Archive for the ‘System Center’ Category

Microsoft Ignite 2015 summary – #MSIgnite, #EnvokeIT, #Azure, #Office365, #OneDrive, #EMM, #PaaS, #IaaS

Hi all,

We at EnvokeIT participated and collaborated at Microsoft Ignite 2015 in Chicago. And it was one of the most intense events I’ve visited in years with a lot of happening in the business and Microsoft really showed that they are the leading innovator in many areas!

I hope that you enjoy my report and that it gives you a condensed overview of what happened and please contact us at EnvokeIT if you want assistance within any area below! And thank you Microsoft for such a great event and also all you bloggers out there that I’ve linked to in this material.

I must say that this event was positive and a bit scary at the same time. Microsoft is for sure pushing as visionairies and innovators in a lot of areas, and I think that competitors will have a hard time competing in the coming years.

These are the areas where A LOT have been released already and where Microsoft according to my oppinion will increase its market share significantly:

  • Cloud and Mobile services, and with this I don’t mean IaaS service for just running a VM in their public Azure cloud or building a hybrid cloud with connectivity to on-premise datacenters. They are delivering so many capabilities now as PaaS and SaaS services. Just look at the sections below, it’s everything from Enterprise Mobillity Management (EMM), Business Intelligence, Database, Storage, Web Apps/services, Service Availability services (DR, Monitoring/Reporting, Backup etc.), Development, Source Control, Visual Studio Online etc. It’s amazing!!
  • Open Source/Linux support – It’s so cool how much Microsoft have shifted to become an adopter to support more open source technologies and way of thinking than just a couple of years ago! Just have a look at all the Linux support they have in Azure, the Linux support they now have in System Center, Docker support to deliver more DevOps capabilities and all the other services in Azure. It’s amazing and so fun! So now both Microsoft have opened their eyes and realized that they can’t ignore this anymore just like Citrix has with their addition of XenDesktop for Linux with SuSE and RedHat support!

The first day kicked off and was a bombarding of product announcements aimed at helping IT pros secure and manage the new Universal Windows Platform.

CEO Satya Nadella presided over a three-hour keynote, which focused on how Microsoft’s new wave of software and cloud services will enable IT and business transformations that are in line with the ways people now work. Nadella talked up Microsoft’s focus on “productivity and platforms” and how it’s tied with the shift to cloud and mobility. He also highlighted the need for better automation of systems and processes, and better management of the vast amounts of data originating from new sources such as sensors and other Internet-of-Things-type nodes.

As mentioned there where a lot of updates and below I’ve tried to gather these and I hope it gives you a good insight on the infromation we received and also guidance on how you can get more information about the topics.

Included below are links to detailed overviews of each of the demos (from Microsoft blog post) – including information about how to use them, where to learn more, and what you’ll need to get started.

The following picture is a sketch of the keynote and is also quite good at summarizing the message of Mobile and Cloud first!


vNiklas also created a great powershell script that automates the downloading of all MS Ignite content with PowerShell and Bits from Channel 9 that you can find here!

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) – MDM, MAM, MCSM/MIM etc…

Microsoft’s next chapter in Enterprise Mobility, great blog post on where Microsoft is going etc. in-enterprise-mobility.aspx …

Windows 10 Continuum – this is cool, think about docking your smartphone to your external screen, keyboard and mouse! That’s try mobility of youre device, this looks really cool and something that I’d like to try out once released!

Have a look at the feature demo at Ignite in the video below.

What’s New and Upcoming with Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager | Microsoft Ignite 2015

This session outlines the latest enhancements in enterprise mobility management using Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager. See the newest Microsoft Intune improvements for managing mobile productivity without compromising compliance, and learn about the futures of Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

In the CloudEnterprise Mobility Management table of content:

Office 2016 public preview available!

Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. We’ve expanded the Office footprint to iPad and Android tablets. We’ve upgraded Office experiences on the Mac, the iPhone and on the web. We’ve even added new apps to the Office family with Sway and Office Lens. All designed to keep your work moving, everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten where we came from. While you’ve seen us focus on tuning Office for different platforms over the last year, make no mistake, Office on Windows desktop is central to our strategy.

In March we introduced an IT Pro and Developer Preview for the 2016 release of our Office desktop apps on Windows, and now—as a next step—we’re ready to take feedback from a broader audience. Today we’re expanding the Office 2016 Preview, making it available to Office users everywhere in preparation for general availability in Fall 2015.

Office 2016 previewers will get an early look at the next release of Office on Windows desktop, but more importantly they’ll help to shape and improve the future of Office. Visit the Office 2016 Preview site to learn more about the Preview program and if it’s right for you.

New in Office 2016

Since March, we’ve shared some glimpses of what’s to come in Office 2016. Today, we’d like to give a more holistic view of what customers at home and work can expect in the next release. In Office 2016, we’re updating the Office suite for the modern workplace, with smart tools for individuals, teams, and businesses.

Read more…

#XenDesktop 7.1 Service Template Tech Preview for System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager – #SCVMM

November 5, 2013 Leave a comment

This is interesting! Really good and can’t wait to try it out!


Let’s face it, installing distributed, enterprise-class virtual desktop and server based computing infrastructure is time consuming and complex.  The infrastructure consists of many components that are installed on individual servers and then configured to work together.  Traditionally this has largely been a manual, error prone process.

The Citrix XenDesktop 7.1 Service Template for System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) leverages the rich automation capabilities available in Microsoft’s private cloud offering to significantly streamline and simplify the installation experience.  The XenDesktop 7.1 Service Template enables rapid deployment of virtual app and desktop infrastructure on Microsoft System Center 2012 private clouds.  This Tech Preview is available now and includes the latest 7.1 version of XenDesktop that supports Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager.

Key Benefits:

  • Rapid Deployment – A fully configured XenDesktop 7.1 deployment that adheres to Citrix best practices is automatically installed in about an hour; a manual installation can take a day or more.
  • Reduction of human errors and the unwanted consequences – IT administrators answer 9 questions about the XenDesktop deployment, including the VM Network to use, the domain to join, the SQL server used to host the database, the SCVMM server to host the desktops, and the administrative service accounts to connect to each of these resources.  Once this information is entered, the Service Template automation installs the XenDesktop infrastructure the same way, every time, ensuring consistency and correctness.
  • Reduction in cost of IT Operations – XenDesktop infrastructure consistently configured with automation is less costly to support because the configuration adheres to best practice standards.
  • Free highly skilled and knowledgeable staff from repeatable and mundane tasks – A Citrix administrator’s time is better spent focused on ensuring that users get access to the applications they need, rather than lengthy production installation tasks.
  • Simplified Eval to Retail Conversion – Windows Server 2012 and later, as well as XenDesktop 7.1, support conversion of evaluation product keys to retail keys.  This means that a successful POC deployment of the XenDesktop 7.1 Service Template is easily converted to a fully supported and properly configured production deployment.
  • Easy Scale-Out for greater capacity – SCVMM Service Templates support a scale-out model to increase user capacity.  For example, as user demand increases additional XenDesktop Controllers and StoreFront servers are easily added with a few clicks and are automatically joined to the XenDesktop site.

The XenDesktop Service Templates were developed and tested with the support of our friends and partners at Dell, who, in support of the release of XenDesktop 7.1 and the Service Template technical preview, are expected to launch new and innovative solutions that include these and other automation capabilities this quarter.  These solutions are based on the Dell DVS Enterprise for Citrix XenDesktop solutions.

Simplification of Distributed Deployments

The XenDesktop 7.1 in-box installation wizard is a fantastic user experience that automatically installs all the required prerequisites and XenDesktop components in under 30 minutes.  The result is a fully installed XenDesktop deployment, all on a single server, that is excellent for POCs and product evaluations.  The installation and configuration challenges occur when you want to install XenDesktop in production, with enterprise-class scalability, distributed across multiple servers.

Manual Installation Steps

XenDesktop 7 manual installation steps

Read more…

#Microsoft Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guides

October 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Wow, these are some compelling guides that Microsoft delivered!! Have a look at them! But of course there’s always something more U want! Let Service Providers provide DaaS services based on client OS’s as well!!!

Microsoft has released two papers related to Desktop Hosting. The first is called: “Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide” and the second is called: “Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide“. Both documents provide a blueprint for creating secure, scalable, multi-tenant desktop hosting solutions using Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager or using Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.

The documents are targeted to hosting providers which deliver desktop hosting via the Microsoft Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA). Desktop hosting in this case is based on Windows Server with the Windows Desktop Experience feature enabled, and not Microsoft’s client Operating Systems like Windows 7 or Windows 8.

For some reason, Microsoft still doesn’t want service providers to provide Desktops as a Service (DaaS) running on top of a Microsoft Client OS, as outlined in the “Decoding Microsoft’s VDI Licensing Arcanum” paper which covered in September this year.

The Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide provides the following sections:

  • Desktop Hosting Service Logical Architecture
  • Service Layer
    • Tenant Environment
    • Provider Management and Perimeter Environments
  • Virtualization Layer
    • Hyper-V and Virtual Machine Manager
    • Scale-Out File Server
  • Physical Layer
    • Servers
    • Network
  • Tenant On-Premises Components
    • Clients
    • Active Directory Domain Services


The Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture covers the following topics:

Today is the RTM for #Windows Server 2012 R2! – #Microsoft

Microsoft blog post about the RTM release of Windows Server 2012 R2:

As noted in my earlier post about the availability dates for the 2012 R2 wave, we are counting the days until our partners and customers can start using these products. Today I am proud to announce a big milestone: Windows Server 2012 R2 has been released to manufacturing!

This means that we are handing the software over to our hardware partners for them to complete their final system validations; this is the final step before putting the next generation of Windows Server in your hands. 

While every release milestone provides ample reason to celebrate (and trust me, there’s going to be a party here in Redmond), we are all particularly excited this time around because we’ve delivered so much in such a short amount of time. The amazing new features in this release cover virtualization, storage, networking, management, access, information protection, and much more.

By any measure, this is a lot more than just one year’s worth of innovation since the release of Windows Server 2012!

As many readers have noticed, this release is being handled a bit differently than in years past. With previous releases, shortly after the RTM Microsoft provided access to software through our MSDN and TechNet subscriptions.  Because this release was built and delivered at a much faster pace than past products, and because we want to ensure that you get the very highest quality product, we made the decision to complete the final validation phases prior to distributing the release.  It is enormously important to all of us here that you have the best possible experience using R2 to build your private and hybrid cloud infrastructure.

We are all incredibly proud of this release and, on behalf of the Windows Server engineering team, we are honored to share this release with you.  The opportunity to deliver such a wide range of powerful, interoperable R2 products is a powerful example of the Common Engineering Criteria that I’ve written about before.

Also of note: The next update to Windows Intune will be available at the time of GA, and we are also on track to deliver System Center 2012 R2.

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback during….

Continue reading here!


User-centric application delivery with Microsoft System Center and the #XenApp Connector for Configuration Manager

Another good blog post from Citrix:

This week we are happy to announce the release of the XenApp Connector for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager (a.k.a. Project Thor), marking the culmination of several months of collaboration between Citrix and Microsoft.

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager helps IT empower people to use the devices and applications they need to be productive, while maintaining corporate compliance and control.  It provides a unified infrastructure for mobile, physical, and virtual environments that allows IT to deliver applications and manage user experiences based on identity, connectivity, and device.

More so than any previous release of Configuration Manager, the 2012 release supports the model of user-centric IT management.  The new focus of Configuration Manager is one of empowering users by putting them at the center of the IT universe; one that supports user self-service, bring-your-own-device initiatives, workforce mobility, and the overall IT consumerization trend.   We are very excited about the power this user-centric model provides and how that model is realized via integration of Configuration Manager and XenApp.

So what does the XenApp Connector do?  Put simply, it extends the reach of admins using Configuration Manager to a much broader range of devices and user locations. Historically, Configuration Manager has been used for management of Windows OS & applications deployed to Windows PCs, Windows laptops, Windows Servers and Windows Phones operating within the traditional IT periphery – in other words Active Directory domain joined machines.

The XenApp Connector and Citrix Receiver extend the reach of Configuration Manager to deliver apps not just to Windows devices but all kinds of office and mobile devices including Linux, iOS, and Android devices; in fact nearly every device on the market today..  The Connector also enables a more flexible and mobile workforce. Users are able to gain access to the applications they need regardless of whether they are in the office, working from home, or on the road.

To deliver this functionality, the XenApp Connector leverages three capabilities introduced with System Center 2012:

  • Deployment Types
  • User-centric administration, and
  • The Application Catalog

Read more…

New Online Training Sessions Available for System Center 2012 – #SC2012, #Microsoft

February 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Microsoft Virtual Academy has released a new training series that delves into System Center 2012 SP1 Service Manager. Topics covered include:

– Import Data and Runbooks 
– Build and Publish Request Offerings 
– Create, Invoke & Monitor 
– Chargeback

These sessions are now available to view online.

And now that System Center Universe 2013 is over, those sessions are also available online. You can now view the System Center Universe 2013 recordings online to learn about VMware and Hyper-V Data Protection, Advanced System Center Reporting, Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service…

Continue reading here


Great Microsoft System Center 2012 documentation – #SCCM, #SCOM

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