Archive for November, 2008

Throwing away the Branch Office Servers? Windows 7 BranchCache

Windows 7 has a lot of new features, and one of them is called BrancheCache.

When a user located in a Branch Office opens a file over the WAN and the fileserver in the datacenter is running Windows Server 2008 R2 the file is cached locally a the branch office. If another users opens the file in the datacenter, the user is redirected to the locally cached file in the BrancheCache. This gives the branch office users a very good performance and thus a good user experience.

BranchCache can operate in one of two modes. In the Hosted Cache mode, a server in the branch running Windows Server 2008 R2 hosts the cached files. In the second mode, called Distributed Cache, a branch server is not required, as copies of files are directly cached on PCs in the branch and sent to other Windows 7 clients as needed. BranchCache only serves content to users who have the right permissions and always checks to make sure it is delivering the latest version of the file.

Web content (HTTP and HTTPS) and file servers (SMB) are supported by BranchCache. BranchCache only retrieves data from headquarters when the user requests it. Because it is a passive cache, it decreases bandwidth utilization between headquarters and the branch. BranchCache only caches read requests, so it will never interfere with a user saving a file. 

Servers in Branch Offices (BO) are often seen, because WAN’s can be expensive. Companies have Branch File Servers so the users have a fast connection to their files and users can work if the WAN is down. The files are then replicated to the datacenter for backup via. DFS-R technology. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista introduced the SMB 2.0 protocol to help users opening files direct at the file server over the WAN line and because of the protocol being less chattiness and being able to compound operations, users experienced better performance.

The need for Branch Office Servers is reduced more and more.

Categories: Windows Client

The answer to all prayers? DirectAccess

Almost all companies I visit, have the same issues/trouble with remote machines/users (machines/users that are not connected to company network). Sales people, consultants, CEO’s and other people travelling around the world, are all having the same problem accessing company data and other resources, i.e. shares, mail, web services and LOB applications.

On the other hand the IT department often have trouble managing these remote machines in term of applying Group Policies/Preferences, Patch Management, deployment of new or updated applications and remote assistance.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 introduces a new technology called DirectAccess. DirectAccess enhances the productivity of mobile workers by connecting them seamlessly and more securely to the corporate network any time they have Internet access and that’s without the need of a VPN connection. This is accomplished by using IPv6-over-IPsec to encrypt communications transmitted.

DirectAccess allows IT administrators to manage mobile machines/users by updating Group Policy/Preferences settings and deploying software when the mobile computer has Internet connection. This enhances the IT department to manage remote machines on a regular basis and ensures that mobile users stay up-to-date with company policies.

DirectAccess allows users to easy connect to company data without having to connect via. VPN or other connection software.

Categories: Windows Server

BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer for Active Directory Users and Computers tool

BitLocker is one of the key features in installing Windows Vista in enterprise environments and storing the Bitlocker Recovery Password/Key in Active Directory is certainly a good idea. A lot of good documentation exist from both Microsoft and “others”, but a lot of these guides do not mention, how to extend “Active Directory Users and Computers” for viewing the BitLocker Recovery Password/Key. The following linkS will provide information on how to install a required hotfix for Windows Server 2008 / Windows Vista and afterwards registrering one dll file.

1. Install Hotfix
2. regsvr32.exe BdeAducExt.dll

How to use the BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer for Active Directory Users and Computers tool to view recovery passwords for Windows Vista

BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer for Active Directory Users and Computers tool

Categories: Windows Server

Soon we’ll say goodbye to Terminal Services

…and hello to Remote Desktop Services (RDC)

Microsoft will rename Terminal Services to Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2.
Windows Server 2008 R2 also introduces a series of platform enhancements for remote desktop users – such as support for multiple physical monitors, redirection of multimedia and 3D content, including Vista Aero, and enhanced, bi-directional audio support.

Read more here

Categories: Windows Server

New Management Packs for Active Directory and DHCP

Microsoft has released two new/updated Management Packs for System Center Operation Manager.

Active Directory Management Pack

DHCP Management Pack

Categories: Windows Server