Archive for the ‘IT Guides’ Category

VMware 6 Features

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Here is the new features in VMware vSphere 6.0.

Virtual Volumes
Want “Virtual SAN” alike policy based management for your traditional storage systems? That is what Virtual Volumes will bring in vSphere 6.0. If you ask me this is the flagship feature in this release.
Long Distance vMotion
Cross vSwitch and vCenter vMotion
vMotion of MSCS VMs using pRDMs
vMotion L2 adjacency restrictions are lifted!
vSMP Fault Tolerance
Content Library
NFS 4.1 support
Instant Clone aka VMFork
vSphere HA Component Protection

In IT Stop anticipate the Future and Become More Responsive Instead

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Those working in corporate IT used to be able to depend on upon the fact that they were the only game in town. If employees needed technology or technology advice, it was only available from the IT function.

Now, as employees are more comfortable with using technology than ever before and with the advent of cloud-based services, employees will often happily buy the technology direct from vendors without having to go through IT.

And the rise of disruptive corporate tech aimed at helping employees in particular roles or improve particular processes – such futuristic things as mobile supply chain apps, SaaS ERP solutions, and end-user biometrics, to name a few – means IT professionals are less likely than they once were to know what’s most appropriate for the end user.

information technology

From ‘Anticipate’ to ‘Respond’

All of this means that it is now an essential leadership competency for all managers to be able to get the most from the technology and information at their disposal. And this shift has forced forward-thinking IT functions to spend less time trying to anticipate corporate technology trends and more time responding to those changes.

IT’s fundamental role hasn’t changed: it was, and will continue to be, to help its firm get as much value as possible from technology. But, instead of predicting the future and explaining it to line managers, IT teams should now set themselves up to help the line use the technology it deems most appropriate and ensure this use doesn’t result in wasted spending, excessive complexity, and the taking on of ill-considered risk.

Traditionally, IT governance has relied on long-term planning to make technology as efficient and reliable as possible. But with the rise of digitization and ever more niche corporate tech innovation, long-term planning often ends up missing the mark.

Three Ways to Become More Responsive

  1. Avoid multi-year commitments: Results from the benchmarking survey show that IT organizations are adapting to more unstable planning horizons. While previous versions of the emerging technology roadmap showed relatively consistent results for implementation timelines across organizations, the most recent results show timelines that vary widely, based on the companies’ perception of a technology’s relative risk and value.

Most notably, implementation timelines are shortening across the board as progressive CIOs avoid multi-year commitments— a reflection of their reluctance to “lock in” spending in areas where marketplace maturity remains unclear (e.g., for software-defined infrastructure).

  1. Shorten planning cycles: The velocity of change in both business partners’ demand and in-market offerings requires that IT organizations develop capabilities to adapt their roadmaps to shorter, more iterative cycles.

IT organizations have decreased their general technology planning cycles from three years to 18 months, according to survey results.

  1. Harness the opportunities of the cloud: Despite risk concerns, data show that cloud computing is already mainstream in corporate hosting, storage, and employee computing for 2014–2015. CEB’s data also indicate that more than a third of organizations are evaluating more extensive uses of cloud services, such as public cloud-based disaster recovery and desktop-as-a-service.

Furthermore, the fact that organizations are already moving toward a more sophisticated suite of employee computing capabilities, including access to cloud-based email and productivity tools, support for more diverse front-end interfaces, mobile access to video, etc., indicates that moving from “anticipate to respond” is becoming the norm in the employee computing capabilities area.

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7 Habits of Highly Successful Help Desks

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013


You are responsible for running your company’s help desk. So, you have some number of IT technicians working on resolving help desk tickets. This approach may be the norm, but is it really good enough for truly successful help desk service? While the sheer number of tickets is ever increasing, the types and complexities of help desk tickets grow exponentially as well. In the wake of this growth, consistently meeting SLAs and improving customer service is clearly not getting any easier.

What you need is not more help desk staff, but rather some wise counsel to help you plan, optimize, and execute your current help desk services smartly and effectively. Let’s take a look at some best practices:


#1 Plan Ahead & Institute a Structured Workflow

Simply put, this is the most fundamental step for the success of any help desk implementation. You need to know the ins and outs of your help desk strategy. So, start by planning a structured workflow of:

  • How you intend to assign a technician to a ticket
  • How the ticket is going to be escalated
  • How the communication with the end-user is going to be established
  • How to implement the ticket approval process

You need to define reasonable service level agreements, appropriate support levels, and good business logic for ticket routing and assignment. Planning only begins here.


#2 Know Your IT Environment

You need to know your IT environment, your end-users and their designated assets, because they are the source of your IT tickets. You need to have quick access to details of user accounts, as well as your enterprise hardware and software equipment. Start by:

  • Integrating your help desk solution with your corporate Active Directory®
  • Importing all your assets and IT inventory into your help desk software


Copy open files from command line – Robocopy alternative

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Not too long ago we needed to keep two servers in sync (one way sync). We looked around for a command line tool that can copy files that only got modified on a set interval. However we needed that tool to copy open files as well.

Well, GSCopyPro was the tool that we found to meet all of our needs. Not only can it keep folders in sync, but it can actually copy open files as well. It took a lot of research and we evaluated a lot of good tools out there in the market. GSCopyPro was certainly the one the ranked high in our charts from performance standpoint and in terms of the features it offers.   (more…)

Application Development: Top 10 Programming Languages to Keep You Employed

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

If you want to make money in programming what are the best languages to learn? Well, This question was asked to a host of developers, recruiters, born-on-the-Web startups and the creators of some of the most widely used programming languages out there. However, picking the language that is right for you also has as much to do with what kind of development you want to do and who you might want to work for as it does with how much money you want to earn.


For the enterprise, Java and Microsoft’s .NET rule. However, Java has the edge, as it is No. 1 language in terms of number of developers. According to Evans Data, there are more than 9 million Java developers in the world. That means there are tons of Java applications out there that will have to be supported, updated and maintained. Furthermore, Java is the language of the Android mobile operating system. Android provides the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications for the Android OS using the Java programming language. Java ranks No. 1 on the TIOBE Programming Community Index for June 2010 (after a brief stint at No. 2, behind C, in May). The need for Java developers to build new Java applications is not about to wane.


C# is a multiparadigm programming language encompassing imperative, functional, generic, object-oriented and component-oriented programming disciplines. Microsoft developed C# within its .NET initiative and the language was later approved as a standard by Ecma and ISO. C# also is slated by Microsoft to become the primary development language for Windows Phone 7. Like Java, C# is big in the enterprise. However there are considerably fewer C# developers than there are Java developers. But the importance of C# as part of the Microsoft .NET strategy and its support through the Visual Studio tools suite make C# a formidable contender in the programming language race. C# ranked No. 6 on the most-recent TIOBE Index

Code Year draws 200,000 aspiring programmers

Friday, January 6th, 2012

“Learn to program” isn’t a typical New Year’s resolution, but it’s one that’s gone viral thanks to a clever campaign by Codecademy, a startup that helps newbies learn the basics of software coding.

The New York-based venture kicked off 2012 by launching Code Year. Sign up for the free project and you’ll receive an interactive programming lesson each week in your inbox. Nearly 200,000 people have already joined, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tweeted about his plan to participate.  (more…)

How to lower cell phone bill

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Keep the services you love while saving up to $300 a year, thanks to these smart tactics.
Most of us are feeling the pinch as our cell phone bills climb higher: For an individual with a service contract, the average monthly tab is a whopping $92, reports J.D. Power and Associates, an information-services firm. While talk time is actually getting cheaper, add-on charges for text and data services — and the fact that most households now have multiple mobile lines — mean that “owning a cell phone is an increasingly large chunk of the monthly budget,” notes Linda Sherry, director of national priorities for Consumer Action, an advocacy group. But it’s a chunk you can whittle down by identifying and eliminating unnecessary (and sometimes sneaky) charges. In fact, the bill-comparison site estimates that the average American who has a single wireless line can save $336 a year; the key lies in finding a plan that better suits how much you talk, text, and Web surf. Here, six strategies that will help you avoid common cell phone money pits and save big on that monthly bill:

Shifting “Friends and Family”  (more…)

Amazon Kindle Fire Silk Web browser given green light by EFF

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Amazon’s Kindle Fire is off the hook with one important group when it comes to privacy worries about Silk, the specially created Web browser for the new e-reader/tablet due out next month.

Representatives from the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation have talked with Amazon officials about the speedy, new cloud-based browser, focusing on what user information will be transmitted via the cloud and shared by the company.

“Our conversation with Amazon allayed many of our major concerns,” said the EFF.

As’s Wilson Rothman explained when Kindle Fire was announced, Silk “weds the tablet to Amazon’s cloud network.   (more…)

Must-have Certifications for IT Pros

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

There are some certifications that are nice to have and others that are simply “must haves” in today’s competitive job market. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the certifications that IT Pros must have to be relevant today and some that will be gaining increased importance in years to come.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

The role of a project manager is to serve as the intermediary between the IT project team members and the key individuals who are involved with a project. A project manager tries to ensure that a project is completed in a timely manner and within all budgetary and legal constraints. The typical scope of project managers responsibilities include overseeing the processes and methodologies used for the successful completion of the project. The successful project managers can not only help save money for their company, but can also by ensuring all timelines are met (which some would argue is also money as well). There is a growing demand for skilled and competent IT project managers. These are the PM’s who can work through a budgetary crisis and conflicting resource priorities.  (more…)

VMware vSphere 5 leaked features

Monday, May 30th, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla. — VMware vSphere 5 is expected to include Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler, host-based replication and several other new features.

These improvements were part of the vSphere roadmap presented here at this week’s Partner Exchange conference.

VSphere 5 will be out in the second half of this year, but the release will be before VMworld, according to VMware product managers who led the roadmap session. That puts the vSphere 5 release date in July or August. The subsequent vSphere release, due in 2012, is expected to add a service-level agreement (SLA) framework and long-distance vMotion.

Cannot Access Farm from Citrix Delivery Services Console

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

When launching the Citrix Delivery Services Console after installing XenApp 5.0 or Presentation Server 4.5 on Windows Server 2003, the XenApp node is missing. The administrator is unable to configure the farm.

A recent Microsoft update to .NET Framework 2.0 is the cause. Some of the files necessary for the .NET Framework, or the Delivery Services Console, might not have registered properly during the installation of the XenApp management consoles.

Ctrl+Alt+Del takes forever to prompt for password

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

We saw an issue with a customer whose Ctrl+Alt+Del took forever to prompt for password. We looked at several things to try to figure it out. It was also happening when unlocking the workstations. We finally we found out…

VMware vSphere 4 and Citrix XenServer 5.6 Pros and Cons

Friday, May 13th, 2011
Virtualization is indeed a significant solution to maximize the resources utilization, increase reliability and availability. Further more, virtualization simplifies portability and administration and faster deployment.

Since virualization has a big market, it is also highly competitive. Having big players behind the solution should give us advanced key benefits over one another. Here we will try to understand the present top two Server virtualization products and their advantages and disadvantages.

Cannot install Internet Explorer 9

Friday, May 13th, 2011

If you attempt to install Internet Explorer 9 and you encounter errors, you should try one of the followin:

1) Make sure that your system meets the minimum operating system requirementsTo install Internet Explorer 9, one of the following operating systems (or later versions) is required.

LTO-5 for data backup: The cure for storage woes?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

For years, tape storage systems have played a key role in efforts to store data for backup and retrieval, archiving, and contingency planning purposes. More recently, tape has been called on to help preserve and safeguard data to meet data retention laws and regulations. The challenge is how to manage, retain, and safeguard the data volumes being generated today. To put the data explosion issue into perspective with respect to its impact on tape, consider that even in last year’s tough economic times shipped disk storage capacity grew at a remarkable rate. All of the data being placed on that new disk capacity needs to be backed up, and much of it must also be retained for long periods of time. New tape technology provides a solution. With a capacity to store 3 TB of data per cartridge, recently introduced Linear Tape-Open (LTO)-5 tapes offer twice the storage capacity of LTO-4 and about four times the capacity of LTO-3 systems.  


Replace Windows 2003 Domain Controller

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

It is a known fact that servers reach the end of their lives. Some get there quicker than others, based on age, manufacturer, usage and several other factors. However, if your organization has spent time deploying Microsoft’s Active Directory server, you will know that replacing a Domain Controller and migrating everything Active Directory based over is not the easiest procedure you’ve ever performed.

VMware vs. Citrix vs. Microsoft

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Server virtualization is no longer a one-horse race, as Microsoft, Citrix and others compete more convincingly with market leader VMware

 VMware has enjoyed a long run as king of x86 server virtualization, and the pioneering vendor remains the one to beat when tallying enterprise market share. But its competitors, particularly Microsoft and Citrix Systems, are gaining ground as IT executives begin to view server virtualization not only as a means to cut costs in the data center but also as a baseline technology for enabling cloud computing. 

VMware introduced its first x86 server virtualization products in 2001. It wasn’t until a few years later that the first commercial versions of the open source Xen virtualization hypervisor hit the market, and Microsoft’s release of Hyper-V followed in 2008. 

Enable of Windows 2008 R2–the Active Directory Recycle Bin

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Even in professionally managed network environments it is still possible for mistakes to happen. If an Active Directory object such as a user or computer account is accidentally deleted  network access will be lost. Worker productivity will decline until the account is restored and IT support costs will add to the total expense incurred by the organization.

In the past the best method to restore a deleted AD object is to reboot a domain controller into Active Directory Restore Mode, logon the computer with a special administrative account, and restore the Active Directory database from a backup file. The final steps are to run the NTDSUTIL command line utility to authoritatively restore the object in question and then reboot the computer into normal mode. This procedure is cumbersome, time consuming and requires that the backup file selected contains the most current version of the object.  Many administrators have wished that an easier method was available.

With the introduction of Windows Server 2008 R2 it is possible to enable an Active Directory Recycle Bin. Deleted AD objects can be restored complete with all object related attributes intact. These attributes includes user and computer account group memberships. In order to enable the Active Directory Recycle Bin all Domain Controllers in the Domain must first be upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2. The Domain functional level of the Domain and the Forest must be raised to 2008 R2 functional level. This can be accomplished in the Domains and Trusts administrative console. If the Active Directory Forest was created using Windows 2000 or 2003 Server it is also necessary for a member of the Schema Admins group to update the Active Directory Schema by running the ADPREP /Forest Prep command on the Schema Master domain controller and the ADPREP /DomainPrep command on the Infrastructure Master computer. Raising functional levels may affect some applications that integrate with Active Directory, therefore it is important to research possible issues before raising the levels.

Once the functional levels are raised the Recycle Bin can be enabled using the following PowerShell command: “Enable-ADOptionalFeature -Identity <ADOptionalFeature> -Scope <ADOptionalFeatureScope> -Target <ADEntity>”. This command must be run using the Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell  by an member of the Enterprise Administrators group.  Microsoft gives us an example of how this command would look when it is used to enable the Recycle Bin for the domain:

“Enable-ADOptionalFeature –Identity ‘CN=Recycle Bin Feature, CN=Optional Features,CN=Directory Service, CN=WindowsNT, CN=Services, CN=Configuration, DC=contoso, DC=com’ –Scope ForestOrConfigurationSet –Target ‘’”

Now that the Recycle Bin is enabled, deleted object can be recovered using either PowerShell or the ldp.exe utility. This process is described by Microsoft here:

Save yourself time and aggravation by enabling the Active Directory Recycle Bin soon!

Five Keys to Security Fundamentals

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

(Excerpted & condensed from the Cisco Press book Network Security Auditing, by Chris Jackson, available June 4, 2010)

To understand security, it is critical that you realize that security is a process, not a product. Security is a broad topic, and one of the few in information technology that literally touches all aspects of a business. To focus security efforts and to make them manageable, it helps to break down the various aspects of security into the five pillars of security.

1. Assessment

Assessments document and identify potential threats, key assets, policies and procedure, and management’s tolerance for risk. Assessments are not something that are done once and then forgotten. As the business needs change and new services and technologies are introduced, regularly scheduled reassessments should be conducted. Doing this gives you an opportunity to test policies and procedures to ensure that they are still relevant and appropriate.

2. Prevention

Prevention is not just accomplished through technology, but also policy, procedure, and awareness. Expect individual security controls to fail, but plan for the event by using multiple levels of prevention.

3. Detection

Detection is how you identify whether or not you have a security breach or intrusion. If you can’t detect a compromise, then you run the risk of having a false sense of trust in your prevention techniques.

4. Reaction

Reaction is the aspect of security that is most concerned with time. The goal is to minimize the time from detection to response so that exposure to the incident is minimized. Fast reaction depends on prevention and detection to provide the data and context needed to recognize a security breach.

5. Recovery

Recovery is where you play detective to determine what went wrong so that you can get the systems back on line without opening up the same vulnerability or condition that caused the problem in the first place. There is also the post-mortem aspect that determines what changes need to be made to processes, procedures, and technologies to reduce the likelihood of this type of vulnerability in the future.

About the Author

Chris Jackson, Technical Solutions Architect in the Cisco Architectures and Verticals Partner Organization, has focused for the past six years on developing security practices with the Cisco partner community. During a 15-year career in internetworking, he has built secure networks that map to strong security policies for organizations, including UPS, GE, and Sprint. Chris is an active speaker on security for Cisco through TechwiseTV, conferences, and web casts. He has authored a number of whitepapers and is responsible for numerous Cisco initiatives to help build stronger security partners,. He holds dual CCIEs in security and routing and switching, CISA, CISSP, ITIL, seven SANS certifications, and a bachelors degree in Business Administration.

Top 10 Must-Have Skills for IT Pros

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

There are many skills that IT Pros should know about in doing their day-to-day jobs. That is one of great benefits of being in the IT industry – learning new platforms and products as they are released. The following list has many of the most common ones that most IT Pros should have. While there are ten skills listed, they are not in an ordered ranking. Depending upon the size of the IT infrastructure and environment, some of these might not be applicable.

1. Troubleshooting

Is this a skill, an art, or both? If you ask any seasoned IT professionals, they will tell you that troubleshooting skills are important, very important – and not something that can be readily taught. The difficult part is that troubleshooting is a specific skill set that many corporations simply do not have the time or money to invest. Troubleshooting skills could make or break your career. Not having the required troubleshooting skills could become a RGE (resuming generating event), or it could become a career enhancer when you are able to fix a mission-critical server. All of this being said, one would think that there would be more emphasis on teaching and sharing troubleshooting skills; unfortunately, this is not the case. This is one skill that must be learned only after mastering a particular platform or program.

2. PowerShell and Scripting

No, you don’t have to be a programmer to be a successful network engineer (or vice-versa for that matter), but you do have to know PowerShell. More platforms from Microsoft (Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 have some features that can ONLY be implemented with PowerShell) are managed through PowerShell – including the recently released SharePoint 2010. Being able to script many day-to-day tasks will make more time available for proactive tasks.

3. Networking and Interoperability

Interoperability is the key to networking. We live in a highly connected world, a world of disparate platforms. Networking is understanding how to make these platforms communicate. As an IT Pro (and this includes programmers to a certain extent), you must understand the communications protocols, OSI Model layers, and connectivity required for systems to communicate. This also includes understanding connecting and securing wireless networks. This is one skill that is common to almost all IT Pros, whether they are programmers, security personnel, auditors or the help desk personnel.

4. Virtualization

It doesn’t matter which Virtualization technology you use (Microsoft’s Hyper-V, VMware, or even Sun’s VirtualBox), it is the use that is important. Virtualization is being adopted by companies of all sizes as a means to reduce costs through consolidation of servers and lower cooling requirements. Application Virtualization has become very popular with businesses. Having the skill set to deploy applications that connect securely through a browser is critical for companies that have numerous offices.

Virtualization can aid in near real-time response to network conditions by providing for more disaster recovery capabilities. Another interesting area of virtualization is through the use of desktop virtualization. This involved configuring and maintaining the virtual environment whereby users can connect to their own virtual desktop remotely or through the web. Another use for virtualization is for improved instruction for IT education and elsewhere, since there is no longer a need to have large numbers of computers for classrooms.

5. Wireless

As part of our highly connected world, we expect to able to connect wirelessly from almost anywhere at any time. Those IT Pros who can install, configure, and maintain secure wireless networks have a skill that is in high demand. The key word here is secure wireless network. IT Pros with this skill set are in high demand as we expect to be able to securely connect to wireless networks in almost all locations at any time. Implementing a secure wireless environment also means being able to plan and troubleshoot interferences as well. Anyone managing wireless environments must be able to handle the calls that come in from remote users who are having problems with their wireless equipment, and different operating systems capabilities and limitations.

6. Disaster Recovery

This is as much a methodology as a skill set. IT Pros must be able plan, test, and implement a disaster recovery (DR) plan. This is critical for the survivability of a data center or network. One of the hardest tasks is being able to test disaster recovery plans. There is hardly enough time available to perform the critical tasks that need to get done while adding a yearly or semi-yearly test of the DR plan. An integral part of the disaster recovery process is implementing fault-tolerant systems and providing for redundancy in your network.

7. Security

All IT Pros must have a good understanding of both physical and electronic security. One of the most difficult tasks with IT security is educating users. Company information can be gleaned through social engineering that most companies would rather not have divulged. Training users (and IT staff) to be cognizant of and prevent social engineering is extremely difficult. IT Pros must always be aware of security issues and understand the vulnerabilities within their networks (from operating systems, servers to the lowly cable closet). This does not mean that every IT Pro must be able to perform a penetration test against his or her own network, but they must understand and prevent attacks against their network.

8. Database Administration

Corporations retain more information than ever before and are quite dependent on their databases. Regulatory compliance has had a huge impact on database management and data retention. Corporations are required to retain information for a number of years and, in some cases, emails as well. Storage space and solutions have become much cheaper, so there is more emphasis on data retention. Having the ability to create and extract information from one of these databases is critical. Many IT Projects use a SQL backend, Archiving information from Microsoft’s Office Communication Server requires a SQL backend. If you are going to deploy Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS), this will require a SQL backend. IT Pros these days do not need to be DBAs, but they must be able to administer and maintain these servers. There are several database systems commonly used: SQL, Oracle, and MySQL.

9. Desktop Imaging

Imaging of desktop systems is a critical skill as companies are shifting to standardized desktops and deployments. Part of this is done to deploy a consistent and secure platform as well as to provide ease of management. There are many imaging programs available, as well as Microsoft’s Windows Deployment Services and imaging utilities.

10. Helpdesk (People Skills)

One of the most critical skills that IT Pros need to learn is how to interact with non-technical people. The Help Desk is the first interaction most users have with the IT department, and it should be a positive experience. IT Pros are very good at their jobs, but sometimes lack the ability to relate to their non-tech colleagues. Users just want their computers fixed or their data recovered; they are not concerned with the processes behind our actions. IT Pros should have some experience working at the Help Desk.

These are some of the most important skills that an IT Pro should know. If you don’t know some of these areas, now is the time to learn them. One thing to keep in mind is that you are your own best career manager! You are the only one who can decide where you want to head your career.