Why Server 2012 R2? – Remote Desktop Sessions and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

This new BYOD world makes for an ever-expanding number of devices, operating systems, and applications as well as the constant expectation that we all should be able to  access vital information from anywhere anytime.  Work and play have blurred so closely together that it is difficult to discern the two anymore.  All that being said, developers and application development shops find it increasingly difficult to keep up with this vast number of changing delivery mechanisms set in front of them, therefore it is imperative that traditional or legacy applications still remain functional even to a device that was never intended to run these types of apps.

Enter Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Sessions and Read more

Windows 8.1 has arrived!

Head on over to Windows.com for the latest details and how to get started with the upgrade.   For home PCs and Tablets you can grab the upgrade straight from the Windows Store as well!

VMware or Microsoft Series – VDI – A Look at Supportability and More!

A little bit of history first.  Virtual Desktop computing has been slowly etching its way into more IT plans year over year.  The advantages can be enormous when isolating the end user into a virtual desktop that looks and acts like their regular everyday PC.  Of course the ROI has been quite difficult to manage especially when looking at large deployments, and when performance must be guaranteed to match or exceed the current computing requirements.

VMware jumped in the VDI ring many years ago mainly through some acquisitions, and for the first few years struggled to gain momentum against Citrix.  After all Citrix owned this market for many years almost solo.   Citrix had the client connectivity piece so well-honed that it was quite difficult for any other vendor to compete in the space.  VMware’s answer to this was to license the PCoIP protocol from Teradici.  And so for the past few years, VMware has continued to take some market share from Citrix on the VDI front.  Which brings us to the present.

Enter Microsoft Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services(RDS).  Most of us think Read more

PowerShell Toolbuilding Workshop – August 13th – Microsoft Campus – Alpharetta, GA

Join us for a PowerShell Toolbuilding Workshop on August 13th at the Microsoft campus in Alpharetta.  For more details and to sign up click here, while you are at it register for the Southeast Information Technology Professionals official meetup page as well:


Event Summary:  A script is something you create to automate some process. It may be long, is usually a bit ugly, and makes assumptions about how it will be run. Tools, on the other hand, are clean, powerful works of art that can be shared with others. In this presentation we will take a script and turn it into a tool by converting it into an advanced function, adding cmdlet style help, creating parameters, and accepting pipeline input. Then we will create a module to house our new advanced function and even create our own format specification. You will walk away with a new tool in your toolbox, the knowledge how to create your own tools, and even some ideas on what tools to create. This presentation will be based on material covered in the Learn PowerShell Tool-making in a Month of Lunches by Don Jones and Jeff Hicks available from Manning.

TechNet Radio – How Microsoft IT Deployed Direct Access with Windows Server 2012

Join me in welcoming Sr. Service Engineer Kunal Kaushik to this latest installment of TechNet Radio as we discuss how Microsoft IT uses Direct Access to enable workers to work remotely. Tune in as we chat about how MSIT deployed DirectAccess globally using Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 and how by implementing this solution the team was able to reduce support costs, increase business agility and improve remote management for IT.

  • [2:38] What is DirectAccess and how did we deploy it?
  • [6:18] How did you help users get a better geographical authentication point when they logged in remotely?
  • [8:32] So how is this product lowering our costs?
  • [9:55] Is there a team dedicated to administration or are they doing full support?
  • [11:58] How does this improve a business’s agility? For example, disaster recovery?
  • [14:06] What improvements have been made for VPN?
  • [15:40] How do you use virtual smart cards?
  • [19:12] How does DirectAccess keep non-work traffic, like web surfing, out of the secure tunnel?

TechNet Radio: Delivering Results – How Microsoft IT Secures Applications for the Cloud

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns when it comes to cloud computing is security.  On this episode of TechNet Radio I welcome Sr. Security Engineer Varun Sharma to the show as we discuss how Microsoft IT secured their applications for the cloud. Tune in as we chat about the security process MSIT goes through when they move an application into the cloud as well as what user authentication considerations, risks and deployment techniques they must consider.

  • [1:47] How do security or compliance requirements play      a role in selecting applications?
  • [5:28]      Once an application has been selected to be moved to the cloud, how does      MSIT build security into it? Is there a process that is followed?
  • [7:08]      What about user authentication to web sites that hosted on Windows Azure?      Does the design change for that as well vs. on-premise hosted web sites?
  • [8:50]      What about phone or windows 8 modern apps? How do they authenticate to      services that are hosted on azure?
  • [12:10]      What are some of the unique risks or security issues that apply to azure      applications?
  • [15:54]      How are these applications deployed securely to Windows Azure?

Charlotte, NC – IT Pro Appreciation Day Event is March 29th – Join Us!

Hosted by CITPG as the biggest IT Pro community event every year in the Charlotte area, this year promises to be bigger and better than ever.  We will have presentations from some of the nation’s top technology professionals (MVP’s and Microsoft Evangelists) on a variety of topics ranging from What’s New in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and System Center 2012 SP1 and a hands-on lab will catch and hold your attention while providing you with the very latest in information related to the hottest topics in the IT world today!
Special presentations will be offered by:
Mark Minasi, Rhonda Layfield, Amy Babinchak, Jim Christopher, Larry Struckmeyer and Kevin Royalty, just to name a few. I will be hosting the hands-on-lab breakout where you will be able to deploy your own lab in the cloud. A full day of learning, collaborating, and networking. You don’t want to miss it! Sign up here: http://www.carolinait.org/MeetingRSVPPublic.aspx?mid=161

Migration and Deployment Series – Part 19 – A look at Windows 8 Applocker

Matthew Hester brings us the 19th installment of our series this month with a look at Windows 8 Applocker.  He writes,

“One of the Technologies we introduced with Windows 7 was AppLocker.  AppLocker presented a great new way to control what applications could run on your desktop environments. Now if this sounds familiar to what Software Restriction Policies (SRP) do for your environments, it is important to understand the difference between the two.  SRP are still supported and still helps to control applications in your environment.  They approach the challenge differently. Fundamentally there are two ways of controlling applications:

  • Block/Deny List: With this approach your create a list of all the malicious applications in the world and create rules to block them.  This approach is similar to antivirus programs.  As an administrator your would create deny rules for all the unwanted software that they would like to block within your business.  While effective, the challenge was keeping up with the malicious software and having to create a deny rule for each application.  This is essentially how SRP (in XP and Server 2003) worked, although you had allow or deny rules, it was still all based on the list.
  • Allow List: With this approach you create a list of all approved software that you need in your environment and create rules to allow only those applications and block the rest. In the allow listing mode you block all unwanted software by default and allow only those applications to run that have been explicitly allowed.  While this method is effective, the main challenge is you have to create a portfolio of applications for your environment.  AppLocker works in the allow listing mode.”

Continue reading more here!