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April 30, 2009

Avengers Assemble!

OK, so it’s not really the Avengers, but the Career Express team that assembled in Atlanta yesterday to prep for the 11 days of mayhem and awesomeness that kicks off today.

My flight from BHM to ATL today would have been a completely uneventful jacknife of a flight, since the flight path for that route is basically “go up, then go back down,” except that I haven’t gotten much sleep lately. So I did a sleep spaz SIX TIMES in a 30–40 minute flight. Totally embarrassing too, because the girl sitting next to me was from Turkey, and she finally asked me “Are joo alriht?”

Atlanta airport was insanely packed, as usual…global pandemic be damned!

Look at all those people. Reminds me of the movie 12 Monkeys. 

We all converged on the Hampton Inn in Buckhead, then moseyed over to the Tavern at Phipps for dinner together.

Starting at bottom left, going clockwise: Elese, Dana, Maggie, Ryan, Christopher, Ken, and Liberty. That's the current gang!

Right now, the MS crew consists of…

  • Ken
  • Dana
  • Liberty
  • Elese
  • Sarah
  • Ryan

Rounding out the group are Christopher and me, the two contest winners who elected to take a ride from Day 1. Well, Day 0, really.

Tomorrow we head out very very early AKA 5 a.m. early, to go speak at the United States Army School of Information Technology in Fort Gordon.

Most importantly, we finally get on the bus for the first time.

|| posted by chris under business, community, it pro, rx, shoutout, travel || comments (3) || ||

April 20, 2009

T-Minus 10 Hours And Counting

If you miss this tour, you are gonna hate being left so far in the dust. Roughly akin to how the USA eventually left the Russkis in the dust at the height of the space race.

It’s not too late to sign up and attend the smokin’ hot TechNet IT Pro Tiki Hut Tour stop tonight in Huntsville. There are still a few seats left. So if you want in, get off your keister and register now: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032406292&Culture=en-US

I’ve been finishing up my prep for the two presentations I’m slated to give and I have just one thing to say…

The things we’re gonna talk about and demo tonight are some of the baddest ass advances in technology I’ve seen in my entire 14 year IT career!

I don’t say that lightly, cuz there’s been some pretty wicked awesome things come along since I started as a wet-behind-the-ears admin in 1994~1995. But anyone who misses this stuff tonight…I feel for ya. You’re very quickly gonna find youself MAJORLY behind the curve. Is that really something you want to risk in this economy?

Not only that, but there’s gonna be pizza, some amazing prize drawings, and Windows 7 Beta DVDs for everyone who attends! So be there, or be left behind. You’ve been warned!

|| posted by chris under business, community, freebie, it pro, migration, more cowbell, rx, thumbs up, travel || comments (0) || ||

November 23, 2008

DNS Settings The Essential Business Server Way

As every good admin knows, a healthy DNS infrastructure is the second most-important aspect of a reliable network. Based on my own experience in the field, DNS has to be the least understood, and most commonly misconfigured service, on any given network.

And if DNS is wrong, then that network will have problems. No argument about that.

If your DNS is sick, then your whole network is sick. Even if you don't know it yet!

Since the configuration of EBS is based on the best practices recommended by Microsoft, it stands to reason then that the way EBS configures DNS is a good model, right?

Here are the DNS settings for the internal network adapter of each of the core EBS servers…

  • Management Server (DNS server, domain controller, PDC emulator)
    • DNS1 = 127.0.0.1 (localhost)
  • Messaging Server (DNS server, domain controller)
    • DNS1 = IP address of Management Server
    • DNS2 = IP address of Messaging Server
    • DNS3 = 127.0.0.1 (localhost)
  • Security Server (Edge security)
    • DNS1 = IP address of Management Server
    • DNS2 = IP address of Messaging Server

Yes, the Security Server also has an external adapter. But there shouldn’t be any DNS servers defined on that adapter, since that would kinda defeat the whole purpose of even having a Security Server.

The Management and Messaging servers should be the only ones handling DNS queries in an EBS network. If something isn’t located in their databases, then they should also be the only machines going out and getting the info from the big bad world, using either root hints or forwarders.

Speaking of forwarders, OpenDNS pretty much rocks.

In a semi-related story, anyone able to tell me the most important aspect of a reliable network?

|| posted by chris under it pro, mid-market it, rx || comments (4) || ||

November 19, 2008

Essential Business Server Premium Carries Downgrade Rights

If you find yourself trapped in a labyrinth...keep turning left.

OK, this is something that people have been freaking out about, and with good reason.

Essential Business Server 2008 Premium Edition includes an extra server. As in, an extra license of Windows Server 2008 Standard and a license for SQL Server 2008 Standard. Although this extra server can be used to hold a variety of roles, the general idea is that most people would use it as an application server.

“But what about applications that don’t yet support the 2008 version of Windows Server or SQL Server?” was the hue and cry. And MS hadn’t offered a definitive word on how to address that conundrum.

Today, the Essential Server Solutions team announced that downgrade rights will be included with the Premium Edition of Essential Business Server.

So if compatibility is a concern for you, you’ll definitely want to get aboard the EBS train sooner than later.

Through December 31, 2009, Essential Business Server Premium Edition will ship with Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard and SQL Server 2005 Standard media in-box as part of the product, in addition to the regular 2008 versions mentioned above.

After that, this downgrade offer will only be available via Microsoft’s Solutions Pathway, which right now looks to be only slightly less complicated to navigate than the Minotaur’s infamous crib, the Labyrinth at Knossos.

And yes, all this same stuff goes for Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition.

|| posted by chris under business, media, mid-market it, migration, rx, thumbs up || comments (1) || ||

November 19, 2008

Change The Login Account Used By SCE On EBS

Domo arigato, Mr. Stanfill!

Thanks to the efforts of Mark “Mr. Roboto” Stanfill, the official Essential Business Server blog just posted arguably its best article to date.

http://blogs.technet.com/essentialbusinessserver/archive/2008/11/18/how-to-change-the-sce-run-as-and-data-warehouse-accounts-in-ebs.aspx

Changing the service account SCE uses from the default of Administrator is prolly one of the first steps that should be taken with every new EBS installation. Mainly because doing that totally avoids the whole “Holy crap my Administrator password was changed and now SCE doesn’t gather data anymore” issue, plus offers a couple of other handy benefits to boot.

I won’t rehash the whole article, but here’s a quick overview of the steps…

  • Create new service account for SCE
  • Assign new service account using SCE
  • Create new SQL account for SCE instance
  • Assign new SQL account using SQL Management Studio Express
  • Restart SQL and SCE services

Trust me…it’s way more involved than that overview might make you think.You’lll want to get the full-on details before you start.

And just like any other major service or data storage change you make post-installation on EBS, completing a replacement mode install will revert the services back to using the Administrator account.

|| posted by chris under it pro, mid-market it, migration, rx || comments (0) || ||

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