Cloudy Thinking - Fundamentals
- Editor's Corner
- From the Mailbag
- Cloudy Thinking - Fundamentals
- Tip of the Week
- Recommended for Learning
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Events Calendar
- Webcast Calendar
- Register for Webcasts
- Windows Server 2012 is Here...And so is the Cloud OS
- Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Information New and Improved
- Important Changes to Forefront Product Roadmaps
- Three useful ways to get started with Group Policy in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
- How to wreck your Windows network (Part 2)
- Evaluating the new Windows resource sharing protocol, SMB 3.0
- Optimizing resources with vSphere memory management techniques
- Turn to Microsoft RemoteApp Programs when VDI and RDS just won't do
- Cloud performance monitoring tools have evolved, but are still lacking
- This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
- Three Free Tools to Simplify Active Directory Administration
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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:
From the Mailbag
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.
Cloudy Thinking - Fundamentals
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?
- Cloud computing is an umbrella term for a wide range of different technologies. This means that clouds can come in different flavors and sizes, which is one reason for all the confusion about the subject.
- Cloud computing involves pooling of computing resources. That's one of the reasons businesses can save money by moving to the cloud. Think of car-pooling and you'll understand why.
- Cloud computing customers can quickly and easily provision resources they need from the cloud. You need to fill up your bathtub faster? Turn the faucet more to the left. It can be as easy as that to deploy new applications and services from the cloud, and you are in control.
Bill also says that NIST highlights the following five things as being essential characteristics of cloud computing:
- Broad network access - You should be able to access cloud computing resources with your desktop PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, and maybe one day even your refrigerator.
- On-demand self-service - I've mentioned this above but it's worth emphasizing again because this might be the primary value of cloud computing i.e. the customer can serve himself instead of waiting to be served. Think of a buffet. Still hungry? Just get up and take more.
- Resource pooling - I've mentioned this above as well, but the key here that resource pooling is the basis behind the scalability of cloud computing. If cloud hosters couldn't pool resources and yet be able to provision them in a secure and isolated way for each customer, it wouldn't make any economic sense for them to get in the hosting business.
- Measured service - Ah, that's right, the customer has to pay, right? But the key here is, you only pay for what you use--to a degree anyways, depending on the plan you subscribe to. I only wish the cable TV companies would use this model as I'd love to be able to pay only for the 3 or 4 channels that I actually watch instead of all the other channels that get bundled into my subscription!
- Rapid elasticity - For rapidly growing businesses like startups, this feature of cloud computing can be a lifesaver. Elasticity is the perception of infinite capacity. In other words, you can get as much as you want anytime you want. All you have to do is crank up the dial and pay. Think of the electric grid system. You can depend on it (most of the time) and you only get charged for what you use (usually). Of course, if you need enough electricity to power a particle accelerator like the Large Hadron Collider, then it might get more complicated because the utility provider might need to build a new substation near your location!
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.
Tip of the Week
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
Recommended for Learning
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:
Quote of the Week
"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.
Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
Download SolarWinds free NTFS Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory and get complete visibility into the effective permissions and access rights for a specific file folder or share drive.
Forgot your admin password? Use this tool from pogostick.net to reset the password of any user that has a valid local account on a Windows computer:
Use Lumension Device Control to detect and whitelist USB devices in your corporate environment:
Resolve long file path issues with Long Path Tool:
- Microsoft Build on Oct 30 - Nov 2, 2012 in Redmond, USA
- Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2012 on Nov 12-15, 2012 in Las Vegas, USA.
- VMworld 2012 on October 9-11, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain:
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Windows Server 2012 is Here...And so is the Cloud OS
From the Official Microsoft Blog comes this post and video by Satya Nadella, President of the Server & Tools Business at Microsoft:
Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Information New and Improved
Tom Shinder talks about the updated Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track resources available in this post on the Private Cloud Blog:
Important Changes to Forefront Product Roadmaps
Microsoft has announced that it will be discontinuing any further releases of some Forefront-branded solutions. Find out more on the Server & Cloud Blog:
Three useful ways to get started with Group Policy in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
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:
How to wreck your Windows network (Part 2)
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:
Evaluating the new Windows resource sharing protocol, SMB 3.0
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.
Optimizing resources with vSphere memory management techniques
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.
Turn to Microsoft RemoteApp Programs when VDI and RDS just won't do
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.
Cloud performance monitoring tools have evolved, but are still lacking
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.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
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."
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.