Azure Updates Arrive En Masse

It seems that the folks in the various Azure teams at Microsoft have been really busy since the Build conference earlier this year getting products to various states of ship and it appears that this month is the mountain when it comes to releases and announcements. I got my usual Microsoft Azure new features and pricing announcements email last night and the number of new features here and features entering GA this month is astonishing. Read more...

Automatically Label the OS Drive on New VMs

Since I posted my previous article Automatically Assign DVD Drive Letter VMM Private Cloud, I’ve made a couple of improvements to the environment that I wanted to share with you all and in this first post, I will cover off how to automatically label and name the OS drive on our newly deployed virtual machines. This process involves applies registry keys. Read more...

Yammer Enterprise for Office 365

If you have an Office 365 subscription on any plan Small Business Essentials or above, you will be entitled to Yammer Enterprise. Yammer, if you are unaware is an enterprise social networking product that Microsoft acquired a while back and is billed to replace the social features in SharePoint Online over time. Enterprise social networking I think is like marmite and some companies promote the idea whilst others shy away from it which I think has held back adoption and therefore, Yammer isn’t as widely used as you would think, especially for a free service as part of your existing Office 365 license. Regardless of this, in this post, I will walk you through the very simply steps to activate your Yammer Enterprise network for your Office 365 Tenant and explain some of the next steps you can take to make Yammer more integrated into your business functions and make it more functional for end-users. Read more...

Pin a File or VHD to a Storage Space Tier

In Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft added the ability to tier Storage Spaces such that hard disks and solid state drives where in separate tiers allowing the Storage Pool and the Storage Spaces in the pool to operate like a SAN that offers up hot block technology, automatically moving frequently accessed data up to the faster disks and less frequently accessed data down to the slower tiers. In some circumstances, you may find that you want to pin a particular file or in the case of Hyper-V a VHD file accessed over an SMB file share to a particular tier. For example, you may want to pin the VHD file that hosts your virtual SQL Server TempDB files onto the SSD tier of your Storage Pool so that they are nice and fast. Inversely, you may want to pin data to the slow tier so that even if the Storage Pool detects the data as frequently accessed, it will never take up valuable space in your SSD tier. Read more...

Azure Web App SSL Cipher Suite Changes

Earlier this week, I got an email form the Azure Team to announce that as part of security improvements to the Azure App Service Web Apps (formerly known as Azure Websites) they will be making changes to the supported SSL cipher suites with the changes taking effect as of July 18th 2015. Additionally, Microsoft have provided a test site that is running the new suite of ciphers at https://testsslclient.trafficmanager.net. I decided to take the test site for a drive over on the Qualys SSL Labs tool the SSL Server Tester. I’ve been using this site for a long time now as a means to test SSL enabled websites as it allows you to verify the whole configuration in one place including the certificate, protocols and cipher suites. I ran the test site through Qualys SSL Server Tester as well as this blog which is running on a current generation Azure Web App site to compare the results. Read more...

Hiding Users from the Essentials Dashboard

I use Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials at home as my server and one problem that I have lived with for a long time is that I have a number of service accounts created to run some applications that I run centrally on the server itself. A problem with this is that these users will appear on the Essentials Dashboard which looks a bit unsightly. This isn’t something which has particularly bothered me but I accidently stumbled this morning on a blog post by Robert Pearman. Read more...

Administering Sway in the Office 365 Admin Center

With the release of Sway as I discussed in my earlier post today, Sway for Office 365 and What It Means for PowerPoint there is another application in Office 365 than now can be managed by tenant administrators. For some organisations, they may want to stop users from using Sway or they may be happy for people to use Sway but don’t want anything authored in it to be shared outside of their organisation. To this end, we have some new administrative controls in the Office 365 Admin Center for managing Sway. Read more...

Sway for Office 365 and What It Means for PowerPoint

This week, the newest product for Office 365, Sway has been made public and is rolling its way out to Office 365 Tenants around the world. What interests me with Sway is how it could potentially be used? We’ve all seen far too many dull PowerPoint decks that make us want to either play Candy Crush on our phones instead or simply roll over and sleep so I would be interested to see how in the real world, with real information to convey, Sway could be used as a replacement to PowerPoint to deliver an engaging presentation. Read more...
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