Are these your problems with Windows?

Assuming most of the desktops in your current enterprise are installed with Windows XP (SP2/SP3) or Windows 2000, here is a list of problems you (administrator) might be facing with them.

Problems:

1.      The users on most of the desktops use administrative accounts to work on their PCs. This is usually done so as to enable to users to do all the common tasks on their PCs themselves, but this may pose problems like:

a.      Users can install software themselves. Once installed, software can compromise the overall health and control of the PC, as well as introduce security and data compliance issues. With every new piece of unknown software installed, desktop performance, security, and supportability is gradually compromised.

b.      No asset inventory control or license management. This can leave you in a position where you don’t know what has been installed and whether or not you have a license for the software.

c.       Important data files are often changed or deleted. With administrator accounts, users have full access to the system and can often delete files that are required for system stability and reliability or even booting into the operating system, running applications or performing other day-to-day tasks

d.      End users are able to change core system configurations. Users with admin rights can install drivers, change firewall settings, deactivate services, or deactivate anti-malware software, and add additional user accounts.

e.      Users are not restricted from attaching devices to their PCs. With unauthorized storage devices connected (such as USB drives and MP3 players), users can easily lose or steal important data, load malware onto PCs, or misuse company assets with personal devices.

f.        Systems cannot be centrally managed. In many cases software is not centrally distributed or tracked. If that is the case, computers will require manual setup and configuration.

2.      Many applications are written to require admin privileges. This is often because software developers tend to develop as local administrators. Many applications are designed to assume that administrative privileges are present.

3.      Applications can save their data (installation files, registry keys, and runtime data) to random locations. Applications written this way are difficult to support, because each application functions in a different way. If something breaks, it is difficult to troubleshoot the problem. For example- applications may store unknown file formats in “Program Files’ folder during installation.

So what is the ideal way in which the Windows systems must be managed and how can that state be achieved?

Read my next blog on what should be done to tackle these problems proactively, and the third one in the series on how can it be done.

Launching Windows Essential Server Solutions

Microsoft is launching it’s new series of small and midsize server solutions on 12th of November. The two products which are part of this launch are Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008. For more details check this out link. http://www.thedreamserver.com/

Virtual TechDays – September 2008 – Managing Virtual Infrastructure

Hi, this is Ravi Sankar (http://ravisankar.spaces.live.com/blog ) again from the TechNet India team. This is the second blog post I am writing in response to the questions we received as part of virtual tech days (http://www.connectwithlife.co.in/vtd ). This time I am answering the questions from the session “Managing Virtual Infrastructure”

Q1: Is virtualization suitable for big corporations only? Or is it useful to small and medium enterprises also?

A1: Very good question. Virtualization technologies are useful to organizations of all sizes. Let me explain this with the help of an example.

Hyper-V is the server virtualization technology from Microsoft. By using Hyper-V in a data centre, a large organization can consolidate their server infrastructure into fewer number of servers. This will result in savings in terms of rack space, cooling, power, management cost etc.

The above advantages are applicable to a small and medium sized business organization (SMB) as well. Since SMBs face additional constraints in terms of quality infrastructure and skilled IT man power virtualization can offer them a more optimized IT solution by requiring less infrastructure and better server management technologies (backup, high availability, provisioning etc.).

Q2: How does System Centre Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) handle applications which are not cluster aware to provide high availability (HA)?

A2: SCVMM does not handle applications directly but through virtual machines. Hyper-V is cluster aware and can be configured to provide HA for all the virtual machines running on it. The applications running in these virtual machines may or may not be cluster aware. SCVMM can manage the failover of such virtual machines from one server to another server running Hyper-V.

Q3: What is template creation in System Center Virtual Machine manager (SCVMM)?

A3: Templates are virtual machines created and stored in SCVMM library with specific virtual hardware, OS and application configurations. Templates are created for frequently used virtual machine configurations so that it is easier to provision new VMs. It also allows automation of VMs through scripting.

As one of you said it is a one time activity

Q4: Is diagram view of virtual and physical machines created automatically in System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)?

A4: Yes, once SCOM is configured to monitor a Virtual Server or Hyper-V based computer it can generate a diagram of physical machines and associated virtual machines automatically

Q5: Is Hyper-V a Type-1 virtualization product?

A5: Yes, Hyper-V is a hypervisor based Type-1 virtualization product. Hyper-V is available either as part of Windows Server 2008 x64 editions or as a standalone product (http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server ) for bare metal implementation

Q6: How many Hyper-V based servers are required to virtualize my xxx number of servers?

Or How can I size my Hyper-V deployment?

Or How much memory is required to virtualize xxx number or servers?

A6: As an answer to all these questions I request you to visit the following URLs and read things related to virtualization.

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/sysperf/Perf_tun_srv.mspx

www.microsoft.com/map

http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/lior/archive/2008/08/15/hyper-v-server-sizing-and-performance-tuning.aspx 

Q7: How powerful is Hyper-v?

A7: This is a very subjective question and it can be best answered with the help of some real customer  case studies given the following link http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization/case-studies.mspx

Q8: Is it possible to manage VMWare infrastructure from SCVMM?

A8: Yes, SCVMM allows the integration of VMWare into its console. Details can be found here. http://blogs.technet.com/chengw/archive/2008/04/29/managing-vmware.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/virtualworld/archive/2008/06/02/managing-vmware-with-scvmm.aspx

Q9: Can Hyper-V run on 32 bit hardware or 32 bit OS?

A9: Hyper-V runs only on 64 bit hardware and requires 64 bit edition of Windows Server 2008 in the parent partition. However some of the remote management tools for Hyper-V runs on 32 bit OS. Also Hyper-V supports 32 bit virtual machines.

Q10: What kind of drivers used by virtual machines in Hyper-V?

A10: Hyper-V supports two different types of devices viz. emulated and synthetic. Emulated device drivers are used for backward compatibility with older operating systems whereas synthetic drivers are supported only in newer operating systems like WS2008 but provides better performance. To know more about emulated and synthetic devices please refer to the following links.

http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2008/02/25/hyper-v-terminology.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/tvoellm/archive/2008/01/02/hyper-v-integration-components-and-enlightenments.aspx

http://searchservervirtualization.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid94_gci1312278,00.html

Q11: How do I provide high availability for virtual machines running in Hyper-V?

A11: There are many articles available on Microsoft’s website on providing high availability to a Hyper-v environment. Here is one of them http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc837977.aspx

Q12: What makes the rapid provisioning of virtual machines possible in a Hyper-v environment?

A12: Libraries, templates, PowerShell based scripting and self service portal features in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 make the rapid provisioning of virtual machine possible in a Hyper-V based virtual environment.

Q13: What are the minimum system requirements to run Hyper-V?

A13: The answer depends on whether you are running a bare metal Hyper-V server, server core based Hyper-V and Hyper-V with full installation of Windows Server 2008. Here is the system requirements for running Hyper-v server

http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/system-requirements.mspx

Q14: Where can I get a free copy of Hyper-V?

A14: Hyper-V is available to you when you purchase a copy of “Windows Server 2008 x64 edition with Hyper-V”. To download an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2008 please visit the following link

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/trial-software.aspx

A full version of Hyper-V server can be downloaded free of cost from the following link

http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/how-to-get.mspx

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Q&A: Performance Tuning Redefined with SQL Server 2008

I am sure you folks are enjoying all the Q&A posted by my fellow Evangelists on this blog. The intentions are very much there to give you complete information even after our webcasts have got over. If you didnt get to read the Part I Q&A I wrote around the DMVs session, dont forget to read them too. Let me next give you the links to PPT and Session for your offline viewing if you missed them. Next, moving to the unanswered Q&A from the session. Here we go:

Question Asked: can we run data collector on sql server which is having sql server 2005 ?

The management data warehouse can only be installed on a server running SQL Server 2008.

Question Asked: different collection modes available for data collector

The Data Collector Architecture (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb677355.aspx) explains the real backend work. Incidentally, this is an completely async process and uses a combination of SSIS, SQL Agent and SQL Relational engine magic. You can also manually collect and upload the data into SQL Server from the Management Studio.

Quesiton Asked: Could you plz tell something more about WMI event?

If you personally ask me, this is a super cool event one seems to miss-out from the SQL Server 2005 days itself. Anyways, check the complete documentation of WMI Events and SQL Server at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms180606.aspx. Infact, if you crank up your SQL Server Configuration Manager, it operates completely around the WMI Eventing Infrastructure. It is really powerfull and under-utilized.

Quesiton Asked: What is the Impact on Memory Usage and Performance of system of Data collection?

This my friend is a dicey question because the data collected is completely under your control. And everytime a collect and upload happens the runtime fires enough info into the database. Now when this happens is completely configurable and the purging is also configurable. Hence the stress on the IO and Memory is something in your hand. Moreover we use the SQL Server Agent infrastructure and it can also be configured to run at our specified interval rather than automatically every 10 sec or so.

Question Asked: Can we use data collector to pull the data from the the data provider or website that allows to fetch the data using webservices?

Though the question is vaugue I think if you get a chance to read through the Architecture (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb677355.aspx) in detail things will get clear. There is nothing like a webservice or sorts available.

Question Asked: can we have single data collector to collect information from multiple instance ?

If you have multiple SQL Server instances you could configure the data collection processes on each of your instances to use a central MDW repository. In fact, It is recommended you do this to minimize the impact of the data collection process.

Question Asked: Can the Monitoring data be Stored outside the server being monitored

Your question seems to be similar to the one asked in the previous question. You can raise the collection as T-SQL Collector, SQL Trace, Perf Counter Collector and Query Activity Collector. You can read on each at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb677328.aspx.

Question Asked: Does it upload the data to the warehouse db on its own or we have to do it manually?

As described before, you have all the flexibility here. You can manually do it or schedule it at regular intervals via the SQL Server Agent process.

Question Asked: how much frequently is the data fed to dataware house from cache ?

Same as the previous question. You can completely customize it.

Question Asked: we can use this data collector for maintain performance related data for application or database or Visual studio application

Though this is a nice thought, currently we are restricted for collecting perf data using the DMVs inside of a SQL Server instance only.

Question Asked: Say If I run this tool, every 1 hour, for 30 days, how much of data space will it take?

There is no straight forward answer to this question. It depends on how much data you will be collecting. I have seen with an interval of 10 sec for the past ~25 days the current size is close to 400MB for me. But I this happens on my laptop which starts and shuts down often.

Question Asked: WIll Data collector effect MSDB ?

This is a good question. We do use msdb for DW activities. The data collector uses msdb for storing configuration information, run-time information, auditing, and collection history information. This database must be present on the instance of SQL Server that runs the data collector. Using msdb provides the following benefits: a) All the data needed to configure and run the data collector is in one location. b) Data collection configuration can be deployed across several servers without having to use the file system. c) The data collector can use existing SQL Server security mechanisms to protect the data. In addition, database roles can provide granular security, and there is no need to implement cross-database chaining. and finally d) Since msdb is a relational database, it is possible to ensure the referential integrity of the configuration and run-time data.

Hope these clarified some of your questions from the session and hope to meet you all again in the next VTD scheduled on Nov 25th and 26th. And guess what we will have 8 fabulous sessions around SQL Server. Dont miss the action and dont forget to register.

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About Jaggi
love technology, always updated on the latest and current happenings, seminars, tech.Ed, virtual days! Be Yourself!

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