#PowerShell – The Patch Solution – Part 5

Having an email in your inbox outlining which machines in your organization that are going to be patched in the next day or two is every service owner/managers dream. So simple and proactive. The email also outlines when the machines are going to be patched and displays how many outstanding updates there are. This is a summary of what will happen in the days to come. Keep reading to see how you can dive into seeing the details of what is about to happen in your organization.

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Deploying Storage Spaces Direct – Part 17 #StorageSpacesDirect #MVPHour

I have recently had the chance to work on the configuration of a @Cisco Meraki farm this week. I was brought in to troubleshoot a lot of latency coming from the network. Our HyperConverged Servers were constantly dropping packets and all around it wasn’t a very pleasant experience for the customer.   Upon initial investigation, it appears that the consulting company that implemented them did a pretty much stock configuration. When Meraki Switches are unboxed and implemented every port is configured as a Trunk Port with Native VLAN 1. When I first looked, this was the first thing that...

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PowerShell – The Patch Solution – Part 4

The previous posts on The Patch Solution have outlined the though process and goals to a patching strategy. Now it’s time to start taking that strategy and putting it into practice. Now that we have defined some of our goals (See

The Patch Solution – Part 3 post), we can start looking at how we reach those goals. In my opinion, one of the easiest goals to attain is reporting. This gives you an attainable goal which is completely measurable and trackable. Simply run a report, see where you’re at, update a few machines, run a report and see where you got to. The solutions that we try and come up with at TriCon Elite is all about being free and giving back to the community. We like to strive for secure and simple. For The Patch Solution, we opted to use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

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SCCM PowerShell and Connect to Multiple SCCM Sites at once (DEV/Prod)

There have been quite a few times that I’ve needed to do some comparisons, or even move some objects from one SCCM environment to another. The System Center Configuration Manager console has quite a few options for exporting objects, or saving things to CSV, but then you still need to import it. Check out the rest of this blog post to see how easy it is to report, compare or recreate things between your SCCM environments with PowerShell.

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PowerShell – The Patch Solution – Part 3

So far in this blog series (See previous post: PowerShell – The Patch Solution – Part 2), we’ve explored some of the thoughts and questions that come to mind when thinking about patching your infrastructure. Now we need to design deployment strategy. Keep reading in order to get your mind and ideas flowing for how you can achieve this in your organization. Goals As with your personal development plan that you may have to do with work, you need to have a set of achievable goals. Without having a list of goals in mind, how are we going to...

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Deploying Storage Spaces Direct – Part 16 #StorageSpacesDirect #mvphour

As you read in Part 15 of this blog Series we are able to create some great Gold Images with Big Demo. How do we go about building the actual application Servers from the Gold Images?   Building your Servers with Big_Demo   Whenever you are working with logic and automation it is critical to control the steps that happen.   For example, you can’t join a domain without a functional domain controller? To work around this there is a wonderful PowerShell Function that Dave grabbed from Ben Armstrong @VirtualPCGUy. It’s called Wait-PSDirect and it uses PowerShell Direct to...

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Deploying Storage Spaces Direct – Part 15 #StorageSpacesDirect #mvphour

We have been having some great feedback over the past few weeks on the blog series and especially the BigDemo Script that Dave uses for his deployments.   So, in the spirit of community and the love of sharing information here is a nice breakdown of exactly how the script works.   First of all It can be downloaded from www.github.com/dkawula   How to build your Gold VHDx images using PowerShell I figured that we would start with the basics in this script. You can’t have a lab with AD, DHCP, DNS, and Storage Spaces Direct without a Gold...

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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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PowerShell – The Patch Solution – Part 1

Over the last few years, we here at TriCon Elite have been using what we call “The Patch Solution”. Boring name, but it also fits its purpose. Who loves deploying patches and reporting? There are many ways to patch your Windows Servers, but our slim, simple, PowerShell solution was created to solve a few key areas, for free. It has been released to the community for quite some time, but keep reading on why you should use it too!

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Connecting on-premises to Azure using Windows Server 2016

One of the most powerful features of Azure is it’s ability to seamlessly integrate with your on-premises environment, functioning similar to every other site.  To connect the Azure resources to the on-premises network, we use an Azure Gateway. There are two types of gateways, and in the Classic Portal they’re known as Static Based Routing and Dynamic Based Routing.  The latter permits connections to Azure from multiple sites, however requires features that are not available in most routers.  As a result, connecting to a second site, such as Azure Resource Manager or a second physical location, becomes impossible. Rather...

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Going to VeeamOn in New Orleans?

I wanted to do a shout out to all you folks that are registered for VeeamOn, to consider coming to town a few days early. On the Friday before VeeamOn, Vanguards Dave and Cristal Kawula will be hosting a 1-day conference, called MVPDays Community Roadshow (www.mvpdays.com). Early Bird tickets are free, and if you happen to miss those, the ticket cost is well worth the extra content that is presented at these shows. With presenters comprising of Microsoft MVPs, Veeam Vanguards, and other industry experts, MVPDays hosts a broad range of content for attendees across many different areas. It...

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Deploying Storage Spaces Direct – Part 14 #StorageSpacesDirect #mvphour

In this blog post in the series we will have a look at some of the different Vendor Designs that have been made available.   Let’s first start with our good friends over at Intel who have a very close partnership with Microsoft and the Storage Platform Teams. http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/guides/windows-server-2016-implementation-guide.pdf   This Implementation guide pretty much uses the exact same configuration that we have defined throughout this blog series. One interesting little add-on though was Intel has a neat little script at the end which allows one to blow away their drive configs and start over. ************USE THIS WITH CAUTION...

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Workaround for Storage Spaces Direct – Unspecified Media Type

With the release of our Master Storage Spaces Direct book on Amazon we have been getting a lot of requests to help people setup some test labs. Storage Spaces Direct does require some specific hardware to get going and today we had one such case. We wanted to use some existing Dell R620 hardware to play with Storage Spaces Direct S2D in the lab. We put in 2 x SSD Drives for the Cache (Journal) and 4 x SATA Drives for the Storage Pool So, we actually followed the configuration that we had laid out in Chapter #5 in the...

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Need Leverage for your next Hardware Purchase?

Negotiate your Maintenance Contracts One of the games our industry has played for as long as I have been around, is with maintenance contracts. These contracts are the lifeblood of most of these organizations as they generate run rate revenue well beyond the initial sale. If you don’t read the fine print in your contract most vendors have clauses written into them that allow them to increase the MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) at a reasonable rate each year. Or in some cases they can just raise it as they see fit. So here is some simple math for...

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S2D on Fanless Hardware

Over the past few months, I’ve been working with the Airtop-S Fanless Server from Compulab. This is a compact device, about the size of a Small Form Factor PC. What’s cool about it is that it uses a Natural AirFlow technology that does not require fans or liquid to cool the CPU and PCIe Video Card. They’ve also used an external power supply, similar to what you’d use to power a docking station, freeing up all kinds of space internally for nice extras. As the entire design has been customized with thermal considerations, CompuLab has also designed their own...

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Azure IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

One of the things that almost everyone asks me when starting cloud adoption, is what the difference is between the various as a Service models. So much so, that I recently did a presentation on the topic at MVPDays in Edmonton. Here are the main points that I talked about for Infrastructure, Platform, and Software as a Service: Infrastructure as a Service IaaS, often called Cloud Infrastructure Services, is the first thing someone things of when they hear about “moving to the cloud.” Purely speaking, it’s a self-provisioned, self-managed server in someone else’s datacenter, that’s billed on a regular...

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Deploying Storage Spaces Direct – Part 13 #StorageSpacesDirect #mvphour

Recently at the MVPDays Roadshow in Western Canada I had a chance to deliver a session with a few good friends on Storage Spaces Direct. It was called an Absolute Beginners Guide to Storage Spaces Direct. We recorded this session in Edmonton, AB where Clint Wyckoff @clintwyckoff and Dave Kawula @davekawula delivered it. If you missed the show you can check out the recording here:   During this session, we showcased a cool script that Dave had built that essentially builds a Nested Hyper-V Storage Spaces Direct Farm in a few easy steps.   We were really crunched for...

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Deploy OMS Step by Step – Quick, Easy, Free

Operations Management Suite is Microsoft’s Azure-based Cloud monitoring solution. As is the case with all their Azure solutions, OMS has seen tremendous development and enhancements since its evolution from Operational Insights. Over the past couple of years, I have run an Intro to OMS session at least a dozen times, and each and every time the content has been different. OMS is not System Center Operations Manager in the Cloud, nor is it a replacement for SCOM…at least not yet. It does, however, interface really well with SCOM to augment the solution, providing you with deep analytics and cloud...

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Windows 7: Good to the last drop

For the majority of organizations, Windows 10 adoption can’t happen soon enough.  The security enhancements bring on a sigh of relief in an age of Ransomware and devastating zero-day threats.  There are, however, still isolated environments and service applications that happily run Windows 7, and will likely continue to do so up until Jan 14, 2020, when Microsoft stops providing security updates for the operating system. Given there’s just under three years until 7’s end of support, some companies are even undertaking the grueling task of managing 2 production OSs, slowly upgrading to Windows 10 as hardware is refreshed. ...

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A bit of a RoCE start…

While presenting about S2D (Storage Spaces Direct) during MVPDays, I was asked if the benefits of RDMA over Converged Ethernet was worth replacing existing 10GbE infrastructure for a cluster.   To answer this, we first need to understand how a shared-nothing Storage Pool works.   Consider a traditional converged datacenter, with storage separated from compute and network. The SAN is responsible for disk/controller availability, providing shared volumes over fiber or iSCSI network connections identically to all hosts in the cluster. Simultaneous disk reads and writes occur within the SANs backplane itself and do not traverse the network...

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Harnessing the Power of #PowerShell #DSC to build my #RDS Farm Part 1 #mvphour

So, I have a new project coming up where I will be required to manage, maintain, and support an RDS Deployment for a local engineering firm. And after working with some of the brightest PowerShell experts in the world on the Master PowerShell Tricks series I decided to cut ties to the GUI and build it 100 % using PowerShell. The requirements for me to test this are actually a bit complicated because I wanted to have a test lab to play with. Luckily, I had already build my BigDemo PowerShell Script that included all the functions I would...

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