Vol. 20, #42 - October 19, 2015 - Issue #1052

Cloud storage considerations

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Cloud storage considerations
    • Send us your feedback
    • Recommended for Learning
    • Microsoft Virtual Academy
    • Registration is Open for Cloud Admin CON 2015
    • Quote of the Week
  2. Admin Toolbox
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. This Week's Tips
    • AD - Planning for disaster recovery
    • AD - Cannot forcibly disjoin from domain
    • ConfigMgr - Exclude MAC Address from being registered during imaging
  4. Events Calendar
    • North America
    • Europe
  5. Tech Briefing
    • Azure
    • Exchange & Office
    • System Center
    • Windows 10
    • Windows Server
  6. Recommended TechGenix Articles
    • Recommended articles from websites in TechGenix Network
  7. Windows Server News
    • Cloud lock-in continues to creep into enterprise IT
    • Does your server vendor matter anymore?
    • Safeguard your VDI environment against malware
    • Using VMware Converter to preserve Windows 2003
  8. WServerNews FAVE Links
    • Chinese Girl Effortlessly Roller Skates Under 18 Cars
    • The Impossible Ladder Challenge - China Talent Show
    • Unbelievable Pool Shot
  9. WServerNews - Product of the Week
    • Deep Packet Inspection for Quality of Experience Monitoring



Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter is all about the benefits and risks involved in storing your sensitive business data in the cloud using a public cloud service like Microsoft Azure. We welcome Greg Schulz, Founder and Senior Analyst of StorageIO, who will help us explore this topic in his guest editorial for this issue of WServerNews. Greg is also an author of several excellent books and you can read my reviews of them in the Recommended For Learning section of this issue. Plus we also have the usual news, tips, tools and fun stuff so be sure to read it all!

Storage is of course a valuable commodity in the IT world, but what can you do when you run low on storage? One solution is to reclaim it by deleting files that are no longer needed, and that's just what the IT guy did for Dilbert when he asked for more email storage--but it didn't turn out the way Dilbert had expected:


Yes you certainly can't please everyone, can you?

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 [email protected]

Cloud storage considerations

Let's now move on to our guest editorial by Greg Schultz which is actually an abbreviated version of a much longer article that Greg contributed to my column on CloudComputingAdmin. The article will be published soon and when it appears I'll mention it here in this newsletter.

And now here's Greg...

Using Microsoft Azure for cloud storage

Let's say that you have been tasked with, or decided that it is time to use (or try) public cloud storage such as Microsoft Azure. Ok, now what do you do and what decisions need to be made?  Keep in mind that Microsoft Azure like many other popular public clouds provides many difference services available for fee (subscription) along with free trials. These services include applications, compute, networking, storage along with development and management platform tools.

Microsoft Azure besides offering cloud storage also has services for:

Microsoft Azure cloud storage services include:

So which Microsoft Azure cloud storage service do you need or want to use?

There are many different options, however if you know what you need, then it's a simple matter of understanding what the options are and aligning those to your needs. Unless you already know which service that you need to use, let's take a look at your options to help with Azure storage decision making. Let's review what are your applications server, storage and I/O Performance, Availability, Capacity and Economic (PACE) characteristic requirements among others. Selecting cloud server, storage I/O resources along with application functionality is similar to selecting physical resources and traditional software. Keep in mind that you may require more than one type of data and storage services as everything is not the same including across, as well as within different applications.

Understanding your application and environment needs for cloud storage involves making decisions in the following areas:

Let's explore a few of these decision areas in more detail. [Editor's Note: You'll be able to read Greg's full article when it's published in my column on CloudComputingAdmin.com]

Application focus

How will your application use data and storage, for example, does it need access to an SQL Server (or NoSQL) database or data warehouse? Do you simply need storage to create a database, key value, an object or another repository on? Do you need storage space for placing active changing data, or data that is static, write once read many (WORM) and immutable? Do you need fast low-latency storage close to where your application resides or do you need lower cost, high capacity storage with good durability? How will your applications access and use the data and storage? For example via database SQL or ODBC, using XML, JSON, S3, Swift, CDMI among other APIs and programmatic bindings, using file shares such as NFS or CIFS/SMB or HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) or simply as a block or blob of storage? Or will your application need to access message queues and simple key value tables? Think of it this way, if you were adding new storage on-site, what would you be looking at doing? Buying a dedicated or shared block SAN type storage system, or an NAS for file and data sharing, object storage, database server or something else?

Location matters

Where will or does your application reside, within Microsoft Azure running on a cloud server instance, or, on premise at your own (or somebody else's) site outside of the Azure cloud running on a physical, virtual or other cloud server instance? The reason location of your application matters is that like other cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, HP, IBM/Softlayer, Rackspace, VMware vCloud among others, some storage services are restricted to use within their respective clouds, while others can also be accessed externally. For example, higher performance cloud storage services such as premium (HDD and SSD) storage is only available within and from Azure instances. This is similar to AWS Elastic Block Storage (EBS) among others. On the other hand, storage blobs (e.g. buckets and objects) are accessible internal, as well as external to the Azure cloud similar to AWS Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets and objects, or Google Cloud Storage (GCS) containers and objects among others. Thus, the importance of knowing where your application currently runs and will be accessing storage is important for cloud storage decision making.


What level of performance do you or your applications need? This will depend on if you are looking to use Azure storage for bulk storage of data such as videos, images, photos, audio recordings or other large (and small) static data, or if you need storage with transaction ability to support many reads or writes. Location matters with performance, the closer your application is to the data, or, your data and storage are to the applications the better. For example, there are Azure premium storage services including with fast flash-based Solid State Device (SSD) as well as HDDs. However, those services need to be accessed from within Azure. Understand what your applications need for latency or response time, as well as in terms of messages processed, reads and updates, as well as IOPs, to help determine the applicability of different Azure services. Note that various Azure data and storage services have limits on performance activity in terms of bandwidth, IOPs, transactions, reads, writes, Gets, Puts and other operations, understand what they are vs. your application needs to design and decide appropriately.


Don't be scared of clouds or Microsoft Azure storage options, instead, be prepared, and know how to navigate your various options to meet your specific needs and requirements. Shopping for and evaluate cloud storage options is similar to what you would (or should) do for acquiring traditional physical storage. Granted, some of the names, terms, and access technologies will be different. Learn more about Azure, along with data and storage options here as well as at my blog:


About Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is the Founder and Senior Analyst of an independent IT advisory consultancy firm called Server StorageIO and UnlimitedIO LLC (e.g. StorageIO). Greg has worked in IT for an electrical utility, financial services, and transportation firms in roles ranging from business applications development to systems management, architecture, strategy and capacity planning. He is also the author of the Intel Recommended Reading List books Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier). Greg is also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and six-time VMware vExpert. You can learn more about Greg and his company here:


Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

Recommended for Learning

This week I'll be briefly reviewing two CRC Press titles authored by Greg Schulz who contributed the guest editorial for this issue of WServerNews.

Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking

This book is an excellent read for business and IT decision makers (BDM/TDM) who want to get the big picture of where enterprise storage is going these days. The book covers both traditional on-premises storage solutions and newer, converged virtualized network and cloud storage solutions. Connectivity, management and protection strategies are described in some detail at a level that both the non-technical BDM reader can understand while digging deep enough into technologies to provide a good foundation for understanding by TDM audience. Chapters can be read in sequence or as needed to enhance your knowledge of a particular aspect of cloud and virtual data storage. Organizations who are planning on deploying, enlarging or replacing storage solutions will benefit from the chapters and sections that deal with strategic planning issues which will help them both to clarify their goals and to identify the technologies they can use to help them achieve their goals. You can buy this book on Amazon here:


The Green and Virtual Data Center

This book takes a level-headed look at the promise and hype surrounding "green" computing and examines both the myths and realities of why and how datacenters can be made more "green" both in an environmental sense and in terms of economics. A major portion of the book is devoted to understanding the virtual datacenter, something that was still relatively new in 2009 when the book was published but which is fast becoming the norm today for datacenters. The book also provides detailed coverage of the various technologies that make green and virtualized datacenters possible, and though there have been a few significant technological advancements (e.g. the rapid increase in size and decline in cost of enterprise SSDs) in this area since the book was published, the vast majority of technologies needed to build and maintain green/virtual datacenters are standardized and have only evolved minimally, so organizations who plan to deploy, build out or replace their existing datacenters with green/virtual technologies can benefit well from giving Greg's book a thorough read. You can buy this book on Amazon here:


Microsoft Virtual Academy

Windows 10: Top Features for Consumers  

Watch this course for hands-on Windows 10 training for consumers and IT Pros!  You'll get an in-depth look with popular author and technology journalist Ed Bott and Microsoft Worldwide Retail Sales & Marketing Director Ben Rudolph. Explore Windows Hello and the Start menu, along with Cortana, OneDrive, mail, and photos, get practical tips for using Windows 10, and learn about Microsoft Edge:


Microsoft Press Special Offer: Go digital & save 90%

Go digital! Tell us what Microsoft Press book is on your shelf and receive a special discount code to save 90% on the multi-format eBook edition. Offer ends October 28, 2015. Details here:


Registration is Open for Cloud Admin CON 2015

Cloud Admin CON is a cost-effective, convenient opportunity for busy System Administrators and IT Managers to stay up to date on the most recent industry trends and vendor solutions and build their network of IT experts and vendors. Individual focus sessions are scheduled to run consecutively, allowing you to attend all sessions, or selectively choose only those you wish to attend. A sample of what you can expect to learn includes:

Date and Time: Thursday, November 19, 2015 11am EST | 8am PST | 4pm BST

Participation is limited to the first 500 registrants, so sign up here today!

Quote of the Week

"I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last the year." -- Chief Business Editor, Prentice Hall, 1957

Until next week,
Mitch Tulloch

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

Browse, search and export items directly from Veeam backups of your Exchange 2010 and 2013 VMs with Veeam Explorer for Exchange. FREE download!

Read this free eBook and find out how to calculate the true return on investment (ROI) involved in maintaining traditional storage solutions for email archiving and Exchange management.

Want Office 365 monitoring and alerting for free? See this MSDN blog post.

PowerShell Scripts for EC2 Backups is a set of Windows PowerShell scripts to enable automated daily/weekly backups (via snapshots) on AWS EC2 Windows instances.

MachineSLATStatusCheck lets you  check the SLAT capability of a machine to see whether it can run Hyper-V client or not.

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected] 

This Week's Tips

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]

AD - Planning for disaster recovery

Does your organization need to develop a plan that will enable them to recover their Active Directory forest in the event of a disaster happening that impacts all of your domain controllers? A good place to start is the Planning for Active Directory Forest Recovery guide which is available from the Microsoft Download Center here:


And if you're a Microsoft Premier customer you should also ask your TAM for information about the Active Directory Recovery Execution Service (ADRES) offering delivered by Premier Field Engineers.

AD - Cannot forcibly disjoin from domain

If you need to forcibly remove a member server from a domain you can usually do so using the netdom remove /force command. This can be useful for example if the domain the server thinks it is joined to no longer exists because of all domain controllers for the domain being lost or demoted. We have heard however of at least one occasion where this command didn't work, possibly because of some registry corruption on the affected server. What did work in this scenario was to start by disabling all of the network connections on the server and then run the netdom command using local admin credentials e.g. .\Administrator for the username.

ConfigMgr - Exclude MAC Address from being registered during imaging

Here's a tip from Matt Tinney showing how you can exclude a MAC address from being registered to a machine during imaging with SCCM by adding it to this multi-string registry key:


This is useful for a dock or Ethernet dongle that is used to image tablet devices.

Matt Tinney is CEO and founder of Windows Management Experts (WME) a leader in Microsoft System Center technologies that helps customers reduce IT operations cost through services and solutions:


Events Calendar

North America

Convergence on April 4-7, 2016 in New Orleans USA

Ignite on May 9-13, 2016 in Chicago USA

2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 10-14, 2016 in Toronto Canada


Convergence 2015 EMEA on Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2015 in Barcelona Spain

Add Your Event

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

Tech Briefing


Command Line Wizardry with Azure CLI (Steven Edouard)


How to Perform a Full Sync of AD to Azure AD (myITforum)


Exchange & Office

Off-boarding email from Office 365 to Exchange 2013 (Part 5) (MSExchange.org)


Integrating Exchange Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015 (Part 1) (MSExchange.org)


System Center

Windows Container Resources - DSC and VMM Templates, and more to come (Ben Armstrong)


Getting Started With Azure Pack (Part 6) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)


Windows 10

Production Checkpoints in Windows 10 (Ben Armstrong)


PFE Blogs Windows 10 Universal App (250 Hello)


Windows Server

Active Directory Insights (Part 4): More on read-only domain controllers (WindowsNetworking.com)


Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3 (Remote Desktop Services Blog)


Recommended TechGenix Articles

Mapping AWS services to those of other cloud providers (Part 2)

Secure services and resources with AWS Identity and Access Management (Part 2)

Cryptolocker Mitigation Strategies Explained

Installing, Configuring, and Using Hyper-V in Windows 10

Hybrid Network Infrastructure in Microsoft Azure (Part 7)

Windows Server News

Cloud lock-in continues to creep into enterprise IT

As cloud service costs drop, and features and capabilities improve, competition among cloud providers becomes fierce. Unfortunately, many IT organizations unknowingly go "all in" with a single cloud provider instead of keeping their competitive options open. Learn how to detect cloud vendor lock-in before it's too late.

Does your server vendor matter anymore?

Many organizations still value brand name servers, but, in today's world of hardware abstraction, do you really need a brand name server for virtualization?  Find out why you might be missing out if you remain dedicated to the name brand servers, instead of going an alternative route.

Safeguard your VDI environment against malware

Securing VDI against malware is not only complicated, but also just as critical as it is in traditional desktop environments.  Don't underestimate the security hazards associated with desktop virtualization – learn how to protect all aspects of your VDI environment against malware today.

Using VMware Converter to preserve Windows 2003

The end of support for Windows 2003 spurred a lot of admins to make the move to a virtualized environment, since virtualizing your OS in vSphere offers several key advantages. Learn more about how VMware vCenter Converter can add longevity to legacy OSes.

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]

This week we have three fun videos from China. Please tell me that the third video wasn't made with CGI...

Chinese Girl Effortlessly Roller Skates Under 18 Cars

A Chinese girl shows amazing skill, flexibility and courage by effortlessly skating under 18 cars lined-up in a row:

The Impossible Ladder Challenge - China Talent Show

Ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things at the Chinese talent show 'Challenge the Impossible.'

Unbelievable Pool Shot

An unbelievable pool shot that is only possible if you are a master of concentration, an expert in physics and geometry and a magic wizard:

WServerNews - Product of the Week


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.