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Session Sharing Between a Published Desktop and a Published Application

Organisations migrating over from XenApp 6.5 to XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x would be surprised that a feature taken for granted in the previous version was not available until very recently in XenApp/XenDesktop 7.x. The feature I am talking about is Application and Desktop Sharing. This is the ability to launch a published application locally from the published desktop if the published application is indeed installed locally. Prior to XenApp/XenDesktop 7.17 this functionality was not available and would result in a double hop scenario whereby another XenApp session would launch from another session host to launch an application. For example, a user would launch their published desktop. From within their published desktop they would launch a published application such as Adobe Reader. Instead of ...Read More

Cloud First

“Cloud First” – it’s something we’ve all heard from a variety of companies but why do some organisations struggle with “Cloud First”? Before we can get in to the “why organisations struggle with Cloud First” conversation, we need to understand two things: What is “Cloud”? What is “Cloud First”? What is Cloud? Cloud isn’t a location – this may sound controversial but there are many types of Cloud: Private, Community, Hybrid and Public. NIST define that Cloud computing has five distinct characteristics: On-demand self-service Broad network access Resource pooling Rapid elasticity or expansion Measured service So, what is Cloud? It is a model of working – simple as that. It is about abstracting the underlying Compute, Network and Storage at the heart of every IT infrastructure and commoditisi...Read More

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update – Issues with Wireless Adapter and with Intel Management Engine Interface

Laptop Model:  Lenovo Yoga 370 but probably affects many other make and models. Troubleshooting various issues with a Windows 10 Creators Update build (1703) on a Lenovo Yoga 370 laptop I decided to install Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) to see if the issues would disappear.  Instead, a new one was introduced. The Problem Since installing Fall Creators Update: Boot times increased significantly – Was taking around 3 minutes to get to the login screen Shutting down and restart times also increased significantly – Was taking again around 3 minutes stuck on the “Restarting” screen and would sometimes get a Blue Screen of Death The wireless network card was not loaded and thus we could not see or connect to any wireless networks On looking in device manager, we could see that the follo...Read More

Security of Cloud Tools

So I have been heavily involved with the security of our Managed Service Cloud infrastructure and have been using Microsoft OMS (Log Analytics) very proactively to scan our networks for potential vulnerabilities. One vulnerability that was picked up in the Security and Audit section was on a third-party box we have in our network which hosts some Office365 integration. In OMS Threat intelligence this server was shown to be hosting a suspicious outbound connection which is visualised as a red up turned arrow, which is you know you OMS is not good and requires immediate attention (see example below)… On investigation of the box and outbound IP address we discovered that it was actually an instance of remote control tool teamviewer which when accessed remotely by the third-party actuall...Read More

Azure Stack – Black Box Architecture

Previously I talked about the Integrated System approach from Microsoft for Azure Stack. In this post I want to talk a little bit more about why Microsoft will be sealing the system. Azure Stack will run on a black box architecture with no way to get in the systems running on it. All of your administration is performed through the Azure Stack Resource Manager. You will not be able to log on the Hyper-V hosts, the credentials you use are not recognised by the Windows Servers as their level of access stops at the Azure Resource Manager level. Any action that is needed to be undertaken on the physical infrastructure will be done by the appropriate resource provider. One example of “Black Box Architecture” could be your Storage Area Network… For example, you can’t login...Read More

Hybrid Cloud – It’s both the future and the past

We’ve all heard of the cloud by now, it’s fair to say it’s now a mainstream term for many people (not including the weather!) and most would agree it’s the future. When we look specifically at enterprise IT there’s still a discussion to be had on whether you should go public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud. There’s even more concepts coming down the line but we’ll stick with these for the simplicity of this post.  There’s always some scepticism around cloud, as there is with many ‘new’ IT concepts. But have you ever looked back and wondered if history is repeating itself? I’m writing this as someone with 17 years in the industry and more as a hobbyist so I’ve been around long enough to work with twinax terminals, ...Read More

Public Preview of Azure to Azure Site Recovery

Microsoft have announced the public preview of their new Azure to Azure Site Recovery feature. This allows you to replicate Virtual Machine running in Azure from Region to another without having to deploy additional infrastructure such as the original ASR software. The replication is configured through the Recovery Services Vault. This feature has been in Private Preview for quite a while now and it is available in every region that support ASR so that is good news! Hopefully all the issues have been worked out and now this is just “at scale” testing. I know that this will certainly change how I architect some Azure deployments now, especially for those where an RPO/RTO of minutes/hours is acceptable. More information on the new feature can be found at: https://azure.microsoft....Read More

EMS Conditional Access Troubleshooter

The guys at Microsoft have released this fairly comprehensive troubleshooting flow for conditional access. I think if you can remember it all you’re doing well so this one might be worth a print and stick to the wall if you’re doing IT support. Download the full hi-resolution version from the Microsoft TechNet gallery here – https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Conditional-access-fd747c1a?redir=0

SCCM – Cloud Management Gateway limitation

I wanted to write a quick post about this on here as it’s the perfect place for this hybrid cloud solution and I wanted to make people aware of a limitation of a new feature in Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager – Cloud Management Gateway. If you’re not familiar with the Cloud Management Gateway (CMG) then I’ll abbreviate it as an alternative solution to internet based client management which is much simpler to set up and leverages Azure instead of setting up your own on-prem DMZs and the like. If you want further information on this I recommend you go and read here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sccm/core/clients/manage/plan-cloud-management-gateway Now, I happen to think this is a great solution to a problem I’ve seen for years with comp...Read More

Azure Stack Development Kit (PoC)

Azure Stack, for a production deployment, will only be available on Integrated Systems as described here. However, there is an option for you to install Azure Stack on a single server to “kick the tyres” … This is the Azure Stack PoC (PoC), soon to be renamed to Azure Stack Development Kit. This server does not need to have all the required hardware that a production deployment would require, for example you do not have to have SSDs and HDDs in the server, you need a minimum of 5 disks in the server for the PoC installation, 1 for the Boot OS and 4 for use by Azure Stack to create a Storage Space. For the exact specifications of the hardware please check this website: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-stack/azure-stack-deploy. If you are planning to test the AppService, SQL, MyS...Read More

Integrated Systems and Azure Stack

Microsoft have announced that Azure Stack will only be available on integrated systems from a select number of vendors: Dell EMC HPE Lenovo Cisco (after the GA release of Azure Stack) You can watch a video here (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/videos/microsoft-azure-stack-insights-into-integrated-systems/) with Vijay Tewari, Principal Group Program Manager, where he talks about the integrated systems and why… But here’s my take on the situation… Anyone who has been deploying Hyper-V, or VMware, on a large scale will have come across a wide variety of problems ranging from incorrect firmware/driver versions on hardware to errant administrators who make a change that they don’t fully understand the implications of. Inevitably these situations lead to problems where the platform i...Read More

Backing Up SCOM Custom Management Packs Automatically With Folder Structure

Originally posted by Connor McCardle I was asked by a customer to create a simple automated backup method to ensure their custom SCOM management packs were backed up, but also whilst keeping a sensible folder structure. This ended up being a simple PowerShell script which was ran on a schedule using Task Scheduler on one of the management servers. One of the requests was to give a folder structure like this: \<date>\<management pack name>\<management pack version>\. The following PowerShell script is what we used to achieve this: #### Import-Module OperationsManager Get-ChildItem “E:\Management Packs\Backups\Overrides” |? {$_.psiscontainer -and $_.lastwritetime -le (get-date).adddays(-7)} |% {remove-item $_ -force -Recurse} $date = date -Format dd-MM-yyyy $csv = “E:\Manag...Read More

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