Microsoft announces Exchange Support for Azure VM as a Witness Server

Posted by bink about 10 hours ago.

Today at Teched in Barcelona Microsoft announced in a Exchange session by Scott Schnoll that Exchange will soon support for Azure VM as a Witness Server:

As of January 1, 2015, Microsoft will support using an Azure laaS file server VM as a witness server for an on-premises DAG .

  • Testing and validation has been completed (by Tim McMichael)
  • Documentation is in progress
  • DAG should be extended to multiple sites to benefit (no benefit to single site DAGs)

This is not the same as the 'Cloud Witness' in Windows Threshold (aka Windows Server Technical Preview)

I did suggest that scenario in a previous post on Cloud Witness, sorry for that, but the Exchange Engineering team has not yet decided if they will do the work required to support this.

 

Below you can see an architectural overview of Exchange with Azure VM as a Witness Server:

image

Click for larger view

 

High level steps that need to be taken:

  1. Prepare Azure Networking
    a. Create Network Services
    b. Connect On-Premises VPN Gateways to Windows Azure
  2. Configure Virtual Machines in Azure
    a. Configure Directory Server
    b. Configure File Server
  3. Configure Exchange 2013 to use Azure Witness
  4. Validate and Test

Huge for on-prem: Microsoft announces cluster witness in the cloud

Posted by bink about 3 days ago.

Today at Teched in Barcelona Microsoft briefly mentioned cloud witness during a Storage replica demo in the keynote. I was wondering if this was somehow limited to this specific scenario. So I checked this new feature with Mark Russinovich who is now Chief Technical Officer of Microsoft Azure. He confirmed that the cloud witness feature will work with any fail-over cluster scenario, so also for Microsoft Exchange, meaning in the future you can have a stretched Exchange cluster with nodes running in 2 separate datacenters (2 sites) supplying quorum by a witness in Azure (3rd site). This provides much easier implementation for site fail-over and recovery.

 

server10witness

The option for a witness in the cloud has been a much requested feature for years now, so this quick mention in the keynote is a huge announcement in my opinion. Smile

Microsoft delivers wave of innovation at TechEd Europe

Posted by bink about 3 days ago.

The official press release:

BARCELONA — Oct. 28, 2014 — Tuesday at TechEd Europe, Microsoft Corp. announced new cloud services, mobility solutions, APIs, tools and an expanded ecosystem of partner solutions, all designed to help IT professionals and developers compete and thrive in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world.

“Today’s enterprise is always on, and IT professionals and developers are under constant pressure to keep up with the demands of the business,” said Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure, Microsoft. “We are using the power of our cloud platform — Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics — to deliver technology solutions that empower IT professionals, developers and end users to do more.”

Azure innovations to help streamline operations and enhance security

At TechEd Europe, Microsoft announced several cloud services to help intelligently automate and streamline IT operations, including these:

  • Azure Operational Insights brings together Azure, HDInsight and Microsoft System Center to gather and analyze machine data across cloud environments and turn it into actionable insights that inform business decisions. Available in preview in November 2014.
  • Azure Batch allows customers to deploy massive scale-out jobs, with access to thousands of cores, to solve complex problems with just a few clicks and no infrastructure investment. Available in preview.
  • Azure Automation automates time-consuming tasks across Azure and third-party environments, reducing the risk associated with repetitive manual processes. Generally available.

Microsoft also announced a number of security enhancements, generally available now, to Azure Virtual Machines and Cloud Services, including these:

  • Support for multiple network interface cards (NICs) so customers can bring their own networking and security appliances such as load balancers and firewalls
  • New Network Security Groups that enable customized security boundaries for network access and provide greater control over traffic flow
  • Microsoft Anti-Malware for Virtual Machines and Cloud Services, a free service that provides real-time threat protection

Comprehensive enterprise mobility management for nearly any device and data

Microsoft also announced management, security, privacy and compliance enhancements for the Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365. These new capabilities give IT the ability to enforce policies, protect corporate assets, and empower today’s always-on and on-the-go workforce.

  • Microsoft Intune updates. These updates will enable customers to comprehensively manage Office mobile apps, wrap management technology around their own line-of-business applications, enable more secure mobile app viewing and provide powerful conditional access features that allow better control of corporate resources with conditional access features. Available within the next few months.
  • Built-in Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Office 365. New, built-in Intune MDM capabilities for Office 365 on iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices will provide administrators with policy-driven device management and the ability to wipe corporate data to prevent unauthorized access and use — all while preserving personal data. Available in the first quarter of 2015.
  • Azure Active Directory (AD) Premium updates. Azure AD Application Proxy, generally available by the end of 2014, will make it possible to publish on-premises applications to external users via the cloud. Azure AD Connect, available in preview by the end of 2014, will make it easier to connect on-premises assets to the cloud and synchronize directories to Azure AD.
  • Extending Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology across Office 365. Over the next few months, DLP capabilities will be added to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business to provide protection for sensitive content across Office 365. In addition, in 2015, Office apps will support DLP notifications to provide users with helpful prompts related to information protection.

Office 365 APIs and tools for developers

Microsoft also introduced new APIs and tools that allow developers to access the Office 365 API and create new, data-rich productivity applications using the platforms, tools and devices of their choice.

  • New Open APIs for Office 365. These REST-based APIs for mail, files, calendar and contacts will empower Android, iOS, Windows or Web developers to leverage over 400 petabytes of Office 365 content to deliver enhanced productivity to the millions of Office 365 subscribers. Available now through the Microsoft API Sandbox for Office 365.
  • New mobile software development kits (SDKs) for native app development. These SDKs make it easier for developers to use Office 365 APIs to create applications for any platform using tools and languages they’re familiar with. A new iOS SDK for Xcode is available in preview. Android and Visual Studio SDKs are generally available.
  • Office 365 App Launcher. Office 365 App Launcher provides a single, customizable place in Office 365 where people can access their favorite apps. Developers can use App Launcher to increase visibility of their apps alongside apps such as Outlook, Yammer and OneDrive.
  • In addition, Visual Studio Online customers in Europe can elect to use the Azure Amsterdam Region for their projects and store their data closer to home.

An expanded ecosystem of cloud partners

Microsoft continued to deliver new partner-powered cloud solutions, including:

  • An expanded Cloud OS Network, with partner support now available in over 100 countries, gives customers broad access to hybrid cloud solutions.
  • A new Azure Certified for Application Services program, part of Azure Certified, which covers managed APIs and data services. Customers can now access over 50 solutions from more than 30 partners, through the Azure Marketplace, including New Relic, Cloudera, Hortonworks, CommVault, CoreOS, DataStax, NGINX and Veeam.

Teched Europe 2014

Posted by bink about 3 days ago.

This week I’m attending Teched Europe 2014 in Barcelona. If you’re interested I suggest to follow me on Twitter as I tend to post a lot more there than on this page. So follow me at www.twitter.com/sbink and read back my tweets from today.

 

Also you can view the keynote of TechEd Europe 2014 on demand here

OneDrive for Business file size limit to be adjusted

Posted by bink about 3 days ago.

Yesterday Microsoft announced unlimited data storage for all Onedrive users with Office365 subscriptions, including OneDrive for Business. While this is great news, there are other limits still on OneDrive for business that do not make it the perfect cloud storage solution yet. Like the  filesize limit of 2 GB and directory depth. (OneDrive for consumers has a 10 GB file limit)

Today at Teched Barcelona I asked Julie White (General Manager Office Marketing) if Microsoft is working on removing the filesize limit. She said they are working on “removing all limits” in SharePoint online and that a announcement on this subject is to be expected “in a few months”

Now I don’t expect the filesize limit to be removed, but upped to 10 GB in a few months just like OneDrive for consumers.

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Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 adds p2v support

Posted by bink on October 13 2014, 7:25 PM.

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) is a Microsoft-supported, stand-alone solution for the information technology (IT) pro or solution provider who wants to convert virtual machines and disks from VMware hosts to Hyper-V® hosts and Microsoft Azure or alternatively convert a physical computer running Windows Server 2008 or above server operating systems or Windows Vista or above client operating systems to a virtual machine running on Hyper-V host.

MVMC can be deployed with minimal dependencies. Because MVMC provides native support for Windows PowerShell®, it enables scripting and integration with data center automation workflows such as those authored and run within Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2. It can also be invoked through the Windows PowerShell® command-line interface. The solution is simple to download, install, and use. In addition to the Windows PowerShell capability, MVMC provides a wizard-driven GUI to facilitate virtual machine conversion.

New Features in MVMC 3.0

The 3.0 release of MVMC adds the ability to convert a physical computer running Windows Server 2008 or above server operating systems or Windows Vista or above client operating systems to a virtual machine running on Hyper-V host.

Standard Features

  • Converts virtual disks that are attached to a VMware virtual machine to virtual hard disks (VHDs) that can be uploaded to Microsoft Azure.
  • Provides native Windows PowerShell capability that enables scripting and integration into IT automation workflows.
    Note The command-line interface (CLI) in MVMC 1.0 has been replaced by Windows PowerShell in MVMC 2.0.
  • Supports conversion and provisioning of Linux-based guest operating systems from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts.
  • Supports conversion of offline virtual machines.
  • Supports the new virtual hard disk format (VHDX) when converting and provisioning in Hyper-V in Windows Server® 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012.
  • Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.1, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts Hyper-V virtual machines.
  • Supports Windows Server® 2012 R2, Windows Server® 2012, and Windows® 8 as guest operating systems that you can select for conversion.
  • Converts and deploys virtual machines from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts on any of the following operating systems:
  • Windows Server® 2012 R2
  • Windows Server® 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Converts VMware virtual machines, virtual disks, and configurations for memory, virtual processor, and other virtual computing resources from the source to Hyper-V.
  • Adds virtual network interface cards (NICs) to the converted virtual machine on Hyper-V.
  • Supports conversion of virtual machines from VMware vSphere 5.5, VMware vSphere 5.0, and VMware vSphere 4.1 hosts to Hyper-V.
  • Has a wizard-driven GUI, which simplifies performing virtual machine conversions.
  • Uninstalls VMware Tools before online conversion (online only) to provide a clean way to migrate VMware-based virtual machines to Hyper-V.
    Important MVMC takes a snapshot of the virtual machine that you are converting before you uninstall VMware Tools, and then shuts down the source machine to preserve state during conversion. The virtual machine is restored to its previous state after the source disks that are attached to the virtual machine are successfully copied to the machine where the conversion process is run. At that point, the source machine in VMware can be turned on, if required.
    Important MVMC does not uninstall VMware Tools in an offline conversion. Instead, it disables VMware services, drivers, and programs only for Windows Server guest operating systems. For file conversions with Linux guest operating systems, VMware Tools are not disabled or uninstalled. We highly recommend that you manually uninstall VMware Tools when you convert an offline virtual machine.
  • Supports Windows Server and Linux guest operating system conversion. For more details, see the section “Supported Configurations for Virtual Machine Conversion” in this guide.
  • Includes Windows PowerShell capability for offline conversions of VMware-based virtual hard disks (VMDK) to a Hyper-V–based virtual hard disk file format (.vhd file).
    Note The offline disk conversion does not include driver fixes.

 

 

Download: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42497

Windows Server Technical Preview now on MSDN and Azure

Posted by bink on October 1 2014, 7:17 PM.

You can now download Windows Server Technical Preview on MSDN as ISO and VHD and you can deploy a VM on Microsoft Azure.

 

Windows Server Datacenter Technical Preview (x64) - VHD

Windows Server Technical Preview (x64)

Microsoft Hyper-V Server Technical Preview (x64)

MSDN

What's New in the Windows Server Technical Preview

Posted by bink on October 1 2014, 7:14 PM.

  • What’s New in Active Directory Federation Services. Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) in Windows Server Technical Preview includes new features that enable you to configure AD FS to authenticate users stored in Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directories. For more information, see Active Directory Federation Services Overview.
  • What's new for Hyper-V in the Technical Preview. This topic explains the new and changed functionality of the Hyper-V role in Windows Server Technical Preview, Client Hyper-V running on Windows 10 Technical Preview, and Microsoft Hyper-V Server Technical Preview.
  • Windows Defender Overview. Windows Defender is installed and enabled by default in Windows Server Technical Preview, but the user interface for Windows Defender is not installed. However, Windows Defender will update antimalware definitions and protect the computer without the user interface. If you need the user interface for Windows Defender, you can install it after the operating system installation by using the Add Roles and Features Wizard.
  • What's New in Remote Desktop Services in the Windows Server Technical Preview. For the Windows Server Technical Preview, the Remote Desktop Services team focused on improvements based on customer requests. We added support for OpenGL and OpenCL applications, and added MultiPoint Services as a new role in Windows Server.
  • What's New in Storage Services in Windows Server Technical Preview. This topic explains the new and changed functionality of Storage Services. An update in storage quality of service now enables you to create storage QoS policies on a Scale-Out File Server and assign them to one or more virtual disks on Hyper-V virtual machines. Storage Replica is a new feature that enables synchronous replication between servers for disaster recovery, as well as stretching of a failover cluster for high availability..
  • What's New in Failover Clustering in Windows Server Technical Preview. This topic explains the new and changed functionality of Failover Clustering. A Hyper-V or Scale-out File Server failover cluster can now easily be upgraded without any downtime or need to build a new cluster with nodes that are running Windows Server Technical Preview.
  • What's New in Web Application Proxy. Web Application Proxy now supports preauthentication for applications using the HTTP Basic protocol, wildcards in external URLS of applications, redirection from HTTP to HTTPS, use of pass-through authentication with HTTP applications, publishing of Remote Desktop Gateway apps, a new debug log, propagation of client IP addresses to backend applications, and improvements to the Administrator console.
  • What’s New in Windows PowerShell 5.0. Windows PowerShell 5.0 includes significant new features—including support for developing with classes, and new security features—that extend its use, improve its usability, and allow you to control and manage Windows-based environments more easily and comprehensively. Multiple new features in Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) are also described in this topic.
  • What's New in Networking in Windows Server Technical Preview. With this topic you can discover information about new networking technologies, such as Network Controller and Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) Tunneling, and new features for existing technologies, including IP Address Management (IPAM), DNS, and DHCP. Detailed information about what’s new is available for these networking technologies:

Release Notes: Important Issues in the Windows Server Technical Preview

Windows 10 announced! (updated see the recording of the event)

Posted by bink on September 30 2014, 8:31 PM.

Windows10

Today in San Fransico Microsoft announced Windows 10.

 

The under the covers the version is still Windows 6.4 Glimlach, marketing wants to segregate from the current Windows experience.

Windows 10 will run all full range of devices from afrom the Internet of Things to enterprise datacenters worldwide (Azure)

win10devices

And yes the start-menu is back and better!

BG09-30startMenu_Web

The familiar Start menu is back, with some improvements, including a space you can personalize with your favorite apps, programs, people, and websites. Disclaimer: Windows Technical Preview may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. Some apps sold separately; vary by market.

 

 

Multi-desktop:

 

09-30keepOrganized_Web

You can create multiple desktops to keep things organized—whether for work or personal use, or both. Disclaimer: Windows Technical Preview may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. Some apps sold separately; vary by market.

 

Snap improvements:

09-30snapImprovements_Web

Working in multiple apps at once is easier and more intuitive. When you snap an app or a program, Windows suggests ways to fill the remaining space. Disclaimer: Windows Technical Preview may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. Some apps sold separately; vary by market.

 

Task-view button:

09-30taskButton_Web

The new task-view button on the task bar gives you one-click access to all of your running apps and programs. Disclaimer: Windows Technical Preview may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. Some apps sold separately; vary by market.

 

 

Windows Store apps run in Windows:

09-30appsRunWindow_Web

You can now open apps from the Windows Store in the same format your desktop programs do– in windows that you can resize and move around, and with title bars at the top so you can maximize, minimize, and close with a click. Disclaimer: Windows Technical Preview may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. Some apps sold separately; vary by market.

 

Pin apps in Start Menu:

09-30pinUsedItems_Web

Pin apps, programs, and folders to the Start menu for fast access to the things you use the most. Apps with Live Tiles will show updates for the people and things that matter. Disclaimer: Windows Technical Preview may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software. Some apps sold separately; vary by market.

 

Tomorow the preview program will start called the Windows Insider Program:

event_09-30introducingInsiderProgram_Web

Sign-up here: http://preview.windows.com

And download the preview October 1st!

 

See the official announcement video wich contains a short demo.

 

 

UPDATE! You can now view the recording of the Windows 10 event: