Windows 7 Tour

Knowledge Factory, Atea and Cornerstone will this fall visit 7 cities in Sweden on the Windows 7 Tour.

We’ll show you Microsofts new client operating system Windows 7 in cooperation with their simultaneously released server operating system Windows Server 2008 R2. On top of this we’ll add the management software suite available from Microsoft and show you why they’re stronger together.

Speakers:
Anders Bengtsson from Atea
Lasse Frändeby from Cornerstone
Me (Joachim Nässlander) from Knowledge Factory

City / Date
Umeå 12/10
Sundsvall 13/10
Borlänge 14/10
Stockholm 15/10
Malmö 20/10
Göteborg 21/10
Karlskrona 22/10

Tour site (in Swedish): http://www.cornerstone.se/sv/ExpertZone/Windows7/tour/

Meet MEET and get to know Exchange 2010

Wednesday 2:nd of September MEET (Microsoft Extended Expert Team) is hosting an After Work at Grodan in Stockholm, Sweden. The exact location is Grev Turegatan 16

The topic of this night is Exchange 2010, and if you’re into Exchange there’ll be a whole bunch of knowledgeable Exchange experts to meet:

Host: Martin Lidholm, MVP in Office Communications Server and MEET-member, from Lidholm & Co
Product Manager: Micael Berger from Microsoft.

The Experts:

Christer Olsson and John Kjölbye Hansen from Microsoft
Lasse Pettersson, MVP Exchange Server from Humandata
Martina Miscovic, MVP Exchange Server and MEET-member from Knowledge Factory
Magnus Björk, MVP i Exchange Server and MEET-member from mailmaster

If you’re in Stockholm, pass by and grab a beer! The more the merrier!

Netgear 0 – Atheros 1

This Sunday I rebuilt my HTPC. You know the yearly overhaul so I switched motherboard, and this time I bought one with everything included. I chose the Asus P5N7A-VM which comes with an Nvidia GeForce 9300 onboard, 8 channel sound, HDMI/Displayport output and more USB-ports than anyone could ever need.

To make a long story short, after getting everything into the chassie, and cutting my fingers on the razorsharp edges (it seems that the price of the chassie doesn’t matter since the edges just get sharper) I installed Windows 7 RTM x64 since there’s more than 4 GB of memory in the box. Configuring stuff I realize that everything is available for x64: 7-zip, XBMC, MKV-support (haali, ffdshow), irtrans and more. But NOT drivers for the Netgear WN111 which is a USB-stick for 802.11N WLAN.

According to Netgear:

Windows 64-bit Support

Almost all Windows XP users have the Home or Professional version. For information on compatibility with these Windows XP operating systems, see NETGEAR Windows XP Compatibility.

Windows XP 64-bit

This operating system’s greater number of bits allows it, for example, to make effective use of dual CPU computers, and to run (some) custom-built software faster

•Since there is a limited market for 64-bit drivers, and creating them is expensive, NETGEAR has no immediate plans to release 64 bit drivers for NETGEAR products. This would raise the cost of the products for all other customers. If you install the 64-bit operating system, all NETGEAR drivers and utilities on that computer may stop working! Of course, much other software and drivers will also stop working, so you should consider whether you want to go to the expense and risk of changing to this operating system.
Microsoft has a good, brief article on this subject Frequently asked questions about Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. In essence:

•They expect that some companies will chose not to release 64 bit drivers immediately, or ever, for older products.
•There is no “home” edition of the 64-bit XP for general use, because Microsoft targeted it toward high-end professional applications, software developers, and demanding gamers.
•As of January 2006, XP 64-bit runs with Athlon 64 and other selected AMD “64” processors, and Intel’s EM64T.
•The operating system will not work at all with older computers, and with some current computers. Examples are Centrino and Itanium computers.
Windows Vista

Windows Vista is Microsoft’s upcoming operating system that will support 64-bit drivers. For suggestions about system requirements, see Microsoft’s Windows Vista Hardware.

I like the “Windows Vista is Microsoft’s upcoming operating system”. No, it’s actually Microsoft’s previous operatingsystem. And even XP was available in x64 to support larger memory addressing.

Microsoft Update Catalog:
http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=wn111v2

See there, drivers! Wouldn’t be too hard for Netgear to actually post these on their site one would assume? Feel sorry for the people not knowing of the Microsoft Catalog, considering that a lot of hardware has drivers available there not available anywhere else.

The best part with getting the drivers from the Microsoft Catalog is that the annoying utility is left behind.

Netgear – Networking Solutions for Home and Business. Yeah right!

Now I’ll waste my energy on the good cause and leave the dark side behind.

Windows Server 2008 R2 at IDG.se

In the article at IDG.se, http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.233745/17-nyheter-i-w2k8-r2-som-forandrar-din-it-varld (unfortunately in Swedish) by Andreas Stenhall we got to say a few words about our favourite functions. “We” in this case was me, Christoffer Andersson and Mikael Nyström from Truesec.

My favourite functions are Direct Access and Branch Cache. I also like the new Hyper-V version which gets support for Live Migration thanks to CSV. What are your favourite functions in Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2?

iSCSI Target Software Feature Comparison

Having received numerous emails asking questions about which iSCSI target software offers which feature I’ve put together a sheet which tries to sum up the various features and editions of the different Windows iSCSI target software available.

This sheet might be missing features actually available in certain products, some features might not be available at all and so on. The reason for this disclaimer is that all vendors name their features differently so I’ve tried to sum it up by reading the information available. Some vendors have chosen not to post anything useful about their product, so a comparison is not possible in this case. In the case where no information have been found or I’m unsure if it’s available I’ve marked it n/a. If the information has been clear it’s either yes or no.

Protocol information

From Wikipedia: In computing, iSCSI (pronounced /аɪsˈkʌzi/), is an abbreviation of Internet Small Computer System Interface, an Internet Protocol (IP)-based storage networking standard for linking data storage facilities. By carrying SCSI commands over IP networks, iSCSI is used to facilitate data transfers over intranets and to manage storage over long distances. iSCSI can be used to transmit data over local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), or the Internet and can enable location-independent data storage and retrieval. The protocol allows clients (called initiators) to send SCSI commands (CDBs) to SCSI storage devices (targets) on remote servers. It is a popular storage area network (SAN) protocol, allowing organizations to consolidate storage into data center storage arrays while providing hosts (such as database and web servers) with the illusion of locally-attached disks. Unlike traditional Fibre Channel, which requires special-purpose cabling, iSCSI can be run over long distances using existing network infrastructure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISCSI
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3720.txt

Table of features / prices

Click to open in lightbox

Right click, Save As to download:
JPG
PDF
HTML

Different approaches

Of all the vendors in the comparison there are about as many approaches as vendors. FalconStor for example has made an ESX appliance, which means that if you’re not running ESX you have no use of their product. According to what I can understand from their site you can connect anything to it once it’s up and running though. DataCore has chosen to make “bundles” of their product which led me to not really understand what I need and when and for what. Microsoft sells their iSCSI-target through OEM vendors, so to get your hands on Windows Storage Server you’ll need to buy storage from Dell, HP, Fujitsu or any other vendor that sells Windows-based appliances. Nimbus free product MySan only runs on Windows 2003 SP1 for some odd reason. SP 2 is not supported according to their information. Both Starwind, iscsicake and istorage server from Kernsafe comes in different editions with various features available. This seems like the best approach since you can choose an edition with the features you need for a price you’re willing to pay.

Links to vendors

http://www.datacore.com
http://www.falconstor.com
http://www.iscsicake.com
http://www.kernsafe.com
http://www.microsoft.com/Windowsserver2008/en/us/wss08.aspx
http://www.nimbusdata.com
http://www.starwindsoftware.com

How to choose

Choosing an iSCSI target software for your Windows based environment there are a few things to keep in mind. Looking at the table there are a lot of different editions with a bunch of different features. If you’re looking to emulate tape libraries and replicate data it’s in the higher price range. Satisfied with one or two concurrent connections you can get away alot cheaper, this would put you in the testing range though since a few concurrent connections won’t do you any good in production. Writing a recommendation here is virtually impossible considering the number of features available and the different needs in different situations. You’ll have to analyze what you really need and base your decision on that.

If you need help evaluating your storage needs, either SAN or iSCSI-based I can be of service. You can contact me through the contact form and I’ll get you in touch with our sales people to book either a visit or a virtual meeting depending on where you’re based.

Have I missed any software for Windows? What features do you think are the most useful / useless? Have you bought a product that you can recommend or warn anyone about?

How come it's not encrypted?

According to http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/hemliga-polisdokument-saljs-i-den-undre-varlden-1.923949 (sorry, it’s in Swedish), secret documents from the Swedish police and our “federal” police have leaked into the hands of criminals. The documents are now being sold to criminals by criminals. They contain names and addresses to criminals in different gangs, their families and known affiliates to them. Some of the addresses are to people in rivalizing gangs also which could make for some interesting reading if you’re the other part.

The question to be asked here is that with so much technology available for encryption and auditing, how come it wasn’t encrypted? How come someone can bring the information out of the house? How come they don’t know who brought it out?

We could start off with Truecrypt, which would let you encrypt the information and you’d need a password to open it. Not that very enterprise friendly, but on a need to know basis it’d probably work.

If we instead took the route of “stuff that costs money” we could encrypt it with EFS, which would require a Windows-based file server and a PKI infrastructure in place. One could assume that they have smart cards for entrance through doors and login to their computers, so everything is there assuming that they also have a Windows based file server.

Then we could always add Rights Management Server (RMS). This would allow us to specify who can print, email, read and copy the information. Complete this circle with NTFS auditing and we’d know who last accessed (or try to access) the information also.

In a greater perspective it’s kind of scary that THIS list, which deals with “heavy criminals” can leak. Considering that all our emails and phonecalls are supposed to be monitored later (or at least who calls who and who emailed who) I’d be happy to know that what I do or who I speak to doesn’t leak. Not that it’s a secret, but the personal integrity would be nice to have intact.