Highlights From 2016 #EmpowerBiz S.A


The South African leg of the Microsoft Empower Cloud and Enterprise launch event took place yesterday 6 April 2016 and oh what an event it was! With Microsoft’s mobile-first and cloud first push in full swing since 2015, tech industry leaders from around South Africa gathered together to learn about what the the future holds for the cloud and the Enterprise and what key decisions need to be made now. Here are the highlights of the event. Continue reading

Free ebook: Deploying Hyper-V with Software-Defined Storage & Networking

When you’re looking at testing a new IT solution—such as implementing a software-defined datacenter that includes virtualization, networking, and storage—the best starting point is always to get advice from someone who has already done it.

You can learn from experience what to do and what to avoid. That’s the idea behind this book. We’ve gone through the work of deploying Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, and the innovations that Microsoft Azure has brought to these technologies. Our goal is to give you the step-by-step benefit of our proof-of-concept implementation to save you time and effort. And we want to show you how you can take advantage of innovation across the datacenter and the cloud to simplify your infrastructure and speed delivery of services to the business.


Chapter 1: Design and planning

This chapter focuses on the overall design of the POC configuration. It discusses each layer of the solution, key features and functionality within each layer, and the reasons why we have chosen to deploy this particular design for the POC.

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New Electives for MCSA

Electives for MCSA Certifications Now Available:

Applies to Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012 / 2014

Effective 15 September  2014, Microsoft is introducing electives to the Windows Server 2012 R2 and the SQL Server 2012 / 2014 MCSA certifications. This new electives process gives flexibility in choosing the path that’s right for you and your organization.

MCSA Electives

Two exams in each path will be required, and you can choose from one of four exams to satisfy the requirement for the third exam.

For MCSA: Windows Server 2012 > Exams 410 and 411 are required. You can choose one of the following exams to fulfill the requirements for the third exam in the path:

  • Exam 346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements
  • Exam 409: Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center
  • Exam 412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 R2 Services
  • Exam 462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 / 2014 Databases

For MCSA: SQL Server 2012 / 2014 > Exams 461 and 462 are required. You can choose one of the following exams to fulfill the requirements for the third exam in the path:

  • Exam 411: Administering Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Exam 412: Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 R2 Services
  • Exam 463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 / 2014
  • Exam 483: Programming in C#

VMWare or Microsoft?

CompareComparing vSphere 5.5 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V At-A-Glance

There’s been lots of buzz on the virtualization front …  In August 2013, Microsoft announced the RTM version of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2, the latest major releases of the Windows Server and System Center families.  In addition, at VMworld this year, VMware announced the latest edition of their vSphere hypervisor platform: VMware vSphere 5.5.

IT Pros have been very interested in learning about the pros and cons presented by each offering – particularly because the total cost of Windows Server 2012 R2 + System Center 2012 R2 can be quite attractive in comparison to VMware’s offerings.

With so many features called by differing names in each virtualization platform, comparing Microsoft and VMware virtualization solutions can sometimes seem a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

How to compare?

Rather than simply comparing feature-by-feature using just simple check-marks in each category, I’ll try to provide as much detail as possible for you to intelligently compare each area.  As I’m sure you’ve heard before, sometimes the “devil is in the details”. Winking smile

For each comparison area, I’ll rate the related capabilities with the following color coded rankings:

  • Supported – Fully supported without any additional products or licenses
  • Limited Support – Significant limitations when using related feature, or limitations in comparison to the competing solution represented
  • Not Supported – Not supported at all or without the addition of other product licensing costs

In this article, I’ve organized the comparison into the following sections:

  • Licensing
  • Virtualization Scalability
  • VM Portability, High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Storage
  • Networking
  • Guest Operating Systems

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How to change your Windows Server 2012 Edition

Upgrade / Downgrade your Window Server 2012 edition (Alan’s SysAdmin Blog)

How to Change Windows Server 2012 Edition

Convert between editions of Windows Server on the fly via DISM (Deployment Image Service & Management)

TechNet documentation on converting between server 2012 versions can be found here

To determine the current edition of Windows Server installed run the following on CMD:

  • DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition

Get Current Windows Server 2012

To determine which versions the server can be upgraded to run:

  • DISM /online /Get-TargetEditions

Determine which versions the server can be upgraded to run

To complete the conversion between editions we use the DISM command with the following format:

  • DISM /online /Set-Edition:<Version> /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEULA

In the above example the target edition is ServerDatacenter

Set Target edition to ServerDatacenter

A reboot of the server and a check of the server edition reveals that is has indeed been successfully upgraded to DataCenter

Successfully upgraded to DataCenter

Original Blog by Alan’s SysAdmin Blog

Top Microsoft Support Solutions


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Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces

What are Storage Spaces and when would I want to use them?

Storage Spaces are all about provisioning storage based on a pooled model … while making management of some types of storage easier.

Perhaps you have:
• Storage you’re not using yet and plan to use later
• Storage you’re using now and may later need to expand
• Storage that you want to be able to provide some resiliency for through parity or mirroring.

You may combine various types of storage for a single use.   In fact, you may use individual disks for Storage Spaces … even if the disks are of different capacity.  For instance, have you ever had a need for storage where you didn’t have a drive available that was large enough but you had a few others around of different sizes that when put together could address the need?  Storage Spaces can help with these situations also.

How does Storage Spaces work?

The volumes you create within a storage pool are basically virtual disks located on the storage pool that you may then partition, format, and assign drive letters as applicable.  Storage Spaces maintains the health of these drives and any redundancy selected.  Storage Spaces stores metadata on every volume within the storage pool that defines how data will be stored within the pool.

Windows Server 2012-Storage Spaces (Screencast)

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Windows Server 2012 R2 kicks Hyper-V up another notch


Here are the key new Hyper-V features:

  • Shared virtual hard disk: This allows the clustering of virtual machines using shared virtual hard disk (VHDX) files. VHDX was introduced in Windows Server 2012 as a new file format, but you couldn’t cluster VMs using a shared virtual hard disk until now.
  • Storage quality of service (QoS): Storage QoS allows you to manage throughput of virtual hard disks that are accessed by VMs. This allows you to place a maximum and minimum load (in I/O operations per second) for each virtual disk so that one disk doesn’t affect another on the same host.



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Free ebook: Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2

ebook-Svr2012This book is intended to provide you with an overview of the new features and enhancements introduced in Windows Server 2012 R2. The intended audience for this book is IT pros who deploy, manage, and maintain Windows Server workloads in data center, private cloud, and hosting provider environments.

We assume that you are at least somewhat familiar with the features and capabilities of the previous platform Windows Server 2012. If you are not familiar with all the new features and enhancements Microsoft introduced previously in Windows Server 2012, we recommend that you first read Introducing Windows Server 2012 RTM Edition (Microsoft Press, 2012).

A key feature of this book is the technical sidebars that have been contributed by Microsoft insiders. These sidebars were written by experts who have been closely involved in the Windows Server 2012 R2 development process and include Program Managers, Support Escalation Engineers, Technical Consultants, Data Center Specialists, and others who work at Microsoft in various capacities.

Download the PDF here
Download the ePub file here
Download the mobi file here
Print version for sale here

Blog Post by Farai