Stop using SQL Server path’s work with a SQL Alias

A lot of times i run into customers how started out with one SQL server and run in to problems when these servers have to be upgrade or the databases needs to be migrated to different SQL servers of clusters because of expansion or recourses. Let’s say you have an application that has a specified database connection that I either can’t or don’t want to change. However, I need to move the database to a new server. How can I do this easily without breaking other things that maybe using this connection and/or database?

By using an alias! We can keep the application configuration the same, but tell the operating system to look somewhere else for the database. Another plus is that once an alias is created, it is set at the operating system level. That means if we have two applications which connect to MySQLServer on that computer, once the alias is created, both will be re-pointed based on the alias. You can create an alias using one of two utilities:

  1. SQL Server Configuration Manager
  2. SQL Server Client Network Utility

SQL Server Configuration Manager

Let’s start by looking at how to do it using SQL Server Configuration Manager. In the left pane of SQL Server Configuration Manager, if you expand the SQL Native Client Configuration folder, there is a subfolder called Aliases (see Figure 1). If we click on this subfolder, we’ll see any aliases that have been defined for the system shown in the right pane. In most cases, there won’t be any defined. To create a new alias, right-click on Aliases and choose New Alias… from the pop-up menu.

Figure 1:

1620_CreatingAliases_01

A dialog window comes up (Figure 2) which allows us to specify our new alias. In the Alias Name property, you specify the name the application uses. For instance, if it connects to a SQL Server called MyOldServer, that’s what you enter in here. You can also enter an alias that appears to point to a named instance, such as MyOldServer\MyInstance. You can then specify the server where the database really is, to include configuring the protocol, the server name, and the port. Clicking the OK button will create the alias. In the case of Figure 2, I’m creating an alias called MyOldServer which points to my local server’s default instance.

Figure 2:

1620_CreatingAliases_02

You should now see the new alias listed in the right pane (Figure 3).

Figure 3:

1620_CreatingAliases_03

 

The next step is to test the connection. You can do so quickly by either creating and testing a Data Source Name (DSN), or if you have the SQL Server client tools installed, by using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). I’ll do so using SSMS. Figure 4 shows the dialog window to open a new connection to a database engine. For Server name:, enter in the alias you specified. In the example we called the alias OldServerName, so that’s what we’ll use here.

Figure 4:

1620_CreatingAliases_04

If the alias is pointed correctly to the new location, a successful connection should be established. In SSMS, I was opening a new connection for Object Explorer. Figure 5 shows that the connection was successfully made using the alias. Note that as far as SSMS is concerned, the server name is the alias.

Figure 5:

1620_CreatingAliases_05

SQL Server Client Network Utility

If you haven’t installed the SQL Server 2005/2008 client tools, you can still create an alias using the SQL Server Client Network Utility. This has come installed automatically on every operating system from Windows 2000 on. To bring up the utility, click on Start, then Run, and run cliconfg.exe. To view or create aliases, click on the Alias tab (Figure 6). As you can see from Figure 6, aliases created by SQL Server Configuration Manager can be seen by the SQL Server Client Network Utility. The reverse is also true.

Figure 6:

1620_CreatingAliases_06

 

To create a new alias, click on the Add… button. This will bring up a new dialog window where you can specify your alias (Figure 7). Just as with SQL Server Configuration Manager, the Server alias is what the application will attempt to connect to. You can specify where that alias points to by specifying the network library, the real server name, and any additional configuration parameters. In Figure 7 I’m creating a new alias called MyOldServer2 that also points to the default instance of my local server.

Figure 7:

1620_CreatingAliases_07

 

Click the OK button to create the new Alias. In order for the alias to actually be created, however, you must click the OK button for the SQL Server Client Network Utility, which will create the alias as it closes.

Conslusion

Now that you know how to create an alias to a SQL Server instance look at this option instead of having hard SQL connections to server and run into problems when you want to reinstall or rename your servers. Also some application do not give you the ability to connect to a named instance, so this is another way of connecting without having to use the a default instance.

The Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) 2.0, a supported, freely available solution for converting VMware-based virtual machines and virtual disks to Hyper-V-based virtual machines and virtual hard disks (VHDs).

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.

MVMC 2.0Migration-of-a-VM-with-MVMC-2.0_thumb

With the release, you will be able to access many updated features including:

  • Added support for vCenter & ESX(i) 5.5
  • VMware virtual hardware version 4 – 10 support
  • Linux Guest OS migration support including CentOS, Debian, Oracle, Red Hat Enterprise, SuSE enterprise and Ubuntu.

Microsoft has also added two great new features:

  • On-Premises VM to Azure VM conversion: You can now migrate your VMware virtual machines straight to Azure. Ease your migration process and take advantage of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure with a simple wizard driven experience.
  • PowerShell interface for scripting and automation support: Automate your migration via workflow tools including System Center Orchestrator and more. Hook MVMC 2.0 into greater processes including candidate identification and migration activities.

At this time, Microsoft is also announcing the expected availability of MVMC 3.0 in fall of 2014. In that release we will be providing physical to virtual (P2V) machine conversion for supported versions of Windows.

For more information about the MVMC 2.0 solution including how to download, make sure you visit here.

Summary

With Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and System Center 2012 R2, Microsoft has a solution to enable customers to virtualize their key, mission critical workloads and realize significant savings compared to VMware. Hyper-V enables customers to run their largest workloads. It offers massive host, VM and cluster scalability. It provides powerful storage, networking, and automation features that enterprises and service providers demand. With a number of supported tools, you have many options available to test and continue your migration to Hyper-V.

Reference Architecture Released: Citrix Service Provider on Microsoft Cloud OS

Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture Kicks off version 4 series of architectural documents for Citrix Service Providers

Source:http://blogs.citrix.com/2014/07/31/reference-architecture-released-citrix-service-provider-on-microsoft-cloud-os/

We are excited to announce the first in a wave of new architectural documents for Citrix Service Provider partners, the “Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS.” This fourth version of the Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture provides detailed guidance on the particulars of implementing Citrix technologies for Desktops-as-a-Service on Microsoft Cloud OS, plus also communicates many of the high level architectural concepts that can be (and have been) applied in Citrix CloudPlatform based environments.

With the exciting innovations provided in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V 3.0, SMB 3.0, and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2, Citrix welcomed the opportunity to initiate our v4 Reference Architecture validation tests on this new platform.  To put it simply, there have been many critical innovations across both the Microsoft and Citrix solutions since the June 2012 release of the version 3 Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture. During the design (and discovery) phase we took some time to investigate the options to provide the solution that could best leverage the complementary Citrix and Microsoft capabilities.

Current Citrix Service Providers can download the new Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS on the Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence.

Watch the Citrix blogs for a series of posts explaining the new details of the new Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture on Microsoft Cloud OS.

What’s new in the Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture for CloudOS

The Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture enables Citrix Service Providers to deliver Windows applications, desktops, and data as Desktops-as-a-Service through an integrated set of Citrix and partner technologies:

–  Citrix XenDesktop® unifies the delivery of hosted applications and desktops (XenApp) with virtual desktops (XenDesktop) using a single architecture and management experience. Because of advancements in HDX technologies, this XenDesktop release improves the user experience, especially for mobile users on various endpoint devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, or Macs) across diverse bandwidth connections.

–  The Citrix Cloud Provider Pack (CPP) contains several Citrix Service Provider-specific enhancements that enable more effective multi-tenant management of the Citrix Service Provider solution.  Two key components of this CPP release are:

  • Citrix App Orchestration allows Citrix Service Providers to automate the delivery of applications and desktops in multi-tenant environments across multiple XenDesktop sites or XenApp farms, Active Directory domains, and datacenters. App Orchestration enables Citrix Service Providers to build offerings with a defined set of apps, desktops, and resources accessible to tenant users that are selected from an application storefront.
  • CloudPortalTM Services Manager provides an easy-to-use web portal that helps Citrix Service Providers manage service delivery and subscriber offerings, simplifying delivery across datacenters.

The architecture makes application and desktop services available to users of any Citrix Receiver enabled endpoint device over secured Internet connections using Citrix NetScaler®. For subscriber locations that aggregate a number of endpoints in a single setting, such as a small retail business, accounting office, or medical clinic, Citrix Branch Repeater can be added to provide a high-definition user experience to multiple endpoints over an optimized network connection. The administrative simplicity provided through the integrated Citrix software components allows subscriber volumes at very large scale to be managed with a relatively modest number of Citrix Service Provider administrators and tenant on-boarding personnel as compared to other models.

Enabling Faster Delivery of Desktops-as-a-Service

Companies of all sizes are looking for a smarter approach to managing the applications and data they use to run their business. More devices, more applications, and more places to work means business owners have to spend an increasing amount of time on IT. Citrix Service Providers can shift the focus for these customers back to where it matters the most — growing their business. By offering a bundle of applications, desktops, and IT services, customers can get the applications and desktops they need in an easy-to-use, pay-as-you-go subscription model.

This Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture represents a common view of technologies and best practices as recommended by Citrix and employed by many successful Citrix Service Providers. With core architectural innovations and cross-product integration, Citrix Service Providers can build a reliable, scalable, and high-performance solution in order to provide to provide tenants monthly subscriptions to Windows-based application and desktop services. The Citrix Service Provider licensing program and Citrix technologies provide a foundation for aggregating servers that can service millions of active subscribers across multiple tenants, while creating a single, comprehensive management view.  Ultimately this provides a solution that enables Citrix Service Providers to build flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solutions that meet customer needs at an attractive and competitive price point.

A Commitment to Service Providers: Continued Implementation Guidance

Today’s release is the first in a series of new Citrix Service Provider Architectural documents.  Keep up to date on the upcoming guidance for incorporating more technologies with a Citrix-based hosted services environment.

Get started now with Citrix App Orchestration 2.5 using guidance from the “What’s New in App Orchestration 2.5” document and embrace the latest App Orchestrations innovations. Watch the Citrix Service Provider Center of Excellence for more detail on App Orchestration, CloudPlatform and further developments from the Citrix Solutions Lab.

XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5

XenApp & XenDesktop 7.5

Citrix heeft enkele weken geleden nieuwe releases uitgebracht van XenDesktop en XenApp. Dus niet alleen een nieuwe versie van XenDesktop maar ook (terug van weg geweest) een nieuwe versie van XenApp versie 7.5. Dit is verrassend gezien het feit dat met de komst van XenDesktop 7 XenApp een onderdeel was geworden van het XenDesktop product als zijnde XenDesktop App edition. Nu dus toch weer een nieuwe release van XenApp als product. XenApp 7.5 is net als we al gezien hebben in de XenDesktop 7.x versie nu ook gebaseerd op de nieuwe FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA). Deze architectuur kennen wel al vanuit eerdere XenDesktop 7.x. versies. IMA heeft daarmee zijn langste tijd gehad en gaan we waarschijnlijk ook niet meer terug zien. FMA heeft onder andere als voordeel dat het minder architectuur nodig heeft en het met een “broker” functie werkt. Dus geen Datacollectors meer. FMA werkt met een “agent” functie, op de server of desktop wordt een agent geïnstalleerd waarmee het een onderdeel wordt van de Citrix omgeving. Het geeft daarmee voor XenApp net als in eerdere versies van XenDesktop ook de mogelijk gebruik te maken van de deployment oplossing van Machine creation services (MCS). Vanzelfsprekend is nog wel steeds remote desktop services nodig. Hieronder een overzicht van de FlexCast management architectuur.

 

FlexCast Management Architecture.png

Afbeelding 1: FlexCast management Architecture

Citrix Hybride Cloud Provisioning

Een van de zaken die er in de nieuwe release van beide producten in zit is het Hybride Cloud Provisioning. Dit geeft de mogelijkheid om bij het aanmaken van een machine pool dit niet op de bestaande lokale infrastructuur te doen maar direct naar de Cloud. Zo kan het schalen van een Citrix infra gecombineerd worden met Cloud resources. Het uiteindelijke resultaat moet zijn dat een omgeving schaalbaar en flexibeler wordt voor elke situatie.
Hybrid Cloud Provisioning.jpg
Hybride Cloud Provisioning

Remote PC Access

Al eerder aanwezig in XenDesktop maar nu ook terug te vinden in beide nieuwe releases is Remote PC Acces. Citrix remote pc acces geeft de mogelijkheid om een fysieke pc of elke andere pc of virtuele desktop os te voorzien van agent om vervolgens remote via de bestaande Citrix infrastructuur beschikbaar te maken. Hiermee kunnen bijvoorbeeld fysieke beheer werkplekken via Citrix beschikbaar gesteld worden. Het is ook ideaal voor de start met VDI zonder direct een complete VDI omgeving te moeten investeren. Er kan gewoon op de bestaande fysieke desktop doorgewerkt worden. Door een koppeling met System center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 te maken kan er zelfs met wake on lan gewerkt worden.
Remote PC Access Citrix.jpg
Afbeelding 2: Remote PC Acces

Upgrade path XenDesktop en XenApp 7.5

Upgrade path van bestaande Citrix omgeving naar de XenDesktop en XenApp versie 7.5 is zoals hieronder te zien is in de tabel in veel gevallen mogelijk door middel van een upgrade. Alleen bij de oudere versies van XenApp en XenDesktop is een nieuwe farm en dus migratie nodig. Overigens is het advies nooit een upgrade te doen tenzij de omstandigheden of grootte dit niet toelaten.
XenApp Upgrade Path.png
XenDesktop Upgrade Path.png

Storefront 2.5.

Met de nieuwe release van XenApp en XenDesktop is er ook een nieuwe versie van storefont gekomen versie 2.5. Ondanks de nieuwe release van Storefront en de mogelijkheden en daarmee het advies van Citrix om toch vooral naar storefront te gaan heeft Citrix de support van de oude webinterface versie 5.4 verlengt. Dit is gedaan om beheerders meer tijd te geven te migreren naar Storefront maar ook om de beheerders de kans te geven meerdere en vooral oude en nieuwe farms eenvoudig door elkaar te kunnen draaien om de migratie weer minder spannend te maken. Storefront 2.5 bevat wel de nodige verbeteringen die de migratie naar Storefront meer en meer de moeite waard maken. Een van de belangrijkste is toch wel het single sign on deel. Dit maakt het mogelijk om een gebruiker vanaf een domain joined systeem van buitenaf (via de NetScaler) met internet Explorer via het web applicaties zonder nieuwe authenticatie te laten starten. Deze verbetering is een echte klant wens en in veel gevallen een rede geweest om te wachten met de migratie naar storefront. In de nieuwe release van storefront zit eveneens een verbetering van de HTML5 receiver. Deze receiver speciaal ontwikkeld voor de Chromebook is ook handig in andere externe inlog mogelijkheden zoals een internet café. De verbeteringen in de HTML5 receiver zitten hem voornamelijk in de verbeterde ondersteuning van 2D en 3D applicaties maar ook audio is enorm verbeterd.
HTML 5 Receiver.png
Afbeelding 3: HTML5 Receiver
In de totale lijst van vernieuwingen en verbeteringen zijn geen spectaculaire zaken terug vinden. Dit was ook niet te verwachten. In de beide releases zijn vooral op kleine zaken enorme verbeteringen doorgevoerd. Al deze kleine zaken hebben echter wel een compleet beter resultaat op zowel beheer als de gebruikers ervaring. Zo zijn er verbeteringen in de touch ervaring op touch enabled devices en is er opnieuw veel aandacht uitgegaan aan de mogelijkheden over WAN en high latency verbindingen met zware 2D en 3D ondersteuning (server side rendering) want beide release meer dan de moeite waard maken.
Bent u geïnteresseerd in de nieuwe releases van XenApp en XenDesktop of heeft u vragen over de mogelijkheden van Citrix voor uw organisatie? Dan kunt u contact opnemen met Carlo Schaeffer via c.schaeffer@icento.nl of bellen naar 010 – 750 45 90.

Try Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync 2013 preview releases.

Be one of the first to find out what’s coming next by exploring preview versions of these powerful business products.

SharePoint 2013

The newest SharePoint is designed to help everyone in your organization share content and ideas, organize teams and projects, and discover connections to get work done.

  • Share documents easily from SharePoint or any Office application, and track the people you’ve shared them with.
  • Follow sites, documents, and people with updates delivered to your activity feed.
  • Share ideas and tap into the knowledge of specialists from across your organization.
  • Search for documents, people, discussions, and #tags from anywhere in SharePoint.
  • Discover and trial third party apps in the marketplace to customize your SharePoint sites.

How to try

With Office 365 Small Business Premium Preview
Try it | Learn more

With Office 365 Enterprise Preview
Try it | Learn more

For IT Pros, try the SharePoint Server 2013 Preview

Exchange 2013

The newest Exchange enables you to increase user productivity and keep your organization safe, while maintaining the control you need.

  • Move to the cloud on your terms with flexible migration options.
  • Help your users do more on any device, manage increasing volumes of email, and work together more effectively as teams.
  • Protect business communications and sensitive information as you meet internal and regulatory compliance requirements.

How to try

With Office 365 Small Business Premium Preview
Try it | Learn more

With Office 365 Enterprise Preview
Try it | Learn more

For IT Pros, try Exchange Server 2013 Preview

Lync 2013

The newest Lync is an enterprise-ready, unified communications platform that connects people everywhere on Windows 8 and other devices.

  • Use a single, unified client for real-time communications, including voice and video calls, Lync meetings, presence, instant messaging, and persistent chat.
  • Get HD video conferencing across a range of devices. The Lync video gallery allows Lync meeting attendees to simultaneously view up to 5 different participants, identify the active speaker, and associate names with faces.

How to try

With Office 365 Small Business Premium Preview
Try it | Learn more

With Office 365 Enterprise Preview
Try it | Learn more

For IT Pros, try the Lync Server 2013 Preview

Office Web Apps Server 2013

With Office Web Apps Server, your users get browser-based productivity from nearly any device on your terms and within your own private network.

  • Keep your users productive and working together, no matter where they are or what device or software they have, using browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
  • Manage updates to Web Apps Server independent of other products with standalone server deployment and configuration.
  • Get simple, seamless integration with your existing servers including Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, line-of-business applications and file shares.

Project 2013

The new Project offers flexible service or on-premises solutions for project portfolio management (PPM) and everyday work. Try it in these three versions:

  • Project Online Preview is our online solution that gives you flexible options for achieving strategic priorities while helping your team deliver efficiently from virtually anywhere.
  • Try Project Server 2013 Preview, our on-premises solution to set clear strategic priorities and help your team execute effectively against them.
  • With Project Professional 2013 Preview you can call or instant message right from your project with Lync*—just two new ways to improve collaboration while keeping your team productive and on track. (* Requires Lync Online or Lync 2013, which are sold separately.)

Visio 2013

The new Visio lets you easily create professional, versatile diagrams that help you organize and make sense of complex information.

  • Create diagrams more intuitively—including new and updated shapes and stencils, improved effects, and themes.
  • Make your diagrams more dynamic by linking shapes to real-time data, and then share them with others via Visio Services in SharePoint—even if they don’t have Visio installed.
  • Simplify teamwork with new coauthoring features.

Office Professional Plus 2013

For IT pros, you can also try the Office Professional Plus 2013 MSI-based installation, which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. Note that this is not the Click-to-Run installation used by Office 365 ProPlus and does not support fast streaming installation or side-by-side operation with older versions of Office. In addition, you must uninstall the existing version of Office on your PC to try Office Professional Plus 2013.

Windows Server “8” Beta Hyper-V Component Architecture poster

The new Windows Server “8” Beta Hyper-V Component Architecture poster is now available from the Microsoft Download Center.

Windows Server 8 Beta Hyper-V Component Architecture

This poster provides a visual reference for understanding key Hyper-V technologies in Windows Server “8” Beta. This new Hyper-V poster focuses on Hyper-V Replica, networking, virtual machine mobility (live migration), storage, failover clustering and scalability.

If you haven’t seen them previously, the following posters are also available:

Cool new Windows 8 VDI and RDS capabilities!

Windows Server “8” Beta, has a lot of new Remote Desktop Services, VDI and administration capabilities to simplify deploying virtual machine-based and/or session-based desktops or applications. This includes new features related to pooled deployment (single virtual desktop template across many users), personal desktops (one VHD per user), and user profile disks.

Adam Carter has created a brief video to overview the above new features of Remote Desktop Services (not a complete list of all new features) on the Edge Show. A must see video.

Edge Show 16 – Windows Server 8 VDI

Install Windows 8 (server) on Xenserver

When I first downloaded Windows 8 and the Windows Server 8 Edition, I haven’t been able to boot the iso and install these new Operating systems on Xenserver. I needed to install it on a physical machine, Hyper-v or vmware workstation (and then P2V or VTV it to my XenServer). Not really handy. Then I found a very cool tip on Thomas Koetzing blog : http://www.thomaskoetzing.de/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=344&Itemid=254

To fix the issue you have to set parameter on the XenServer comand line interface (CLI). Create a VM with a Win7 template and copy the virtual machine UUID from the general tab in XenCenter or use xe vm-list in the CLI. Next you run the command

xe vm-param-set uuid=<VMUUID> platform:viridian=false

Once you’ve done this modification, you’ll be able to install Windows 8 (all edition) within the vm. Have fun testing out the new Windows 8 OS from Microsoft.