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.

Remove Favorites, Libraries and Network from Windows 7 / 2008R2 Common File Dialog (Windows Explorer)

Within Windows Explorer you got the common file dialog (Shown @ the screenshot below). Within this dialog you got a favorite link, a Libraries link and a network link. These links are in some cases a security problem. You don’t want users to use the libraries folder witch contains all users folders when they work on systems that share users for example XenApp servers. Also you don’t want users to browse the network or see auto discovered server names…Here is described how you get rid of it!

You can set these registry settings within the 2008 computer policy’s with the registry but there is a problem with the rights. Standard the system and the administrators don’t have rights to set the settings. You have to change the acl to set the registry keys!

1. To remove the Favorites, the key is:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{323CA680-C24D-4099-B94D-446DD2D7249E}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword:a0900100

Changing a0900100 to a9400100 will hide Favorites from Navigation Pane.

2. For Libraries, the key is:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword:b080010d

Changing b080010d to b090010d will hide Libraries from Navigation Pane.

3. For Network, the key is

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword: b0940064

This first part is, in the 32-bit world, the solution for the Windows Explorer ánd the Common File Dialog. But in the 64-bit world you need another registry key edited. This is basically the same key, but in the Wow6432Node ‘folder’ within the registry.
The trick!:

1. To remove the Favorites X64 , the key is:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{323CA680-C24D-4099-B94D-446DD2D7249E}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword:a0900100

Changing a0900100 to a9400100 will hide Favorites from Navigation Pane.

2. For Libraries X64, the key is:

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword:b080010d

Changing b080010d to b090010d will hide Libraries from Navigation Pane.

3. For Network X64, the key is

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}\ShellFolder]
“Attributes”=dword: b080010d

Changing b080010d to b090010d will hide Libraries from Navigation Pane.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0 SP1 released

Are your datacenter costs rising? Does your current infrastructure make it difficult to scale up or down quickly to respond to the changing needs of your organization? To meet these challenges, you need a more cost-effective, agile way to provide IT services—quickly, efficiently, and on demand.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0 SP1 is a free, partner-extensible solution that allows you to dynamically pool, allocate, and manage datacenter resources. Using the Self-Service Portal, you can reduce IT costs, while increasing agility for your organization. The Self-Service Portal works with products and technologies you know and trust, like Windows Server and the System Center product suite. This solution delivers:

  • Automated web portals and a workload provisioning engine that integrates with System Center.
  • Tested guidance and best practices to help configure and deploy private cloud infrastructures.
  • Guidance to help partners easily extend functionality.
  • Localization in three languages: Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.

Self-Service Portal Technology Partners

The Self-Service Portal includes powerful extensibility features for Microsoft technology partners. Independent software and hardware vendors can customize different virtual machine actions (create, delete, stop, start, shut down, connect, pause, and so on) to take advantage of the unique characteristics of their infrastructure.

Citrix

Citrix Integration Pack for Self-Service Portal

The integration pack integrates Essentials for Hyper-V with System Center by automatically provisioning the storage whenever a virtual machine is commissioned though the Self-Service Portal.
Learn more >

Compellent

Compellent Solution Pack for Self-Service Portal

Utilizing Windows PowerShell® with the Compellent Storage Center SAN, Compellent’s Solution Pack enables the integration and support for self-service provisioning of data storage resources with Virtual Machine Manager and Windows Server Hyper-V™ through the Self-Service Portal.
Learn more >

f5

F5 Solution for Self-Service Portal

The F5 solution for Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal adds the option for traffic management by the BIG-IP application delivery controller (ADC) within the service role section of a user request. Executing this option automatically configures the BIG-IP for the request of VMs as they come online.
Learn more >

HP

HP Services Using the Self-Service Portal

Accelerate your journey to the private cloud with HP’s Converged Infrastructure and HP Technology Consulting services. Begin with a short assessment, then continue to implementation based on HP’s deep experience in the datacenter. HP uses pre-developed scripts, portals, and cmdlets to integrate into your environment and build a self-service infrastructure.
Learn more >

Intel

Intel Cloud Builder Guide: Cloud Design and Deployment on Intel Platforms

The Intel reference architecture will assist organizations that require their cloud data and assets to reside on premises and those that need to support a new business domain with a separate IT infrastructure that is scalable and flexible.
Learn more >

NetApp

NetApp ApplianceWatch PRO 2.1.1

Accelerate virtual machine provisioning, and increase storage efficiencies in private cloud implementations managed by the Self-Service Portal with the integration scripts and PowerShell cmdlets included in ApplianceWatch PRO 2.1.1 that enable rapid provisioning of space-efficient VMs using NetApp FlexClone technology.
Learn more >

VKernel

VKernel Chargeback with Hyper-V

VKernel Chargeback with Hyper-V enables private clouds to automatically map virtualization costs to applications and customers by reporting on allocated costs and by measuring and expensing the actual consumption of server and storage resources by cloud customers.
Learn more >

System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is out now!

Today marks the release and availability of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3!  R3 includes a complete set of power management tools for more Green IT, mobile device management capabilities, and other enhancements.

Below are a few key points on what’s new with R3.  Go here to download the evaluation software, view demonstrations or try R3 via Microsoft’s virtual labs.

  • Centralized Power Management: Allows IT organizations to centrally manage the power settings of Windows 7, Vista and XP computers, helping reduce energy consumption and costs.  Detailed reports of trends and settings help IT pros make smart power management choices, and also validate Green IT projects with summaries of power, money and CO2 savings.  Learn more here.
  • Mobile Device Management: Licenses for System Center Mobile Device Manager allow users to run comprehensive asset inventories, deploy software, manage settings and enforce password policies for Widows phones.
  • Enhanced Scalability and Performance: Configuration Manager R3 is more scalable than ever, increasing the number of supported clients to 300,000 per site.  R3 is also more efficient in the way it communicates with Active Directory, helping you discover user or machine changes more quickly and allowing custom queries to define user, system or group attributes.

Additionally, just like Configuration Manager R2, R3 will be the foundation for the upcoming Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010.  By bringing endpoint security into overall endpoint management, users can reduce costs and inefficiencies, and also improve security and compliance..

Source;

http://bink.nu/news/system-center-configuration-manager-2007-r3-released.aspx
http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/configuration-manager/cm-r3.aspx

Hyper-V Monitor Gadget for Windows Sidebar

Created by Tore Lervik (mindre.net), The gadget can list multiple servers at once and also support vmconnect when double clicking on a VM. The gadget uses WMI to connect to the server so the user might need to follow John Howard’s guide remote WMI access (Step 5) on both the client and the Hyper-V server.

He has created a sidebar gadget so you can see what the Hyper-V server is doing from a workstation. The gadget can list multiple servers at once and also support vmconnect when double clicking on a VM.

PS: The gadget uses WMI to connect to the server so the user might need to follow John Howard’s guide remote WMI access on both the client and the Hyper-V server.

Some of the features are:

  • VM CPU graph
  • Wake on Lan support
  • VM RDP (If the host is running 2008 R2)
  • Multilanguage support.
  • Optimized performance releated to VM-RDP addresses.
  • Added ability to only display a number of VM at the time. (Good for people having more VM than fits on the screen)
  • If a VM not in the screen is off the host’s name will be red, if it’s paused or starting it will be orange.
  • Added ability to minimize a server in the monitor view. Holding mouse cursor over the Host will display information about the VM’s
  • Added option to choose what type of RDP setting to the host on a pr. host basis.
  • Added VM information when holding the mouse cursor over a VM (The gadget needs focus for this to work..)
  • Added Orange background to a VM that is running with the Health-status not beeing OK. (Happens when a VM is booting up by bluescreen)
  • Added Pause button to the VM controls.
  • Wibout Bootsma is now part of the gadget development. :)

Download here;
Hyper-V Monitor.gadget (50 kb)

Continue reading

Citrix Connector for System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Source; http://blogs.technet.com/b/systemcenter/archive/2010/07/01/citrix-connector-for-system-center-configuration-manager-2007.aspx

Microsoft have recently jointly released the Citrix connector for ConfigMgr 2007.  Through this release, the ConfigMgr SDK has been used to extend and support the management of application services through XenApp.  Very cool indeed.

Here is the announcement. Links are below.

Citrix® XenApp™ 6 introduces integration with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 giving organizations a single, integrated view and management of all applications across the enterprise including on-demand apps by XenApp. The Citrix XenApp Connector leverages the Configuration Manager console to deploy and publish applications and updates to XenApp servers with zero disruption to users and extends the reach of Configuration Manager applications to a broader set of users, devices and access scenarios

Some resources for you:

  • Jointly authored whitepaper is available here
  • A Video Demo can be viewed here