Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Windows Server 2012 Server Core. It's a MUST.

Seriously, you don't have any 2012 servers yet?

Or if you do, are you still wasting resources and patching efforts by leaving the GUI installed?

Microsoft hit the nail on the head with this operating system. It is truly designed for cloud, but that does not mean that smaller organizations cannot utilize some of the very cool features like "remote everything" through the server manager to manage all of your server core machines. In Server Manager you simply go to the All Servers page, right click and add one, some or all of your servers at the same time. Once they are considered to be "Online", you can right click any server and get a list of the administrative tools available on that machine. Or even open a Remote Powershell session. Powershell is your best friend if you don't already know.

The resource footprint for server core is dramatically smaller than a full GUI install, and, even better, the patching requirements are much, much smaller. As of this post, there is not a single patch out yet for Server Core, yet the GUI version has about a dozen or so. This simplifies server management and reduces reboots, awesome news for those critical services.

Did you already install Windows Server 2012 with the full GUI and wish you had Server Core instead so you can be cool like me? No problem. Open the Remote Powershell on the server that you want to remove the GUI from and use either one of these commands:

Add-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra


Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra
(this is an alias for the first one, take your pick)

You should see a light blue progress bar and once it completes, you will be told that you need to restart that server (it had to happen at least once). This can be done using the good ole standby in your Remote Powershell session:

shutdown -r -t 0

If you are lucky enough to be running virtual machines for your servers, this reboot should be pretty fast (another reason to virtualize, and I highly recommend Hyper-V 2012, but that's another upcoming topic). If you can reconnect with Remote Powershell and do anything, the server is back online.

Now your server runs better, requires less maintenance and resources and might actually be fun to manage! You can even monitor all of your servers right from a single Server Manager interface to see if they are online.

Windows Server 2012. Get it and go Core!!

"If you haven't found it yet, keep looking" -- Steve Jobs

- Peter Trast, MCITP EA, MCITP DBA, MCT LinkIn with Peter

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yes, kids, the MCM cert is for real

4 months after completing the MCM course for Directory Services and I am just getting ready for my first retest. This is mostly due to a heavy consulting schedule working with a changing variety of Microsoft specialties (and even some Novell now!) But even without any of that distraction, going back to the books to prepare for a retake of the written exam is almost like starting from scratch. You have to know the details of the technology so well that you don't even need Technet... seriously!

I was stunned (but somewhat pleased) at the level of knowledge required to pass the MCM. It is not so much that you can DO the work, because most of us have the skill to do it all. The real defining line is that those who are Master level know it well enough to do it quickly without the need to research a bunch of Technet articles. To my classmates who passed already, I salute you. You are true Masters of Directory Services. And I still have until September to catch up with you, so don't get too cocky ;)

So if you happen to meet a Microsoft Certified Master in any technology, I think I can safely say that you have met someone who truly knows their specialty, someone who owns the details and can probably wing their way through just about anything. I hope to join their ranks soon. Thanks to all those who believe in me. I hope to live up to your expectations, and I will sure have fun along the way.

For those of you who believe that you truly are the best at what you do, I highly recommend the MCM program, not just for the certification, but for the community of amazing people who aspire to this level of achievement. It is great to know so many people who are passionate and awesome at what they do. Even without the certification, this is a rich resource that I take advantage of at every opportunity. I suggest you do the same.

Breathe deep, fly high.

- Peter Trast, MCITP EA, MCITP DBA, MCT LinkIn with Peter