Vol. 40, #8 - July 29, 2013 - Issue #940
Hot and Spicy
- Editor's Corner
- Hot and Spicy
- 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
- Tech Briefing
- Features Removed or Deprecated in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview
- Step-By-Step: Windows Server 2012 Migration Tools Preparation
- Hyper-V Virtual Fibre Channel Design Guide
- What is Hyper-V over SMB?
- Microsoft Introduces Hybrid Cloud Monitoring with New VMM Fabric Management Pack
- TechNet Radio: (Part 6) Infrastructure as a Service - Windows Azure and System Center 2012
- White Paper: Microsoft Private Cloud: A Comparative Look at Functionality, Benefits, and Economics
- Supporting iOS devices in the workplace
- New version of the Windows Azure PowerShell
- Updated Links on Windows Server 2012 R2 File Server and SMB 3.0
- Creating tiered Storage Spaces in Server 2012 R2
- Comparing the CPU Performance of Physical and Virtual PCs (VDI)
- Windows Server News
- When IaaS won't cut it: Planning a transition to PaaS cloud
- VDI cost models: Avoiding the 'creative marketing' trap
- Expected Windows Server 2012 R2 updates focus on cloud and agility
- Creating ESXi shared storage in VMware vSphere Hypervisor
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Free Spiceworks Network Management & Help Desk Software
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER to a colleague who you think might find it useful!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about Spiceworks with a guest editorial by veteran IT pro Craig McCarty. This issue is also sponsored by Spiceworks, so please give them a hearty welcome to our IT pro family. Now as all you readers of this newsletter are probably aware by now, I always start off each issue of this newsletter with a weird cartoon, so I'm sure Spiceworks won't mind if I share this classic Dilbert comic about Old Spice:
And now on to our guest editorial by Craig McCarty...
Hot and Spicy
I think I stumbled across Spiceworks in 2007. I was working for a small business as the IT Admin and needed to find a way to inventory the network. I found this neat free program that would do what I was looking for so I installed it to give it a shot. Fast forward to today: Spiceworks has grown leaps and bounds. They have gone from basic inventory to a product that offers a Help Desk, more detailed inventory features, cloud integration, reporting and with the upcoming release of Spiceworks 7.0 the product will offer Mobile Device Management (MDM). The Spiceworks community is actually one of the strongest features of Spiceworks. There have been numerous times in which I needed the answer to a question or to just bounce an idea off someone and didn’t have anyone to help me. The first thing I do is go to the community and post my question or thought and in come the responses. To this day, I still recommend Spiceworks to all the companies that I consult for.
By the way, I’m Craig M in the community:
Inventory is the core feature that Spiceworks offers. Spiceworks can detect all the information you would want about your machine from the Name, CPU, Memory, IP address, installed software, and more:
Figure 1: Inventory of devices
If you have SNMP enabled networking equipment, Spiceworks can more than likely detect it and get the details for you. Not only can Spiceworks detect it for you, it can tell you each device that is connected to each individual port and the bandwidth that device is using. When you are looking at a device in inventory like a server or desktop and you have scanned your switches you will see the switch name and the port that device is connected to.
Another really great feature is that Spiceworks can detect VMWare and HyperV. Once Spiceworks scans the Hypervisor you can see every VM that is hosted on that Hypervisor and the resources you have given that virtual server. If you are viewing a device in inventory that is hosted on a VMWare or HyperV host that has been scanned, Spiceworks will tell you what host that device is on.
Users have printers? Spiceworks can detect the ink and toner level in several printers and through alerting and reporting proactively tell you when you need to place and order.
Do you use cloud services and want help managing and tracking those services? Spiceworks has a feature for that:
Figure 2: Cloud services
If you want to learn more about the inventory features of Spiceworks you can read about it in the Spiceworks Community here:
Spiceworks spoke to their user base and learned that purchasing of IT equipment was a pain point for SMBs. To help with that Spiceworks has built a purchasing piece of Spiceworks that helps you request and manage quotes from central screen from multiple vendors. If you have a vendor/sales rep that you already work with, you can easily add them to the purchasing piece of Spiceworks and have them included whenever you ask for pricing on something.
Figure 3: Requesting a quote
The helpdesk feature is a great option for SMBs that don’t currently have a helpdesk. Users can submit tickets through a built-in customizable End User Portal or through email. There is a quick access bar at the bottom of the console that allows Admins to quickly and easily open a ticket for a user without navigating away from the page they are currently on.
As an Admin or Helpdesk user you can manage tickets through the Spiceworks portal, Mobile App, or using TicketsAnywhere through email.
Figure 4: Helpdesk
It can’t hurt to take a look at Spiceworks, so give it a shot. I think you will be pleasantly surprised:
If you have questions about Spiceworks features please respond to this editorial and I will be happy to answer your questions or point you in the right direction. Another option is to sign up for the Spiceworks University 101 class which will teach you about Spiceworks and what it can do for you. Class is only $99 if you get the early bird special and if you’re late class is still only $149. Look for a local in-person or online class here:
About Craig McCarty
I have been in the IT field for about 13 years now. My positions have ranged from IT network design, IT management and Systems Administration. I currently work as a Systems Administrator and offer consulting services on the side. I am also a Spiceworks Trainer:
I can be found online here:
and also on Twitter:
Send us feedback
Have you used Spiceworks? Got any tips you'd like to share with our readers? Let us know at [email protected]
Tip of the Week
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
Robocopy (originally called Robust File Copy Utility) has been around a long time--since the Windows NT 4.0 Resource Kit if I remember correctly. This command-line tool has been enhanced over the years and is an in-box utility in recent versions of Windows. One way that copying files with Robocopy differs from doing it with Windows Explorer is that Robocopy doesn't enumerate the size and number of files to be copied before beginning the copy operation. By contrast, the Windows Explorer file copy dialog tries to estimate how long it will take to copy your files, sometimes without success as this classic XKCD comic illustrates:
Anyways, what if you want to use Robocopy to copy some files but before you do so you want to get some idea of how much data will be copied? On Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 you can do this by running the following Robocopy command:
Robocopy/E /NFL /NDL /MT /L
This command will perform a multithreaded scan of the contents of the source directory without actually copying any files to the target directory. You can then re-run the command without the /L switch to actually perform the copy operation.
Note that this command also works on earlier versions of Windows, but the execution is single-threaded on those platforms, which means enumeration can take longer.
Recommended for Learning
First, here's a soon-to-be-released book on Spiceworks you might want to check out once it becomes available:
Getting Started with Spiceworks (Packt Puyblishing)
Next, we have this announcement from the Microsoft Virtual Academy:
Now on-demand: Jump Starts from MVA on implementing a Microsoft Cloud Solution
Missed either or both of these two great Jump Starts from Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA)? Watch them now on-demand at your own convenience and pace:
- Day 1: Build a Private Cloud with Windows Server & System Center
- Day 2: Move to Hybrid Cloud with System Center & Windows Azure
Quote of the Week
"Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still." - Chinese Proverb
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 Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
SysAdmins: Stop paying for unnecessarily overpriced IT management solutions or help desk software. With Spiceworks, you get it all, and you get it free! Even smartphone & tablet apps. Download now!
New! Altaro Hyper-V Backup v4. Powerful new features, faster and easier to use than ever. Still free (forever) for 2 VMs, still competitively priced (starting at $395/€325 per host). Download now!
SharePoint Entity Manager makes managing the relationships between data held in SharePoint lists easier:
The Microsoft Platform Ready Test Tool is designed to help test your applications for compatibility with latest technologies and platforms from Microsoft:
With Lepide Active Directory Query software, administrator can type the query and avail details of relevant information from the Active Directory:
Project Conference3 2014 on February 2-5 in Anaheim, California
Lync Conference 2014 on February 18-20, 2014 at The Aria in Las Vegas, Nevada
SharePoint Conference 2014 on March 3-6, 2014 at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) coming in July, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
European SharePoint Conference on May 5-8, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain
Microsoft TechEd Australia on September 3-6, 2013 in Gold Coast, Australia
Microsoft TechEd New Zealand on September 10-13, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand
Add your event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
Register for Webcasts
Add your Webcast
PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
Features Removed or Deprecated in Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview (TechNet)
The following is a list of features and functionalities in Windows Server® 2012 R2 Preview that have either been removed from the product in the current release or are planned for potential removal in subsequent releases (“deprecated”).
Step-By-Step: Windows Server 2012 Migration Tools Preparation (CanITPro)
This post will cover installing the Windows Server Migration Tools. It’s the first step, in preparing your environment to migrate server roles, features, operating system settings, and other data and shares to computers that are running Windows Server 2012.
Hyper-V Virtual Fibre Channel Design Guide (Building Clouds Blog)
Fibre Channel SANs also allow you to operate in new scenarios, such as running the Failover Clustering feature inside the guest operating system of a virtual machine connected to shared Fibre Channel storage.
What is Hyper-V over SMB? (Thomas Maurer)
With the release of Windows Server 2012 Microsoft offers a new way to store Hyper-V Virtual Machine on a shared storage.
Microsoft Introduces Hybrid Cloud Monitoring with New VMM Fabric Management Pack (WindowsITPro)
With the latest R2 add-on release, Microsoft is seeking to add full support for monitoring both the physical and the virtual layers for a Hybrid Cloud implementation.
TechNet Radio: (Part 6) Infrastructure as a Service - Windows Azure and System Center 2012 (Channel 9)
In Part 6 of our Windows Azure IaaS series Matt Hester welcomes John Savill, Founder of SavillTech to discuss how Windows Azure and System Center 2012 work together.
White Paper: Microsoft Private Cloud: A Comparative Look at Functionality, Benefits, and Economics (Why Microsoft)
This whitepaper compares private cloud solutions from Microsoft and VMware, explains the Microsoft products needed to create a Microsoft private cloud solution and then defines the technology benefits a Microsoft private cloud solution provides.
Supporting iOS devices in the workplace (System Center Configuration Manager Team Blog)
This blog post covers empowering your users using iOS devices for work with System Center 2012 and how it applies to Brad’s larger topic of “People-centric IT.”
New version of the Windows Azure PowerShell (PowerShell Magazine)
The Windows Azure PowerShell provides IT Pros and developers with Windows PowerShell cmdlets for building, deploying, and managing Windows Azure services.
Updated Links on Windows Server 2012 R2 File Server and SMB 3.0 (Jose Barreto)
In this post, Jose Barreto provides a reference to the most relevant content related to Windows Server 2012 R2 that is related to the File Server, the SMB 3.0 features and its associated scenarios like Hyper-V over SMB and SQL Server over SMB
Creating tiered Storage Spaces in Server 2012 R2 (MIRU.CH)
In this post Michael Rueefli covers step by step how to create a tiered space
Comparing the CPU Performance of Physical and Virtual PCs (VDI) (Helge Klein)
When you move users from a physical PC to a VDI environment you may find that they are not too happy with their new machine’s performance...
Virtual Tech Conference sessions on Exchange server 2013 on August 1st (MSExchangeGuru)
Virtual Tech Conference is an MVP community initiative to bring you up-to the speed on latest Microsoft technologies and product updates. This online event will be held on August 1 2013.
Windows Server News
When IaaS won't cut it: Planning a transition to PaaS cloud
While many cloud initiatives begin with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), after some time, IT pros often end up wanting to switch to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) instead. Inside this tip, explore key insights on cloud management during an IaaS-to-PaaS transition and what to do if the migration doesn’t work.
VDI cost models: Avoiding the 'creative marketing' trap
While many VDI vendors claim that their offerings fit into even the most limited IT budgets, there are a lot of hidden costs they fail to mention in their sales pitch. Discover how to avoid the marketing trap when evaluating various VDI cost models to ensure you get the most out of your investment.
Expected Windows Server 2012 R2 updates focus on cloud and agility
IT pros are eager to find out what they can expect from the upcoming Windows Server 2012 R2 updates, and at Microsoft TechEd 2013 last month, Microsoft revealed key changes that will take place, specifically in regards to Hyper-V and System Center R2. Access this tip to get the inside scoop.
Creating ESXi shared storage in VMware vSphere Hypervisor
Organizations that are utilizing virtualized servers based on the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor should be leveraging ESXi shared storage to significantly boost VM reliability. Find out how to prepare for shared storage and review key steps to take to implement it in your IT environment.
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]
A dancing Dublin taxi drive--but was the meter running?
What to do if you spot a bear--but which is scarier, the bear or the newscaster?
On June 13th, 2013, the AeroVelo Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter captured the long standing AHS Sikorsky Prize with a flight lasting 64.1 seconds and reaching an altitude of 3.3 metres.
Tesla Motors might reinvent the American auto industry - with specialized robots building slick electric cars in a factory straight from the future.
The 'Artificial Leaf' has the potential to provide at least part of the answer to the Worlds power problem.
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 Tullochis 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.