Vol. 22, #37 - September 11, 2017 - Issue #1148

WServerNews: Should we end large IT projects?

New Microsoft® Exchange™ Monitoring Free Tool

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SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a standalone free tool that monitors and alerts you to the performance, availability, and capacity of your Microsoft Exchange servers. The Exchange Monitor free tool also allows you to monitor Database Availability Group Health, set customizable thresholds for performance alert notifications, and monitor other key Windows and Exchange performance metrics.

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Editor's Corner


This week's newsletter is all about large-scale IT projects and why they often fail. We also have our usual collection of tips, tools, and other stuff to keep you occupied (more fun than playing Solitaire). And in this week's IT Pro Fitness Corner we have an in-depth story from one IT pro who successfully brought himself back from the brink through exercise and proper eating. All this and more in this week's issue of your favorite IT newsletter!

Project management is something that our hero Dilbert knows a lot about from years of bitter experience. Large projects tend to be broken down into a series of phases, and here is Dilbert's answer when the Pointy-haired Boss asks him what phase his project is currently in:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/etp4zqf0/

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 wsn@mtit.com


From the Mailbag

In Issue #1146 Wake of disruption I talked about how Google Maps had killed the Yellow Pages to what I still feel is the detriment of myself and of small businesses. A couple of readers sent us feedback regarding that issue of our newsletter. First here's Howard who says:

We are updating Google Maps all day, every day. Generous perks and peer acknowledgement and area meetings!

http://www.wservernews.com/go/umd3qic8/

Their drive by cars can only do so much. Local guides also have free access to Google's 360 degree cameras!

All I can say in response is, Hey Howard, you wanna move here to Winnipeg?

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ik7h5cnv/

And here's what a reader named Michael said:

Where I live, we still get a phone book delivered each year from the phone company. I love the yellow pages, and I will look through the yellow pages, first, if a plumber, electrician, landscaping, or other service is needed. I call it a "barrier to entry", because it is expensive and there is no instant gratification. Basically, only legitimate businesses will bother with advertising in the phone company's yellow pages. The internet is free and easy, and scammers love free and easy, so the internet is where one will find the scam listings, but not so with the yellow pages. See the link:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/7mjigeay/

I won't even bother with review sites, because someone with an axe to grind will always be more vocal, and probably had unrealistic expectations to begin with. So I'll consult the yellow pages, then visit the company's websites for the ones that peaked my interest, and I have always found good contractors this way. Simple and easy and you'll avoid the scammers.


Anyways, let's move on now to our main topic for this issue…


Should we end large IT projects?

Over the last couple of years I've heard or read about several large-scale IT projects that have failed. I've been wondering a lot what might have been the root cause behind these colossal failures. While it's easy to blame failure of a project on poor management practices, it could be that the causes may lie elsewhere.

One thing I've been wondering is whether the extreme pace of innovation within our industry may be a major contributor to the failure of large IT projects. Imagine for a moment a project so big in scope that it's likely to take 3-4 years to finish including the design and planning stage, testing and piloting, rollout, and evaluation. But a timeframe of 3-4 years for a project that utilizes Microsoft software for example means that by the time the project is finished the software you've incorporated is already on the cusp of losing mainstream support, which means by the time you're finished implementing the new system it's already becoming almost obsolete.

Then there are the seasons of disruption where a new technology like mobile or cloud computing basically starts taking over everything. If you start a big IT project and halfway through a new technological wave arrives, you're double screwed because your finished solution will not only be obsolete but also difficult to upgrade and lack the modern functionality that new technologies make possible.

There are also well-intentioned and probably also much needed external factors to consider in the failure of a large-scale IT project. An example of this may be the overhead and burden added due to the necessity of implementing the solution in a way that it can achieve compliance with industry-standard accreditation frameworks like ITIL, ISO, COBIT, and other frameworks. Perhaps one might argue the proliferation of bureaucratic regulations by government agencies to ensure the security and quality of IT solutions may in itself be a major contributor to dooming large IT projects to failure. I actually had to teach a course on COBIT at one time and I could see the framework as being a major drain on the energy required to successfully drive an IT project to completion. On the other hand however, I fully understand why such implementation and management frameworks were created in the first place given the wild, wild west approach of much that passes as project management in the IT profession.

I really don't know what the answer is. Perhaps large IT projects should be broken down into a series of smaller projects that are implemented independently not as milestones in a larger project but as standalone entities by themselves. Perhaps special training and oversight should be needed for those in charge of large IT projects to help ensure they have a high probability of coming to a successful conclusion. Or perhaps everybody should ditch proprietary software and go Open Source all the way.

Do any of you readers have any thoughts about why large IT projects fail and what to do to prevent such failures from happening? Have you ever been involved in a large IT project yourself that failed for some reason and can share a story that might help prepare other IT pros who may face a similar challenge in the future? I'd love to hear your comments, suggestions, and ideas on this subject--email me at wsn@mtit.com


Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at wsn@mtit.com


Recommended for Learning

Now available: Windows Server 2016 Security Guide!

The guide includes general guidance for helping secure servers in your environment and specific pointers on how you can utilize new security features in Windows Server 2016.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/xfz1aah4/

 

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Experience the Microsoft Cloud with Cloud Adoption Test Lab Guides

Join expert Joe Davies for an in-depth look at Cloud Adoption Test Lab Guides, proven articles and white papers that help you get hands-on quickly. See what's behind the cloud curtain, as you get the details on how to move to cloud-based services and workloads, including a proof of concept, demo, or dev/test environment. Learn to build out the environment yourself, see it working as advertised, adapt it, and use it to solve your business problems. Get up to speed fast, in this practical course.

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IT Pro Fitness Corner

A weightloss success story (by Paul Heimerdinger)

Way back in March 2013 when I shared my story here in WServerNews about losing weight and getting fit I received tons of feedback from readers who were struggled or had struggled with similar weight problems. One of the readers who wrote to me at the time was Paul Heimerdinger who said the following:

All these years spent sitting at computer consoles and doing help desk phone calls has resulted in a substantial weight gain; at present, I am at 260 pounds on a 70" frame. About a month ago, I purchased a set of Tony Horton 10-minute workout DVDs and started using them two weeks ago. I was very disappointed at how they kicked my ass! Little by little, I am able to better keep up and am seeing small weight reductions when I weigh myself and a return of muscle tone and strength.

I recently asked Paul if he had any updates he could share with us concerning his efforts to lose weight and he shared with me in detail as follows:

After I sent the initial response to you, I stuck with the Tony Horton exercise videos for about three or four months. It was very difficult to get motivated to continue the routines especially as I had developed a moderate case of osteoarthritis in my left knee. The exercising slowly dwindled off and, in November of 2014, had knee replacement surgery. After that I sat on the pity pot for over two years not really caring enough about myself to try to lose, let alone maintain, weight. During the time I was exercising, I dropped to around 235 lbs. but ballooned up to 266 lbs. by December of 2016. I got to a point where I could not breathe while tying my shoes in a seated position. At that point, I had enough. I decided to start paying closer attention to what I was putting into my mouth. I began the dreaded counting calories and working out on a treadmill. At the start, I was probably a little too strict with what I decided was acceptable food intake but, after a lively discussion with my wife (she deals with weight issues too), I set more realistic calorie restrictions. I set my total weight loss goal at 75 lbs. with a one pound per week loss rate. Intermediate 10 pound goal levels of have been set as well. The primary goal, however, was to lose enough weight so that I could breathe when I tied my shoes.

Today, I'm pleased to say that my primary goal has been reached. In fact, I accomplished that by the middle of February. I have also surpassed my first three weight level goals (250, 240 and 230) and am holding at around 227-230 lbs. I have decided that victory shall not be claimed on one of my more important goals, getting and staying below 230 lbs for the first time in I don't know how long, until my weight stays there for at least three weeks. I am just a few days away from that milestone. My weight loss has leveled out so it's looking like I need to ramp up the exercise a bit to start shaving off more weight.

So how did I get here? The biggest factors were calorie intake reduction and exercise. I have a Nautilus treadmill that had been collecting dust for over five years. It has an incline max of 40 degrees and multiple pre-programmed routines. At this point, I work out for 35-40 minutes on weekdays and rest on the weekends. It works out to around 300 calories, or slightly more at times, per workout. I am using an app called FitnessPal to monitor what I eat and corresponding calorie counts. I have also cut way back on carbs and upped my protein intake, especially right after exercising. I have not eaten at a fast food restaurant, other than Subway, in over 6 months. My calorie intake runs between 2200 calories on a good day and 3000 or more on a bad day, usually the weekends. (Beer seems to be the major calorie offender. I refuse to drink light or watered-down crap. My favorites are Sam Adams Boston Lager and a locally brewed stout called Dragon's Milk.) It seems to be working though. I've gone from a 44" waist size in my pants to 38" and even those are feeling a bit loose. And I'm down over 35 lbs. with more to be lost. I have a routine, semi-annual doctor appointment coming up in July with associated blood test for various issues including sugar. (I have been running in a pre-diabetic range for quite some time.) I'm anxious to see the results. The weight loss ought to be a real shocker for him!

So the bottom line is calorie reduction, exercise and a strong desire to start feeling better, which I do. At this writing, I have lost over 30 pounds with my sights on dropping another 40. I don't have a secret diet or method, just plain old self-motivation. I got fed up with being fat and tired all the time and having no energy so I started using the treadmill in my home that was collecting dust and very carefully monitoring my caloric intake. That's it! No special nor trendy diets, just healthy, non-processed food. I'm the kind of person that, when I decide to accomplish something, I go full bore to reach the goal. I still enjoy beer and other treats on the weekends but, during the week, I am very careful about what and how much I eat.


If any other readers would like to share their own weightloss/fitness journey for the benefit of other IT pros who read our newsletter, you can email me at wsn@mtit.com

Get ready for Fit IT Pro News! (Your Editors)

As we mentioned last week we're pleased to announce that we'll soon be launching a new weekly newsletter called Fit IT Pro News. This new TechGenix newsletter will feature Yours Truly (Mitch and Ingrid Tulloch) as the Editors and will be similar in voice, style, and format to WServerNews except that it will be entirely devoted to helping IT pros get fit, lose weight, and live happily ever after as they face the daily stresses and workload of being in the gristmill of the IT profession. Each week Fit IT Pro News will include an in-depth editorial or article along with tips, reviews, industry news, and fun stuff--just like WServerNews! We also plan on doing some interviews with IT pros who have successfully transformed their life through exercise and good nutrition, and we'll have the same kind of Ask Our Readers section that's proved so popular with WServerNews so you can ask any question you like about exercise or nutrition and hear what other IT pros have to say on the subject! As subscribers to WServerNews you'll soon be receiving some sample issues of Fit IT Pro News so you can decide whether you want to continue to receive this exciting new newsletter. Our hope is that you will want to read it every single week and will also recommend it to all of your colleagues, employees, and friends!

Disclaimer: I'm not a certified fitness professional or nutritionist so take any suggestions made here "as is" with a grain of salt and a heaping supply of your own judgment. Help other readers of this newsletter lose weight and get fit by sending your own weightloss and/or fitness tips to us at wsn@mtit.com
 

Factoid of the Week

Last week's factoid and question was this:

Research suggests that in business administration courses the capacity of students to think got worse for the first few years of their studies. Have you seen any anecdotal evidence of this among recent MBA hires by your own organization?

We didn't get any responses to our question, maybe because of the Labor Day long weekend or maybe because no one wanted to blow the whistle on any newbie MBAs in their org. Or maybe it's because that young MBA is now your boss, which reminds me of the following Dilbert comic:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/nh7n7643/

Anyways, let's move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: Britons are the most lactose-tolerant people in the world.

Source: http://www.wservernews.com/go/18ro0nhv/

Question: Do you experience lactose intolerance? What do you do to counteract the discomfort? I myself have tried LACTAID in various formulations but it doesn't seem to help much. But I've also found that if I regularly consume certain forms of milk products like cottage cheese in sufficient quantities, my problems seem to disappear. Any ideas?

Email your answer to us at: wsn@mtit.com

Until next week, 

Mitch Tulloch

 

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Monitor and be alerted to performance, availability, and capacity of your Microsoft Exchange severs with SolarWinds® Exchange™ Monitor Free Tool.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/sh2pk49j/

Discover Your Technology SuperPower. Take this 5 question quiz to find out your Super Power + get a chance to win an All Access Pass to IT/Dev Connections 2017.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8t7mbhm0/

NFR key for Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows. It’s valid for 5 workstations and 2 servers. Ensure the Availability of your Windows based servers and workstations on premises and in the public cloud.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/l3ztxtdl/

This PowerShell function enables querying of multiple remote systems, outputting of objects that include the system, Operating System and version:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/w13g91ze/

Get-RemoteProgram generates a list by querying the registry and returning the installed programs of a local or remote computer:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/d3nohe19/

This script lets you delete Files older than %Specified% Days old:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3pvd8o55/

 

This Week's Tips

Hyper-V - Configuring switch embedded teaming

Richard Hooper has a post on the Veeam Blog explaining Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) and how to configure it using PowerShell on Windows Server 2016:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/09hc0pyk/

Hyper-V - Deploying guests using Windows DS

Eric Siron has published a walkthrough on the Altaro Blog that explains how to deploy guests on a Hyper-V host by using Windows Deployment Services:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1yprpb0w/


ConfigMrg - Deleting unused collections

Benoit Lecours of SystemCenterDudes has a PowerShell script that will detect and delete SCCM Devices Collections that have no members and no deployment assigned to it:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/436aw9s8/


Events Calendar


Do you know of any other IT conferences or events that you think readers of this newsletter might be interested in knowing about? Email us at wsn@mtit.com with the name, date, and location of the event along with the event URL.

HOT! Register for IT/Dev Connections early and save!!

IT/Dev Connections takes place Oct. 23-26 in San Francisco. It features more than 190 deep-dive technical sessions for IT Pros, Developers & DevOps. Register before Sept. 15 & save $400!

http://www.wservernews.com/go/328isaba/

More upcoming events

SharePoint Unite on October 24-26, 2017 in Haarlem, Netherlands

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ma48qjz9/

DEVintersection on October 31 - November 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3n8az1b2/

European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference on November 13-16, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kn5y9asn/

SharePoint Fest on December 609, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois

http://www.wservernews.com/go/btaxr5lh/


Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact info@techgenix.com


New on TechGenix.com

4.1 million exposed RDP ports an open invitation to hackers

A new report finds that 4.1 million computers have exposed RDP ports, making them a possible target for mass remote hijacking.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/63pb6tou/

Assessing and verifying your Hyper-V server health

Determining the status of Hyper-V server health is a surprisingly elusive process. Here are some tips to help you monitor your system.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/2f271kow/


ServiceNow Knowledge17: New leader, new plan, new product

At ServiceNow Knowledge17, the cloud computing company introduced new leaders, a new plan, and a new version of its software, named Jakarta.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/yokpk9ze/


Light at the end of the tunnel: Answers to all your PPTP questions

PPTP, which stands for Point-to-Point-Tunneling, is a protocol that's been used for more than 20 years to set up VPNs. You can learn all about it here.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/i5zda9hv/

Using PowerShell to evaluate group policy issues

If you are experiencing group policy issues, PowerShell makes it easy to evaluate the problem and see where the trouble may be.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1ko1g7mu/

 

Tech Briefing - Hyper-V

 

Getting VM Memory Usage and Demand Programmatically

From Ben Armstrong's Virtualization Blog

http://www.wservernews.com/go/2gwgyqdj/


Performance Issues with your Hyper-V vNic?

From Cluster Guy

http://www.wservernews.com/go/biv3931j/

Quick Tip–Adding Same ISO DVD Image To All Hyper-V Lab VMs

From 250 Hello

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ch60ny5b/

Hyper-V virtual machine gallery and networking improvements

From the Microsoft Virtualization Blog

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ynx23muw/


Install Hyper-V on Windows Server using PowerShell

From Thomas Maurer

http://www.wservernews.com/go/5y0go2rb/



Other Articles of Interest

Four pointers on managing a hybrid IT environment

What's known as multicloud IT operations today often involve more than just cloud computing. A company might have data and applications with several cloud providers — on cloud infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, on a developer-friendly platform as a serviceand on an internal private cloud, built on premises. Access for four tips on hybrid IT management.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/r07308nl/


Dodge a data center outage with proper power design, commissioning

Data center outages continue to plague IT. Perform data center commissioning or an audit and have a solid power design to protect your organization from a crash.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/2glqhdu1/


How does RAID 5 or RAID 6 affect storage performance and capacity?

RAID provides workload resilience and protects against data loss, but not all levels of RAID are made alike. What are the storage tradeoffs for RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 6?

http://www.wservernews.com/go/throbib9/


Top data center industry news stories so far in 2017

The data center market moves quickly, so it's important to stay abreast of the latest news. See which product launches and emerging IT strategies made headlines so far this year.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/9zcsaora/

 

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 wsn@mtit.com

Image


Amazing Japanese Rube Goldberg Machine

An amazing Rube Goldberg machine made in Japan with many complex features, including a rotating whiteboard:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/7c5ifu9e/

Mat Franco Returns To America's Got Talent With Milk Carton Magic

Magician Mat Franco pours six different drinks - coffee, lemonade, orange juice, beer, wine and water - from one milk carton:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8a38mdk9/


Backstage Magic Trick by Penn and Teller

Penn and Teller perform the 'ball and vase' magic trick inspired by Jimmy Fallon's Classroom Instruments series:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/yeq7odi8/



Funny Chocolate Commercial Series - Japp And Rastaman

A funny commercials series from Scandinavia, featuring the world's most famous rasta man:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/7auslode/

WServerNews - Product of the Week

New Microsoft® Exchange™ Monitoring Free Tool

Image

SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a standalone free tool that monitors and alerts you to the performance, availability, and capacity of your Microsoft Exchange servers. The Exchange Monitor free tool also allows you to monitor Database Availability Group Health, set customizable thresholds for performance alert notifications, and monitor other key Windows and Exchange performance metrics.

Download Exchange Monitor Free Tool

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.