Microsoft Windows Server 2012 is finally here (install it ASAP in your test environment) – Part 1

“Cloud” is a great word, but what you need to know is that Microsoft Windows Server 2012 is the best server from Microsoft, faster, better, easier, and full of features you never knew you wanted from Microsoft – and the best tested server yet, I highly recommend installing it in your test environment ASAP, before deploying too many older versions. If you don’t like the Modern UI (formerly known as Metro), just try it and you will get a pleasent surprise.

Personally I really like:

Note: VMware still insists that their platform is the greatest: http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vmware_advantage.pdf – but if you use HyperV with System Center some tasks become very easy, and support for NUMA is added to Windows Server 2012 HyperV RTM.

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Microsoft Exchange Conference is Back – now open for registration

http://www.mecisback.com/ – http://www.mecisback.com/files/MEC_TopTenReasons.pdf

Date: September 24-26

Place: Orlando

Windows 8 – the best client from Microsoft in many years – part 1

History

Microsoft has had a reputation of delivering Windows client that was close to perfect (Windows 7) and some not so perfect (Windows Vista), but the facts are that since Windows 2000, Microsoft has delivered a steady and well-built Windows client and server platform. But the really great innovations have been more technical and management that user oriented, this time Microsoft has focused on both the deep technical aspects and the user experience.

According to Microsoft Windows 8 will be available in its final version in Q4 of 2012, my guess is October

Metro

The Metro UI has been hyped for the last 12-18 months, but what is it? Well Metro is actually the upgraded user interface from Microsoft Zune player, the same user interface the now drives both Windows Phone and the Microsoft XBox. Metro makes it easy to navigate and find applications on the new desktop, but also defines how the user interface should be built to extend the Metro experience from the desktop to the individual application, so Metro is both the UI for the desktop and for Metro style applications.

This changes your desktop, and some users might find it had to adjust to this new way of seeing the Windows UI. But Microsoft has been stuck on the traditional desktop for a long time (the start menu and so on). Time for a big change, be warned.

Why?

Microsoft has for a long time felt the pressure from Apples very successful iPads and now from the various Android “tablets”, so what they did was reinvent the desktop for both touch and non-touch devices, this is in my opinion very hard – because touch and non-touch devices have always lacked usability when trying to cross over between the two. Earlier Windows 7 based touch based devices typically had some kind of OEM “Shell” installed on top of Windows 7, this was a big problem due to the missing features and the mixed experiences depending on the OEM. But not anymore – Metro is the GUI, even though the normal desktop can be accessed, this allows older Windows applications like Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office 20xx to run on a Windows 8.

So what now?

Well the Windows button on your keyboard is not connected to the start menu anymore, but the Windows Start “page” and the Windows button must be present on all touch devices – with the classical Windows flag. It now acts as a “come alive” (from standby) and “return to main screen” button – allowing the user always return to the starting point.

The Metro user interface is created to be as simple as possible, no more fancy 3D effects, no more multicolor icons, just simple squares with only the information you need. When extra information is needed, it is either placed in sub menues or a “tool line” placed at the bottom of the screen (example: settings). This makes the UI simple and fast to use no matter if your screen is 10″ or 27″. Each square can contain static information, of dynamic information – like on the Windows Phone. When the content don’t fit on the screen, you just slide left, and multiple “pages” can be shown (Windows Phone slides downwards).

Installing Windows 8

Windows 8 is really easy to install, just download the ISO file from: Microsoft – and follow the on screen directions. Advanced users can install Windows 8 as a secondary OS either on a separate partition or in a VHD file (Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2). Performance and stability is quite good, no major errors bluescreens and so on.
Windows 8 even runs as a virtual machine, screen performance is not too great when running as a virtual machine, but it works.

The official hardware requirements are

•1 GHz or faster processor
•1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
•16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
•DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
•1024 x 768 minimum screen resolution

I personally run Windows on my cheap Acer Iconia W500 tablet, a AMD-C dual core device with 2 Gb RAM and 32 GB SSD disk – no performance issues at all, smooth and nice.

In the next post I will go deeper into Windows 8 and the Metro UI – which will follow shortly…

Selected Windows 8 resources

Windows 8 ISO download:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/iso

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business:
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/confirmation.aspx?id=28970

Windows 8 Fact Sheet:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/build/docs/Windows8FS.docx

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Stories:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/windows/reviews.aspx

Using a Mouse and Keyboard with Windows 8:
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/windows/videogallery2_3.aspx

Introducing Windows 8 Consumer Preview:
http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/windowsexperience/archive/2012/02/29/introducing-windows-8-consumer-preview.aspx

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Metro style app samples – C#, VB.NET, C++, JavaScript:
http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/windowsapps/Windows-8-Modern-Style-App-Samples

 

Microsoft Lync 2010 client – Send log files from a mobile device to your administrator

Found this page describing the nice feature which I have been using for a while:

Lync Mobile has the ability to send diagnostic logs from the client to the administrator. However, there is no documentation on what to do with this information if you are the administrator!

http://blog.ucmadeeasy.com/2011/12/13/how-to-lync-mobile-diagnostic-logs/ 

Microsoft Lync Server Documentation – update March 2012

Today, the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 documentation team released an update to the technical library, which includes updates to existing topics in the following areas: Clients & Devices, Planning, Deployment, Topology Builder, Migration, and Supportability.

Author: Randall DuBois

Publication date: March 15, 2012

Product version: Lync Server 2010

Follow the link: http://blogs.technet.com/b/nexthop/archive/2012/03/15/lync-server-documentation-update-march-2012.aspx

Microsoft Lync Server 2010 – Mobility Services – LyncDiscover – External Configuration

Implementing Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Mobility Services for mobile devices is not that hard, but just to make it easy I have made this short checklist. This primary purpose of this article is to clearify how to use multiple SIP domains.

You only need domainB through domainD in this guide, if you have multiple SIP domains for users in the Lync Environment – typically if you use the same SIP address as the users primary e-mail address (companyA companyB and so on).

Steps:

  1. Download the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Mobility Guide
  2. Read the complete document, and follow the instructions
  3. Plan your mobility implementation – and document it before implementing
  4. Verify that you have the correct DNS records set up (see note below)
  5. When publishing the LyncDiscover (page 28 in the Microsoft guide), remember to:
    Add LyncDiscover.domainA.com, LyncDiscover.domainB.com, LyncDiscover.domainC.com on the Public Name tab of the Web Publishing rule

    Use port 80/8080 for LyncDiscover

DNS Records:

If using more than one SIP domain, it is important that all external DNS domains contains the nessary SRV records, all SRV records should point to the “first” SIP domain (domainA.com), this reduces the amount of DNS names in the SAN certificates.

DNS records for each additional SIP domain:

  • (SRV) _sip._tls.domainB.com -> sip.domainA.com (like port 443)
  • (SRV) _sip._tls.domainC.com -> sip.domainA.com (like port 443)
  • (SRV) _sip._tls.domainD.com -> sip.domainA.com (like port 443)
  • (SRV) _sipfederationtls._tcp.domainB.com -> sip.domainA.com (like port 5061)
  • (SRV) _sipfederationtls._tcp.domainC.com -> sip.domainA.com (like port 5061)
  • (SRV) _sipfederationtls._tcp.domainD.com -> sip.domainA.com (like port 5061)
  • (Alias/C-Name) LyncDiscover.domainB.com -> LyncDiscover.domainA.com
  • (Alias/C-Name) LyncDiscover.domainC.com -> LyncDiscover.domainA.com
  • (Alias/C-Name) LyncDiscover.domainD.com -> LyncDiscover.domainA.com

Verify that LyncDiscover.domainA.com is present in the SAN certificate for the TMG server (not in the certificate for the Edge server, which should contain SIP records).

If you have followed the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Mobility Guide and the few pointers above you should be able to connect your mobile device using only:

  • SIP signin (user@sipdomainA.com, user@sipdomainB.com, user@sipdomainC.com)
  • UPN singin (if different from SIP address)
  • Password

You will be prompted for accepting the certificate for LyncDiscover.domainA.com, the very first time you sign in, just accept and you are ready to go. This is not at security prompt but a result of redirecting LyncDiscover.domainX.com to LyncDiscover.domainA.com.

You might want to read this too: http://blog.schertz.name/2011/12/deploying-the-lync-2010-mobility-service/

When working with SAN certificates I have found that GoDaddy.com is a cheap and easy way to get certificates.
Remember that you can sign certificates with the StarFish root instead of GoDaddy, looks nicer to me.

Lync 2010 client for Apple IPhone and Apple IPad in the iTunes store

Microsoft has released the Lync 2010 client for Apple iPhone and iPad, in the iTunes store.

The clients are free, but requires a licensed  and running Microsoft Lync 2010 server environment.

Requirements:

  • iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 mobile digital device with Apple iOS 4.2 or the latest version.
  • iPad mobile digital device with Apple iOS 4.2 or the latest version.

For more information at Microsofts site click here. Download the Lync 2010 Clients from the iTunes store – search for Microsoft Lync 2010.