desktops for our computer labs and Persistent Desktops for our Faculty and staff. I would highly recommend that you look at this product, it was the piece that sold us on VDI as a viable option.

For information on Unidesk see here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732479122

Whole lotta tips

For those of you in a hurry, here's a quick list of all topics covered below:

Don't forget to email us at [email protected] if you have comments or suggestions concerning any of these tips.

Fixed or Dynamic VHD for SAN?

Opinions vary but the general consensus is that fixed virtual hard disks (VHDs) are more "SAN-friendly" than dynamic VHDs when it comes to storing virtual machine files on a storage area network.

What is your own experience with this?

Moving contacts between domains

Here's some PowerShell someone sent me that moves all the contacts in the Active Directory domain contoso.com to the child domain corp.contoso.com:

Import-module ActiveDirectory

Get-adobject -ldapfilter "(objectclass=contact)" -SearchBase 'OU=Sales,DC=contoso,DC=com' | move-adobject -TargetPath "OU=Sales,DC=corp,DC=contoso,DC=com" -TargetServer dc1.corp.contoso.com

You need to customize the domains, OUs and target server to make it work of course. Note that I haven't actually tried, this, so test it in a safe environment before you use it in production.

Got any tips of your own for managing Active Directory using PowerShell?

Naming schemes to avoid in AD

Here's an oldie but goodie blog post on ways you should NOT name your Active Directory forest/domain or your computer/user accounts:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732488419

Has anyone ever experienced any other naming problems in Active Directory environments?

Listing NTDS connections between domain controllers

Here's some PowerShell you can use to list all the NTDS connections between domain controllers in an Active Directory environment:

Import-module ActiveDirectory

Get-adobject -filter {Objectclass -eq "NTDSConnection"} -searchbase "CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=com" -properties distinguishedname,fromServer | fl distinguishedname,fromServer

Just replace contoso with the name of your own domain.

Who still uses disjoint namespaces?

Use of disjoint namespaces in Active Directory environments isn't recommended because they're more difficult to manage and troubleshoot than contiguous namespaces as indicated here:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732493747

However, disjoint namespaces are sometimes used in Active Directory environments but mostly only by very large enterprises that implemented their DNS infrastructure long before they deployed Active Directory in their environment or who rely heavily on UNIX/Linux.

So the bottom line is, disjoint namespaces are here to stay, and if you want to become an Active Directory expert you'll need to understand how to work with them.

Do you use disjoint namespaces in your environment? How has it impacted how you manage Active Directory?

Using Windows Integrated authentication with RD Web Access

RD Web Access lets users access RemoteApp and Desktop Connection through the Start menu or a web browser:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732498700

By default RD Web Access uses Forms authentication, but can you configure it to use Windows Integrated authentication instead? Sure, just open the following web.config file in Notepad:

%windir%\web\rdweb\Web.config

Then browse the comments in this file and you'll find instructions on how to do so.

Note however that if you use Windows Integrated authentication then Web Single Sign On (SSO) isn't supported:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732503200

Best way to apply Group Policy to mobile computers?

Many admins try to use WMI filtering to apply certain Group Policy objects only to mobile computers. For example, you could try using WMI to query for the presence of a battery, system enclosure, PCMCIA interface, and so.

But the best way of course is simply to create a separate OU for mobile computers and apply the policy only to that OU.

Or are you happier with the WMI approach or some other methodology?

Any problems having a lot of GPOs?

Which is faster, having one Group Policy object that has 100 policy settings configured in it, or having 100 GPOs each with a single policy setting configured? If both scenarios are applied to the same computer or user object, then in most cases the difference will scarcely be noticeable according to one of my colleagues who tested this.

The big thing that can slow down Group Policy processing is using too many or poorly-crafted WMI filters.

Cloning a deployment share

Cloning a Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) deployment share can be useful for example if you want to perform some tests using a share cloned from your production environment. Can you do this? Sure, just copy and paste the folder for the share!

Give users only the RemoteApps they need

If you have dozens or hundreds of RemoteApp programs you need to publish, but some users only need a few of them, you can use user assignment filtering to allow users to see only those apps they actually need. Here's an oldie but goodie blog post that describes this often-overlooked feature of Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732509966

Have any of our readers tried using this capability?

Managing multiple remote desktop connections

There's nothing included out-of-the-box in Windows Server 2008 R2 that allows you to easily manage multiple remote desktop connections. This kind of scenario is common when you need to manage server labs or for automatic check-in systems in data centers. Microsoft does have a free tool however that you can download for this purpose:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732513981

Securing RDP traffic using PKI

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) traffic is always encrypted, but Windows Server 2008 R2 also allows you to encrypt it using SSL certificates from a trusted source such as the root Certificate Authority (CA) of your public key infrastructure (PKI). For more information see the following blog post:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732518122

Sharing SQL Server with SharePoint and other applications

SharePoint should always have its own instance of SQL Server. In other words, you shouldn't share the SharePoint instance of SQL Server with other application servers that need SQL Server. One reason for this is because certain SQL Server settings needed by SharePoint (such as MAXDOP) may not be appropriate for other applications. Another reason is that heavy usage of SQL Server by another application could negatively impact the response time of SharePoint.

Troubleshooting messy cabling

Messy cabling or "spaghetti cabling" can be a nightmare to try and troubleshoot. Here's a tip that might help: Start from one end (e.g. the patch panel) and label the near termination point of one of the cables. Now loosely wrap a piece of velcro around the cable, then slowly push the Velcro loop along the cable until you reach the far termination of the cable. Label the far termination point. Repeat the process for the remaining cables.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for troubleshooting cabling problems?

The Best Way to Transfer Large Files (4GB+) from your Mac to PC (or PC to Mac)

A useful tip here from the UltraTechy blog:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732523825

OS Deployment for Remote Workers

Some guidelines from Dell on how to use ConfigMgr 2007 OSD Standalone Media to deploy/upgrade a new OS on remote worker's systems without a help desk call:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732527747

System Restore in enterprise environments

You should always turn off System Restore on Windows client computers in the enterprise. The reason is that if a user restores his machine far back enough, the machine password for the computer will be wrong and as a result the computer will no longer be functional on the domain.

Send us feedback

Got feedback on any of the above tips? Or additional tips to suggest? Let us know at [email protected]

Tip of the Week

Looking for more tips? Check out the latest tips in the Admin Knowledge Base on WindowsNetworking.com:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732532888

And why not contribute a tip of your own for this newsletter? Email us at [email protected] if you have a good one to share with our readers.

Recommended for Learning

This week we have three new titles from three different publishers for you:

Windows Server 2012 Pocket Consultant (Microsoft Press)

Another great book from William Stanek, this practical and portable guide can help you quickly get up to speed administering Windows Server 2012 in your environment:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732537669

VMware View 5: Building a Successful Virtual Desktop (VMware Press)

Paul O'Doherty combines deep insights and best practices from his extensive enterprise deployment experience and walks you through the steps of implementing and managing VMware View 5:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732541888

Building and Managing a Cloud Using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c (Oracle Press)

Learn how to architect, configure and manage components of a public or private cloud lifecycle:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732546966

Quote of the Week

"Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous." --Confucius

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." --Vince Lombardi

"Be a friend to thyself, and others will be so too." --Thomas Fuller

Until next week,
Mitch Tulloch

BTW feel free to:

Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don’t receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we’ll try to troubleshoot things from our end.

 

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

Free tool – Easy backup for Hyper-V. Free (forever) for 2 VMs – Download now!
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362734799711

Free Trial: NetWrix Change Reporter Suite, a simple IT infrastructure auditing tool that tracks changes made to all critical IT systems and reports on the "4W detail" – Who changed What, When and Where.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362734802524

Email Archiving made easy – Exclaimer Mail Archiver provides you with all the benefits of email archiving in a package that’s simple to install, easy to maintain and low cost to own.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362734808727

Network cabling getting you down? Organize your rack with the Belkin Cable Management Panel from CDW:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362734812024

Have you ever forgotten a password? With 1Password it will never happen again:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362734820899


Events Calendar

Americas

Europe

Asia

Africa

Add your event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

 

Webcast Calendar

MSExchange.org Webinar: Are You Ready for Exchange 2013?

Join J. Peter Bruzzese, Microsoft Certified Trainer and CIO and CoFounder of ClipTraining on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 for a live MSExchange.org webinar, sponsored by KEMP Technologies.  In this complimentary 45 minute webinar, you'll discover:

Get answers to these questions and many other recommendations to consider when planning your upgrade to Exchange 2013.

Register Here!

Register for Webcasts

 Add your Webcast

PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

 

Tech Briefing

As promised we'll begin with links to some recent posts on the Altaro Blog for Hyper-V and Windows Administrators:

For more helpful articles see the Altaro Blog for Hyper-V and Windows Administrators:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362734873946

 

Now on to other stuff...

Configuring iSCSI Storage (WindowsNetworking.com)

This four-part series of articles by Mitch Tulloch demonstrates how to configure and provision iSCSI storage using Windows Server 2012:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732848123

Businesses Use the Cloud to Stay Competitive (BizTech)

Growing companies find that running a business in the cloud saves money, eases IT maintenance and delivers services they need:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732853310

Step-by-Step: Building a FREE System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 Lab (Canadian IT Pro Connection)

Anthony Bartolo explains how to leverage Microsoft's Windows Azure FREE 90-Day Trial Offer to build your System Center 2012 lab environment for FREE:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732858264

VMware Protect - What Is It and How Can It Help You?

David Davis takes a look at VMware Protect, a patching and software update solution not only for virtual machines but also for your physical servers as well:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732862389

Wireless Tune-Up: Businesses Get Up to Speed with Wi-Fi (BizTech)

By building out wireless networks, companies set employees -- and customers -- free:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732867248

Planning for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) (WindowsNetworking.com)

Brien Posey discusses important considerations that must be taken into account prior to allowing users to access your network from personal devices:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732871482

Ways to Increase Wi-Fi Security (WindowsNetworking.com)

Eric Geier shares some techniques you can use to help prevent wireless eavesdropping, attacks, and even unintentional security vulnerabilities:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732875264

Top 2012 Windows Security Settings Which Fail to Be Configured Correctly (WindowsSecurity.com)

Derek Melber outlines the most common and important Windows security settings that most security professionals tend to ignore or configure incorrectly:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732879873

Migrating a standalone Office 365 tenant to Exchange 2010 (MSExchange.org)

This short series of articles by Steve Goodman looks at why and how you can migrate from Office 365 to Exchange 2010:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732883545

PowerShell for reducing the size of a VHD (I.T. Proctology)

Have you ever gotten yourself into a situation where a VHD you created was too large?
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732887748

Converting VHDs to VHDX and other questions (Canadian IT Pro Connection)

Mitch Garvis answers two questions on Hyper-V he received following his IT Camp on Windows Server 2012:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732891873

Microsoft Office Series For IT Pros (Aidan Finn, IT Pro)

Microsoft started a new YouTube series called Office Garage Series and it has a logo that looks very familiar:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732895967

Your Personal Isolated Lab - Featuring Windows 8 + Hyper-V (Ask PFE Platforms)

With Windows 8 plus Hyper-V you now have the opportunity to create a great lab environment on a single workstation:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732902029

 

Windows Server News

Tools that determine your cloud ROI

Many IT pros are eager to leverage cloud computing to meet demands for more computing services without overstraining limited IT budgets – but just how cost-effective is the cloud? Inside this tip, learn about advanced tools that can help you prove the economic advantages of the cloud.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732906170

Choosing thin client devices: What to look for

While switching to thin client devices can eliminate some of the costs of physical PCs, these benefits will only be realized if you choose the right thin client for the job. Access this exclusive resource to review essential tips and evaluation criteria that can help ensure you make the best selection.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732909935

What to expect from the RHEV 3.1 Web-based management interface

What does Red Hat's latest enterprise virtualization platform, RHEV 3.1, have to offer? One feature that has IT pros buzzing is its new Web-based management interface – a user-friendly enhancement. Learn what to expect from RHEV 3.1 inside this detailed guide.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732913639

Assessing the pros and cons of Linux desktop environments

While Windows-centric desktop environments are the norm in enterprises, Linux desktop environments can actually offer a number of significant – and often overlooked – advantages with regards to licensing costs, support and compatibility. Find out more inside this comprehensive resource.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732918264

 

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 [email protected]

Image

We've Landed: Daredevil Chicherit's Full MINI Backflip:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732923279

A Russian man fills his homemade power-glider at a local gas station, drives onto the freeway, and takes off into the skies.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732927389

Moving house made easy in Japan:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732932029

Ric Kaner set out to find a new way to make graphene, the thinnest and strongest material on earth. What he found was a new way to power the world.
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732936373

"Best Of Web 4" - a compilation of 243 outstanding videos:
http://www.wservernews.com/go/1362732940732

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Running Hyper-V? Download FREE Hyper-V Backup

Altaro Hyper-V Backup makes backing up & restoring Hyper-V VMs easy, fast and reliable. Plus, you can get started for free for up to 2 VMs (forever). What you get for free: * Make live backups (with VSS) * Fully restore a backed up VM in 5 clicks * Supports Windows Server 2008 R2 & 2012 * & more! Need to back up more than 2 Hyper-V VMs? Prices start as low as $345/host!


Learn more & Download FREE version now! (No hassle, no sales pitch)

 

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 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.