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Most people are aware that Windows Server 2003 is coming to the End of Support (EOS) on July 14th 2015.  This means enterprises are more or less forced to stop running applications on the WS2003 Operating System, migrate them to a newer OS or replace them.  EOS dramatically changes the solid "run-your-business operating platform" to one where there will be no security patches, no compliance and escalating costs.  There are few events that open up such large security concerns, throw compliance out the window and have a greater than million dollar price tag all at the same time. In one of the Microsoft sessions at the recent World Wide Partner Conference (WPC), they revealed that there are 22 million machines still running Windows Server 2003. They estimate that 53% of them are physical, likely running on old hardware providing a big hardware refresh opportunity as wel... (more)

Windows Azure Mobile Services

I’ve been doing a lot of work with Windows Azure Mobile Services (WAMS).  It’s a brilliant technology that allows you to stand up powerful OData compliant services to support your Windows 8 Store Apps, Windows Phone 8 Apps, and even iOS apps in just a few minutes.  It’s hard to oversell the sheer awesomeness of this stuff. I’m currently working on a bunch of code that will shortly become a sample project highlighting both WAMS and Windows 8 Apps (look for a project called “FamilyPig” coming soon).  In the process of building that, I ran into a couple of questions – one of which I’ll cover here, and give some guidance to people who might be running into a similar question. One of the cool features that makes WAMS super easy to work with is the concept of “dynamic schema”.  In a nutshell, that means that if you have an existing table, and you throw a Plain Old CLR Obj... (more)

Windows Server 2003 EOL – What You Need to Know Now

IT departments hate end of life of products and the resulting headaches. End of life for a product means the support lifeline disappears, security updates stop and IT is left stranded with the compliance team breathing down their neck. Upgrade projects are not a fun sell to the business. "Hey, Ms./Mr. Business, let's invest a bunch of money and time to get the same place you were before"... Gee, let's get out the drill bit and do a root canal while we're at it. For the Windows 2003 Server family you should know the following: On July 13, 2010 Mainstream Support for Windows Server 2003 family ended. On July 14, 2015 Extended Support for Windows Server 2003 family will end. **Microsoft's product support lifecycle information can be found here If you dive into the details of Mainstream Support and Extended Support you will see that you get nothing once Extended Support en... (more)

Microsoft Blue over Windows 8, Retooling Underway

Roughly six months after Windows 8 came out at the end of October, Microsoft Tuesday confirmed reports that it's been tinkering with the operating system to make it more popular. The radical redesign is supposed to have confused the buying public and created enough of a learning curve that IDC blamed the widgetry for the historic 14% drop in PC sales last quarter. As a result, Microsoft has been making changes in an upgrade called Windows Blue. Trying to deflect more negative perceptions, Tami Reller, co-captain of Microsoft's Windows unit, told the press, "Frankly we...didn't get everything we dreamed of done in the first release." She also claimed that Microsoft knew it might have to make immediate adjustments since Windows 8 was so different from the traditional Windows. Denying IDC's brutal conclusion, Reller said that Microsoft has sold 100 million copies of ... (more)

Windows 2003 End of Support Poll By @AppZero_Inc | @CloudExpo

2014 State of Readiness for Windows 2003 End of Support: Poll Results Most IT administrators are painfully aware that Windows Server 2003 will reach the end of extended support in July 2015. This is a big deal because Windows Server 2003 has been a monster success since it was released 11 years ago. From 2003 to 2010 this platform was the workhorse for applications deployed at both small businesses and large enterprises.  And, even though Microsoft released a major update with Windows 2008, late in 2008, most enterprises stuck with Windows 2003 until Windows Server 2008 R2 launched on October 22, 2009. The newest Windows Server platform is 2012, R2 and little is publicly known about the number of production instances.  As of the summer of 2014 however, it was widely reported that Microsoft believed there to be 22+ million Windows 2003 Servers still running productio... (more)

AWS Offers Windows Server 2012

In an exercise in vendor neutrality - well, kinda - it's not exactly altruistic - Amazon Web Services is now offering a bunch of pre-built virtual instances of the Windows Server 2012 operating system, the server version of Windows 8, so Windows users can hew to Microsoft's upgrade roadmap and still adopt Amazon's cloud all at the same time. The addition, which includes SQL Server, was announced this week by Amazon's Windows team leader Tom Rizzo, a recent refugee from Redmond. Amazon already supports Windows Server 2003 R2, 2008 and 2008 R2 but Server 2012 can be used with Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk automatic application provisioning and deployment service as well as EC2. Beanstalk, which is still in beta, is supposed to automatically take care of ASP.NET application provisioning details such as capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling and application he... (more)

Why Windows Server 2012 R2: Reduce Storage Cost for Your VDI Deployments

With storage needs in your organizations growing exponentially over the last few years and into the future there are plenty of things you may done in the past to help keep the cost down.  Chances are you bought some kind of fancy SAN, that had all the bells and whistles to help storage work efficiently.  I am willing to bet one of the features your SAN has is data de-duplication. Windows Server 2012 With Windows Server 2012 we introduced built-in data de-duplication on a per-volume basis.  You can save a tremendous amount in storage costs with this powerful addition.   Thisde-duplication feature uses data broken into chunks and eliminates duplicates while adding pointers and using advanced mechanisms to provide for and prevent potential data loss. The de-duplication feature also uses a data aging system to ensure that only data that is resident on the volume for grea... (more)

Stoneware Announces Availability of webRDP HTML5 Gateway v1.1

Stoneware announced on Thursday the immediate availability of its latest webRDP HTML5 Gateway, version 1.1. webRDP allows IT organizations to provide end users access to Windows from any device using just a web browser. "This release of webRDP is all about increasing the feature set of an already great product," said Rick German, CEO of Stoneware, Inc. "Our customers running Linux now have the ability to deliver access to Windows applications through an HTML5 Gateway, providing necessary access to legacy applications. The new UI is much cleaner, allowing for a better experience, and the webRDP clipboard makes RDP sessions much more functional for end users." The latest version of webRDP supports an updated user interface with features such as updated color themes and branding, accordion style menus and a collapsible utility menu. Additional features of the product in... (more)

12 Steps to NTFS Shared Folders in Windows Server 2012

In the past, managing and sharing NTFS folders could be a real ordeal – there were different tools for managing NTFS permissions vs shared folders and most IT Pros generally used these tools on a server-by-server basis from each server’s console. Server Manager to the rescue! In Windows Server 2012, Server Manager provides a management facelift on top of the disconnected process that we’ve used in the past for sharing folders and setting NTFS permissions.  In addition, Server Manager can easily manage these folders on a local server or any remote servers that you’ve previously added to the Server Manager dashboard. NOTE: For details on using and customizing Server Manager for your servers and network environment, check out this post on that topic. Along with the new SMB 3.0 performance and availability features for shared folders, Server Manager provides a powerful m... (more)

Is Windows Server 2012 Cloud-Ready?

To answer this question we need to take a closer look at the requirements for a server system to be considered cloud ready and then investigate the different features of Windows Server 2012 that does or does not meet these requirements. Windows Server 2012 is the official name of Windows Server code name “8” and is now on its Beta stage of development. The first thing to consider here is the ability of the operating system to virtualize its resources, meaning to make them available as part of a shared pool and managed by an administrator. The main features Windows Server 2012 has here are:   Hyper-V extensible switch – the Hyper-V switch from Windows Server 2008 is now enhanced to support extensions. It is a platform for you to extend the functionality of a virtual switch to whatever your organization needs. Network Virtualization – allows you to continue using you... (more)

Moore’s Law Gives Way to Bezos’s Law

Cloud providers Google, AWS and Microsoft are doing some spring-cleaning - out with the old, in with the new - when it comes to pricing services. With the latest cuts, here's a news flash: There's a new business model driving cloud that is every bit as exponential in growth -- with order of magnitude improvements to pricing -- as Moore's Law has been to computing. Let's call it "Bezos' Law," and go straight to the math Bezos' law is the observation that, over the history of cloud, a unit of computing power price is reduced by 50% approximately every 3 years If Bezos' law reflects reality, most enterprises should dump their datacenters and move to the public cloud. Let's factor in recent events. Google was first to announce "deep" cuts in on-demand instance pricing across the board.  GigaOm's Barb Darrow was quick to capture the excitement: And bam: Google cuts on-dema... (more)