Vol. 39, #8 - July 22, 2013 - Issue #939
R2 Preview - Part 2
- Editor's Corner
- New Books on Hyper-V
- From the Mailbag
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview - Part 2
- 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
- MSExchange.org Webinar: Exchange Archiving in 2013 & Beyond - What You Need to Know
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Best Blogs for Windows Server 2012 R2
- Other Learning Resources for Windows Server 2012 R2
- BOOK EXCERPT: Single Root IO Virtualization
- DOWNLOAD: Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 8.5 is now available
- Windows PowerShell Survival Guide
- Understanding Group Policy Caching in Windows 8.1
- Modern UI Remote Desktop Client, experiences so far
- Welcome to Windows Server 2012
- Microsoft Pushes the Envelope with Hyper-V Live Migration
- Description of the Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
- VIDEO: Windows Server 2008 R2 Dcpromo "Local Administrator Password" error message
- 5 Obscure and Confusing Settings in Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010 Explained
- Windows Server News
- Best practices for comparing and deploying cloud servers
- Advantages of the cloud-hosted desktop model
- VMware jumps into log analytics with vCenter Log Insight
- Comparing Windows Defender in Windows 8 vs. third-party malware tools
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- This Week's Links We Like. Fun Stuff.
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- NEW! Altaro Hyper-V Backup v4
- 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!
In last week's newsletter I mentioned Five Things You Should Know About Windows Server 2012 R2. This week I'll give you Five More Things to think about concerning this new platform. As for the link to this week's comic, you'll find that in the Mailbag.
New Books on Hyper-V
Just a quick personal note--my two latest books have now shipped, and you can read about them in the following two posts on the Microsoft Press blog:
RTM’d today: Optimizing and Troubleshooting Hyper-V Storage
RTM'd today: Optimizing and Troubleshooting Hyper-V Networking
Two things you should know concerning these books. First, I was only the editor for these titles--almost all of the content was contributed by experts who work at Microsoft including Support Escalation Engineers, Premier Field Engineers, and experts from Microsoft Consulting Services. And second, these titles are not intended to be systematic guides for optimizing and troubleshooting Hyper-V networking and storage. Instead, they are mostly a collection of different troubleshooting scenarios, optimization tips, and some scripting examples.
P.S. In the Tech Briefing section of this newsletter there's a link to an excerpt from my second book on WindowsNetworking.com.
From the Mailbag
A reader named Rob from Athens, Greece, sent me the following short comment concerning last week's issue:
You seem to be in love with R2.
Hey, I can't help it if I think R2 is pretty cool, even kinda hip. In fact, I guess you can call me an R2 hipster.
Now I know in some circles it's not cool nowadays to be called a hipster. In fact, as the following XKCD comic illustrates, it's getting harder and harder every day for us hipsters:
But seriously, I do get a buzz over server technologies. Things like ODX, RDMA, SR-IOV, even ReFS, turn me on. I can stare for hours at Performance Monitor collecting counters measuring throughput and working set memory. I love building storage pools with different types of disks to see how the IOPS differ. I can be endlessly fascinated drilling into captured traffic using Network Monitor. And when I'm bored, I'll view websites with a Telnet client instead of a web browser.
OK that's an exaggeration. Actually it isn't. My point is that everything server-related turns me on. Whether it's server hardware, operating systems, networking, or storage, I get excited about them all. I try to learn everything I can about the latest server technologies because, well, I don't really know why--I guess it's just the way I am. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I used to be a Physics nerd. I was originally planning on getting a Ph.D. in Astrophysics, probably because when I was young I wanted to know the meaning of life and all that. Perhaps that's why server stuff interests me--the back end is where the action is and it's usually hidden, unlike the front end.
I guess I'm a back end kind of guy...
By contrast, end-user client type of stuff doesn't nearly interest me as much. Clients are just a tool to get stuff done. I don't play with them or tweak them or customize them, I just use them. Servers are different however--they can be tuned, tweaked, optimized in various ways, and the more effort we put into tuning them the better everything works, including the clients.
To illustrate further, compare my reactions to Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2. Windows 8.1 interests me because it changes the paradigm of how end-users will use their computers. What interests me though is not so much the software itself as the question of what today's end-users need in a computer's user interface. So it's the idea of Windows 8.1 that interests me more than the operating system itself. But it's really more intellectual curiosity than actual interest.
Then there are the back end issues associated with Windows 8.1, such as customizing a Windows 8.1 desktop image, deploying Windows 8.1 on UEFI hardware, new Group Policy settings for Windows 8.1, managing servers from an administrator workstation running Windows 8.1, and so on. Those things interest me more than the UI enhancements in Windows 8.1. Why? Because they're admin stuff, not end-user stuff.
I guess it's obvious from this that there's no way I'm half as excited about Windows 8.1 as I am about Windows Server 2012 R2. Not even one-quarter. Maybe that's why I'm the editor of a newsletter about Windows Server instead of one on client Windows? What do you think? [email protected]
But this Mailbag response from me is starting to sound a lot like an editorial, so let me quickly tell you Five More Things You Should Know About Windows Server 2012 R2. And why should you know about them? Because they're cool!
Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview - Part 2
First, a quick summary of the First Five Things from the previous newsletter R2 Preview - Part I (Issue #938):
- Thing One: The Cloud OS
- Thing Two: Gen2 VMs
- Thing Three: Extended Replication
- Thing Four: VHDX support for iSCSI Target Server
- Thing Five: SMB Bandwidth Management
Now here are Five More Things:
Thing Number SIX: Data dedup on CSV
Data deduplication was introduced in Windows Server 2012 to help enterprises cope with exponentially increasing growth of data storage in their environments and allows Windows Server 2012 to store more data in less physical space to optimize the capacity of their storage fabric.
Unfortunately data deduplication in Windows Server 2012 was incompatible with cluster shared volumes (CSV) so it couldn't be used to optimize storage of virtual machine files stored on a Scale-out File Server (SoFS). But with Windows Server 2012 R2, this limitation has now been removed, and turning on deduplication for CSV volumes can enables space savings as high as 90 percent on them--wow!!
Thing Number SEVEN: Shared VHDX
Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2 now allows guest clustering using shared VHDX files. Yippee!
What does this mean? For hosters, it means they can offer Hyper-V guest clustering to customers while keeping the hoster's physical infrastructure layer (computer, storage, and network) and virtualized resources (tenant virtual machines and the workloads running on them) isolated from one another.
How does this work? Guest clustering using shared VHDX allows the hoster to provide guest clustering to customers without the need of providing direct access from the tenant's clustered virtual machine to a LUN on the hoster's Fibre Channel SAN.
Thing Number EIGHT: Virtual RSS
In Windows Server 2012 a technology called Receive Side Scaling (RSS) allows kernel-mode network processing to be spread across multiple cores in a multicore server system. This can be useful in many environments because today's enterprise-grade NICs can be that a single processor core of the server won't be able to make full use of the NIC's throughput capability. But in Windows Server 2012, virtual machines were limited to using only one virtual processor for processing network traffic. As a result, virtual machines running on Hyper-V hosts were unable to make use of RSS to utilize the highest possible network traffic loads.
But in Windows Server 2012 R2 with a new feature called virtual RSS (vRSS), the network processing for a virtual machine can now be spread across multiple virtual processors inside the virtual machine and also inside the host. The physical NIC can now spread traffic among available cores inside the host, while the virtual NIC distributes the processing load across the virtual processors inside the virtual machine. The result is that vRSS now makes it possible to virtualize network-intensive physical workloads that were traditionally run on bare-metal machines. This now enables a whole new range of virtual workloads that can perform as well as physical workloads. Examples might include virtual network appliances, virtual gateways, and virtual file servers.
Thing Number NINE: Dynamic Site Activation
This one is for IIS geeks. My first book was about IIS and was called Administering IIS 4. You can still buy it used on Amazon Marketplace for one cent:
One of the key scalability goals Microsoft has for IIS 8.5 in Windows Server 2012 R2 is enabling cloud hosting providers to host more sites on a single IIS server. In Windows Server 2012 and earlier, when IIS starts up on a host the Windows Activation Service (WAS) loads the entire configuration for IIS. This configuration can be very large if several thousand sites are being hosted on the server, which is typical in many hoster environments. Because of this, loading the IIS configuration can consume a lot of memory on the server, which can impact the performance of other options such as initializing worker processes for web applications.
To address this issue, the WAS component has been redesigned in IIS to better handle large configurations and improve the memory efficiency of the IIS startup process. In addition, the HTTP protocol stack (Http.sys) now uses a single catch-all request queue and binding to be used by WAS for initializing the worker processes associated with each of the sites running on the IIS server. The result of this change is that when WAS starts up, it no longer has to create thousands of request queues and bindings in Http.sys—one for each of the thousands of worker processes associated with each of the thousands of sites running on the server. The WAS component can now examine a client request in this queue and determine which site and worker process should handle that request. WAS then creates a queue for the request, registers the binding, and spins up the worker process for the site to start the site.
This new functionality is called Dynamic Site Activation, and it addresses the issue of being "config-bound" which hosters who run large numbers of sites on IIS servers can experience.
Thing Number TEN: Shadowing remote sessions
A frequent request from Microsoft customers who use Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is to add the ability for administrators to shadow the sessions of remote users. Such shadowing capability is now included in Windows Server 2012 R2. To see how this works, the figure below shows the connections in Server Manager to a Remote Desktop Session Host running Windows Server 2012 R2. In previous versions of RDS, if you right-clicked a remote session you only got three options: Disconnect, Send Message, and Log Off. But in RDS in Windows Server 2012 R2 there is now a fourth context menu option called Shadow, which enables administrators to shadow the session of a connected remote user:
Selecting the Shadow option opens a dialog box that lets you choose between allowing the administrator either to view only or to view and take control of what the remote user is doing in his session. So if you ever thought that your administrator acts as though he's "the police" for your network, well you're right:
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you
Send us feedback
Got any feedback on this issue? Let us know at [email protected]
Tip of the Week
Are you looking for some best or suggested practices for maintaining the health of your server environment?
Check out the MOF Reliability Workbooks:
They provide knowledge, tasks, and schedules you can use to keep different Microsoft server technologies running smoothly to deliver the services your organization expects.
Recommended for Learning
Here are ten recent titles from O'Reilly on administering different Microsoft server platforms:
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Administration (Wiley / Sybex)
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Administration Instant Reference (Wiley / Sybex)
Mastering Microsoft Lync Server 2013 (Wiley / Sybex)
Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out: Connectivity, Clients, and UM (Microsoft Press)
Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out: Mailbox and High Availability (Microsoft Press)
Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation and Configuration Guide (Wiley / Sybex)
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 - Das Handbuch (Microsoft Press Deutschland)
Professional Microsoft IIS 8 (Wiley / Wrox)
Mastering System Center 2012 Operations Manager (Wiley / Sybex)
Microsoft Private Cloud Computing (Wiley / Sybex)
Quote of the Week
"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.." --Bill Gates
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
NEW! Altaro Hyper-V Backup v4 with Exchange item-level restore, Offsite backup with WAN Acceleration, Remote management console and more! Easy. Fast. Reliable. Free (forever) for 2 VMs – Download now!
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Reliable disk/partition clone software to ensure 100% business data transfer for full data recovery:
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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]
MSExchange.org Webinar: Exchange Archiving in 2013 & Beyond - What You Need to Know
How do you know if your email archiving solution is up-to-date? What should you do with legacy archives? What should you look for an archiving solution as you upgrade or migrate?
Join MS Exchange MVP and expert Lee Benjamin of ExchangeGuy Consulting and Hudson Casson, Product Marketing Director for Exchange at Metalogix for an educational discussion on the challenges of archiving today, how to know if your current archiving solution is up-to-date, and how you can migrate email from older messaging and archiving solutions.
This MSExchange.org webinar will take place on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 11am ET, 8am PT, 4pm BST.
You’ll hear examples of how organizations can successfully migrate to up-to-date messaging and archiving systems, and you’ll gain tips, tricks, and strategies from the experts to get you started in the right direction.
Register for Webcasts
Add your Webcast
PLANNING A WEBCAST you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
Best blogs for Windows Server 2012 R2
As promised this week we're listing some of the best blogs out there for learning more about Windows Server 2012 R2.
- Windows Server Blog on TechNet
- Aidan Finn, IT Pro
- Working Hard in IT
- IT Pros ROCK! at Microsoft
- Thomas Maurer - Just another private cloud weblog
Got other blogs to recommend? Email us: [email protected]
Other learning resources for Windows Server 2012 R2
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Evaluation Resources
- TechNet Virtual Labs
- Test Lab Guide: Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Network Virtualization with System Center 2012 R2 VMM
Now for some other stuff...
BOOK EXCERPT: Single Root IO Virtualization (WindowsNetworking.com)
In this excerpt from Mitch Tulloch's new ebook Optimizing and Troubleshooting Hyper-V Networking (Microsoft Press, 2013) Keith Hill, a Sr. Support Escalation Engineer with the Windows Server Core High Availability Team, provides an overview of SR/IOV in Windows Server 2012 and how to enable it in a Hyper-V environment.
DOWNLOAD: Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 8.5 is now available (Microsoft Download Center)
MAP 8.5 makes it easy to assess your current IT infrastructure for a variety of technology migration projects. This Solution Accelerator provides a powerful inventory, assessment, and reporting tool to simplify the migration planning process.
Windows PowerShell Survival Guide (TechNet Wiki)
A wiki to help you to learn more about PowerShell and to be successful in applying it.
Understanding Group Policy Caching in Windows 8.1 (Group Policy Blog)
Darren Mar-Elia describes a new feature of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 can help improve Group Policy performance.
Modern UI Remote Desktop Client, experiences so far (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Freek Berson takes a closer look at the Remote Desktop App of Windows 8 and discusses some of the pros and cons.
Welcome to Windows Server 2012 (WindowsNetworking.com)
Scott D. Lowe takes a look at the successor to Windows Server 2012, which the Microsoft is calling Windows Server 2012 R2.
Microsoft Pushes the Envelope with Hyper-V Live Migration (Redmond Magazine)
The Schwartz Report describes how much faster IT pros can perform live migrations with Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2.
Description of the Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (Microsoft Support)
This update for Windows7 provides the same level of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) performance for video-over-WAN that you can experience with Windows 8.
VIDEO: Windows Server 2008 R2 Dcpromo "Local Administrator Password" error message (WindowsSecurity.com)
Derek Melber explains Windows Server 2008 R2 Dcpromo "Local Administrator Password" error message.
5 Obscure and Confusing Settings in Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010 Explained (ISAserver.org)
Richard Hicks explores the top 5 obscure and confusing settings that seem to trip people up the most.
Best practices for comparing and deploying cloud servers
Before you compare the performance of potential cloud server vendors, it’s essential to consider key factors like network throughput, memory and disk response and the cloud server’s vCPU speed. Inside this tip, explore best practices for evaluating your cloud server options.
Advantages of the cloud-hosted desktop model
Many organizations are looking to adopt cloud-hosted desktop models to take advantage of the cost, flexibility and disaster recovery benefits they offer. However, in order to ensure successful deployments, you must understand the key differences between DaaS and in-house VDI. Find out more inside.
VMware jumps into log analytics with vCenter Log Insight
With the upcoming release of vCenter Log Insight, VMware is taking a step into the data center log consolidation and analysis market. Explore essential insights on how Log Insight works, its top enterprise use cases, and the various benefits it can offer your organization.
Comparing Windows Defender in Windows 8 vs. third-party malware tools
Windows Defender, the comprehensive security program built into Windows 8, offers protection from common threats like viruses and Trojan horses – but does it really work as well as alternative third-party malware tools? Discover a detailed assessment of Windows Defender’s capabilities inside this guide.
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]
The 1933 steam powered aircraft was powered by a steam boiler that was so quiet that spectators on the ground could hear the pilot calling to them:
Gladys Ingle changes planes and fixes a new landing gear on a disabled plane in mid-air in 1924:
Cold fusion - nuclear energy like that which powers the sun, but at room temperature on a table top - promises to be cheap, limitless, and clean. It could solve all our energy problems. A report by "60 Minutes":
SmartBird - a lightweight airplane modeled on a seagull - flies by flapping its wings.
Help desk and tech support in the old days. An introduction to the new system: "The Book"
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.