Windows 8 Consumer Preview (Desktop and Server) now available for Download

And if you want some videos:

Windows 8 Desktop Consumer Preview ISO files (.iso) are provided as an alternative to using Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup. If you are on a PC running Windows and want to install the consumer preview on another partition, another PC, or a virtual machine, i recommend you download Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup and use the built-in tools for converting an ISO image into installation media, such as a DVD or USB bootable flash drive. You can find additional information, including a list of supported upgrades, in the FAQ.

English 64-bit (x64) Download (3.3 GB) Sha 1 hash — 1288519C5035BCAC83CBFA23A33038CCF5522749

English 32-bit (x86) Download (2.5 GB) Sha 1 hash — E91ED665B01A46F4344C36D9D88C8BF78E9A1B39

Product Key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J

The next release of Windows Server, Windows Server “8”, offers businesses and hosting providers a scalable, dynamic, and multitenant-aware, cloud-optimized infrastructure. It securely connects across premises and allows IT Professionals to respond to business needs faster and more efficiently. Register to access technical product resources such as forums, solution accelerators, white papers and webcasts at the Windows Server “8” Beta Resource Page.

Download here: Link

Windows Server “8” beta documentation site is updated, here are some links:

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 Consumer Preview includes Server Manager, Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins, consoles, Windows PowerShell cmdlets and providers, and command-line tools for managing roles and features that run on Windows Server “8” Beta. In limited cases, the tools can be used to manage roles and features that are running on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008. Some of the tools work for managing roles and features on Windows Server 2003.

Download here: Link

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business provides a detailed look at the many new and improved features in Windows 8. The guide is designed as an accurate source of information that can help businesses understand how Windows 8 enables users to be ready and productive practically anywhere, allows for a personalized user experience, and provides IT with more secure, easy-to-manage intelligent infrastructure.

Download here: Link

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.

Exchange 2010 SP1 gives Multi-Tenant support

Exchange 2010 SP1 has built-in multi-tenant support, which helps service providers to host multiple organizations in a single Active Directory environment. There are few features which are available only in hosting mode and few others which are not available, compared to a normal deployment of Exchange 2010 SP1. 2010 SP1 will form part of the suite of multi-tenant capable products that will replace the Hosted Messaging and Collaboration solution.

Few points to note about installing 2010 SP1 in hosting mode:

  • The installation can only be done in command line.
  • You need to use /InstallWindowsComponents while running the setup to install all windows components required for Exchange. This will not install the pre-requirements only the windows components! Always install the pre-requirements first.
  • You need to use /Hosting switch while running the setup to install Exchange in hosting mode.
  • 2010 SP1 is required.
  • Exchange Management Console will not be installed.

Exchange 2010 SP1 doesn’t support the following features in Hosting mode (from Technet):

  • Exchange Management Console
  • Public Folders
  • Unified Messaging Server role
  • GalSync
  • Federation
  • Business-to-Business features such as cross-premises message tracking and calendar sharing
  • IRM
  • Outlook 2003 support (EnableLegacyOutlook)
  • Edge Transport Server role
  • Same forest upgrade from Exchange 2007
  • Resource forest
  • Parent-child domains
  • Discontiguous namespace
  • Disjoint namespace

Here is based on the blogs zerohoursleep and howexchangeworks how its done! This step-by-step tutorial that will guide you to installing your first Exchange 2010 SP1 multi-tenant organization to a fully operational mode.

Lab setup

For this lab I am using 2 servers running Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 one of them acting as a domain controller for the lab domain lab.com and the other will be running all roles of Microsoft Exchange 2010 SP1 CAS,HUB and Mailbox.

Of course in a live environment exchange roles will be most probably split among multiple servers but the concept is pretty much the same.

I will assume that the Domain Controller is already installed and that the exchange server to be has already Windows 2008 R2 installed with all the required patches to deploy Exchange 2010 SP1.

Installing Exchange 2010 SP1 in hosting (or multi-tenant) mode

Installing Exchange prerequisites on Windows 2008R2

I am used to this script to automate installation of the prerequisites since I find it very clean.
We will start by running the powershell administrator “right click -> run as administrator” and allow the script execution using

Set-ExecutionPolicy unrestricted

Running the script will then offer you a menu, in my case I need to select option 6 since all roles will be installed on the same server and restart the machine after.

00

Installing Exchange

As you may already know Exchange 2010 multi-tenant can only be installed using the command line by adding the /hosting parameter, we will initiate the installation by running

setup.com /m:install /r:m,ca,ht /installwindowscomponents /hosting /on:ExchLab

01

Let me first explain the above command

  • /m stands for /mode and we are running the installation mode
  • /r stands for /roles and we want to install the m (mailbox) ca (client access) ht (hub transport) roles. Of course you will need to change this if you don’t want to install all roles
  • /hosting is required to tell the setup to run the hosting installation
  • /on stands for /OrganizationName and you will define here the name of your Exchange organization. I called mine ExchLab

We will now wait for the installation to finish
02

03

A few differences with Exchange not hosted

The first thing I have noticed after the installation is differences in Active Directory Users and Computers like the presence of a brand new Organizational Unit “Microsoft Exchange Hosted Organizations”
04

And the addition of new Exchange Security groups (plus the absence of the UM one)
04'

Now of course the absence of the Exchange Management Console should have been first however this I was expecting since it is all over the place so I was expecting this.

Continue reading

XenDesktop 5.5 is Here!

Citrix is announcing the immediate availability of XenDesktop 5.5.

Citrix continues to innovate in the desktop virtualization space and build on the on the market leading trajectory established with first with XenDesktop 4.0 — the industry’s first VDI offering to provide integrated app and desktop delivery in a single product – and extended with XenDesktop 5.0 —  focused on simplification and scalability for the administrator to deploy and manage virtual desktops.   With the release of XenDesktop 5.5, Citrix  takes it up a notch yet again and sets the new standard for desktop virtualization — including the ability to deliver personal VDI desktops, provide an unparalleled user experience with more than 150 new HDX features and enhancements, deliver “headquarters-like” experience across the  WAN to  remote workers and branch offices and new Citrix Receivers for Windows and MacOS.  Whew!  That was a long sentence :-)

You can read about all of the news here.

Personal VDI desktops and reducing cost

The Citrix focus on end user experience and reducing costs of virtual desktop deployments was the driving force behind the RingCube acquisition and today’s announcement of the availability of the personal vDisk technology as a feature of XenDesktop 5.5.

If you haven’t heard about it, the new personal vDisk technology enables IT to realize the cost saving and management of pooled virtual desktops, while providing  personalization capabilities for profiles, data and applications that is typically found in a dedicated VDI deployment model.   Since we announced the acquisition of RingCube two weeks ago, my inbox has exploded with requests for more information regarding pricing,  packaging and availability.  I am pleased to confirm today that the personal vDisk technology will be included in all editions of XenDesktop at no additional charge.  The personal vDisk technology is available today as an “Early Access” feature for customers with Software Assurance to use in their labs and proof of concepts to get familiar with the technology.  In less then two weeks since the closing of this acquisition, we have delivered on the first release that is integrated with XenDesktop.  Using XenDesktop Studio, administrators can quickly create and deploy virtual desktops that take advantage of the personal vDisk technology.  The combination of the user acceptance of the personal VDI desktop and the IT cost savings allow organizations to deploy virtual desktops to a wider based of end users – truly creating a win-win situation.

You get additional technical information on the personal vDisk here.

New! XenApp 6.5 Available Now!

These are exciting times for desktop virtualization.  The industry is growing and Citrix is leading the charge.  The XenDesktop product line is getting plenty of well-deserved attention, but today Citrix is also announcing exciting new enhancements for XenApp 6.5. Whether included as a component of XenDesktop Enterprise and Platinum or deployed as a standalone product, XenApp has long been recognized as the de-facto standard in on-demand app delivery.  Now with turbo-charged app launches and a seamless multimedia experience over any network, XenApp 6.5 makes the user experience better than ever.

Instant App Access

The XenApp 6.5 feature generating the most excitement among customers is Instant App Access.  Gone are the days when users would have to wait several seconds for the creation of an ICA session before their application launched.  By creating an ICA session immediately upon user log-in to Citrix Receiver, Session Pre-Launch dramatically reduces overall application launch times. Since the ICA session is created even before the user clicks the application icon, the only remaining time to wait is for the application launch itself.  Depending on the application, this can be nearly instantaneous.

Similar technology allows an ICA session to linger after users close their last published app so that the next application launch is just as instantaneous.  While these features do consume a license, the time periods for lingering or pre-launch are configurable by the IT admin.

Seamless multimedia experience with HDX

With only a few exceptions, all of the HDX enhancements seen in XenDesktop 5.5 are also applicable for XenApp 6.5. For example, significant updates to HDX MediaStream for Flash mean that Adobe® Flash® content can be rendered locally over more network conditions than before.  This dynamically takes advantage of computing resources at the end point, resulting in even higher server scalability and a great user experience even at up to 300ms round-trip latency.

Multi-Stream ICA

IT administrators now have the option of delivering XenApp ICA traffic over up to four TCP/IP streams. Now instead of prioritizing the entire ICA pipeline over HTTP traffic, this feature enables more granular control for Quality of Service (QoS) routing.  Now customers can provide superior audio/visual quality for apps delivered over the WAN for example without disrupting other HTTP traffic.

Any Device, Anywhere with Citrix Receiver

XenApp 6.5 takes advantage of new Citrix Receiver enhancements for extreme multi-tasking, faster Windows app performance and advanced Linux device support. Customers can now deliver self-service apps to more than one billion devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones, and thin clients – and all major device operating platforms, including new environments like iOS, Android, and Google ChromeOS.   Add it all up and we’re talking about over 1 Billion devices.

Enhanced Desktop Experience

Previously provided as an add-on pack for XenApp 6.0, support for an enhanced desktop experience is now included as an integrated feature of XenApp 6.5. IT can transform the typical server desktop published by XenApp.  This feature enables support for themes, installs accessory apps, and allows for the display of high-res wallpapers.  With a Windows-7 like Start Menu and taskbar, users can enjoy the look and feel of a Windows 7 desktop, while IT can benefit from the server density and locked down image management of a hosted shared desktop

Desktop Director

When end-users need support help with their XenApp delivered apps, help desk support staffs can use the popular Desktop Director console that now includes the integrated capability to assist users with applications delivered by XenApp and with desktops delivered by XenDesktop.

Dynamic Data Center Provisioning

Now XenApp 6.5 deployments can be scaled in record time by creating “controller” or “worker” roles in a XenApp server farm.  Because workers in the farm need to sync much less data, fewer overall database transactions are required.  Plus, these new roles make the process of joining a large number of servers to a XenApp farm faster and easier.

These are just a few of the new features in XenApp 6.5.  For a full list of all features and a comparison to previous versions, you can refer to the new comparative feature matrix.

For a free interactive overview of XenApp 6.5 be sure to check out this new online course.

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 >

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 is out

What’s New in SQL Server 2008 R2 SP 1 ?

Dynamic Management Views for increased supportability:

sys.dm_exec_query_stats DMV is extended with additional columns to improve supportabilities over troubleshooting long-running queries. New DMVs and XEvents on select performance counters are introduced to monitor OS configurations and resource conditions related to the SQL Server instance.

ForceSeek for improved querying performance :

Syntax for FORCESEEK index hint has been modified to take optional parameters allowing it to control the access method on the index even further. Using old style syntax for FORCESEEK remains unmodified and works as before. In addition to that, a new query hint, FORCESCAN has been added. It complements the FORCESEEK hint allowing specifying ‘scan’ as the access method to the index. No changes to applications are necessary if you do not plan to use this new functionality.

Data-tier Application Component Framework (DAC Fx) for improved database upgrades:

The new Data-tier Application (DAC) Framework v1.1 and DAC upgrade wizard enable the new in-place upgrade service for database schema management. The new in-place upgrade service will upgrade the schema for an existing database in SQL Azure and the versions of SQL Server supported by DAC. A DAC is an entity that contains all of the database objects and instance objects used by an application. A DAC provides a single unit for authoring, deploying, and managing the data-tier objects. For more information, see Designing and Implementing Data-tier Applications.

Disk space control for PowerPivot:

This update introduces two new configuration settings that let you determine how long cached data stays in the system. In the new Disk Cache section on the PowerPivot configuration page, you can specify how long an inactive database remains in memory before it is unloaded. You can also limit how long a cached file is kept on disk before it is deleted.

Fixed various issues:

This update fixes many knowledge base issues that are listed in this Master KB article.
Link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2463333

For a detailed list of new features and improvements that are included in SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1, review the What’s New Section in Release Notes.
Link: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9764593

Now Sp1 is officially released, you can download the service pack from the Download Center:
Download: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=26727

If you’re looking for SP1 for SQL Server Express:
Download: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=26729

And the updated feature packs can be found here:
Download: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=26728

The build number is 10.50.2500. SELECT @@VERSION will now yield something like this:

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (SP1) – 10.50.2500.0 (X64)
Jun 17 2011 00:54:03
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation
Developer Edition (64-bit) on Windows NT 6.1 (Build 7601: Service Pack 1)

Firefox 4 final release on March 22!

After twelve betas, one release candidate and a year of development, Mozilla plans to release the final version of Firefox 4 on March 22 around 7AM PDT.

Tech blog ConceivablyTech spotted the date on Mozilla’s official release schedule yesterday and a message to developers from Mozilla senior engineering director Damon Sicore indicated the first and only Firefox 4 release candidate would likely ship as the final version of the browser. Firefox 4 RC1 was made available on March 9.

”As of now, there are no known issues that would stop us from shipping RC1 as final…March 22nd is the day we would ship.  Both IT and Marketing have indicated that March 22nd is an acceptable final launch date.  If at any time we discover issues that would block final release, we would issue an RC2 as soon as possible, reset the ship date, and communicate to everyone,” he said.

Despite Mr Sicore’s mention of the possibility of a second release candidate, Mozilla planning notes indicate the company would most likely push Firefox 4 out the door on March 22 and follow-up with an incremental update to fix any minor issues.

”Several issues have been identified as potential ridealongs, meaning we might do a 4.0.1 release,” the notes said.

The final version of Firefox 4 was originally scheduled to ship in November 2010, but repeated delays saw the release schedule revised on more than one occasion. Given that rather chequered history, it remains to be seen if Firefox 4 will actually ship on March 22 as planned.

Based on the Gecko 2.0 engine, Firefox 4 will bring an updated user interface, new ways to organize tabs, a revamped add-on manager, support for HTML5 video standards, multitouch support on Windows 7 and a range of performance and security enhancements.

Mozilla has indicated a desire to move to a faster release schedule following Firefox 4, with mozilla.org co-founder and Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich telling developers users could be running the fifth version of Firefox just months after Firefox 4 is released.