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Monday, April 14, 2014

Content Delivery Networks in Windows Azure

Are you trying to understand what the CDN is and how can you use it? For me I think of a CDN as a DFS in Azure.  I think many of us traditional IT folks look for ways to relate on-prem IT and our understanding of it to Cloud based IT.

When we think of our On-Prem server environment where by we want to have a single repository of data that is then replicated round to other servers on separate network sections.     Just like the DFS distributes content to separate locations the CDN does exactly the same thing.

So can I place all content into a CDN?  Well not quite.  The CDN really is for static content, content that does not change too much.  If you use the CDN with Azure websites its possible to take images. Azure can only cache data that is tagged as publicly cacheable, so you need to change the cache-control HTTP header.

Infront's own Richard Green wrote a great guide on CDN's that I was a reviewer on.

You can download the guide here
Please download the guide (and give him a good rating)


Friday, March 28, 2014

Microsoft Cloud OS Online training with the MVP group.

The MVP Cloud OS Roadshow continues to inspire IT Professionals and Developers to explore the Cloud OS vision!
What started in the UK has grown to encompass more than 20 countries including Central and Eastern Europe, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and North America. Each MVP led event delivers a series of real-world scenarios that demonstrate how to integrate the Cloud OS into the constantly changing landscape of IT Professionals and Developers.
MVPs continue to share their Cloud OS expertise and real world experience, helping businesses to think differently about their Cloud solutions.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Configuring a Windows Azure SQL Sync Group

Richard Green, Azure Ninja wrote a great guide on SQL in AZURE 

In this guide, I'm going to walk you through the process of setting up Windows Azure SQL Sync between two SQL Azure databases. This technology using Windows Azure SQL allows you to replicate databases either between other instances of Azure SQL databases or with on-premise SQL Server databases.
Richard J Green works as a Senior Technical Consultant for Infront Consulting specializing in delivering System Center solutions helping customers leverage their investment in IT with Microsoft technologies. Richard works extensively with Windows Azure and System Center.

You can follow more from Richard here
The operating system reported error 340: The supplied kernel information version is invalid.
SCCM Distribution Manager is not processing  Applications.

So I had a an issue with SCCM for the last few days whereby packages were failing to process.
I was getting an error that the SCCM services had no permission to the folder share.

When I was looking at the Status MSG's it gave this supper obscure msg...

It claims that the SCCM server does not have permissions to the share.

Now I checked that the 2 servers had full access to the folder and share so this just didn't make sense 

I went to the DIST manager log on the PS server and it told me this 

failed to create instance of IRdcLibrary

Well that's the issue right there

Remote Differential Compression is either not installed or not functioning on the primary site server.  As far as I know the PS server needs to use RDC to make a new file for the content library on the DP's.  In my case the PS server does not have any DP on it and I can only assume  that someone removed RDP not knowing that it was the PS server that takes the content use RDC and insert the new package into the content library on a DP.   

Anyway got RDP back on the server and all my packages started to process.

And my packet status goes green 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SCOM 2012 WITH SERVER 2012 R2 & SQL 2012 SP1

As a full time System Center consultant I am often asked about deploying products in the System Center suite in a multi-site global deployment.  The application that comes up top of the list is SCOM. Companies want to monitor data centers across the globe with SCOM deployments that are 100% Highly Available (HA).  Once we look at multi-site SCOM deployments we are going to naturally incur additional costs and complexity.  In this guide we will look at a diagram that looks at the components and shows the flow between each component.  We will then examine each configuration, looking at the pros and cons. 

Deploying SCOM with the differeNt Ha options

So in this section, we are going to walk through the different options for installing SCOM in a multi-site environment and what considerations you may need to take into account in designing and implementing your SQL Server or servers.  SCOM is a great product in the System Center suite to discuss because a lot of companies require multi-site monitoring and want to have the ability to have a HA SCOM whereby if they lose a primary data center they want monitoring to failover to a secondary datacenter or DR site.
We are going to start off with the most basic SCOM deployment and work our way up from there. If you are a seasoned SCOM pro please excuse the basic nature of this, but it will be helpful for others to understand what it’s all building on.
Just in case some of the common abbreviations are not familiar to you
MG      Management Group, the security realm between the MS and the SQL DB
MS      Management Server, the server that has a writable connection to the SQL DB
DB       Data Base, the SCOM, monitoring and reporting databases that are hosted by SQL
GW      Gateway, the SCOM, role that is used in remote locations to forward to a MS
MP      Management Pack, XML document that holds discoveries, rules, monitors and reports
SQL Licensing
Licensing is always a complex issue with System Center, and it doesn’t get easier with SQL, that being said I have been told from several sources that the no cost for SQL standard also applies for clustered instances of SQL standard only being used to house System Center DB’s. It was also confirmed to the MVP group that you can deploy SharePoint where it’s only purpose if to house System Center dashboards and there is no licensing requirement

Firstly we need a management server and a SQL Server to host the SCOM DB. A server we want to monitor, has a SCOM agent loaded on it, and it sends its monitoring data to the management server and the management server in turns writes that data to data bases on a SQL Server.  If we deploy SQL standard and it is only running to support System Center then there is no cost for the SQL license.  

New SQL 2012 guide for System Center.

Some time ago I wrote a guide for deploying System Center onto SQL and what you may need to consider.
The guide came around from a heated discussion between myself and a DBA at a big company who was not happy with a SQL configuration I made.

When I looked at the data out there it was very difficult to get a clear picture on the full gambit of System Center products and how they would interact with each other.

The last guide was written before the R2 release of System Center 2012 and so a lot of the new SQL 2012 features were not supported.  I know it took a long time to get this guide together but its nearly 200 pages of content. The people involved with this guide were Pete Zerger did Azure, Robert Hedblom did DPM, Matthew Long did the SQL MP chapter, Craig Taylor did the SQL VMM template section, Richard Green and Craig worked with me on the general editing and work on the cluster builds etc.


You can get the guide here

Monday, May 20, 2013

.Net3.5 and Server 2012

I have tried several ways to get the .Net Framework 3.5 in stalled on Server 2012 however the only way that ever works every time and is supper fast is powershell.
 On the Server 2012 media is a folder called sources\sxs so from an elevated command window I run
dism /online /enable-feature /feature:netfx3 /all /limitaccess /source:f:\sources\sxs as per the screenshot below. F:\SOURCES\SXS is just whereever you have the SXS folder located.

Now I was working on a project with installs around the world and it was proving hard to get the media to all the different sites and I was wondering if copying just the .net3.5 cabs from that SXS folder would do the job as its only 18Mb but alas it didn't work and I had to go back to the full folder.  What I now do is to load the SXS on a network share and just use the network path in a powershell script.