Author: Émile Cabot

Full Audio Conferencing for the #SMB Using #S4B and @PGi

A small business recently had a requirement for an audio conferencing solution that would also integrate with Skype for Business. For ease of marketing and management purposes, they wanted to have static dial-in information as well as the ability to use the phone bridge without connecting to Skype. Like more and more small businesses, they have been using Office365 for the past couple years for e-mail and Skype for Business, having migrated from GMail accounts. There is no physical office, and the 4 users work from mobile devices including iOS, Mac, and Windows 10 clients. This is starting to sound like an exam question. Anyway… Since their requirements eliminated the integrated dial-in option, I had to look to a 3rd party solution. When it comes to dial-in conferencing for Skype for Business, there’s only 4 3rd party providers: PGi, Intercall, BT Conferencing, and ATT Conferencing. I reached out to PGi Sales, and they told me that there is a per-user price available, but if everyone is going to be having meetings, there was another option for a pool of minutes to be shared amongst everyone. Because it is a monthly subscription, I went with a user account for now, and will change it if the rest of the team want to leverage the capability. After signing up, PGi provided me with an Excel spreadsheet that had the dial-in number,...

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Windows 10 Deployment Nightmare – Rogue Imaging in #SCCM #OSD

I just got back from a client site where we built their end-to-end Win10 migration solution. It was one of the cleanest environments I’ve had the pleasure of working in, with a solid AD and CM infrastructure, and made things go smooth. Up until my last day on the project. After spending a couple of weeks tweaking their USMT and Win10 user experience, we were at a remote branch testing out the self-serve Win10 migration capabilities with 1E Shopping (great tool, btw…). At every site, the client has app testing workstations…and this location happened to have 3. Two were...

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Installing #S2D without #RDMA

A client recently came to me and wanted us to flatten his hyper-converged appliance, and replace the 3rd party storage solution with Server 2016’s Storage Spaces Direct.  With all hardware being on the HCL for Server 2016 and SSD, they can contact Microsoft for any support requirements under their EA. Although they recognized the value of RDMA network infrastructure, there was absolutely no budget for additional hardware during this fiscal year, the solution needed to be implemented with the existing Intel-based 10GbE infrastructure.  This greatly simplified the configuration of the converged network, as there were no SET team or...

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Yes, Veeam can back up your production physical servers!

For admins looking to reduce the amount of consoles that have to be managed, Veeam was, frankly, depressing. On one hand, the amazing validation and stability features to protect your virtual workloads are a must have, but on the other, its lack of physical support meant licensing and managing another backup product a steadfast requirement. Those that insisted on one backup console, thus overlooked Veeam and instead deployed a backup solution that was geared more towards physical workloads, backing up VMs using the same processes. While this provided a single console, it prevented the adoption of many backup enhancements...

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Deployment Options for Windows 10 in SCCM

With the release of Windows 10 came a new deployment option that Microsoft calls an “In-Place Upgrade.” But wasn’t that always a method, like when we went from Windows XP to Windows 7? Kinda sorta, but not really. Traditionally, we often used MDT-integrated ConfigMgr task sequences to perform an operating system Refresh, which would put a new image on your workstation. The Refresh sequence was often called an In-Place upgrade, or Wipe ‘n Load, and therein lies the confusion. To set the bar, and to know when and how to use each, let’s dive into the various deployment options...

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