Microsoft News – 19 November 2014

Pay attention to the security update for Windows that was released out of band last night. It’s an important one that prevents people from crafting custom Kerberos tickets.


Windows Server



Office 365

Microsoft Releases The First Hints About Windows Server & System Center “Threshold”– Preview Out on Oct 1st

Microsoft confirmed the future plans of Windows Server & System Center (Cloud OS) vNext tonight. The released “a bit” of information:

    • Infrastructure upgrades: Rolling upgrades for Hyper-V clusters to the next version of Windows Server without downtime for your applications and workloads. This includes support for mixed versions as you transition your infrastructure.
    • Networking:  New components for our software-defined networking stack that enable greater flexibility and control, including a network controller role to manage virtual and physical networks.
    • Storage: New synchronous storage replication that enhances availability for key applications and workloads plus storage Quality of Service to deliver minimum and maximum IOPS in environments with workloads with diverse storage requirements.
    • Remote Desktop: Enhanced application compatibility with OpenGL and OpenCL support.
    • Identity and Access Management: New scenarios to reduce the risk profile of administrators with elevated rights, including time-based access with fine-grained privileges, and new application publishing capabilities.

They also confirmed that the preview will be out on Oct 1st:

As our first step in this journey, we will be making a “Technical Preview” available for the next version of Windows Server and System Center on October 1.


This bit of news is strange:

We are also evolving how we ship our software and service our platform products to keep the software up-to-date. For our datacenter products, there is a duality in what customers want: in some scenarios customers tell us they favor stability and predictability while in other scenarios they want access to the latest and greatest technologies as fast as possible. We’ll have more specifics in the coming months, but you can expect us to deliver the best of both worlds: options for speed and agility, plus options for stability and durability

Hmm, worrying. I think they aren’t listening to us about update trustworthiness. We need to speak louder.

But on the positive side … .rolling friggin updates of Hyper-V clusters. Woooooooooooooooooooohoooooo!

Synchronous storage replication should be *ahem* very interesting. I also like the introduction of storage QoS.

Microsoft News Summary – 6 August 2014

I’ve done photography in some of the most rural parts of the world, but I’ve never been without phone or Internet for 3 days before. *exaggeration alert*  Being in a dark valley in Scotland over a long weekend was like having an arm removed. Anywho, here’s the news from the last few days. Note that there is an “August Update for …” Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 coming out next week, what the media will probably called “Update 2 for …”.

Live Blogging From TechEd North America 2014 Keynote

Welcome to Houston where the keynote hall is full and they’re filling the overflow rooms for the Brad Anderson-led keynote at TechEd North America 2014. I am here with Petri IT Knowledgebase, sitting in the press section at the front of the hall.

I  live blogged as the event went on. Don’t expect much if anything in the way of Windows or System Center news. This will be a cloud year, where new features come out every 6 or so weeks, thanks to a cloud development cycle. I also do not expect Satya Nadella here.

Speaking of which; Nadella courted devs at a number of events in recent months, including Build. What will Microsoft do this week to convince influential IT pros that Azure won’t steal their jobs and that they are still important to Microsoft (they don’t feel that way lately)?

Right now a classical/electrical band called Flash Drive is playing pop muzak.

After a few songs they get a good reception. Now the 2 minute long teched countdown show kicks off with Joey Snow and Rick Claus.

Brad Anderson comes out sans-Aston Martin. He professes love for the new reign of Satya Nadella. As expected, Brad talks about devices and data of previously unimaginable growth. Cloud will be core to everything we do to manage devices (ever connected world) to derive insights from that data. There are no more devices than people on the planet.

On comes a video with some dude in black and white. It’s a new world, with low contrast film. It’s devices-devices-devices. No monkey boy dancing. Airy fairy stuff about storing data in trees. Yes; trees. I guess these guys are from MSFT Research.

Brad wants to talk about IT Pros. “IT pros are literally at the centre of cloud first and device first clouds”. “No longer think of public cloud as seperate; it is integral to your data center from this point forward”.

Three capabilities required when you consider a cloud. Choosing a cloud vendor wisely is critical for your future:

  • Hyper-V scale: able to grow fast than you. Only 3 companies operate at this scale. This scale drives innovation in infrastructure.
  • Enterprise capabilities and enterprise grade cloud. Financially backed SLA.
  • Hybrid: Works with on premise, partner hosted cloud, and public cloud all integrated. Only MSFT does this.

Right now, only MSFT meets all three requirements.

How could we change our industry if we had unlimited computing power. Here comes Respawn’s Titanfall, an Azure-powered online-only game. It had over 100,000 VMs on day 1, powered up around the world, with clients connected to the closest data centre. No worry about location or performance. They have solid and even compute capacity. They scale up and down as required to meet customer demand. They power lots of game functionality on the server, which they could not do on a console. 150 employees company has hundreds of thousands of VMs around the world.

16 regions. A new core is deployed every 5 seconds. 2 billion authentications a day being done by Azure Active Directory. They take this functionality and trickle it down to hosting partners (WAP, Hyper-V, and System Center). Windows Server Hyper-V is the common foundation across private, hosted, and public cloud. No lock in. Flexible expansion, shrink, and mobility.

IaaS new features:

  • Cloud app discovery Preview. This looks VERY cool.
  • Compute intensive VMs – more RAM and more VMs, with RDMA Infiniband at 40 Gbps.
  • Virtual networking enhancements
  • ExpressRoute is GA for MPLS networking. 2 circuits for every connecting for fault tolerance. Note that Telecity is now a partner.
  • Azure Files Preview: SMB 3.0 sharing of files for VMs.

Software-defined storage (Storage Spaces) is used by Azure.

On to SQL 2014. In memory gives 30x increase without re-writing application, just by adding RAM to existing h/w.

Azure Redis Cache is in preview. API AManagement Preview is in preview too.

Out comes Josh Twist to talk about API Management. Wellmark is an American insurance company and Azure customer. He talks about this feature without explaining what it is. I’m lost.

Back to Brad with more announcements:

  • Anti-malware is being added to Azure. Microsoft Endpoint protection. Partnering with Symantec and Trend Micro.
  • Encrypted storage for Office 365.
  • Azure Site Recovery: Hyper-V Replica to Azure. review in June. This is BIG. Use HRM for orchestration.

Here comes Matt McSpirit to talk about the latter. Azure Site Recovery can be your secondary site if you don’t have one. Can manage replication between sites and to Azure. Centralized management of the replica VMs. VMs can be encrypted while at rest.

Site recovery makes networking easy. Can map networks between primary and secondary site. Map on-premise networks with Azure virtual networks.

A recovery plan orchestrates failover, test, planned, or unplanned. It will cleanly shut down VMs and replicate final changes in the event of a planned failover ( a flood is coming).  You can inject manual tasks into the orchestration.

We move on to identity, another MSFT USP. SaaS is powered by identity. For example, Office 365. Discover how many they are using with Cloud App Discovery. Often some 250 unmanaged SaaS apps in a company. IT has no control. IT needs to take control and manage identity and security.

Office on the 3 mobile OSs will be brought under management. Protection of files: Azure Rights Management Services (ARMS). Part of the EMS bundle for EA customers. The protection travels with the files: only the right people can access the files, even with accidental leakage.

Azure RemoteApp is Mohoro. It’s a RDS session host system designed to run in Azure. You upload LOB apps into Azure and users access them from cross-platform devices. AWS desktop as a service is a square wheel compared to Azure RemoteApp.

Demo: User signs into SaaS app using AD ID via ID federation into Azure AD.  80% of employees admit using non-approved SaaS apps. Cloud App Discovery tool allows admins to discover what apps are being used and how. Now IT can bring these apps under company control. Azure AD has 1300 templates for SaaS single-sign on.

Azure Remote App preview is GA today – note it is not live yet in the Europe regions. Publish apps over the highly performing RemoteFX protocol to devices of different OSs – Windows, iOS, Mac OS X, and Android. A little nod to Citrix.

Now on to the dev audience. I sleep.

I wake up. Now Brad is talking about users. Sadly, people have lost interest in the dev content and are leaving.

“Work like a network”.

Humans can achieve if we focus. There is a flood of information that distracts. Need to move from information to action. Information is locked within boundaries inside organizations. BI stuff now. Yawn.

Demo on BI with old content from Barcelona promo video.

Back to Brad to talk about Office. Ugh, sounds like more BI.

Julia White to talk cloud productivity with Intune and Office 365. Basic demo of doc sharing in OneDrive for Business. Tell Me in Word Online is shown to help find how to do formatting. Can share from OneDrive for Business into Yammer. Yammer: IT managed social experience.

Back to Brad. More people leaving the hall. Not nearly as bad as Elop in 2009 (that was BAD) but a section of the audience has lost interest. This will be a talking point IMO.

Back to summarise. MSFT believes in cloud and getting us to embrace it.

Microsoft News Summary-29 April 2014

There is a lot of reading material this morning.

How Much RAM & CPU Does Window Server Deduplication Optimization Require?

I’ve been asked about resource requirements for the dedupe optimization job before but I did not have the answer before now.


The CPU side is … not clear.  The dedupe subsystem will schedule one single-threaded job per volume. That means a machine with 8 logical processors is only 1/8th utilized if there is a single data volume. Microsoft says:

To achieve optimal throughput, consider configuring multiple deduplication volumes, up to the number of CPU cores on the file server.

That seems pretty dumb to me. “Go ahead and complicate volume management to optimize the dedupe processing”. Uhhhhh, no thanks.


Microsoft tells us that 1-2 GB RAM is used per 1 TB of data per volume.  They clarify this with an example:

Volume Volume size Memory used
Volume 1 1 TB 1-2 GB
Volume 2 1 TB 1-2 GB
Volume 3 2 TB 2-4 GB
Total for all volumes 1+1+2 * 1GB up to 2GB 4 – 8 GB RAM

By default a server will limit the RAM used by the optimization job to 50% of total RAM in the server.  So if the above server had just 4 GB RAM, then only 2 GB would be available for the optimization job.  You can manually override this:

Start-Dedupjob <volume> -Type Optmization  -Memory <50 to 80>

There is an additional note from Microsoft:

Machines where very large amount of data change between optimization job is expected may require even up to 3 GB of RAM per 1 TB of diskspace.

So you might see RAM become a bottleneck or increase pressure (in a VM with Dynamic Memory) if the optimization job hasn’t run in a while or if lots of data is dumped into a deduped volume.  Example: you have deployed lots of new personal (dedicated) VMs for new users on a deduped volume.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Is Also Available For Android And Updated For Mac OS X

Yesterday we heard about iOS getting an official Microsoft Remote Desktop (RemoteFX) app.  Today, I found that a version was also released for Android.


Features include:

  • Access to remote resources through your Remote Desktop Gateway
  • Rich multi-touch experience with remote desktop protocol (RDP) and RemoteFX supporting Windows gestures
  • Secure connection to your data and applications with breakthrough Network Layer Authentication (NLA) technology
  • Simple management of all remote connections from the connection center
  • High quality video and sound streaming with improved compression and bandwidth usage

I tried it out.  It works.  My high-res desktop looks tiny on my HTC One phone, but the zoom option makes is useful for quick operations.  This would be a much better experience on a 10” tablet.

For Mac OS X (10.6.0 or later) have been able to get an old version of Remote Desktop with Microsoft Office for Mac.  I read on MacRumours that there is an updated version offering:

  • Access to remote resources through the Remote Desktop Gateway
  • Secure connection to your data and applications with breakthrough Network Layer Authentication (NLA) technology
  • Simple management of all remote connections from the connection center
    High quality video and sound streaming with improved compression and bandwidth usage
  • Easy connection to multiple monitors or projectors for presentations
  • Print from Windows applications to any printer configured on your Mac
  • Access local files on your Mac from your Windows applications

I know nothing about the upgrade process for Mac users.

Technorati Tags:

Microsoft Releases Remote Desktop For Apple iOS

You don’t need pricey third party RDP apps anymore.  Microsoft has finally released a Remote Desktop app for iPhone and iPad.  The features are:

  • Access to remote resources through the Remote Desktop Gateway
  • Rich multi-touch experience with remote desktop protocol (RDP) and RemoteFX supporting Windows gestures
  • Secure connection to your data and applications with breakthrough Network Layer Authentication (NLA) technology
  • Simple management of all remote connections from the connection center
  • High quality video and sound streaming with improved compression and bandwidth usage
  • Easy connection to external monitors or projectors for presentations

The price is good: free.  And all the gesture stuff works – now I don’t feel stupid for swiping from the right on an iPad 🙂

IMAG0097 An abomination: Windows 8.1 “running” on an Apple iPad

Source: Wes Miller (@getwired).


Microsoft also released the Microsoft Remote Desktop app for Android and updated it for Mac OS X.

Event: E2E Virtualisation Conference Rome, November 1-3

Run by Alex Juschin (MVP RDS), this is where virtualisation experts from around Europe gather to share and learn. There’s a heavy Citrix emphasis, but there’s been lots of Hyper-V over the past few events, and this one has a hint of VMware about it 😉 The last one (Copenhagen, 2012) featured several MVPs talking Hyper-V, System Center, and cloud. 

I’ve lost count how many MVPs, CTPs, and vExperts are going to be at this event.  Alex has a bigger community presence than TechEd, in my opinion.  What I love at this event is the expertise from not just the speakers, but many of the attendees.  There are people who attend this event that I’d love to listen presenting.  Formerly known as PubForum, E2EVC stresses the social networking element where you really get to learn new solutions.

The language of E2EVC is English, but you’ll hear lots of languages before, between, and after sessions.

  • 1-3 November, 2013
  • H10 roma città, Via Pietro Blaserna, 101 (Quartiere Marconi), 00146 – Roma – Rome, Italy

You can learn more and register here.

Option To Select Physical GPU Is Unavailable In Hyper-V Settings

Microsoft posted a KB article to explain how to resolve an issue when a Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Virtualization Host is added to a domain and the default domain policy is applied, the option to select a physical GPU used for Remote FX (within Hyper-V settings) is unavailable.

This is caused because the Users group has been removed from he “Allow log on locally” policy. RemoteFX uses a system account called RDV Graphics Service which is a member of Users. 

The fix is to ensure that:

  1. Users has the Allow Log On Locally right and
  2. Users is not added to the Deny Logon Locally policy.

Note that this issue is fixed in WS2012 R2.